A Hand from the WSOP with Carter King
Carter King had an impressive showing in the year's World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing in 247th place for more than $40,000. Although it's a small addition to his $2.3 million in live and online winnings, the accomplishment is something to be proud of nonetheless. He talked to PokerNews about a crucial hand he played on Day 5 while at one of the feature tables that streamed live on the ESPN3.com.
Blinds: 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante
Stack Sizes: Carter King – 350,000; Evan McNiff – 1.2 million
What information did you have on your opponent prior to this hand?
I hadn't really played with him before this, but I knew of him. I'd seen him around other tournaments, and we have a lot of mutual friends. I knew he was a good, young, aggressive player, and he was the chip leader at our table.
Preflop Action: It folded around to McNiff in the small blind who raised to 28,000. Carter King flatted in the big blind with offsuit.
Right there I had an interesting situation. In a normal tournament, I feel very confident three-betting and calling off to a shove. Usually, I would just three-bet to 68,000 or 70,000 and call an all-in. But, because it's the Main Event, I elected to call.
Can you elaborate on why your decision making is different in the WSOP Main Event than in other tournaments?
There are a variety of reasons. I hate to say it, but this is probably the bottom of my range that I'd normally get it in with. In the Main Event, I tighten up my range I'd get it in with preflop. Normally, ace-ten offsuit is within my range, but in this spot it's borderline. Honestly, if it was suited, that might be the difference, and I would just go ahead and try and get it all-in preflop. So because it's the Main Event, it's got a great structure, there are two-hour levels, and the field is soft, I'm hoping to pick my spots. I don't mind taking a nittier approach to hands in marginal spots.
Flop Action: The flop came rainbow. McNiff bet 38,000. King called.
Why did you flat?
So preflop, I know he's opening super wide, especially against my stack size. I'd say he's raising 80 to 90 percent of hands. He's going to continuation bet with almost all of his hands on this flop. My range isn't superwide, but consists of a lot of hands that miss this flop like queen-jack, king-highs, and stuff that will just fold.
Because the board is so dry, and it doesn't connect with his hands that much, I decided to call. I didn't want to raise because at that point, I would only get it in with hands that dominate me. I think calling is pretty much the only option on the flop.
Turn Action: The turn was a . McNiff bet 63,000. King called.
My thought process at that point was first, do I call or shove? Folding wasn't right because I thought it was so hard for him to have a hand when he was opening such a wide range. The board was so dry, so he was basically representing a pocket pair or a five. Then I thought about what my hand looked like.
I called the flop, which I'd do with a ton of king, queen, and ace-high floats. I'd also obviously call with any five I had to. It was unlikely I had a better boat than a five because I think he'd expect me to three-bet pocket sevens, eights, nines, and better. I thought he'd double-barrel here thinking that I couldn't call with ace-high or really any of my floats twice, so I decided to call. That sort of made my hand face up as ace-high, but I was pretty confident he was just going to check the river and give up.
So even though your hand was a little face up on the turn, it was still hard for him to fire the river because it'd be likely that he'd assume you would call the river if you called the turn?
Yeah. Even though it's hard for me to have anything, because I would usually just ship a five on the turn, it's still difficult for him to fire the last barrel on the river. At the same time, he did have a lot of chips, and it is a spot where he can put a lot of pressure on me.
Would he double-barrel with the whole range he continuation bets with?
No, I think a lot of double-barrels from him include hands with equity like open-ended straight draws and gutters [gutshot straight draws] like seven-eight, eight-nine, seven-nine. Those are all hands I was worried about, and they all have quite a bit of equity on my hand. That's why, looking back at the hand, I think I should have just shoved the turn given stack sizes. I think that it was a mistake in the hand to just call. It was hard for him to have anything, so I could try to get him to fold his equity, and if he did have something, I still had six outs.
River Action: The river was an . The board read . McNiff asked King how much he had left behind, which was approximately 221,000, and then moved all-in. King folded.
I thought that this was one of the worst cards in the deck for me. On the river, my decision came down to, “Should I call a river shove when my hand looks like ace-high?” On a lot of other river cards, I can find a call, but this just hit so much of his range, that this shove was for value a lot of the time. I tanked for two or three minutes, but I decided that this shove against my perceived range was more for value. I folded. Since it was on the live feed, I got a ton of text messages about 30 minutes later telling me that it was a good fold, and that he had seven-eight.
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