Ev­i­dence con­vinces pro to lay down his set

The Mercury News Weekend - - PUZZLES - By Chad Hol­loway Tri­bune Con­tent Agency Chad Hol­loway is a 2013 World Se­ries of Poker bracelet win­ner and me­dia di­rec­tor for the Mid- States Poker Tour.

In poker, three of a kind beats two pair but isn’t good enough to over­come a straight. There are two ways to make three of a kind. You can ei­ther make a set or trips. The for­mer hap­pens when you hold a pocket pair and find a third on the board, while the lat­ter is when there’s a pair on the board and you hav­ing a match­ing card in your hand.

For ex­am­ple, if you hold 4d 4c and the board comes 5d 9d 4h, you have f lopped a set. On the flip side, if you hold 8c 9c and the flop is 8h 8s Kc, then you have trips. It’s that sim­ple.

Now, let’s talk about a hand in which some­one flopped a set and some­how man­aged to not go broke. It hap­pened in Novem­ber at the $1,100- buy-in Mid- States Poker Tour Den­ver Poker Open main event, a tour­na­ment that drew 383 play­ers to the Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.

In Level 9 ( blinds of 400- 800 with an ante of 100), World Se­ries of Poker bracelet win­ner John “Kasi­noKrime” Beauprez raised to 2,000 in early po­si­tion with pocket jacks. The player in the cut­off seat called, Tye Rogers came along from the big blind, and the flop came down Qc Js 3h.

Rogers checked, Beauprez con­tin­ued for 3,800, and the player in the cut­off seat got out of the way. Rogers called and then checked for the sec­ond time on the 9d turn. Beauprez bet again, this time 5,200, and Rogers woke up with a check-raise to 15,200.

Beauprez just called, and the 7c com­pleted the board on the river. Rogers jammed for 39,000, and Beauprez, who had just a bit less, gave it some thought be­fore lay­ing down his set.

How was he able to do it? By think­ing through the hand — Beauprez had to put his op­po­nent on a straight — and fol­low­ing the ev­i­dence.

For in­stance, take the pref lop ac­tion. Rogers called out of the big blind, mean­ing he likely held some­thing like a small pocket pair, two paint cards, or hands with a ten such as J-10, 109, 10- 8, etc. One hand Beauprez could rule out was pocket queens. How so? Be­cause Rogers prob­a­bly would have three- bet such a strong hand pref lop.

When Rogers check-raised the turn, he was ad­ver­tis­ing that he ei­ther had a made hand, like K-10 or 10- 8 for a straight, or some sort of semi­bluff, like a pair with an open- ended straight draw. Beauprez could have pushed back, but by just call­ing, he opened the door for his op­po­nent to value- bet worse hands on the river. If his op­po­nent checked, Beauprez could com­fort­ably bet.

On the river, Rogers went for the big pay­day by mov­ing all in. A lot of play­ers would have called if they were in Beauprez’s shoes, but the WSOP champ thought bet­ter of it. He likely de­duced that Rogers was on the tighter side and wouldn’t bluff the river with a missed draw, in which case putting him on a straight seemed like a log­i­cal de­duc­tion.

That said, putting your op­po­nent on a hand is one thing, and fold­ing your premium hold­ing is an­other. Like Kenny Rogers said, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

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