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Thread: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

  1. #1
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    Default Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Q-10 in the Cutoff -- Raise It Up!

    An interesting hand came up while playing in the UltimateBet.com Online Poker Championships last week.

    With the blinds at $200/$400 plus a $25 ante, I was sitting on $10,000 in chips with Q-10 offsuit in the cutoff position -- one position to the right of the button. Everyone folded around to me. I glanced at the players behind me, particularly interested in their stack sizes. The player on the button had $4,000 in chips, the player in the small blind had $3,625, and the player in the big blind held $3,750.

    I had three reasonable options: fold, call or raise it up. What to do?

    Folding was the worst choice. There was a decent chance that a raise would force the other players to fold their hands and allow me to pick up $825 in blinds and antes. Q-10 could easily have been the best hand left in play. And even if it wasn't, there was still a chance that the other players would fold hands like K-9 offsuit or A-rag for a raise.

    I also decided against making the call although I am one of the few players in the world who would seriously consider that option. By calling here, I might actually induce the player on the button and the player in the small blind to fold, and end up trapping the player in the big blind if we both hit the flop.

    Consider this scenario. The big blind has 9-7, I limp in with a call, and then a player behind me moves all-in. If the flop comes 10-9-2, I would have limited my loss to $400 because I'd obviously fold to an all-in raise.

    But as much I like a call in this situation, in online poker, the best option is to raise it up; that's just how successful internet players play the game.

    Okay, so I decided to raise it up. Next question: How much?

    I considered making the minimum $800 raise. That way I could easily lay down my hand if another player moves all-in over the top. I was willing to risk $800 to win $825 but no more. I knew that my opponent might reasonably move all-in over the top with any small pair or even an A-rag hand. Against a pair lower than tens, I'd be in a race, but against A-rag, I'd only have about a 43% chance to win the pot.

    I also thought about making the maximum raise to move all-in.

    In that case, my opponent probably would have folded A-rag or any small pair below sixes, and I would have won $825 instead of possibly losing $800 had I min-raised. Of course, I might have been dominated, too, by A-Q, J-J, or Q-Q, in which case I'd have ended up only losing $800 instead of $3,700 had I decided to move all-in.

    Then there is Door Number Three, a raise somewhere in between the minimum and maximum. And after careful consideration, that's what I decided to do. I opened for $1,600 which was intended to let the remaining players know that I was committed to calling any all-in reraise.

    Now, here's the important question: Was my mid-range $1,600 opener a better play than moving all-in immediately? To be quite honest, I'm not so sure. I mean, if you're truly committed to the pot anyway, why not take control of the situation and move all-in right there?

    Of course, the situation would have been entirely different if the players behind me had more chips. In that case, my options would have limited to simply making a min-raise or just calling the action.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  2. #76
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Deep Stack Bluff in Holiday Game

    I get together with my friends back home in Madison, Wisconsin every year for our annual Holiday Poker Game. Here's a story about a very entertaining hand that came up during this year's eighteen-hour long marathon session.

    We played a $5,000 buy-in no limit Hold'em game featuring $5-$10 blinds. Players started with at least $2,000 in chips on the table and were allowed to put three $1,000 chips into their pockets for safekeeping. That means that we kicked off the game with at least 200 big blinds apiece, and that my friends, is a deep stack poker game!

    About twelve hours into the game, with a live $20 straddle on, Jon Ferraro limped in with Qc-10c. Three other players called, including Jon Green from the small blind.

    The flop came Qh-10s-6d. Green checked, another player checked, and Ferraro bet $120. Everyone folded except Green and the player in the big blind who both called.

    The turn card was an eight. Ferraro bet $450, and again, Green and the player in the big blind both called.

    The river was a three. Both players checked to Ferraro who bet $500, but this time Green check-raised, making it $2,200 to go. The big blind folded and Ferraro began to squirm in his chair. About thirty seconds passed before Ferraro said to Green, "J-9, huh? You must have J-9!"

    Green said nothing and sat very still in his chair. After another sixty seconds, Green flipped a jack face-up from his hole cards. The already squirming Ferraro began to wiggle even more. Ferraro then flipped up Q-10 -- top two pair -- and after yet another thirty seconds, said to Green, "Give me $1,000 back from the pot and I'll fold."

    Quick as a startled rabbit springs forth, Green accepted Ferraro's offer.

    And then, in one quick motion, Green swept up the large pot, tossed two $500 chips to Ferraro, and showed off his K-J bluff. Ferraro groaned, "I should have known you were bluffing. Otherwise, why would you have shown me a jack?"

    Let's examine this hand.

    Some important history: Green had been playing super-tight poker and it just isn't his style to fire out huge bluffs on the river. I really thought he had J-9 and was half expecting him to raise it up on the turn when Ferraro bet $450. But, in retrospect, Green almost always raises on the turn when he has the nuts in order to protect his hand. So, since he didn't raise it up, I should have realized he didn't have J-9.

    Another possibility, though, was that Green had a set. If he did, he'd probably decide against raising on the turn because all three players had at least $6,000 in front of them, and he wouldn't want to push $6,000 into a $450 pot when someone else might already have him beat with a straight.

    I like the fact that Green showed one of his cards - the jack. He made similarly tricky plays earlier in the game in an attempt to confuse his opponents when he actually did have the goods.

    Now, if Ferraro had already made up his mind to fold, then I love his offer to take back $1,000 to fold his hand. Brilliant play!

    But I'm not in love with Green's decision to accept Ferraro's offer, even though it locked in some profit for him. It seemed to me that Ferraro was about ready fold his hand anyway. To be fair, though, Ferraro did pay off some big bets later in the game with weak holdings so perhaps Green did make the right move.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

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    All round Spawny Hoor



  3. #77
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Matusow Exploits an Opponent's Tell

    ESPN had to make a difficult decision when they aired the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event. Should they televise the table featuring well-known pro Mike "The Mouth" Matusow and nine other unknowns or the one with Hall of Famers Phil Ivey and John Juanda, along with two other respected pros, Can Hua and Farzad "Freddy" Bonyadi?

    Not surprisingly, ESPN chose the table with The Mouth.

    Poker on television is all about entertainment. And although it's debatable whether Matusow will ever make it to the Hall of Fame, there's just no doubt about it, he's certainly entertaining to watch. You never know if he'll laugh or cry, needle another player to death, or do the famous Matusow blowup by giving away all of his chips in one fell swoop after several days of great play.

    But despite Mike's eccentricities, never forget his good heart and the fact that he truly is a great player, with championships and millions of dollars of prize money to prove it.

    Even though Ivey's table would feature much more advanced poker play, Mike's game simply would be more fun to watch. And much like professional wrestling, excitement and personality are the most appealing elements of televised poker.

    Anyway, back to the tournament.

    Matusow had deciphered a key tell on a fairly inexperienced brick-and-mortar player named Dustin Woolf. Though relatively new to the brick-and-mortar game, Woolf was a legend in the internet poker world, where he was better known by his handle -- Neverwin. Ironically, Neverwin had already won millions of dollars playing online poker.

    Still, the difference between playing online poker and playing brick-and-mortar poker, face to face, is like night and day. Obviously, you don't have to disguise yourself online and you don't have to worry about revealing physical tells. After all, when you're in your den, it's just you and your computer. There's no one looking you in the eye when you're attempting a bluff.

    Well, here's what Mike saw. When Woolf had a strong hand, he'd always throw his chips into the pot in a splashing sort of way -- imagine a stack of chips falling over when an opponent flings them into the pot. But when Woolf had a weak hand, he'd always say, "I raise," and then carefully place his chips in the pot.

