Daniel Negreanu – Poker Articles
I'm Not Sure What to Think of This HandPoker article written by Daniel Negreanu and published in Card Player Magazine
I was down to the final 27 players in the World Series of Poker Circuit event at the Grand Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, with a decent-size stack. It didn't take us too long to get down to 19 players, when I played a rather interesting pot with Danny Alaei.
Danny had just been moved to my table, and frankly, I don't have a lot of playing experience against him. What I do know is that he is a cash-game no-limit hold'em pro who has played a lot of poker in the Bay Area. That gave me some insight into his style of play, as most no-limit cash-game players have similar traits. For one, they like to play lots of pots, and two, they like to control the pot size.
Danny had a ton of $100 ante chips, too, which also let me know that he must have been picking up lots of antes. In the following hand, the blinds were $800-$1,600 with a $200 ante. Everyone folded to Danny, who limped in from the small blind. That's a typical play from a strong no-limit player. I realized that his limp gave me little information as to the strength of his hand, as he could have been limping with a strong, weak, or even marginal hand.
I had the A 9 in the big blind, and was happy to see a flop. I decided not to raise and use my positional advantage, with a hand that figured to be the best, to win a small pot.
The flop came 10 6 5. Danny checked, and I wasn't in love with that flop, so I also checked. The turn card was the A, and now Danny bet out $4,000. When he made the bet, I actually put him on an ace. There is a huge misconception that you should raise the big blind with any ace in that situation.
You'd be much better off raising from the button with ace-rag than you would from the small blind. Everyone knows how powerful position is, especially in a game like no-limit hold'em.
Having said that, I had a pretty decent kicker with my ace, so I raised Danny to $12,000. He called, and the river was the 2. Danny checked, and I looked back at my holecards. I didn't want to go crazy with my hand, but I did want to milk a little more value out of it, so I made an underbet of $8,000.
Danny looked over at me, looked at the size of my bet, and raised $20,000 more. I believed he may have seen my underbet as a sign of weakness, and may have decided to pounce on it with nothing.
One thing was certain: He didn't have the nuts, as I had the key card. Strangely enough, though, all three of the following options crossed my mind:
Fold - He didn't look like he was bluffing, really, but the question was: What could he have? A-2? A flush? I wasn't too sure, so I ruled out the fold, based on that and the fact that it could be a rebluff attempt by him.
Call - This seemed like a decent option. If he was bluffing, my hand would be good and I could just pick up the pot. It was unlikely that he had a hand like A-J, A-Q, or A-K, as he probably wouldn't be willing to check-raise me without two pair.
Reraise - I liked this option the best. Why? Well, because Danny easily could have made aces and deuces on the river, but with a large reraise, I could steal the pot back from him. The problem with this play was that if he did call me, I'd lose a ton of chips. I genuinely didn't think he would call me with A-2, but if he did happen to make the flush, he just might have to call my raise.
I hemmed and hawed over what to do, and the longer I took, the more I realized that it would be tough to sell the idea that I in fact had the ace-high flush. He would have to go over the hand in his head and put together the following parlay to make the fold:
1. I checked before the flop with a suited ace in position.
2. I checked the flop with the nut-flush draw.
3. I bet only $8,000 with the nut flush on the river.
Wow! All of a sudden, a reraise didn't seem like such a good idea! I finally made the crying call, still unsure if it was the correct play, and Danny turned over the A 2;;;.
It was a well-played hand by him, but in hindsight, maybe I should have checked the river. Having that key card, though, makes it hard to check, because you would think that you couldn't get raised. Well, Danny isn't a great no-limit hold'em player for nothing, and he milked me for an extra $20,000 with a power move on the river.
The table broke right after that hand, as we were down to 18 players. Danny was moved to the other table, and apparently didn't pick up a hand over there, as he didn't make the final 10.
I did, but a cold streak from 12 players to 10 players, in which I didn't play a hand, saw my stack dip under $200,000. Then, I lost a pot to Chad Brown, and was down to $140,000 and was last on the totem pole.
I picked off a bluff, though, with my tournament life on the line, and suddenly vaulted over $350,000. I eliminated the 10th player, also, and made it to the final table with $410,000 in chips, which was good for second overall. The chip leader had $600,000, but I caught a lucky break, as he was seated directly to my right.
Check out my next column for the conclusion. I have no idea how exciting that'll be just yet, as I'm writing this the night before the final table. Wish me luck!
Card Player Poker Articles
With over one hundred poker articles spanning the last five years and a new poker article written every two weeks and published in Card Player magazine, Daniel Negreanu brings the world of poker to the tables of countless poker enthusiasts and poker players alike.
As a regular Card Player columnist, Daniel's poker articles have helped many readers learn the game of poker from the early days of an upcoming professional poker player to the realization of a true poker champion last year as Daniel became the 2004 Card Player Player of the Year, as well as, one of the most successful tournament players in history with 36+ worldwide wins and bragging rights as the WPT All-Time Top Money Winner.
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