Playing the man
By Andrew LeRoy. August 13th 2005.
The Victorian Poker Championships
are in full swing at Crown Casino in Melbourne at
the moment. Yesterday I played
in the Pot Limit 7 card stud event. Only the "real"
players played this one. Not too many young guns or
internet newbies. We will see them at all the Holdem
events this week.
I sat at my initial table and to my
left I had Leo Boxell and Martin Comer, to my right
Emad Tahtou. These three have well over a million
bucks in tournament winnings between them, and a swag
of final tables in major events to boot. (If you are
not familiar with 7 card stud you can skip the details
of the following hand and just take my points in bold.
If you are familiar with 7 card stud, get your cards
out and play through the hand, it's a very interesting
Initial stack was $3000 in chips.
In a very early hand the antes were $5 and the bring
in bet by the lowest hand was $5 up to the value of
Leo was the low card and bought it
in for $5. Martin showing a jack of diamonds with
an ace behind him anounced "pot" and bet the limit.
Everyone else folded including the ace. Leo called
with 3s showing.
Leo got 9d on fourth street, Martin
7c. Martin bet pot again. Leo called again.
Fifth street. Leo Ts. Martin 6h. Martin
bet pot Leo called.
Sixth street. Leo 3d Martin 3h Leo
checked, Martin bet pot and Leo called.
On the end cards came in hidden. Leo
checked in the dark and Martin bet all in. I watched
Leo squeeze out his last card and even before I saw
his other two I knew he was home. 7th street was As.
Martin opened. "Nothin" he said. His hole cards were
5h, Qh and 2s. Leo opened Qs, Ks and As for the flush.
Why did one of Australia's best
players get it all in with "Nothin"? He
was playing the man.
He bet 3rd street expecting
Leo to fold because he knows Leo is very tight
early in tournaments. Once he got a call he knew
Leo had either a hidden pair or a flush draw with
high cards. He also knew that if Leo didn't
improve he could make him fold with aggressive betting.
Equally, Leo knew that Martin
was thinking this way. Leo's 4th street call was
based on this. He suspected he wasn't beat and by
calling he had a shot at Martin's whole stack.
From 5th street on Leo had many ways
to win the hand and was staying all the way. Having
said that, if Leo's 7th street card didn't pair
him or flush him I guarantee he would have folded.
Later in the tournament Emad Tahtou
got his whole stack in on a 3rd street re-raise bluff
against Nick "The Greek" Georgoulas. Why? Because
Nick the Greek is a "Maniac" who bets and raises with
nothing, to steal the pot, time and again. Emad wasn't
going to let him take his chips and decided to put
his whole stack against George's with just 3 high
cards, even though he would have made the final table
with conservative play. Its fair to say that, due
to its size, the winner of that pot was always going
to win the tournament. Nick had a medium hidden pair
and was only a 60-40 favorite when the money went
At the final table I managed to move
up from 8th in chips in the beginning to 5th place
due to playing the man in a different way. Bob Crossman,
the eventual second place finisher had been to my
immediate right all day. He is a tight conservative
player who rarely enters or stays in the pot without
"the goods". On three occassions at the Final
Table I was able to fold a hidden pair because
I knew Bob was ahead. This included one occasion
when he bought it in with rolled up 333. That hand
won a massive pot against - you guessed it - Nick
the Greek, who set Bob all in on a three flush. Nick
made the flush on the end. Bob made the full house
on the end as well!
333 is the highest hand in 3 card
poker - known as Brag. Since the pot made Bob about
$3,000 extra bucks I think "Brag Hand Bob" might be
a good new nickname for him.
By the way, you can see Player Profiles
of all these players and their tournament histories
in the Players section at Pokernetwork. And you can
play 7 card stud at Noble Poker.
the message for this article? Play the man and
consider if your opponent is playing you or his cards.
Opportunities will arise to use your opponent's styles
against them if you pay attention to how they play.
to next essay
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