    Mike stored away that information, waiting until he had the opportunity to take full advantage of his opponent's tell.

    Then it happened. A player called a $10,000 bet and so did Mike with Qh-Jh. Woolf hesitated for a moment, then declared a raise and carefully set a big stack of $80,000 chips into the pot.

    Mike immediately recognized the weak tell and conjured up a plan. But rather than reraise immediately and take down the $100,000-plus pot, he decided to smooth-call and wait for his opponent to bluff once again on the flop.

    The flop was a good one for Mike, K-10-4, giving him an open-ended straight draw. This time, Woolf bet out $250,000, saying, "I bet," and precisely placing his chips into the pot.

    Feeling even more confident in his read, Mike decided to let Woolf bluff one more time and just called the bet. A six fell on the turn and Woolf checked. Now it was time for Mike to make his move - and he did, pushing all-in. No surprise, Woolf folded his hand lightning fast and Mike raked the $330,000 into his stack.

    Let's see, that's $330,000 for Mike because he was perceptive enough to pick up a revealing tell on his opponent and was able to use his extraordinary poker skills to take full advantage of the situation.

    No doubt about it, Matusow was the right choice for the TV table after all!

    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  4. #78
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Slot Machine Hand at the Aria

    Earlier this month I hit the luxurious high-limit Phil Ivey Room at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas to play in a $150-$300 mixed game.

    I'd just won a nice-sized limit Hold'em hand but felt like the pot was a little bit lighter in weight than it could have been. No, I wasn't being cheated. It just seemed like the other guys at the table had backed off their betting a bit. In the previous hand, for example, I was in the big blind with pocket eights and faced an under the gun raise from Swedish pro Christer Johansson and then a reraise from the player on the button. I made it four bets and Johansson capped it with a fifth bet.

    Man, you just don't see many capped pots in limit Hold'em before the flop!

    Well, on the very next hand I found 7-7 in the small blind. The under the gun player opened for two bets, I made it three bets, Johansson called from the big blind, and the player on the button called.

    The flop came 7-7-5. Yes! The Slot Machine Hand -- four sevens! I casually tossed out a bet and the two other players called.

    The turn card was an eight. I bet, Johansson raised, and the third player folded. Then I made it three bets and Johansson called.

    The river was a four. I bet, Johansson raised, and I reraised.

    Johansson hovered indecisively with six black $100 chips in his hand. It was obvious that he was considering another raise. Ultimately, though, he decided to just call.

    I showed pocket sevens for quads and he flipped over pocket fives for a flopped full house! What a cooler!

    Let's take a closer look at this hand.

    My pre-flop three bet with a medium pocket pair was standard. My bet was designed to get rid of the big blind though I certainly didn't mind more money getting tossed into the pot.

    My bet on the flop was also standard. I would have made a similar bet with A-K, A-Q, or any other hand that I would have three bet with pre-flop, so why check when I flop the nuts? Also, I knew that it was likely that my two opponents would call any reasonable bet on the flop with a wide range of hands including two overcards, any pairs, and even backdoor flush draws.

    Now, Johansson's smooth call with a made full house is a play worthy of discussion.



    The argument in favor of this play is that there was a decent chance that neither I nor the other player were drawing live, so why jam us out of the pot? By letting both of us stay in the hand, Johansson was hoping to drag some extra chips, for example, if a diamond were to come on fourth street to give one of us a flush draw.

    The argument against smooth-calling in this situation is that Johansson would probably lose some bets from me if, in fact, I did have an overpair.

    There could have been one great scenario for Johansson. Say I did have an overpair instead of quads. He would have raised on the flop, I would have three bet, and he would have smooth-called. Then he would have raised again on the turn. That way, he would have picked up about $1,350 more.

    And if our other opponent had a drawing hand or an overpair, Johansson would have won even more by raising on the flop - that is if I hadn't flopped quads!

    Johansson had some interesting options after flopping a full house, but after considering the alternatives, I think the smooth-call was the best play.
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

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    All round Spawny Hoor



  5. #79
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Quote Originally Posted by evilbow View Post
    Matusow had deciphered a key tell on a fairly inexperienced brick-and-mortar player named Dustin Woolf. Though relatively new to the brick-and-mortar game, Woolf was a legend in the internet poker world, where he was better known by his handle -- Neverwin. Ironically, Neverwin had already won millions of dollars playing online poker.

    Still, the difference between playing online poker and playing brick-and-mortar poker, face to face, is like night and day. Obviously, you don't have to disguise yourself online and you don't have to worry about revealing physical tells. After all, when you're in your den, it's just you and your computer. There's no one looking you in the eye when you're attempting a bluff.

    Well, here's what Mike saw. When Woolf had a strong hand, he'd always throw his chips into the pot in a splashing sort of way -- imagine a stack of chips falling over when an opponent flings them into the pot. But when Woolf had a weak hand, he'd always say, "I raise," and then carefully place his chips in the pot.

    Mike stored away that information, waiting until he had the opportunity to take full advantage of his opponent's tell.

    Then it happened. A player called a $10,000 bet and so did Mike with Qh-Jh. Woolf hesitated for a moment, then declared a raise and carefully set a big stack of $80,000 chips into the pot.

    Mike immediately recognized the weak tell and conjured up a plan. But rather than reraise immediately and take down the $100,000-plus pot, he decided to smooth-call and wait for his opponent to bluff once again on the flop.

    The flop was a good one for Mike, K-10-4, giving him an open-ended straight draw. This time, Woolf bet out $250,000, saying, "I bet," and precisely placing his chips into the pot.

    Feeling even more confident in his read, Mike decided to let Woolf bluff one more time and just called the bet. A six fell on the turn and Woolf checked. Now it was time for Mike to make his move - and he did, pushing all-in. No surprise, Woolf folded his hand lightning fast and Mike raked the $330,000 into his stack.

    Let's see, that's $330,000 for Mike because he was perceptive enough to pick up a revealing tell on his opponent and was able to use his extraordinary poker skills to take full advantage of the situation.

    No doubt about it, Matusow was the right choice for the TV table after all!

    -Phil Hellmuth

    Well this just read as a lot of sh------eeite to me lol. I like Phil Hellmuth but this is the worst play i have seen him "rave" about. I just don't believe this story is truthful. I don't mean "it didn't happen" but what i mean is, i just don't believe that MM had this read and then because he is "so good" he then took a massive risk on seeing a whole flop and then a turn.

    Looks more like Mike just amde a float play and then told Phil........ oh yeah, i knew i could do it because i had a tell on the guy that worked EVERY time.

    Or am i being cynical ?

  6. #80
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Poker After Dark - Phil Galfond vs. Tom "Durrrr" Dwan

    This week's hand was played during the first week of the 2011 season of NBC's Poker After Dark. The format was a $100,000 buy-in winner-take-all Sit-and-Go tournament.

    The six-handed lineup featured some terrific players. The old-school was represented by veteran pros Huck Seed, John Juanda, Phil Ivey, and Erick "E-Dog" Lindgren, while Tom "Durrrr" Dwan and Phil Galfond carried the flag for the young guns.

    When this hand was played, $600,000 in chips were in play, with Durrrr in the lead with $248,000, followed by Ivey with $134,000, Galfond with $121,000, and Huck Seed with $97,000.

