Poker Pop Quiz: Should the Pro Golfer Call This River Raise?

sergio garcia poker shark cage

Poker Pop Quiz: Should the Pro Golfer Call This River Raise?

May 24, 2017 / Michael Brady / Poker Quizzes

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The new season of Pokerstar’s Shark Cage is underway, with players competing for a spot at the final table with $1,000,000 first prize. It is a very unique table, with professional golfer Sergio Garcia sitting with poker pros Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu and more.

In this hand, Sergio Garcia has a tough decision to make against a huge river check raise from Chris Moneymaker. Let’s look through this hand and get Doug’s thoughts on how Sergio Garcia’s poker skills stack up against the pros.

Hand History

We're playing No Limit Hold'em(Texas edition) in the PokerStars Shark Cage. The blinds are 6,000/12,000. Sergio Garcia has about 650k chips in his stack and Chris Moneymaker covers.

Preflop (Pot: 33,000)

Sergio is UTG with:
A 2

Sergio raises to 26,000. 4 folds. Moneymaker calls.

Flop (Pot: 73,000)

The flop is  9 3 T

Moneymaker checks. Sergio bets 55,000. Moneymaker calls

Turn (Pot: 183,000)

The turn is the A

Moneymaker checks. Sergio checks

River (Pot: 183,000)

The river is the K

Moneymaker checks. Sergio bets 105,000. Moneymaker raises 475,000

Click below to see results from this hand or check out the video below featuring Doug Polk's analysis.

Results & Pro Analysis from Doug Polk

Preflop analysis: This is a standard open from UTG by Sergio. We’re going to want to open all our suited aces here. Having an Ace makes it less likely our opponents have a strong hand, and Ax suited hands have a lot of equity against typical calling ranges.

Flop analysis: Sergio has an interesting decision here. He could bet the flop with the backdoor nut flush draw and continue betting if he turns a wheel draw or a flush draw, or he could check and take a free card. I think both options are totally fine.

Turn analysis: Sergio could certainly bet again here with top pair, but if he bets every ace on the turn (and A2 is his worse ace), then he will never have top pair when he checks the turn. In this spot stronger players will check some top pairs on the turn so their check back range can have a few aces in it. Don't get me wrong, usually when you turn top pair you want to keep firing, but occasionally it's good to mix in some checks that can do well against a big bet from your opponent on the river.

River analysis: The river is an interesting card. Now if either player had QJ they have the nuts. It's not too likely Sergio has QJ here, because if he bet the flop with QJ, he’s almost always going to be looking to keep barrelling on the turn. Moneymaker, however, could definitely have QJ, and at these stack sizes he might not have wanted to raise the flop, meaning he could easily have 16 combinations of QJ. It makes sense if Moneymaker had QJ that he would try to trap Sergio by checking to him in hopes that Sergio will either try to bluff or bet a worse hand. Moneymaker should also check his 9x and Tx hands as he will have worse hands here to bluff with, and 4th and 5th pair still have some showdown value.  

When Moneymaker takes a line like this, he will typically have a hand like 9x or Tx. This makes for a great situation for the early position raiser because they can have a lot of strong hands and the big blind just doesn’t. I like a value bet here if I’m Sergio.

When Sergio gets check raised here he cannot be a happy camper. His opponent is saying he's got a hand like QJ. In this situation, Sergio will need to have to call with some hands he isn’t happy about calling with. Any ace might need to be a call here especially given that after checking turn this is one of the strongest hands Sergio could have. Moneymaker could be deciding to turn his hand into a bluff here and be check raising some of his 9x or Tx hands. I’d like to see a call here from Sergio.


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More Poker Pop Quizzes from Upswing:

  • Should Tom Dwan call all-in with just King-high? Take the quiz here
  • Patrik Antonius flopped the nut straight in PLO, but should he fold after the flush completes on the river? Take the quiz here.
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