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Christian Harder Discusses Hand from WPT Championship

Christian Harder is a consummate tournament grinder with nearly $3.2 million in winnings. Last year during the World Series of Poker, he cashed six times and is looking forward to best his performance this year.

Recently, he made a deep run in the $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship, finishing 17th for just over $42,000. Harder talked to PokerNews about a hand he played on Day 4 of the event.

Blinds: 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante

Preflop Action: Freddy Bonyadi raised on the button to 35,000. Christian Harder called in the small blind with ace-queen, and Sam El Sayed called from the big blind.

Did you consider three-betting here?

Three-betting is certainly fine. Bonyadi had about 35 big blinds and was playing well. I’m sure he was opening on the button fairly wide, but I just called because Sam El Sayed in the big blind was a very loose player who did not like to fold preflop or postflop.

I was hoping to basically trap him. I was hoping we would both flop top pair and I would always have him out-kicked and be able to win a big pot off him. Obviously the same goes for Bonyadi, though he would stack off much tighter then Sam.

Flop Action: The flop came {a-}{4-}{2-} rainbow. Harder bet 52,000. El Sayed called, and Bonyadi folded.

Why did you decide to lead the flop?

I could have easily check the flop but was worried that Bonyadi would not continuation-bet very light in a three-way pot, and I wanted to get three streets from a worse ace, especially against El Sayed.

Turn Action: The turn was a {4-}. The board read {a-}{4-}{2-}{4-}. Harder bet 103,000. El Sayed called.

So was it the same thought process on the turn?

Yeah. I was slightly worried about a hand with a four in it, but I thought there was a zero percent chance he would fold an ace, so it made it a very easy bet/fold for me, meaning that I could bet for value, but fold to a raise.

When he flatted quickly on the turn, did that narrow his range to squarely a weaker ace? It seems as though any hands better than yours would at least think about raising.

That was my thinking. By the speed of his turn call, I was very confident that he had some type of ace-x hand.

Can you explain a little more why this is an easy bet/fold, and why he wouldn't be raising as a bluff?

With no flush draws on the flop, it’s extremely difficult for him to be bluffing if he raised the turn. He would basically have to have two-three, two-four, or two-five which I don’t think even bluffs the turn and might fold preflop or on the flop.

River Action: The river was a {10-}. The board read {a-}{4-}{2-}{4-}{10-}. Harder bet 200,000, and El Sayed called and showed ace-ten for top two pair to win the pot.

On the river, how did you choose your bet sizing?

I thought 200,000 was a good amount because I was very sure I had the best hand. I thought he could have any ace-hand except ace-king, so I only lost to ace-ten or an unlikely hand with a four in it. It was just very unfortunate for me he that had ace-ten. I think he calls the river with any ace.

Is it a bet/fold on the river, too, if he raised?

Yeah. It would suck pretty hard, but I don’t see how I could call a raise versus his line.

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