    With the blinds at $1,500/$3,000, Durrrr opened under-the-gun for $7,000 with Ad-5d and Ivey folded on the button. Galfond peered down at A-K and raised from the small blind making it $19,500 to go. Huck Seed found A-Q from the big blind but somehow managed to make a good read and fold his hand against his aggressive young opponents.

    Durrrr called Galfond's raise and watched as the flop came down 9h-3s-2s.

    Galfond bet out $17,000 into the $42,000 pot and Durrrr responded by moving all-in!

    With a still hefty $84,500 in chips remaining, Galfond made the call. And with the chip lead on the line, and a whopping $246,000 in the pot, Durrrr now needed a five or a four to improve his hand. Nope, didn't happen. The turn card was a seven, the river was a ten, and Galfond had the chip lead.

    Let's take a closer look.

    Durrrr's $7,000 min-raise was okay. Today's new-school players like to keep their raises right at or slightly above the min-raise level.

    Galfond's $12,500 reraise, roughly 75% of the pot, was just a tad above the current new-school reraising standard of about 60% of the pot.

    Durrrr's pre-flop call with Ad-5d was reasonable as he did have position on Galfond. But a note of caution to my amateur readers: You need to be very careful about making this play with A-5 suited as you risk blowing all of your chips even if you do hit an ace or a five. On the other hand, you don't want to fold the best hand either!

    Look, what I'm saying is that calling a reraise with A-5 suited in that spot can lead to some very tricky situations on the flop. It's probably best to leave that kind of play to a slick pro like Durrrr.

    I like Galfond's $17,000 bet into the $42,000 pot on the flop. Making a continuation bet - a bet that you automatically make on the flop no matter what hits after having made the last pre-flop raise -- is the standard play. The bet size was appropriate, too.

    No doubt about it, Durrrr's all-in move was strong. He presumed that Galfond didn't have an overpair and might fold A-K, A-Q, or A-J, or that Galfond might even have K-Q in which case Durrrr would be in the lead.

    Galfond's $84,500 all-in call with A-K high was a tremendous play! With blinds at $1,500/ $3,000 and a load of chips remaining in his stack, Galfond could have easily folded his hand and still had twenty-eight big blinds left to play. For a pro like Galfond, that's plenty of ammo to come back and win with.

    If Galfond thought Durrrr had a small pair or suited connectors like 9d-8d, then his A-K would have been in bad shape -- a clear folding hand. So Galfond's call came down to whether he thought his A-K high was indeed the best hand.

    He thought it was, and he was right!

    There was another factor that made Galfond's call a bit easier. With straight and flush draws possible on the flop, Galfond correctly figured that he'd be the favorite against most drawing hands.
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

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  7. #81
    VIP Member manyk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    What a Joke.

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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Fishy Galfond couldn't lay down AK lol. OR.......... up against Dwan you know he could be at it, as he was. Simple stuff.

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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Top call by Galfond. Remember, these guys are best friends and know each others games inside out.

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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    But being honest, what's a $100k sit'n'go to these guys ? It''s a chance to hae fun and experiment a bit. Maybe take the chance on that big play for the telly and get one up on your mates. Not overly impressed by this hand at all :)

  11. #85
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Super Bowl Football and Finding Tells with Guts and Feel

    Wow, I didn't think I could be this happy because of a football game! I was wrong.

    Go Green Bay Packers - 2011 Super Bowl XLV Champions! It comes down to this. When you're a Wisconsin boy like I am, you're genetically predisposed to love beer, cheese curds, and the Green Bay Packers. It's just in my DNA!

    While I'm on the subject of the Super Bowl, back in 2001 during Super Bowl weekend, all of the players had been eliminated from the $5,000 buy-in World Poker Challenge Championship except for renowned pro player Mike Laing, who had $200,000 in chips, and an unknown player, Bill Eichel, who had $630,000 in chips.

    These two men were locked up in a rousing heads-up poker duel with a lot of money at stake. With a starting field of 166 entrants, first place prize would pay $331,000, with $166,000 going to the runner-up. Not too bad for two day's worth of work at the Reno Hilton!

    In addition to the prize money, a measure of history was at stake, too. This event figured to be one of the most prestigious poker tournaments of that year. If it were a PGA golf tournament, it would certainly be considered a major.

    With the blinds at $7,000/$15,000 plus a $3,000 ante per player, the following critical hand was played between Laing and Eichel.

    Laing limped in for $8,000 on the button with 4-9 and Eichel checked from the big blind. The flop came 4c-7s-Jd. Eichel pushed in a huge $100,000 bet. The heat was really on Laing who was staring down the massive bet into the smallish $36,000 pot with a measly pair of fours.

    Most skilled players would have assumed that the writing was on the wall for Laing. It was simply time for him to fold his hand. After all, in order for him to call, or possibly to shove all-in, he'd have to correctly figure out what kind of hand his opponent had using nothing other than his own guts and feel.

    Now, let me tell you, guts and feel are what truly separate the men from the boys in the world of poker. In theory, if you knew everyone's hole cards for every hand, you'd never lose. That's why it's so important to do everything possible to get a good read on your opponents. You have to learn how to measure a player's relative strength by what your own instincts tell you, not to mention the real physical tells that your opponent reveals, like not being able to look you squarely in the eyes when he's bluffing, or if he acts weak when he's actually strong, or if he instantly fires in a bet when he's actually weak.

    The list of well-known physical tells goes on forever. But instead of relying on these tells, I like to stare down my opponent and trust my own feelings. Apparently Mike Laing felt the same way. As he carefully pondered all of the possibilities, he suddenly came to the decision that Eichel was bluffing, and that his lowly pair of fours was the better hand.

    So, Laing moved all-in for $190,000, a raise of a mere $90,000. Then, incredibly, Eichel mucked his hand!

    Man, I've got to give Mike Laing a lot of credit here. He risked it all on nothing but his own guts and feel, and he was absolutely right.

    By the way, it only took another two hands for Laing to win the World Poker Challenge Championship and the $331,000 first prize money. Nice playing, Mike Laing.

    And great job, Green Bay Packers!



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Stu Ungar's Final Hand in 1997 WSOP

    It was a stacked table on Day Two of the 1997 WSOP Main Event. Playing with me were world champions Doyle Brunson, Bobby Baldwin, and Stu Ungar.

    Stu and I had been the chip leaders the entire tournament but I was eliminated on Day Three with only 27 players remaining. Ungar, however, in search of his third WSOP title, went on to battle John Strzemp for the $1 million first place prize.

    In what turned out to be the final hand of the tournament, with blinds at $10,000/ $20,000 plus a $2,000 ante, Ungar, with more than $2 million in chips, opened for $60,000 on the button with A-4, and Strzemp, with less than $1 million in chips, called with A-8.

    The flop came A-5-3. Strzemp bet out $120,000. Ungar seemed to study his cards for a long time before finally pushing in an $800,000 raise. Strzemp called instantly and was all-in.

    Ungar needed a four or a deuce. Another three fell on the turn so he was still searching for one of those cards to hit on the river to win the title. And the last card was -- a deuce!

    Let's take a closer look.

    Ungar's $40,000 pre-flop raise was pot-sized and was the standard raise for the era. Today's bet sizes are smaller so a raise closer to $25,000 would be considered the norm.

    Strzemp's pre-flop call was questionable. Back then, the typical play would have been to reraise with A-8 heads-up. If Strzemp actually thought he had the best hand at the time, that's just what he should have done.

    Incidentally, the new-school standard is to reraise in this spot, too. Hey, A-8 heads-up is a pretty decent hand!

