Beware of po­ten­tial trou­ble

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - POKER -

There are cer­tain poker hands of which you should be wary. That’s not to say you shouldn’t play them, but rather that you need to ex­er­cise cau­tion with them in cer­tain cir­cum­stances. A great ex­am­ple of this took place mid­way through Day 1A of the Mid-States Poker Tour Cleveland Poker Open at the Jack Cleveland Casino in Jan­uary.

It hap­pened with blinds at 400-800 plus an ante of 100. The player un­der the gun player opened for 1,800, and Vlad Bara­nov called. Chris Nguyen, sit­ting in the cut­off seat, also called, and Haad Ma­jied came along from the big blind, so four play­ers saw a flop of 10s Jd Qs.

Ma­jied led out for 6,500, the orig­i­nal raiser folded, and Bara­nov thought for a while be­fore just calling. Nguyen called, too, and the Chris Nguyen’s hand: Vlad Bara­nov’shand: three play­ers watched the dealer burn and turn the 6h.

Ma­jied checked, Bara­nov moved all in for 41,000, and Nguyen went into the tank be­fore even­tu­ally mak­ing the call. Ma­jied folded.

Bara­nov tabled Ac Ks for Broad­way ( the nick­name for a 10-J-Q-K-A straight). Nguyen turned over 8c 9c for a smaller straight. Nguyen was draw­ing dead headed to the river, which was the mean­ing­less 8h.

In this in­stance, Nguyen’s 8-9 Flop: suited was one of those hands with in­her­ent risk. If you opt to play it — and many play­ers like play­ing suited con­nec­tors — then you have to be cog­nizant of board tex­ture. For in­stance, if the flop comes down 5-6-7, you ob­vi­ously have the nut straight. When it comes down the way it did in this hand, you still have a straight, but you have the worst of three pos­si­ble straight com­bi­na­tions. (A-K and K-9 beat you, and both hands were well within Bara­nov’s range in this case.)

Sim­i­larly, if the board con­tains three clubs, you’ll have a flush. That’s a strong hand and a likely win­ner, but you still have to be care­ful, be­cause there are other flush pos­si­bil­i­ties. If your op­po­nent called a raise with a hand such as Qc Jc or Ac 3c (hands an op­po­nent would likely play), then you have an in­fe­rior flush and stand to lose a lot of chips.

The point is, you have to as­sess whether your op­po­nents would play cer­tain hands that con­nect with the board tex­ture. If so, you might want to tap the brakes as op­posed to lean­ing on the gas.

In this par­tic­u­lar hand, it was dif­fi­cult for Nguyen to get away given the way it played out. Bara­nov just called with Big Slick, a hand that most play­ers would have re-raised. It was move de­signed to dis­guise the strength of his hand. Nguyen was prob­a­bly trying to de­ter­mine whether Bara­nov had a K-9 or was shov­ing with some sort of straight and flush com­bi­na­tion draw.

It was a draw-heavy board, so Nguyen made the call, hop­ing Bara­nov’s hand fell into the lat­ter camp. Iron­i­cally, Bara­nov shoved on the turn to pro­tect his hand against all the draws, and in the process he got paid.

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