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Hand Analysis with Thuy Doan Versus Phil Galfond

Thuy Doan

This summer, Thuy Doan, an upcoming, young, female poker player, received television coverage during the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. Having honed her skills playing high-stakes cash games and enlisting the help of close friends Phil Galfond, Barry Greenstein and others, an interesting dynamic developed at her Day 1b Main Event table when Galfond was moved to her left. She talked to PokerNews about a hand that was televised in which she went head-to-head with Galfond.

Tournament: 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event
Blinds: 150-300

To start off, can you catch readers up on how your day had been going?

Oh yeah, it's Day 1b of the Main Event. The table is unusually "not soft" for the Main Event. Most people are playing okay, not necessarily tough, but not as bad as what you'd expect for the Main Event either. The table doesn't get any better with Phil Galfond moving a few seats to my left. He's been a friend for a few years, and obviously I know he's a good player. And he knows I've been playing poker for awhile.

It's the middle of the day, and I've recently lost a third of my original stack which was frustrating, but I don't think Phil believes that the loss is going to significantly affect my decision-making from then on.

Preflop Action: The under-the-gun player raised to 1,000. Phil Galfond, next to act, three-bet to 3,200. It folded around to Thuy Doan in the big blind with pocket queens. She called and the under-the-gun player folded. It's now heads-up to the flop.

What do you think about the preflop action before it gets to you?

I've seen him [under the gun] raise light preflop, so I didn't expect him to show a strong hand often. Phil previously three-bet light once in late position, bluffed an ace-flop and shut down on the turn and river. I know that the older gentleman has a wide range, but I don't think Phil has been at the table long enough to pick up on this. Phil is obviously capable of three-betting light, but I don't believe this is the ideal situation for him to do so because I expect his image of the older gentleman to be tight based on stereotypical assumptions.

It folded around to me in the big blind with queens, which can be a tough hand to play out of position to a skilled aggressive player. I expect Phil to have a premium range like jacks, kings, aces, and ace-king. Queens are still a strong hand and can still win a big pot if a queen hits the flop, even if it's up against kings or aces. If the older gentleman comes along, then the odds to play it increases.

So there is no value in reraising.

Yeah, reraising would have risked too big a chunk of my stack anyway.

Is it surprising that the under-the-gun raiser folded?

The older gentleman seemed to like opening light, but I think he was solid enough to realize that both Phil and I had strong hands. I actually didn't think he was going to fold preflop. I wasn't sure what he was going to do, but I definitely wanted him to come along.

Flop Action: The flop comes {A-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{3-Hearts}. Doan checked and Galfond bet 2,500. Doan called.

What was your thought process on this flop?

It's obviously a terrible flop for me since I now only beat jacks from the range I put Phil on. He bet one-third of the pot. It's a fairly standard continuation bet size even if he had an ace. What threw me off were his physical tells, which told me he didn't like the flop. I believed the weak bet size truly indicated a hand that didn't connect with the flop, such as jacks or kings, or if my preflop read was wrong and he was three-betting light, then he missed the flop. I didn't want to waste my chips in the Main Event but the small bet size combined with the physical read made me want to see what happened on the turn. If he checked behind which I thought he'd do, then I could decide what to do with the river

Turn Action: The turn is the {7-Clubs}. The board now read {A-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{7-Clubs}. Doan checked and Galfond quickly checked behind.

Here you're range is likely the same you put him on. Do you think that he'd often try to barrel you off queens or jacks if he had a hand with no showdown value, and maybe he check the turn because he did have some sort of showdown value hand?

I'd seen him give up and not barrel a three-bet pot previously, so I didn't feel like he was in super-aggro mode. And he doesn't expect me to always call there with jacks or queens. There is also the fear that I have ace-king and didn't want to three-bet preflop.

After he checks the turn, what type of range are you putting him on?

After he quickly checks the turn, I think he has jacks or kings and isn't happy that I called an ace-high flop. Since we're friends, he knows that I'm not fooling around with garbage.

River Action: The river is the {K-Hearts}. The board now reads {A-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{K-Hearts}. Doan checked and Galfond bet 6,200. Doan folded.

So before seeing the river, did you maybe think about value-bet/blocking by leading?

I still had him on jacks or kings, and it would have been an interesting decision what to do. I beat jacks and don't have concerns about it because I think he's going to check behind on the river. If he has kings, I can't win against unless I pretend I have ace-king. If I had ace-king and didn't want to reraise it preflop, I'd probably play it the same way: check-call flop, check turn, and on the river with ace-king, I'd probably bet 55-65% of the pot.

Since the river was the king, that changed your plans obviously.

Now the only thing I beat in his range is jacks. I checked to him, and he bet about half the pot. Easy fold. It would have definitely been interesting if the river was a blank and I led out.

Yeah for sure. So it would have been a bluff against kings, and value against jacks? But he'd probably fold jacks, though, right?

Yeah it would certainly not be value against jacks. I don't expect a to call. The only reason I'd bet is as a bluff against kings to make sure I take down the pot.

Did he ever tell you later what he had?

Yeah, he told me he had kings. [laughs].

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