    I could have gone either way in this situation depending on my opponent's skill level and my ability to get a solid read. If I thought I could have beaten my opponent but wasn't really sure if his $40,000 was weak or strong, I would have just called. Or, if I sensed my opponent was playing a weaker hand, I would have moved all-in.

    I don't like Strzemp's $120,000 pot-sized bet on the flop. Since he was willing to go all the way with his hand on the flop, why bet it then? Better to check-raise the flop and give Ungar the opportunity to bluff off some chips, or toss in a smaller bet to appear weak.

    Now, I mentioned that Ungar seemed to study his hole cards after Strzemp's bet. Well, a few years later, after I had seen the hand on tape, I told Stu that I knew he had only seen one of his hole cards -- the ace -- before the flop, and further, that he only knew that he had a two-across to go with it.

    By the way, two-across refers to the spots that are visible on the underside of a card when you peek at your hole cards. A two-across is a four or five, a three-across is a six, seven or eight, and a four-across is a nine or ten.

    So, with an ace and a two-across, after the flop, Ungar must have known that he either had top two pair or an ace with a straight draw.

    Ungar was surprised when I told him that but verified that I was correct. Wow, even Stu himself didn't know for sure what cards he was playing! I mean, it's a lot harder for your opponent to get a read on you when even you don't know if you're strong or weak!

    Stu's all-in move was reasonable. He stands to win the pot if Strzemp is bluffing, or if Strzemp folds his A-8, or if he gets called and hits a lucky four or a deuce.

    Strzemp's call was okay because he correctly surmised that he was indeed ahead on the flop. Once his chips were in the pot, he probably felt that he was committed to his hand and was prepared to risk it all if necessary.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

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    All round Spawny Hoor



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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    The Problem with Playing Too Aggressively

    Back in 2005, at the World Poker Tour's World Poker Open Championship Event held in Tunica, Mississippi, 100 players remained from the starting field of 540 players when I witnessed this showdown hand between 2004 Player of the Year and perennial fan favorite, Daniel Negreanu, and 2003 Player of the Year, Chip Jett.

    With the blinds at $500/$1,000 plus a $200 per player ante, Chip opened for $3,100 with Ah-8h and got a call from Daniel with Kc-Qc. That's when the deal got real interesting.

    The flop came Jd-5c-3c and Daniel found himself with a pretty strong hand - a king-high flush draw and two overcards (his king and queen were higher than any of the cards on the board). Daniel pushed in an $8,000 bet.

    Chip took a few moments to carefully study the situation. At the time, he only had $22,000 chips left in front of him. Finally, he made his decision and announced, "I'm all-in."

    Daniel calmly replied that he had to make the call.

    As soon as both hands were flipped up, I remember thinking that I hated Chip's play in this situation. What could he possibly be thinking? Well, probably this. Either he thought that Daniel's hand was weak enough that a $14,000 raise would get him to fold or that Daniel was on a drawing hand - in this case, probably a flush draw - and if so, that his own ace-high hole cards were probably in the lead.

    But what Chip didn't fully consider was that Daniel's opening bet of $8,000 out of his considerable $90,000 chipstack was a clear message. Daniel was committed to playing his hand and would certainly be prepared to call a relatively small $14,000 raise from his opponent.

    Bottom line: This simply was not a good spot for Chip to move all-in with nothing more than a bluff!

    As it turned out, of course, Daniel indeed was on a drawing hand so a piece of Chip's plan was theoretically still in play. And even though Daniel was on a draw, he was still the favorite. Chip's ace-high hand was the best on the flop but he was a three-to-two underdog to win the pot.

    Daniel was the reigning Player of the Year and his bet deserved a little bit more respect. The better play would have been for Chip to throw his hand away and save his last $22,000 to fight another battle. He should have recognized that there just wasn't enough money in the pot when Daniel made his bet to justify playing out his bluffing hand.

    I mean, was it really worth it for Chip to get involved in a pot that small with no pair and no draw? No, definitely not. Look, winning no-limit hold'em tournaments is all about choosing the right place and time to get your chips into the pot and this wasn't it.

    In Chip's defense, though, he did make his play because he correctly figured that Daniel might be on a bluff. Perhaps he sensed some weakness in Daniel's $8,000 bet and acted on his hunch. In fact, Daniel was on a semi-bluff with his flush draw but he was still plenty capable of betting in this situation.

    Chip Jett simply made a bad read; he mistakenly thought that Daniel Negreanu was weaker than he really was.

    How does the story end? Well, the 7c hit on the next card to give Daniel his flush and Chip was eliminated in 100th place. Daniel went on to make the final table and eventually ended the tournament with a very respectable third place finish.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

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    All round Spawny Hoor



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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Dealing in the Bad Boys of Poker

    Qc-10c, Qc-10c, Qc-10c. Phil, wake up, you're having a nightmare!

    And you would too if you'd lost a $230,000 pot and a $350,000 pot to identical Qc-10c hands earlier that same night. It happened to me at the 2006 World Poker Tour "Bad Boys of Poker" event where I played against fellow pros Tony G, Mike Matusow, Men "The Master" Nguyen, John Robert Bellande and Gus Hansen.

    With blinds at $3,000/$6,000 plus a $500 ante per player, I opened for $18,000 in early position with Kc-Kd. Men called from one off the button with Qc-10c.

    The flop came Q-J-9. We both slowplayed our hands and checked.

    A five fell on the turn. I checked and Men bet $30,000.

    Time to evaluate my options. I could call, raise all-in with my last $200,000, or make a smaller raise. I was confident that I had the better hand but if I was wrong and moved all-in, I'd be gone unless a miracle card hit on the river.

    On the other hand, moving all-in would give me some protection if Men had a hand like A-J. In that case, he'd probably fold and I'd win the pot.

    Or I could just call. That, however, would give Men a free chance to hit one of his outs.

    But if I did call, I could continue slowplaying my hand and fire out a $50,000 bet after the last card hit. I knew it would be tough for Men to lay down a big pair so figured that he'd probably call my bet at the end.

    The river was a king and the board read Q-J-9-5-K. I quickly checked. Yes, I had three kings but if Men had a ten in his hand, he had a straight.

    Men bet out $60,000 and I immediately called. "I have a straight," he said as he flipped his Qc-10c face up. I was about to muck my hand when he added, "I already had top pair," as if to say that he had me beat before the river.

    So I showed him my cards. The Master got lucky and beat me.

    Well, the Bad Boys instantly began to berate my play, insisting that I should have moved all-in on the turn instead of calling the $30,000 bet, but I disagreed. I was completely comfortable with the way I played my hand.

    And by the way, Men later told me that he would have called any all-in raise so my play actually saved me from elimination!

    I still had $100,000 in chips left and I certainly wasn't ready to cry uncle. In fact, it only took me ten minutes to double up through Mike Matusow when he moved all-in with 5d-4d against my pocket kings.

    Then, with only three players left -- Matusow, Tony G, and me -- the blinds were raised to $10,000/$20,000 plus a $5,000 per man ante.

    Time to mix up my game! I decided that I would shove all-in from the button on the very next hand with whatever cards I was dealt!

    I looked down at Qs-5s. Feeling a bit better about my plan, I proceeded to push in my last $180,000. Tony G folded from the small blind but not Matusow. He muttered, "What the heck, I call."

    He flipped over Qc-10c. I was about a 2 1/2-to-1underdog in the hand.

