Christian Harder is a consummate tournament grinder with nearly $3.2 million in winnings. Last year during the World Series of Poker, he cashed six times and is looking forward to best his performance this year.
Recently, he made a deep run in the $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship, finishing 17th for just over $42,000. Harder talked to PokerNews about a hand he played on Day 4 of the event.
Blinds: 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante
Preflop Action: Freddy Bonyadi raised on the button to 35,000. Christian Harder called in the small blind with ace-queen, and Sam El Sayed called from the big blind.
Did you consider three-betting here?
Three-betting is certainly fine. Bonyadi had about 35 big blinds and was playing well. I’m sure he was opening on the button fairly wide, but I just called because Sam El Sayed in the big blind was a very loose player who did not like to fold preflop or postflop.
I was hoping to basically trap him. I was hoping we would both flop top pair and I would always have him out-kicked and be able to win a big pot off him. Obviously the same goes for Bonyadi, though he would stack off much tighter then Sam.
Flop Action: The flop came rainbow. Harder bet 52,000. El Sayed called, and Bonyadi folded.
Why did you decide to lead the flop?
I could have easily check the flop but was worried that Bonyadi would not continuation-bet very light in a three-way pot, and I wanted to get three streets from a worse ace, especially against El Sayed.
Turn Action: The turn was a . The board read . Harder bet 103,000. El Sayed called.
So was it the same thought process on the turn?
Yeah. I was slightly worried about a hand with a four in it, but I thought there was a zero percent chance he would fold an ace, so it made it a very easy bet/fold for me, meaning that I could bet for value, but fold to a raise.
When he flatted quickly on the turn, did that narrow his range to squarely a weaker ace? It seems as though any hands better than yours would at least think about raising.
That was my thinking. By the speed of his turn call, I was very confident that he had some type of ace-x hand.
Can you explain a little more why this is an easy bet/fold, and why he wouldn't be raising as a bluff?
With no flush draws on the flop, it’s extremely difficult for him to be bluffing if he raised the turn. He would basically have to have two-three, two-four, or two-five which I don’t think even bluffs the turn and might fold preflop or on the flop.
River Action: The river was a . The board read . Harder bet 200,000, and El Sayed called and showed ace-ten for top two pair to win the pot.
On the river, how did you choose your bet sizing?
I thought 200,000 was a good amount because I was very sure I had the best hand. I thought he could have any ace-hand except ace-king, so I only lost to ace-ten or an unlikely hand with a four in it. It was just very unfortunate for me he that had ace-ten. I think he calls the river with any ace.
Is it a bet/fold on the river, too, if he raised?
Yeah. It would suck pretty hard, but I don’t see how I could call a raise versus his line.
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