Hand Review #1 – Dealing With Aggression

I was originally going to include this in another Panama update, however due to the amount of talking points and the abnormal nature of the hand I thought it deserved it’s own post.

The hand takes place in a $220 deepstack tournament, part of the Pokerstars Championship in Panama.  We are in the early levels where blinds are 75/150.  I have lost a fair chunk of my starting stack and have 12k of my original 20k starting stack.

The hand starts by the cards being dealt whilst one of the players is stood near her seat.  The dealer deals her out of the hand, much to her protests as she had sat down before the last card was dealt.

At this point no one had looked at their cards.  The woman wanted the floor called which resulted in the rest of the table waiting around as no floor man appeared to be present.

Two players got impatient and claimed a missdeal and mucked their hands before any action had taken place.  The floor man then arrives and the woman (now rather irate) was establishing the situation, but there was much confusion as the dealer did not speak English.

In the meantime the entire table apart from myself and 1 other player had mucked their hands, even the blinds.  I had yet to look at my cards as I was just waiting for the situation to resolve itself before acting.

The floorman takes the woman aside and I do not know what exactly was said, only that the outcome was we’d continue the hand as normal.

Unusual as it was, as only two players were left in the hand (myself and the man to my direct left), I look at my hand for the first time – 10 10.

I raise to 400 and get called by the only other player still with cards.

The flop comes down:

3c 7s 8s

I bet 600 on the flop.  The man behind raises to 2000.

Great.  As if this hand wasn’t weird enough, I now find myself in a situation where I could be playing for my tournament life.  I call.



This brings in some straight draws like 9 10, however I have two blockers with my tens so find this unlikely.  If I was ahead on the flop, I still believe I’m ahead on the turn.

I check.  The other player is quick to bet 4000.  Now I really am playing for my tournament life.  I think about it for a minute and believe he still has a lot more spade combinations in his range than two pairs/sets.  That, or he’s trying to take advantage of the unusual start to the hand knowing we would be heads up and he’d have position on me regardless of preflop action.

I call the 4000.

The river comes:


A pretty awful card for me with an overpair as now any 4 or 9 makes a straight. I check again.  He is quick to put me all in.

At this point I start talking to him to try and gather information.  I ask him if he’d move all in with two pairs/sets for value on such a dangerous board.  He seems relaxed enough, smiling.  A friend of his off the the table starts talking to him in Spanish. I don’t like this. Even though he has no more action to take, talking to players whilst they are in hands is a big no-no for me. However it does make me think that he’s trying to distract himself from talking to me, and his body language is a little perculiar for someone who is all in.  I’m not confident/experienced enough to make decisions solely on body language so start running through possible combinations of hands he could have that beat me.

Hands that I believe raise the Flop: 33, 77, 88, 78, overpairs and possible straight and flush draws.  I rule out 10 10+ due to the action preflop, which leaves 99 on possible overpairs.

The same range bets the turn.

The real indicator is the river. My range on the river from his perspective contains a fair amount of 9x hands which makes it really dangerous to shove two pairs/sets for value.  I would think it would take a little longer to decide if he wanted to commit most of his stack on these types of hands than he ended up taking.  I end up ruling out these hands from his river shove, by the quickness of his action.

This leaves straights, bust flush draws and pure air in his range.  As I block the only really legitimate straight draw on the flop (9 10) it narrows his range further.  He can have flush draws with a random 9 which got there, but considering the now very small amount of hands in his value range and the increased amount of bluffs here, I call.

He turns over his cards to reveal Ad 6s for one pair he had hit on turn after deciding to bluff raise the flop.  Realising on the river he wasn’t winning he had made another go for the pot to represent the straight.

It hadn’t worked as there were few combinations he could have.

Long story short, I had doubled up. However it is one of the most perculiar hands from start to finish I’ve ever played.

The dynamic completely altered by a dealing mishap had resulted in one of the biggest hands of the tournament so far.

Questions to consider though:

Should I have mucked my hand like the rest of the table before any action had taken place?

Were the rest of the table right to muck their hands in the first place claiming a missdeal before the floor had arrived?

Was the floor correct in stipulating hand would continue as normal even though the woman was correct?

Was I right to commit my tournament life in such a perculiar hand or did I just get lucky?

Let me know your thoughts.

4 thoughts on “Hand Review #1 – Dealing With Aggression

  1. Why not move all in on the turn for 10k when he bets 4k if you are happy you are ahead?

    Given that you have called the river anyway then surely you are just giving him a cheap chance to hit the draw/2 pair you believe he is chasing. I’d have thought he may fold ace 6 there (or call massively behind). Surely you aren’t calling the turn with a view to throwing away on the river?

    Yes you gave him the chance to bluff, but also the chance to fo you over on a trademark garratt bad beat. if he checks the river (as I think many would) then you have given him a free card for no extra chips.

    Interested in your thoughts sir!


    1. Yeah you do have a point to some extent. I almost did this.

      Issue is that he’d only have to call 6k to win circa 19k so to think he’s folding a flush/straight draw is unlikely. These situations when you are almost certainly getting called by any value range + all the draws I think it’s best to see the river and re-evaluate.

      Also due to the structure I knew that 6k was still enough chips to get back into it should the river come for instance the ace of spades and I decide to fold (depending on action).

      Calling the turn kept in his air, his draws and his value range. Moving all in only removes the air from his calling hands, so don’t see much value in doing it. Yes it means we guarantee all possible chips on missed draws before the river as we don’t know if he’s likely to bluff shove, but given strange dynamic of hand I felt it best to call and reevaluate.


  2. Were the rest of the table right to muck their hands in the first place claiming a missdeal before the floor had arrived? Should I have mucked my hand like the rest of the table before any action had taken place?

    I definitely would have mucked after the other lot did to try and keep things moving and light – but I dont think you have to or even ‘should’, particularly if the woman is still causing a fuss. I think you were smart to keep the cards.

    Was the floor correct in stipulating hand would continue as normal even though the woman was correct?

    Surely this is a misdeal in that although her hand may be dead once the betting starts – the hand should still be dealt. What happens when people are late to the tourny or the world class players are playing the main + high roller? They still get cards right? So I think the floor got it wrong.

    This sort of situation in poker seems to be over-analysed in my opinion. The recently retired football ref Pierluigi Collina was the best for a reason – he believed in ‘the spirit of the law’ in conjunction with ‘the letter of the law’.

    The spirit of the law about being in your seat is to deal with players who are away, not someone stretching legs and clearly ‘present’ at the table.

    With this is mind I think its easy to deal with these situations by declaring the hand a misdeal and moving on, particularly where no one stands to gain a competitive advantage.


    Was I right to commit my tournament life in such a perculiar hand or did I just get lucky?

    Once in the hand I dont think you got anything wrong. nh.


    1. Thanks for the response. Perhaps I should have been more clear. Her hand was dealt directly into the muck.

      So cards were in theory dealt to her, however she never got the option to see them. Dealers error is that they thought the players hand was dead once dealing started, instead of when the last card was dealt.

      Not sure if this equates to a missdeal or some other ruling needed?


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