    The flop came 7d-4s-3c, the turn was the Ks, and I now needed a five for a pair, a six for a straight, or any spade for a flush. Alas, the final card was the 9d and I was out in third place.

    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    World Poker Tour A-10 vs. 10-10

    The poker tour swung into the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles in late January for the annual LA Poker Classic, climaxing with the $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour event which started on February 25.

    I've been working hard on my game and felt that I was locked into a great strategy. My plan was simple: Play patient poker and wait for the cards -- and the chips -- to come my way. Also, I wouldn't be afraid to fold hands like 9-8 suited, A-J offsuit or A-2 suited.

    Playing only strong hands lead to some great situations for me. Day One was smooth sailing with nary a scary moment. Day Two was also virtually risk-free. It was apparent that my "new school" tactics (actually, about the same as my "old school" tactics) would work well against this field.

    Day Three came and I stuck to my original plan but was now prepared to make a few creative moves when the time was right. As it turned out, the only time I got into trouble was when I tried to bluff!

    Okay, on to the hand analysis.

    With the blinds at $1,000/$2,000 and $120,000 in my chipstack, an opponent opened for $45,000 and I quickly called in middle position with Q-Q. He rolled over K-Q and the cards fell off 10-9-3-K-4. I really hate his shove for more than twenty-two big blinds in a deep stack tournament. You got lucky, pal.

    Later, with the blinds at $1,200/$2,400 and with only $44,000 in chips in front of me, Player A opened for $6,500 and Player B made it $22,000 to go. I had 10-10 in the small blind and normally would have folded but decided to take a long while to study this situation.

    Player B was a megalomaniac -- a super-aggressive player who had repeatedly come over the top of Player A. I stared at Player A and got the "I cannot believe he reraised me again" look. I knew immediately that Player A was weak.

    One read down, one read to go.

    By this time, it was obvious that I had a huge hand, and Played B knew it. Quite honestly, he looked scared to me. He had been running me over, too, and I had warned him that I would eventually crush him when I manned up and finally played a pot against him.

    I concluded that he probably had a hand like 9-9, 8-8, or A-J. So, for the first time in three days, I decided to go with a hand. Now what?

    I could just call and then move all-in on any flop that hit, no matter what. Or, I could move all-in right there knowing that my opponent would call with any two cards because he would be getting some pretty juicy three-and-a-half-to-one pot odds.

    I figured if he had nines, eights, a small pair, or even 9-8 suited, why not get all of my chips into the pot before the flop? Or, if he had A-J, why not see the flop and then move all-in, unless of course, I flopped a set?

    It was a close decision. But the fact that this guy was so ultra-aggressive and was likely to play any two cards tilted my decision to moving all-in pre-flop.

    So that's what I did.

    As expected, he called and showed down A-10 offsuit. With the WPT cameras rolling and members of the media crowded in the room, he confidently stated, "Bye bye, Phil, an ace is coming!" Yeah, we'll see.

    The flop was safe, J-5-5, but then an ace popped off on the turn. Guess I should have just called pre-flop. Oh well, that's poker!



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  16. #90
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Deep Stack Poker at the LAPC

    In this column, we return to the Commerce Casino for a hand played early on Day One of the Los Angeles Poker Classic.

    But first, let's review my strategy for this tournament. It came down to this: Play really patient poker and wait for the cards to come my way. Yes, my friends, after much thought and self-analysis, I've come to the realization that the classic, super-tight Phil Hellmuth style of play still works best for me!

    Let's get to the hand.

    With the blinds at $100/$200, and with roughly my starting stack of $30,000 in front of me, I opened from under-the-gun for $600 with pocket threes. The players on the button and in the big blind both called and the flop came down 7h-4s-3d.

    The big blind checked, I slowplayed my flopped set and checked, and the player on the button checked.

    The turn was the Ks. The big blind checked, I bet $1,300, the player on the button folded, and then my lone opponent raised it up to $4,200 to go. I studied my options and decided to just call.

    The 4c fell on the river. My opponent tossed in $11,400 and I snap-called with my full house, collecting a nice pot and beating a tough luck player who had flopped a straight with a 5-6 in his hand.

    Okay, time to analyze the hand.

    I like my check on the flop as I was determined to play defensive poker in this very deep chipstack tournament.

    A few years back at the same tournament, I had called a raise with pocket fours in a heads-up pot when the flop came Js-7d-4s -- and I went broke against three sevens. I still recall flying home that night absolutely fuming that I hadn't held on to some chips. Who knows what might have happened had I saved $10,000 in that hand?

    Another reason for me to check my set on the 7-4-3 board was that it would give my opponents the chance to hit a pair with a hand like A-J if a jack fell on the turn, even though they'd presumably be drawing dead. Also, by checking, I'd give myself the opportunity to catch someone who was on a bluff.

    But on the downside, checking would keep the pot small if one of my opponents had hit top pair with a hand like 8-7, and would give them the opportunity to hit a six or a five later on to make a straight to beat me.

    I like my opponent's check on the turn with his flopped straight. Given that his two opponents were likely drawing dead, why not check again? Nice play, indeed.

    Also, if either of us had paired the king on the turn, he could have check-raised. In that case, one of us probably would have paid him off with some serious chips with just a pair of kings.

    The bottom line is that I called his check-raise on the turn because I feared moving all-in and having my opponent show higher trips or a straight. There was no good reason for me to risk busting myself out.

    On the river, I like my opponent's $11,400 bet. He was just trying to pick a bet size that I would call, though a smaller bet, something like $6,000 or $7,000, might have been better because it would have been easier for me to call if I did have a hand like K-Q.

    I decided to call on the river instead of raise because I wanted to protect my chips. I mean, really, with what hand could my opponent call all-in that I could reasonably beat?



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  17. #91
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    The Art of Heads-Up Poker

    Hooray, it's time for the NCAA basketball tournament!

    Well, the poker world conducts a similar tournament that will hit the airwaves in April, NBC's 2011 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, a $25,000 buy-in event that features one-on-one match-ups between the world's best poker players.

    The format is unique to poker. Players compete in an NCAA-like one-and-done elimination tournament where the losers go home. The excitement builds as the brackets reveal the Sweet 16, the Elite 8, and the Final 4. Nearly every one of the best professional players in the world will participate including some of Hollywood's best-known poker playing celebrities.

    Now, for those of you who have never played in a heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em tournament, beware, this game is a very different from normal Texas hold'em. The ability to get a read on your opponent is of utmost importance. Also, because you'll be exposed to a variety of playing styles, heads-up matches will often result in stunning and monumental clashes of power, skill, and determination.

    Back in 2005, I drew legendary pro Men "The Master" Nguyen as my first round opponent. Poker veterans knew it would be a tough match but some of the young guns assumed that I would win easily. The old boys knew what they were talking about; you simply cannot look past Men Nguyen.

    He had won five World Series of Poker bracelets, had been named Player of the Year several times, and was generally recognized as one of the toughest poker players on the face of the earth.

    Anyway, my strategy was straightforward. I would let Men dictate the pace of play and then, hopefully, would try to find a way to take advantage of any apparent weaknesses in his game. If he chose to play aggressively by raising a lot of pots, I'd sit back and let him do my bidding when I was strong. If he folded on a regular basis, I'd bluff a bit more often.

    Mainly, though, I would trust my reading abilities. If I sensed that he was strong in a particular hand, I'd fold, or at least choose to play a smaller pot against him. But if I felt that he was weak, I'd try to build a big pot against him in that hand.

