A Hand from the WSOP with Amit Makhija
Amit Makhija played Event #16, a $5,000 no-limit hold’em event that started yesterday and by dinner break had one of the biggest chip stacks in the field due in large part to a hero call. He took a break from the tournament to discuss the hand with PokerNews.
Fill us in on how you’d been playing up to this point?
I had been playing on the tight side. I had just won a coin flip and was up to 26,000 to start the hand. I was feeling good. I was playing tight, but every pot I played seemed to be a big pot.
Tell us about the hand.
So the opponent in this hand had not been opening very often, he’d been pretty tight, but when he did open, he had a lot of suited hands in his range. There were just game-flow times that he was looking to steal that I thought were fairly obvious. He also had a tell I picked up on when I saw him show down a couple pretty bad hands. He was tight, but he definitely had some spew in him. Also, my read on him was that he wasn’t capable of value-betting extremely thin.
So he raised to 900 with the blinds at 150-300. I flatted in position with pocket threes. The flop comes , two clubs. He hesitantly fired 1,500. He looked pretty nervous and bobbled the 500 chip when he was putting it in. I decided to look him up and called.
If you thought he was weak, did you think about raising since your hand is pretty vulnerable?
I think a raise is definitely a viable option on the flop, and I thought about it, but against him, I thought it’d be better to call. I thought he had nothing, and I thought he might bluff off a little more. Against someone who I think is capable of value-betting thin on multiple streets, I might raise there. Against him, though, it’s either a good hand or just complete air. He was checking his mid-pair type hands, and so I think it’s more valuable to call. It’s almost like a trapping situation. I decided to peel one off and reevaluate.
The turn was a jack, bringing a backdoor flush draw with two hearts on the board now. I think he has both flush draws in his range for sure, and I just still stuck with my read that he didn’t have much and that he wasn’t capable of value-betting thin, so I called. I thought he’d bet an ace-king or king-queen hand like this, but I think on the river,he’d check to me with those hands if a brick came and try to get me to bluff off.
On the turn, I don’t really think about raising because I don’t think he’s folding any part of his value range to me. If I’m going to raise this hand, it’s going to be on the flop. It’s too expensive to do it on the turn. It just would have been awkward with stacks.
So when the river came a complete brick, an off-suit five or something, he shoved for 15,000, which was most of my chips. It was definitely bigger than a pot-size bet, and he just looked really uncomfortable. My read on the flop was that he was weak, and I just can’t imagine a hand he’s doing this with for value unless he rivered a set or something, but I don’t think he’d ever play a low pair that way. I just thought that most of his range was draws. I took a long time to think about it, and talked to him a bit, which seemed to make him uncomfortable too. I usually don’t make a lot of hero calls, but everything was just telling me to call. I was pretty sure he didn’t have anything, but I was worried he could be bluffing with a better hand than mine. I ended up looking him up, and he said, “Nice call,” and flipped over nine-eight of hearts.
So because this opponent was not capable of value-betting a lot of hands here, you could make this call?
Right. If it was someone who was good, like a cash-game player whose ranges are balanced and can recognize that my range is extra weak in this spot, and could value-bet big here with a king or even second pair, I have to fold. Against this specific player who doesn’t value-bet thinly, his range is super polarized. That, along with my read on his demeanor led me to make this call.
During a break, Makhija talked to the PokerNews video team a little bit about the hand and also was the subject of the latest edition of Calling the Clock.
Makhija ended Day 1 of this event with 90,000 in chips and returning for Day 2 this afternoon. Follow the action by staying tuned in to PokerNews.com Live Updates.