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Betting it All Minus One Chip: Chidwick Explains

In the above video, the hand in question starts at 10:57:21 and runs through 11:02:56.

Down to eight players with everyone already in the money, an interesting hand played out in the $100,000 Super High Roller at the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. It was a hand that had the commentators shout out in amazement "What a weird hand!" and the railbirds online roaring.

You can watch the video of the hand above. For clarity, we've written out the hand as well:

Chidwick Loses Most of His Stack to Greenwood

Blinds:15,000/30,000
Big Blind Ante:30,000
Players remaining:8
Prizes at stake:8th: $236,720
 7th: $301,820
Short stack:Steffen Sontheimer (5.5 big blinds)

Stephen Chidwick opened {a-Spades}{j-Hearts} under the gun for 65,000 with a total stack of 1,020,000 (34 big blinds) to start the hand. The action folded to Sam Greenwood in the big blind who had 1,580,000 (53 big blinds) and called with {a-Hearts}{6-Hearts}.

With 175,000 in the middle, the flop came {k-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{7-Spades}. Greenwood checked and called Chidwick's 60,000-bet.

The {2-Hearts} hit the turn, and Greenwood checked. Chidwick bet 300,000 into the 295,000-pot. Greenwood called to grow the pot to 895,000.

The {q-Hearts} completed the board, and Greenwood checked. Chidwick bet 590,000, leaving himself a single 5,000-chip behind. Greenwood thought for a bit before he moved all in. Chidwick folded and started the next hand with 5,000, a sixth of a big blind.

"We had just made the money. We were eight-handed, and I raised under the gun, which I'm going to be doing pretty tight as the mid-stack," Chidwick said when we talked to him about the hand two days after it had happened.

"Sam is obviously going to be defending pretty wide," Chidwick said of Greenwood's call that would turn out to be with ace-six of hearts.

Chidwick's continuation bet was called, which prompted an interesting situation on the turn as he faced the decision to keep going or put on the brakes.

"I have a hand that's at the bottom of my range with a blocker to the flush. So I bluff the river."

"I think it's a spot I should keep bluffing quite often, given that I'm under the gun. I don't have that many hands in the first place. And the heart blocker helps me a little bit. It makes it less likely he has a pair and a flush draw, which is something that is always going to call. And I think I put his one-pair hands with sevens or eights in a tough spot."

While the turn was interesting, it was the river that would have the people talking. With the queen of hearts completing the board, Chidwick was left with nothing but ace-high and a lot of his chips already in the middle. We, the audience, could see Greenwood had just made the nuts with his ace-six of hearts.

"The flush completes on the river with the queen," Chidwick said. "The queen also hits some of the other hands I might have been bluffing with and even further demotes my ace-jack, so I have a hand that's at the bottom of my range with a blocker to the flush," Chidwick explained. "So I bluff the river."

Instead of shoving all in or deciding on a different sizing, Chidwick did something even avid poker fans don't see too often. He kept a single blue 5,000-chip back and slid the remainder of his stack forward. In this case, Chidwick pushed 590,000 in the middle with just a sixth of a big blind behind.

"I left a chip behind because in the event the bluff doesn't work, if I manage to make it through the blinds doubling up once or twice, Steffen was on the other side of the table with a short stack, and there's a non-zero chance he busts before I do and I get to ladder up.

"In the event I was value betting in that situation, the extra 5,000-chips gained wouldn't be as important," Chidwick said, explaining how he could've done that as well with a hand with which he wanted a call.

Sam Greenwood
Sam Greenwood

Chidwick, explaining it in his ever-calm voice, chuckled when he described what happened next. As it turned out, Greenwood shoved and with nothing but ace-high, he folded in the hopes of still outlasting Sontheimer.

"He goes all in, and I think at this point, even if he's bluffing, it's going to be with a hand like ace-eight with the ace of hearts, for example. I don't even think he gets to the river with a hand worse than mine. So I was happy to fold and take a small chance at spinning it up with one chip."

Chidwick had the chance to make the "chip and a chair" into a reality, but ended up not as lucky. He lost his one chip the next hand holding {8-Spades}{3-Hearts} to Greenwood's {q-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}.

"I was happy to fold and take a small chance at spinning it up with one chip."

Asked if making this move in this situation was standard practice, Chidwick said, "There are situations where you want to do it, and situations where you wouldn't. It depends a lot on the set-up of the table, the stacks behind you, and various other things.

"If you stand around in a high roller turbo tournament where you'll see a lot of all-in bets, you'll see the move pretty often," Chidwick said.

The move might not be unusual among high rollers, but people on the table still reacted. "People chuckled and there was a bit of a discussion how many chips I was actually allowed to leave behind. Depending on the tournament organizers, some will have to leave a whole ante, some will say one big blind, some will say the smallest chip."

Not only that, but there was of course at least one person at the table with a special interest in the hand. "I assume Goose [Steffen Sontheimer] was a bit disappointed I hadn't busted and he was obviously hoping I would lose the next hand so he didn't have to face the blinds before I got knocked out."

Still, there was no confusion over the move among Chidwick's seven tablemates. "I think everyone at the table understood the reasons behind it and wasn't too surprised," said Chidwick. "Everyone had seen the move before."

Sam Greenwood would end up winning the tournament, taking home $1,775,460 to take his tournament career record over $14 million in cashes.

$100,000 PCA Super High Roller Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize (USD)
1Sam GreenwoodCanada$1,775,460
2Henrik HecklenDenmark$1,284,260
3Jesus CortesSpain$828,560
4Chris HunichenUnited States$627,340
5Talal ShakerchiUnited Kingdom$485,300
6Igor KurganovRussia$378,760
7Steffen SontheimerGermany$301,820
8Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom$236,720
Stephen Chidwick
Stephen Chidwick
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  • Leaving yourself just a single chip behind? Not that remarkable a move.

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