    Men and I battled back and forth throughout the match with neither of us raising pots up too much before the flop, and that's just how I like to play against the best players in the world heads-up.

    One interesting hand came up when I held 7h-6d against Men's 5c-5h.

    I called pre-flop and Men checked. The flop came 9-8-4 and we both checked. The turn card was the 5s -- my dream card! The five completed my straight and gave Men a set.

    I bet $800 into the $1,600 pot. Unbelievably, Men just called!

    The river card was a deuce and Men checked again. This time, I shoved $2,500 into the $3,200 pot. Men studied the situation, and amazingly, once again just called.

    I've got to hand it to The Master for losing the absolute minimum amount on this hand. No other player in the world would have shown such discipline by not raising the pot at some point with a set of fives.

    What can I say but, "Well played, Men."

    In our final hand, Men raised the pot to $6,000 to go with As-6c and I moved him all-in for his last $8,000 with A-Q. I was a 2 1/2-to-one favorite and won the hand when the final board showed 5-5-4-8-10.

    Oh, by the way, I went on to win the tournament, beating Chris "Jesus" Ferguson in the final match.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  18. #92
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Busted By the Bay!

    The World Poker Tour's $10,000 buy-in Bay 101Shooting Stars tournament rolled into San Jose, California in mid-March.

    I made the final table of this event last year but fell short of my ultimate goal of winning the whole enchilada when I busted out in sixth place. My Q-Q went down to an A-J when an ace hit on the river. I managed to smile through my pain and shook everyone's hand, but after I walked off the stage, I collapsed in a heap.

    Five days of great poker playing went down the tubes in an instant. Well, at least my display of raw emotion made for good television!

    What makes The Bay 101 event unique is the $5,000 cash bounty paid to any player who knocks out one of the top pros - the so-called "Shooting Stars". Those bounties really alter the way players play their hands.

    On Day Two, I came in with a full head of steam and $20,000 in chips. With the blinds at $600/$1,200, I called a $2,600 bet from the button with Kh-Jh. Both blinds called; they were probably looking to capture the lucrative bounty on my head.

    The flop came 10h-8s-7h and all three players checked to me.

    With a straight draw, a flush draw, and two overcards, the standard play would have been for me to move all-in for my last $13,800, but I had a bad feeling that one of my opponents was super-strong. I checked.

    The turn was the Qh. Both blinds checked, the original raiser bet $5,000, and I smooth-called with my king-high flush, figuring the others were probably drawing dead. To my great disappointment, both blinds folded.

    The river was the 5c. My lone opponent bet my last $8,800 and I snap-called. He showed a set of eights and I collected a nice pot. Great check on the flop, Phil!

    Soon after, I peered down at A-K and opened for $2,700. Poker pro Vivek Rajkumar, who was sitting right behind me, made it $7,200 to go. Everyone folded and then I shoved all-in for $37,700 more.

    Vivek hesitated for a few seconds. That's when I sensed I was ahead. In fact, I was actually rooting for him to call because if he did have a medium pair, he would have called quickly.

    "Man, I need a calculator to figure out the bounty-math," Vivek quipped. He finally made the call and flipped over A-10. Yes! My A-K was a 2 1/2-to-1 favorite to win the huge pot!

    But the board ran out 10-5-2-4, and Vivek, who's a really good guy, had the nerve to shout, "Don't do it to me! No king!" Well, he got his wish. The river was another four and that was it for me.

    Let's take a closer look.

    I like my $2,700 pre-flop raise although I'd been opening for a slightly larger 3X the big blind raise earlier in the tournament.

    Vivek's reraise was marginal at best but at least it was an aggressive play.

    I really love my all-in shove! My bet said, "Give me that $18,000 pot right now!"

    I don't like Vivek's call. And when you consider that he was calling off eighty percent of his chips, I hate his call even more! Why would he risk an additional $37,700 when he only has $7,200 invested in the pot, especially against a tight player like me who will almost certainly have him dominated? Yuck!

    I discussed the hand with fellow pros Huck Seed and Mike Matusow afterward. Huck felt that Vivek's call was weak "but not by much." Mike detested the call. He astutely noted that the hand was played on Day Two of a $10,000 buy-in tournament - and who in his right mind puts eighty percent of his chips into the pot in that spot?



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Smooth Call in the 1996 WSOP

    It's hard to believe that the 2011 World Series of Poker is right around the corner. Is this the year that I'll add my twelfth championship title? Based on my recent play, I think I've got a great chance to do just that.

    I was thinking back to the 1996 WSOP when I watched my friend and fellow poker pro, John "Bono" Bonetti, play a monster pot against the previous year's champion, poker Hall of Famer, Dan Harrington.

    With only 26 players left in the event, and with the $1 million first place prize up for grabs, Dan raised the bid up to $16,000 to go with Ks-10s and Bono opted to smooth-call with his pocket aces.

    Why smooth-call in that spot? Well, Bono was attempting to lure Dan into putting a lot of money into the pot when he was a huge favorite to win. Simply put, Bono was setting a trap.

    After a flop of 10-9-6, Dan bet out $35,000 and Bono smooth-called once again. An ace came on the turn and Dan moved all-in for $120,000. Bono pushed his chips into the pot so fast that I was truly astonished.

    Bono glanced over at me, winked, and showed down three aces. Game, set, match!

    Now, if Bono had made the standard play and reraised pre-flop with his pocket aces, Dan would have almost certainly folded his hand right there and Bono would have won only the $16,000 raise that Dan made before the flop.

    Bono's trap, executed with patience, timing and panache, worked like a charm, and he went on to finish the tournament in third place.

    Sadly, though, John Bonetti died at the age of 80 in 2008.

    Let's get back to this week's lesson.

    Smooth-calling refers to a tactic when a player bets on a strong hand to make it appear as if it were only mediocre. That is, the player with strength just calls an opponent's bet instead of following standard theory which advises a raise. Smooth-calling is designed to trick your opponent into thinking your hand is weak and to entice them to bet more.

    Be aware, though, that smooth-calling presents a dangerous risk/reward scenario. By attempting to trap your opponent into betting more on hands that they wouldn't have otherwise, you also leave open the opportunity that your competition might hit a lucky card and win the pot.

    For example, let's say you're dealt pocket kings. Normally, you'd want to toss in a sizable bet hoping to chase out an opponent with a hand like Q-J. By smooth-calling, though, if you don't bet enough at certain points during the hand, you could allow the Q-J to catch good cards along the way and beat you.

    In no-limit hold'em, there's simply no magical time or place to smooth-call an opponent's bet.

    That being said, a good time to set the trap with a smooth-call is when someone raises a decent amount before you and no one else has made the call. You just don't want multiple players in front of you when you smooth-call because that increases the likelihood that one of them will get lucky and catch a card to win the hand.

    Another good time to smooth-call a big hand is when you're in late position and no one else has called. In this situation, if you raise, you'd clearly be representing strength and that would likely cause everyone else to fold - not good for you. But a smooth-call would suggest weakness and that would probably entice others to call, or even cause another player to raise it up.

    You can't use the smooth-call too often, but when you think the time is right, give it a try.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  20. #94
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Breaking a Two Year Drought - Finally, I Win!

    It happens to the best players in the game, and back in 2000, it happened to me. After a two year drought, I finally won a poker tournament. Man, it's always nice when a prolonged dry spell like that ends.

    On my path to victory, I played the following two hands at the final table of the $1,500 buy-in no-limit Hold'em event at the World Poker Open. Both pots were played against a very tough no-limit Hold'em player, David "The Dragon" Pham. In combination, these two pots illustrate why sometimes you need to fold the best hand in a no-limit Hold'em tournament.

