Terrence Chan began his career online but made a seamless transition to live poker. He owns a WCOOP title, as well as two SCOOP titles, and numerous prestigious live cashes that bring his lifetime winnings to more than $1.1 million. Although he’s obviously a successful poker player, he plans to take a hiatus from the game to concentrate on his other passion: mixed martial arts. Before the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour Rosario Main Event, Chan suggested that this tournament could be the last one for a while. Perhaps with the extra motivation to end on a high note, Chan went deep, finishing in 10th place for $17,050. For this edition of strategy, Chan sat down with PokerNews to talk about a hand he played on Day 2 of the event.
- Pay attention to live tells and trust your read
- Balance your call range preflop
- Know when to hero-call versus when to raise blinds: 2,000-4,000 with a 400 ante
What was the table flow and your table image before this hand?
It’s hard to say what my image was because I had been moved to the table fairly recently, so it was sort of a mix between guys I had played before and guys who I hadn’t played with yet even though we were fairly deep in the tournament. My opponent in this hand, I don’t think I played against him much at all, so I don’t think he knew too much about me.
Preflop Action: It folds around to the Villain in the small blind who raises to 14,000. Chan calls in the big blind with .
He’s probably raising into you with a pretty wide range. What went into your decision to just call instead of three-betting for value?
I remember that we were deep enough so that we probably could have gone five bets. So if he raised, I could three-bet, he could four-bet, and I could five-bet shove. I definitely don’t want to get that kind of money in with king-queen, so I decided to call. And you know, I want to have a lot of stronger hands in my calling range anyway too since I’m calling a ton in the big blind anyway.
Flop Action: The flop comes . Villain bets 14,000. Chan calls.
I decided to call, which is sort of half a float and half just a call because I have the nut no pair. I think this is a pretty straightforward call most good players will know to make and most bad players will just fold.
Why is a straightforward call? Because of the strength of your hand and position?
Yeah, exactly, you can’t just fold there because if you do, then you’re just folding way too many hands. It does suck if your opponent has an ace, but then again, this is never going to be a spot where it’s going to end up cost you a lot of money. So you’re sort of floating, sort of calling with the best hand. You have position so you’re putting your opponent in a really awkward spot.
Did you think about raising the flop?
It’s dangerous to raise because you don’t have a lot of big aces in your range by virtue of the fact that you didn’t reraise preflop. That means you’ve got a lot of medium aces, and if you’ve got a lot of medium aces, are you willing to go all the way with the hand with top pair on this flop? Would you raise on this flop with ace-six? Ace-nine for value? Maybe, maybe not. You’re basically telling the guy that you have a set or two pair. Ace-high flops are really interesting in blind versus blind situations because if you don’t three-bet preflop, you don’t have a lot of big aces in your range so you’ll be calling a bet on an ace-high flop a lot of the time.
Turn Action: The turn is the . The board now reads . Villain bets 22,000, and Chan calls.
How does this card help your decision to call again?
Obviously, my hand is now improved since it’s less likely he has an ace. When he bet again on the turn, and the amount he did, it gets interesting. Now that he bets a second time, if it’s for value, it’s more likely he has a pair in his range more than an ace. Here’s where you should probably looking for live tells. He didn’t look really uncomfortable, but it was something about how he did it that was really tangible, that made me think he didn’t want a call.
River Action: The river is the . The board now reads . Villain bets 22,000. Chan called. Villain shows and Chan shows . The players chop the pot.
What made your decision to call the river bet?
He bet the same amount on the river as he did on the turn, and he said the amount. He said it in a way though that was confident, but false confident. I just looked at him, and he was shuffling chips very well, in a way that made me think he was very experienced. It was very rhythmic, very perfect, almost like, too perfect. It was relaxed to the point where it seemed he was trying to be relaxed. All of a sudden, I’m thinking, he is very full of shit right now.
Did you think about raising the river instead of just calling?
The river bet is only about a sixth of pot, but I still only had 60,000 or to raise him with. I had to basically question myself whether or not I wanted to put my tournament life on the line because I had a read. In the end, I couldn’t do it, so I just called.
I could have raised him off half the pot, which I feel a little bad about. I didn’t expect him to have the same hand as me, I expected him to have worse. I didn’t think he’d show up with like, a pair of course here, but I would have felt really dumb if he did. [laughs] I probably wouldn’t have gone this deep, and people would have been talking about what an idiot I am. I don’t think this is a clear call at all, but I think it’s one where I had to go with my feeling and what I saw from him. It’s very hard to tell the difference between genuine relaxed and fake relaxed which I think just comes with a lot of experience. Now that I’m playing less online and more live, I feel like I’m doing a lot better with that.
Were you worried that the Villain was bluffing with a better hand?
Yeah, it’s really dangerous to do this, especially against a player you’ve never really played against before. I think that against a good player, you won’t see this very often. A good player knows that they’re generally supposed to polarize their river-betting hands. They’re supposed to have all their value-betting hands and all their worst hands at the bottom of their distribution. Occasionally they’ll turn their hand into a bluff, so you basically know that those are the three classifications of hands that they have. Against a player who you’ve never seen before who could be an amateur player, you really have to worry about making this hero call. I’m not necessarily saying that what I did was right. It might not have been because maybe he could have done this with pocket threes, but it’s unlikely. But yeah, you bring up a good point. It’s something to keep in mind. When you’re playing against an unknown, they may be bluffing with a hand that’s better than you.