Wanted to share with you guys one of the more interesting hands I played in the wpt shot clock event against a very tough opponent, Tom “hitthehole” Middleton. It was still relatively early in the tourney. I didn’t know yet exactly who Tom was but I could tell he was a strong British pro. He was on my immediate right and had me covered. I had about 15k in chips. Blinds were 50/100.

Tom opened to 250 from late position and I looked down at QhQd. I reraised to about 850 and Tom called. The flop was Tc-Th-8s. He checked to me and I bet about 1k. This is not the most thrilling flop for my hand because he has alot of Tx combos but I would expect to get value on the flop from a lot of his hands so it seemed like a pretty clear bet. Tom called. Turn was 7d, so the board reads Tc-Th-8s (7d). Tom checked. I felt he often had me beat plus he could check raise bluff me off my hand on that board. There was definitely a shortage of hands I could beat that he’d still call me with. His range had all the Txs as well as 77, 88 maybe AA all of which beat me. 99 would have a compelling case to check raise me all-in and it would be a tough call for me. I opted to check.




This is where things get very interesting. The river brought the Ts. The board reads Tc-Th-8s-7d (Ts). This looked like a very good card for me. If he had 77 or 88 it was now beat. If he had turned a straight he was now beat. The 3rd Ten also reduced the Tx combos available. It’s always hard to make quads. Yet Tom lead into me on the river for about 2200 and in my mind I had a clear value raise here. Yes he has Txs in his range and I don’t but now there are so few of them. Plus he could certainly have a variety of under full houses that I could put in a tough spot. I think I raised to something like 5600. Tom relatively quickly announced All-in and now I was in a very tough situation.

He was basically representing quads or AA both entirely plausible but so very few combos of hands. If he was a weak player there might be a chance he was overvaluing a weak full house but with a player of his caliber there was zero chance of that. But how could it be a bluff? If i’m representing overpairs surely he doesn’t expect me to often fold hands like tens full of kings. He’s tough but not crazy. Given his range preflop that would raise, call a 3bet and then call the flop, it seemed there were very few hands in his range that didn’t have showdown value. It would take quite the sicko to take 77 or 88 which made a full house but which got weaker on the river and then turn it into a bluff. Even some hands like J8s ended up making a weak fullhouse. So if he has showdown value he might call but very rarely bluff re-raise right? So he must have it. This was my line of reasoning that lead me to fold tens full of queens.

I felt comfortable with it at the time but in the next hour or so I saw him make several aggressive bets and some interesting river overbets in spots where his opponent just couldn’t have the nuts but he could. At that point I felt like if the hand had come up later I would have called.

Tom shared with me later that he had bluffed me with QcJc. He had flopped the gutter with over cards and a back door flush draw so a pretty standard peel on the flop. After I checked back the turn he priced the river bet to get me off of my AK, AQ type hands. The deviation in our thinking about the river situation was that he felt I would be much more likely to just call the river with my overpairs because I don’t have any tens in my range. He interpreted my river raise as being more weighted towards bluffing with AQ, AK type hands. Given that he decided to rebluff me. All very reasonable.

I found the hand and the thought process on both sides really interesting with many layers to the onion. Hope you guys enjoyed it and special thanks to Tom for sharing his thought process about the hand. You can find him on twitter @hitthehole.

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