    In the first pot, the antes were $100 a man and the blinds were $400/$800. I raised the bet to $2,800 with Kd-10d and David called from the big blind with Qc-9c.

    The flop came 10h-Jc-Js and I bet out $3,500 with my two pair. David hesitated for a moment and then called the bet with his open-ended straight draw -- he needed a king or an eight to complete his straight. I figured he was weak by the way he acted before he called my $3,500 bet.

    The fourth card off the deck was the 4c and David now had a flush draw to go along with his open-ended straight draw. I felt pretty certain that he was on a draw so this time I bet $10,000, trying to win the pot right then and there.

    Well, after about a thirty second delay, David decided to move all-in for about $30,000 more.

    I studied him carefully, thinking about the consequences of my next move. If I folded, I'd still be in second place in chips and would still have an excellent chance to win the tournament. If I called and lost the pot, I'd have a short stack and would be in bad shape for the hands to come. But if I called and won the pot, I'd have over half the chips in play and would be unstoppable.

    Though I was reasonably sure that David had a big draw by the way he had acted throughout the hand, I really wasn't clear yet about how I should play my hand.

    Finally, I decided to fold. I figured that I'd have a better opportunity to invest all of my chips soon enough. Why risk the whole tournament on one hand?

    Good logic but possibly the wrong decision. David showed me his big quasi-bluff; he needed to hit a club, a king, a queen, or an eight to win the hand.

    Only six players remained in the tournament when we faced off for a second time. In this hand, David opened for $3,500 with pocket eights. I had A-A and raised the pot $7,500 more, making it $11,000 to go.

    Once again, David hesitated for a while before shoving all-in for about $40,000. I had $35,000 chips remaining, and of course, I called with my pocket rockets.

    The flop came Ah-10h-7h. I had a set of aces but David was on another draw. One more heart and I'd be toast! No heart came on the turn and an eight fell on the river. Set over set was a brutal way for David to lose but fortunately my hand held up in the end.

    As it turned out, throwing away what turned out to be the best hand -- my Kd-10d -- set me up to be a 4 1/2-to-1 favorite later on with my pocket aces. Sometimes, throwing away the best hand can be the right thing to do, especially if you feel that you'll have a better opportunity to prevail later on.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    LOL surely folding the best hand together with best odds of holding up is NEVER the best way to go ? More guff analysis from Hellmuth IMHO

  22. #96
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Making a Stand

    While playing in a $25,000 buy-in World Poker Tour Championship event back in 2006, I chose a key occasion to make a stand. You see, there are situations when you need to say to yourself, "I think I have my opponent beat so now's the time to make a crucial call or a perfectly timed raise."

    On Day 3, I started play with only $40,000 in chips, when the average stack was more than $200,000. Only an hour later, though, I managed to increase my chipstack to $100,000 and felt pretty good about my improved position.

    With the blinds at $1,500/$3,000, I opened for $9,000 with 7-7. Player A, sitting directly to my left, then raised it up another $20,000.

    I normally would have folded but I had just raised it up twice before with K-J and went on to win both pots at showdown. I studied my opponent for a bit and finally concluded that he just wasn't all that strong. He probably had a hand that could beat K-J but I didn't give him credit for an overpair like pocket queens.

    I called the $20,000 raise.

    The flop came Q-Q-9. I checked and Player A immediately bet out $40,000. Something didn't smell right as he still seemed weak to me. The voice in my head kept repeating, "Phil, you've got the best hand."

    True, I sensed weakness but I had to figure out if he could have a hand like pocket tens. Also, I had to consider that if I was wrong and put all my money into the pot, I'd have only two outs left in the deck and I'd be a ten-to-one underdog to win the pot.

    I ran through these possibilities and scenarios and counted my chips. With $68,000 left, it was all or nothing. Either I was right and would move way up in chips or I was wrong and would soon be eliminated.

    It was time to make a stand. "I'm all-in," I said.

    My opponent moaned that he knew he was beat but decided to call anyway. I wasn't pleased with his decision since he still had a chance to beat me. But my mood changed when he showed A-J. I felt pretty darn good about my hand, my chances to win, and my reading abilities.

    Still, he could hit an ace, a jack or a nine to win the pot. Nope, fours hit on the turn and the river and I took down the pot. With about $200,000 in chips, I could now really start to take control of the table. No other player would be prepared to bluff me after that hand, and that's exactly what I wanted.

    When you make a great stand at the poker table, you earn valuable fringe benefits to go along with all the chips in the pot. You get a tremendous boost to your confidence because you know that you're reading skills are spot on. Also, everyone at the table recognizes that you're really on your game so they'll avoid playing you heads-up, and that means that you can be pretty sure that if they do decide to play you, they probably have a real hand. Finally, your opponents will realize that you're willing to risk it all, which will force them to see you in a different light -- they're going to be afraid of you now!

    Do I make stands very often? No, not really. In fact, I think if you can muster a stand once or twice per tournament, well, that's about right.

    Look, I never enjoy risking my tournament life with a marginal hand, but if you want to be a poker champion, that's exactly what needs to be done. Just don't do it too often!



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



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    VIP Member manyk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Been there done it and every time the 9 hits.
    Somehow that just feels so much worse than him catching the Ace or Jack.
    Not entirely sure about the maths, but I think the extra 28k with 3 overs isn't such a bad spot.
    but I'm fairly sure the other players didn't have anything like that reaction, all seems fairly average play to me.

  24. #98
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    The Biggest WSOP Prize Money

    It's been quite a week in the world of poker. I'm just glad that we have the Poker Players Alliance working hard to craft intelligent federal legislation to protect, license and regulate the online game that, until recently, was played and enjoyed by millions of Americans.

    Way back in 2003, amateur Chris Moneymaker ignited the world's passion for poker by winning the World Series of Poker Main Event. Three years later, a gentleman with an equally appropriate name for poker, Jamie Gold, took down the crown and claimed the biggest prize money in the history of the WSOP. His wire-to-wire win earned him a cool $12 million.

    How did an unknown player like Jamie Gold manage to beat a field of 8,773 to win the title? The old-fashioned way; he played skillfully and caught some seriously lucky cards along the way.

    For example, on Day 6 of the tournament, with the blinds at $25,000/$50,000, Jamie made it $400,000 to go with 8-7 against Prahlad Friedman, who responded by moving all-in for $1.2 million total. Jamie made the call and the flop came 6-5-4!

    Forty minutes later, Jamie won another pot with 10h-9s with the final board reading Jh-8h-7h-9h-5s. He flopped a straight and turned a straight flush! Incredible!

    Then, at the final table, he took down top pro Allan Cunningham.

    Michael Binger opened for $1.1 million, Jamie called with Kd-Jd, and Cunningham moved all-in for $6.5 million with pocket tens. Binger folded and Jamie called. The flop came A-K-8. A seven fell on the turn and a three on the river, and Jamie came up with another unlikely victory - this time as a very slight underdog to Cunningham's pocket tens before the flop.

    With only three players remaining, Paul Wasicka (with $14 million in chips) and Binger (with $11 million in chips) got tangled up with Jamie in another memorable hand.

    Jamie called on the button with 4-3, Binger raised it up $1.5 million more with Ah-10h, and both Gold and Wasicka called. After a flop of 10c-6s-5s, Binger bet $3.5 million with top pair/top kicker and Gold moved all-in with an open-ended straight draw.

