He Said, She Said, Vol. 1: Fricke v. Hansen at the Aussie Millions
Tony 'Bond 18' Dunst is a professional online poker player living in Australia. Dunst is one of the moderators of the strategy forum at the 2+2 forums, and is noted for his tongue-in-cheek recaps of big stories in the online poker world that he posts on 2+2 and pocketfives. Celina Lin is Tony's girlfriend and a good player in her own right. In fact, Celina has just signed on with PokerStars as a player/endorser, and will represent Team PokerStars at events all over the world. These two spend an incredible amount of time at home discussing poker hands. In each volume of this ongoing column, Dunst and Lin break down a hand and 'discuss' it in a way only a boyfriend and girlfriend can.
The hand: Aussie Millions 2007; heads-up between Jimmy 'gobboboy' Fricke and Gus Hansen.
Fricke: ~6 Million
Hansen: ~9 Million
A few hands-prior, Jimmy Fricke had a 2:1 chip lead. However, after semi-bluffing all in with a gutshot straight draw and losing to Hansen's top pair, the tables have been turned. A hand or two after dropping the huge pot, Fricke took down a nice-sized pot betting three streets with 10-5 on a 5-5-K-9-7 board, with Hansen calling down on all three with 2-2.
Preflop: Hansen limps on the button, Fricke checks the BB.
Tony: I think the play by both players is pretty standard here, though it would by no means be unusual to see Hansen raise here as well.
Jimmy checks, Gus bets 120k, Jimmy calls.
Tony: Jimmy has flopped middle pair with a weak kicker on a draw-heavy board, while Gus has flopped the nut straight draw with a decent backdoor flush draw. Jimmy knows betting would be mostly pointless here, since he can't call a raise and his hand is mostly a bluff catcher. Gus makes a fairly natural bet, since Jimmy's hand is literally any two cards, and his hand is a powerful draw. I think Jimmy's call is good as well, as he expects Gus to bet a very wide range on this flop, possibly any of the hands he limped with.
Celina: Jimmy would have to think he is ahead heads-up with second pair, and Gus will continuation-bet with flops like this a lot of the time. Gus bets with the up-and-down straight draw, which is very standard and disguises the draw; he may opt to check the turn or continue to bet out if he thinks Fricke is weak. Most likely, Gus will check behind unless he hits, due to both Fricke and Gus being extremely aggressive, and both being capable of calling down on bottom pair.
Jimmy bets 300k, Gus calls.
Tony: I like Jimmy's lead here. He knows Gus is going to check behind with most of his hands that are air, since he doesn't expect Jimmy to fold a K or Q to him. The also makes the board even more draw-heavy, with two flush draws and a J or 10 making four cards to a straight. Jimmy leads, knowing if Gus raises that he'll have to fold. On Gus's side, his flat call is excellent because he knows if Jimmy had a strong hand he would check-raise, so if Gus raises know he'll almost certainly blow Jimmy off his hand. His call also allows Jimmy to perhaps think Gus is on a draw.
Celina: Gus has made his straight here. Fricke leads out, realizing now that the board is getting draw-heavy and dangerous with a straight draw and two flush draws now out. Fricke at the same time would probably put Gus on a flush draw if he calls here, making it unlikely that he could have a Q or K. Gus just calls knowing that if he raises Fricke here, Fricke will most likely fold. Gus does not put Fricke on the spade flush draw because on the flop Fricke would've led out or check raised. Gus knows that he may be able to get more value by checking here and induce another bet on the river, or if Jimmy continues with another bet on the river, he will be able to raise then.
Jimmy checks, Gus bets 1.1 million, Jimmy calls.
Tony: For those watching the hand on TV, Jimmy's call looks abysmal. However, upon further consideration it makes a whole lot of sense. Jimmy can't expect Gus to have an ace-high spade flush draw, since Gus would often play his hand much stronger than he did (limping pre-flop, min-betting the flop, flat-calling the turn). Jimmy also knows Gus just about never has a strong K since K-J or better would raise pre-flop, not to mention raising on one of the post-flop streets. He also knows Gus can't have a better Q, since a better Q would almost always check behind or bet smaller for value, rather than overbetting the pot. That means Jimmy believes Gus's hand is polarized between slow-played monsters and missed flush draws that are now bluffing by betting very big on the river. Therefore, he makes the call.
On Gus's side, he makes a truly excellent play by overbetting the pot, in order to make Jimmy believe that he's trying to push Jimmy out of the hand with a missed draw.
Both players played their hand well, but Jimmy ends up victimized by his wrong, expensive read when the cards are flipped up.
Celina: Jimmy wouldn't put Gus on having an A, and if Gus was to value-bet 600k there Fricke may well have folded. Gus has been playing Fricke all day and also realizes this. Thus, his making a pot-sized bet of 1.1 million in turn makes Fricke think that Gus is trying to push him off the winning hand with a missed flush draw or a cold stone bluff at the ace.