Alec Torelli Rivered the Nuts on Day 2 of WSOP But Needed to Decide What to Bet
Welcome to Day 2 of the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. In the first article, I walked you through my preparation routine and broke down the most key hand from Day 1.
Today I’m continuing with the series to share a crucial hand from Day 2 that propelled me to become the table chip leader.
For those who want a deeper dive, I’m putting together a full breakdown of my entire Main Event run, a tournament course, and a live workshop on tournament poker, which you can learn more about at Conscious Poker. Enter your email there to receive a free “Hand of the Day” video breakdown of a key hand from my 2023 Main Event.
Let's Get to the Action
I had three-bet the previous two hands, from the button and cutoff respectively. From the button, I got cold four-bet by the same Villain in the big blind in hand below, and I folded. From the cutoff, I showed down KxJx offsuit and won. My read on the Villain was he was a solid, capable, and aggressive pro. My image was a bit loose and therefore, I don’t believe it was an ideal time to bluff.
The blinds on Day 2 at this point in time were 400/800 with an 800 big blind ante and we were sitting with 86,000 effective.
The same player who I three-bet the hand before opened in middle position to 1,600. I looked down at the A♦K♦ and reraised to 4,600 from the hijack. The button, the same Villain who four-bet me just two hands prior, cold called. The original raiser called too.
Although there was a lot of history, the three-bet by me is completely standard with AxKx suited. The cold call was quite odd for this player. I’m certain he has a strong playable hand, but not a monster, as that would have four-bet preflop. I put him on hands like 9x9x-QxQx, AxQx and KxQx suited.
The original raiser was calling very wide given his pot odds and that he was closing the action. There was 15,800 in the pot when the flop fell K♣4♠2♦. The middle-position player checked, I bet 5,000, the Villain on the button called, and the middle-position player folded.
This was a great flop for both my hand and range. I had the advantage on this board as my range of hands contained more nutted hands like AxKx, KxKx, and AxAx than my opponents.
My continuation-bet applies pressure on the button’s middle strength hands, such as pocket pairs and the original opener’s range, which is very wide.
I expected the button to call semi-often there, given his position, pot odds, and the fact that many of his preflop hands contained pairs or perhaps AxKx, KxQx or KxJx suited.
With 25,800 in the pot, the dealer burned and turned the 7♦, which I bet to the tune of 11,000, and the Villain called.
Things heat up on the turn. My bet represented a very narrow range of value, such as AxKx, AxAx, KxKx and perhaps KxQx, as well as bluffs. This is often referred to as a ‘polarized’ range.
I like betting with my hand because checking will often lead to my opponent checking behind. Although my hand needs little protection – his pocket pairs and KxQx both have a mere two outs – I get value from betting.
Given my loose three-betting image, I believed the Villain would feel that I was trying to bluff him off 9x9x-QxQx with a double barrel, and he would actually call me down light.
With 37,800 in the pot, the Q♦ appeared on the river to give me the nuts on a board reading K♣4♠2♦7♦Q♦. I opted to bet 26,000.
This was actually quite a tricky spot. I considered all my options here: checking to induce a bluff, or perhaps stack him if he has KxQx or QxQx — which will likely just call if I bet — betting small to induce a bluff or light call, and betting big to make it look like I myself was bluffing.
"I opted to bet an amount that was big enough that I could be bluffing, while simultaneously small enough that would tempt him to turn his hand into a bluff with a shove."
There’s merit to all three, which is why this hand is so interesting.
Ultimately, I decided that I had to bet here. It’s simply too risky that he checks behind with KxJx, AxKx, or a smaller pair.
I opted to bet an amount that was big enough that I could be bluffing, while simultaneously small enough that would tempt him to turn his hand into a bluff with a shove.
He tanked for a minute before finally making the call only to muck when I showed my cards. This hand propelled me up to over 130,000 going into the next level.
I hope you enjoyed this hand breakdown from my WSOP Main Event run. Stay tuned to PokerNews as the series continues with the most key hand from Day 3.
Reach out to me on social at @AlecTorelli and say hi on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I love meeting new people!
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Alec Torelli has been playing high-stakes poker professionally since 2006. With over $1,500,000 in tournament winnings and millions more in both live and online cash games, Alec is one of the most respected poker players in the industry today. He has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, Travel Channel, Fox Sports, Cigar Aficionado, PokerNews, and many more.
In 2015, Alec founded Conscious Poker to teach poker players how to improve their game, move up in limits, and achieve their poker goals. Since then, Alec has coached nearly a hundred players both in person and virtually, and thousands more have taken his programs to take their game to the next level.