    Wasicka folded and Binger called. With more than $23 million in the pot, Jamie got lucky (again) and hit his straight when a seven came on the turn. Just like that, Binger was gone. All I can say is, wow!

    Truthfully, I don't like the way Jamie played that hand. There's no way that I would have called Binger's raise with 4-3 before the flop at that stage of the tournament.

    And then in the final hand, Wasicka raised to $1.3 million with 10h-10s and Jamie casually called with Qs-9c. The flop came Qc-8h-5h.

    Wasicka bet $1.5 million and Jamie instantly moved all-in, saying, "You don't have a queen, do you? I got you, c'mon, let's do it!" Then, despite Jamie's provocation, Wasicka made the call for his last $11 million.

    The Ad hit on the turn and the 4c fell on the river, and the championship bracelet and the cash belonged to Jamie Gold.

    I like the way Jamie played this hand. He put his last $13 million in as a huge favorite to win the pot. In fact, Jamie played a bunch of hands in the tournament when he was the huge favorite including twice when he played Q-Q against an opponent's J-J at the final table.

    Jamie Gold deserves a ton of credit for playing skillful poker for eight stress-filled days although it certainly didn't hurt that he made lucky straights and flushes along the way.

    A final thought: Let's hope that the WSOP Main Event will soon return to the big payday of 2006 despite today's uncertain state of online poker.



    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  25. #99
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    Wynn This!

    A few weeks ago, I played in a four-day $5,000 buy-in tournament at the Wynn Las Vegas casino. Starting with $30,000 in chips, there was plenty of time to really move around your chips.

    On Day Three, the following hand came up.

    With the blinds at $2,500/$5,000, pro player Dutch Boyd opened his third pot in a row from early position, making it $12,000 to go. I looked down at K-K in middle position but didn't feel particularly confident so I decided to smooth-call, as did the player in the big blind.

    The flop came 5d-3d-2s. Both players checked to me and I checked, too.

    The turn was the 7s and the big blind fired out $19,000. Dutch and I called.

    The Jc fell on the river. This time the big blind bet $33,000 and, again, Dutch and I called. The player in the big blind flipped up J-J to claim the pot with a set, besting Dutch's pocket queens and my cowboys.

    Let's take a closer look at this hand.

    Dutch's raise was standard and my call was appropriate. I normally reraise with a premium hand like K-K, maybe about 70% of the time, but I'll also occasionally three-bet with a weak bluffing hand. Why? Because on those rare occasions when I do, my bet will seem pretty strong.

    When I don't reraise with a premium hand like K-K, I'll just smooth-call. Sometimes I just don't want to announce the strength of my hand to the entire table. Also, the fact that Dutch opened his third pot in a row suggested weakness, another factor supporting my decision to smooth-call with K-K.

    I like the big blind's smooth-call with J-J because he was out of position and might have read Dutch or me as strong. However, had he read us as weak instead, he should have three-bet to try to win the pot right there.

    I like the big blind's check on the flop though Dutch's check was questionable. Dutch was attempting to trap both of us and keep the pot size small but he could have made a continuation bet with his Q-Q in this situation without revealing the strength of his hand. That would have been the standard play.

    I don't like my check on the flop even though it limited the pot size, and as it turned out, actually kept me alive in the tournament. Still, there's a time to play it safe and a time to go for it, and with K-K on a flop of 5d-3d-2s flop, it was definitely go time. I should have bet about 60% of the pot and maybe even more.

    On the turn, the big blind's $19,000 bet was alright. Dutch's smooth-call was okay but I would have raised it up to about $75,000.

    Once again, I hate my smooth-call. The truth is that I decided to call simply to preserve my tournament life. I should have raised it up to $80,000, or maybe moved all-in.

    On the river, I like the big blind's $33,000 bet. His smallish bet size virtually assured that Dutch and I would pay off his hand. We might have folded if he had bet any more.

    So, did I get unlucky in this hand? Possibly, but I was really set up to win this hand if I'd only played it more aggressively. A pre-flop reraise likely would have knocked out the pocket jacks and might have earned me about $150,000 in chips from Dutch. Or, had I bet big on the flop, I could have moved all-in on the turn, in which case the J-J would have almost certainly folded.

    Anyway, I finished the tournament in 19th place, just barely in the money. The good news is that I'm on top of my game and feel prepared to win a big tournament soon!

    -Phil Hellmuth


    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



  26. #100
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    Default Re: Phil Helmuth Hands of the week!

    West Coast Bust Out

    My competitive juices were really flowing after I made a deep run at the Wynn Poker Classic Championship. I played three solid days of poker and finished in 19th place but I still wasn't completely satisfied with my performance.

    On the other hand, I did finish in the money and that's not so bad.

    At the conclusion of the Wynn Classic, the folks at the WSOP and ESPN asked me to fly to Harrah's Rincon Hotel and Casino near San Diego to interview race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. While there, I looked at the WSOP Circuit event schedule and discovered that the Main Event was to begin in a couple of days. I signed up on the spot.

    On Day Two, I was seated to the left of Tim West, a pro player from California. Tim is well-liked in the poker community and is one hot player; he had just won the Wynn Classic the previous week.

    I admire the way Tim plays no limit Hold'em, and the following two hands, played early in the session, show why.

    First, Tim raised it up from early position and I reraised with 8-3 offsuit. He had been raising a lot of pots and I just sensed that this time he was weak. I was right; he folded his hand.

    About thirty minutes later, with the blinds at $300/$600 plus a $50 ante, he again raised the pot to $1,600 from early position and I peered down at A-K. This time, however, I didn't have much of a read on him but I was determined to find out where I stood.

    I reraised, making it $4,500 to go, and then came the big surprise. Tim, whose $130,000 chips had my stack of $19,000 chips covered, moved all-in.

    I glanced over at Tim and sensed some serious strength. I asked myself if he could possibly have pocket aces. Nope, I just couldn't put him on that hand. So now what?

    Look, A-K is a tough hand to get away from for thirty six big blinds, but I still sensed that Tim had a really big hand. If he had pocket kings, I'd be in rotten shape. But if he had Q-Q, J-J, or A-K, a call on my part would be warranted.

    Tim and I had spent some time with each other in the days leading up to this event and I really thought I had a good sense of what type of man and player he was. Clearly, he's a straight up guy and that's just the way I sensed he was playing his hand - straight up.

    I kept vacillating between making the all-in call and mucking my cards. I just couldn't get the thought out of my head, though, that he didn't have pocket aces, and that was enough for me to make the call. I shoved my remaining chips into the middle of the pot.

    Well, I was right, he didn't have the aces but he did have K-K. Ugh! The board cards came off K-10-7-10-J and it was "Bye, bye, Phil!"

    Tim and I discussed the hand later. He felt that his best play was either to move all-in or just smooth-call my $2,900 reraise. Tim didn't want to reraise any other amount as he felt that I might fold my hand.

    The good news for me was that my reading skills were working pretty well as I did consider the real possibility that he did have K-K. I guess that hand was just another reminder that I need to trust my instincts completely.

    Congratulations to Tim West for another great tournament. A 2nd place finish in San Diego and a win in Vegas -- what a tremendous week of poker!


    -Phil Hellmuth
    .

    There's no "I" in team but there are 5 in "individual brilliance"

    Banter Poker League Champion 2010 - 2011 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016

    Banter Player Of The Year 2010 - 2012 - 2013 - 2015


    All round Spawny Hoor



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