Acting with less information
Even while holding a big hand and sitting on a big stack, you are frequently at a big disadvantage if you’re out of position because you have to act with less information than your opponent.
However, that big stack might be enough to scare an opponent into a mistake and allow you to see enough cards post-flop to take the pot, as championship pro David Benyamine was able to do in this hand from the 2010 World Series of Poker $10,000-buy-in main event at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.
With blinds at $300-$600 plus a $75 ante, Benyamine open-raised for $1,600 with A-K offsuit in middle position. The player on the button re-raised to $4,450, perhaps trying to steal with position or perhaps holding a big hand.
“There’s not much to think about the amount before I play the hand,” said Benyamine, who has won a WSOP bracelet and a World Poker Tour main event. “I wouldn’t re-raise out of position. Even with position, I wouldn’t re-raise.”
Benyamine called, having his opponent covered by a considerable amount. The flop came 8-9-5, rainbow. Benyamine checked. The button made it $4,400, a bet smaller than his preflop re-raise.
“That made me feel that he had queens or jacks,” the French cash-game specialist said. “He could also have kings. He can have ace-king. He can have king-queen. Who knows how he plays?
“He can also have nothing. If he has nothing, it’s more dangerous for me than if he has something like ace-queen because then I can read what he has. But if he has nothing, then I will probably lose the pot if I don’t hit an ace or a king. “I called because that’s what I’d do if I had a set.”
The turn came the jack of hearts. Benyamine checked. The button also checked, which was a mistake.
“I would’ve folded to a bet at this point,” Benyamine said.
The river came the ace of spades, giving Benyamine top pair/top kicker. He made it $10,000, about half the pot.
“If he has ace-queen, I might get more, or maybe not,” Benyamine said. “But if he has less than that - say, queens or 10s - then he’d pay me off that amount because he’s thinking I’m making a play at the pot with 6s or 7s.”
Indeed, Benyamine’s opponent called, then mucked his cards when he saw Benyamine’s ace, a card Benyamine was able to see thanks in part to the power of a stack size that prevented his opponent from continued aggression.
“He doesn’t have that many chips,” Benyamine said. “He might not continue betting and just might let it go. He knows I have something. I could’ve laid down to his re-raise before the flop, but I’m giving myself a chance in case he doesn’t have the hand.”
Set: Three of a kind when a pocket pair matches one card on the board.
Steve Rosenbloom is a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the author of the book The Best Hand I Ever Played. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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