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A Hand from the WSOP with Ryan D'Angelo

Ryan D'Angelo

Over his short career, Ryan D'Angelo has accumulated nearly $2 million in winnings. His biggest cash to date came when he finished fifth in the 2010 PokerStars.net Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $700,000. He is currently competing in the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event and ended Day 2b third in chips. He spoke to PokerNews about a hand he played on Tuesday.

Blinds: 300/600 with a 75 ante

Preflop Action: A middle-position player opened to 1,500 and a player called behind. D'Angelo three-bet to 6,200 with {j-}{9-}. Both players called.

Tell me a little bit about your opponents in this hand and why you decided to three-bet.

The opener had about a 40,000 stack. He'd been playing pretty solid but seemed like a guy who didn't want to bust. I like putting pressure on people like that. The person who flatted behind was a really loose player named Shawn Cunix. I had seen him flat a raise with queen-five suited earlier, so I knew he was playing a lot of hands. He was also pretty deep. I just thought I could take it down preflop sometimes, and if not, I could play a hand against Cunix most likely. I'd be in position with deep stacks.

Flop Action: The flop came {j-}{10-}{3-} rainbow. All three players checked.

Why didn't you continuation-bet?

The pot was about 20,000 and the first opener had a stack of about 35,000 at this point. I thought that if I bet, I'd have to call, and that would be really gross against him. I don't like betting and then folding because he could have hands like king-queen and ace-queen that are just overcards. I'd be folding the best hand. I also can be behind a lot against a set or ace-jack.

Even though I gave up free cards, I think it made most sense to check. Any card over a jack would be bad for me, but there were still so many cards that would be fine. I just decided that I didn't really want to get it in with the first guy, and I didn't really care what Cunix had. If a safe turn came, it would just be way easier to play. I could reevaluate. That's the best part about being in position. You get to see the hand develop.

Turn Action: The turn was a {7-}, bringing a backdoor flush-draw. The first player checked, and Cunix bet 12,000. D'Angelo called, and the other player folded.

Could you have possibly raised for value on this turn?

I don't think I could. He bet really big, and I just had a weak top pair. He had around 130,000 so raising really wasn't an option. I would almost never raise that turn with any hand except for maybe eight-nine.

River Action: The river was an offsuit {3-}. Cunix checked. D'Angelo bet 17,000. Cunix called and mucked when D'Angelo tabled {j-}{9-}.

How did you decide whether or not to value-bet the river? Did you have to consider his ability to check-raise bluff the river?

At that point, I thought he had a lot of tens in his range. He could have a jack that beat me, but I don't think he has it that often. That's kind of a game flow thing to be honest. I just kind of knew my player. Earlier in the day, I called a bluff of his. I thought there was a good chance he would just bet the river with a good jack, and when he just checked kind of quickly on the river, I felt like it was a pretty easy value bet.

Can you explain why it's so important to be able to value-bet a hand like this on the river?

It's super important because there are 200 million chips in play. Every little chip you can get helps. I could have missed out on 17,000 in value if I checked. You really have to be confident in your reads about what your opponent has and play accordingly. I put him on a weaker pair than me and thought he'd call. I made sure it was a reasonably sized bet that he wouldn't have to think twice about.

Would you bet as a bluff here?

Technically you're supposed to be balanced and bet the same on a bluff as you would a value bet, but in a tournament like this, you don't really have to be. If I was bluffing in that spot, I would probably just bet the flop. If I somehow got to the river with a bluff, I don't even know if I would bet because I really thought he was going to call.

How does your ability to value-bet a jack here affect your effectiveness to make bluffs on rivers?

It definitely makes you tougher to play against if you can value bet thinly because then your range can consist of more hands. If your range is just really good hands and really bad hands, people are going to call you because it's hard to have really good hands and easy to have really bad hands.

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