To help you improve your strategy in tournaments, today we’re taking a look at two key tournament hands played by high stakes regular Moritz ‘MuckCallOk’ Dietrich. (We call him Mo.)
These two hands are straight from Mo’s last video series in the Upswing Lab training course, which is a 5-part review of hands from some of the biggest tournaments that exist online.
Let’s dive in.
Stage: Mid-Game (Not in the money or near the bubble)
Hero (Lojack) – 60bb
Big Blind – 67bb
Preflop: Mo is dealt A♦ Q♠ in the Lojack.
3 folds. Mo raises to 2.14bb. 4 folds. Big Blind calls.
Flop (5.68bb): J♥ T♣ 8♣
Big Blind bets 4bb. Mo calls.
Turn (13.68bb): 4♦
Big Blind bets 9bb. Mo calls.
River (31.68bb): 9♦
Big Blind checks. Mo bets 17.74bb.
Mo has a standard open with Ace-Queen offsuit. Obviously, opening A♦ Q♠ when the action folds to you will be the correct play in almost every tournament situation.
With A♦ Q♠ on a J♥ T♣ 8♣, Mo flops a double gutter straight draw but faces an interesting spot. The Big Blind leads, which is unorthodox.
Facing the lead, Mo’s A♦ Q♠ is a clear call. If he were to have Ace-Queen with a club in it, he should bluff-raise at some frequency. This is because he could continue bluffing on runouts with a club in addition to hitting a straight on a 9 or King. This aggressive play would put his opponents’ weak 1 pair hands in a very tough spot.
The turn comes the 4♦ which changes nothing. Even vs. this 66% pot-sized double barrel, Mo cannot fold with two overcards and a double gutter straight draw. He can also be ahead if his opponent had a semi-bluffing hand like A9 or a flush draw.
Calling is Moritz’s only good option here. He wouldn’t credibly represent much by raising, and folding with this much equity would be a mistake.
Boom! Mo makes the second nut straight as the river comes the 9♦, making the final board J♥ T♣ 8♣ 4♦ 9♦ with 31.68bb in the pot.
Once the Big Blind checks, Mo has a clear value bet. The question is what size to use.
Given how the hand played out, the opponent’s range is mostly capped to one pair / two pair hands. Because of this, there is no reason to bet massive. Mo elects to go with a 56% pot, which makes a lot of sense.
The big blind folds and Mo wins 31.68bb.
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Stage: Before the end of late registration
Hero (Lojack) – 27.65bb
Cutoff – 44bb
Big Blind – 20bb
Preflop: Mo is dealt K♣ T♣ in the Lojack
3 folds. Mo raises to 2.14bb. 1 fold. Cutoff calls. 2 folds. Big Blind calls.
Flop (7.67bb): T♥ 8♦ 5♦
Big Blind checks. Mo checks. Cutoff checks.
Turn (7.67bb): 3♦
Big Blind checks. Hero bets 4.3bb. Cutoff calls. Big Blind folds.
River (16.27bb): 4♥
Mo bets all-in 21.21bb. Cutoff calls.
Mo has a standard open with K♣ T♣ in the Lojack.
The flop comes T♥ 8♦ 5♦ which gives Mo top pair with K♣ T♣.
While he has a strong top pair, both the Cutoff and Big Blind can have pretty nutted hands on this board, or at least hands that have a lot of equity.
With his specific hand, Mo has a close decision between check and bet. If he decides to bet, his goal is to get value from one pair hands and draws while denying equity from hands KQ and low pairs.
As played, Mo decides to check this multiway with the plan of check-raising all-in should the Cutoff bet. This check-shove would be even better if the Big Blind calls the bet because it is essentially dead money in the pot.
Why is the Big Blind’s call essentially dead money? Because if he had any strong value hands (like two pair) or high equity hands (like J♦ 9♦) he is would likely raise those himself rather than just call the Cutoff’s bet.
The turn comes (T♥ 8♦ 5♦) 3♦ with 7.67bb in the pot.
Once the flush completes on the turn and Big Blind decides to check again, Mo has a clear value bet with top pair and has to decide what size to use.
The size Mo picks (around 56% pot) is perfect for getting called by weak one pair hands, as well as the majority of hands that have a diamond in them.
Once the river comes the (T♥ 8♦ 5♦ 3♦) 4♥ and Mo has a decision to make. There’s 16.27bb in the pot and he has 21.21bb behind.
The final piece of the puzzle for this hand is whether to bet ourselves or check, hoping to induce a bluff.
If the river goes check-check, then Mo is virtually always going to win because the Cutoff doesn’t check back better hands than what Hero has on the flop. Now, we move onto what hands that Cutoff could bluff with on the river. The short answer is, not many.
By shoving himself, Mo allows the Cutoff to hero call with hands like Tx/8x with a diamond and underpairs with straight and flush blockers. Or he may even call lighter than that…
Mo shows K♣ T♣. Cutoff shows A♥ Q♦. Mo wins 58.69bb.
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If you want more tournament content, check out How Would You Play Pocket Aces at This Final Table? (Analysis).
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