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Hand Review: Top Pro Christoph Vogelsang Dissects Big Hand vs. Bonomo

Christoph Vogelsang
  • Christoph Vogelsang reviews a key Super High Roller Bowl hand he played against Justin Bonomo.

  • Dissecting a Super High Roller Bowl blind-vs.-blind hand between Christoph Vogelsang & Justin Bonomo.

Though he has only been a part of the live tournament scene for a few years now, Christoph Vogelsang has quickly established himself as one of the very top players in the world.

After initially making a name for himself online as a cash game crusher under the moniker "Tight-Man1," the German transitioned to live tournaments and has racked up more than $14 million in cashes in just five years. His biggest win, for $6 million, came this summer when he took down the $300,000 ARIA Super High Roller Bowl.

Vogelsang played a number of memorable hands in that epic event. Among them was a huge pot against Justin Bonomo that eliminated the American and secured Vogelsang's position as one of the top stacks remaining and a favorite to win the event. Another came in the very last hand of the tournament, one in which the German clashed with Jake Schindler in a spot that saw Vogelsang put to a tough river decision.

On break from playing in a high roller event at PokerStars Championship Barcelona, Vogelsang agreed to go over those two hands and talk a little about his thought process in each one — a rare glimpse into the strategic mind of one of poker's true superstars.

PokerNews: Let's start with the hand against Justin Bonomo. You come in limping with {k-Spades}{10-Clubs} from the small blind. Is that standard for you with a solid hand like this against a tough opponent who has position? Do you have a dynamic with Bonomo that affects it?

Vogelsang: I think we were 30 big blinds deep, is that right?

Yeah, that looks like the case. He started with about 1.6 million at 50,000 big blinds.

Nowadays, there's a lot of software out there that tells you what to do with which stack sizes and frequencies. Most of the time, you just have to limp because you get such a good price. You want to be limping most of your hands and you have to have a balanced range which will have somewhat strong hands and weak hands.

Hand Review: Top Pro Christoph Vogelsang Dissects Big Hand vs. Bonomo 101
Justin Bonomo

Bonomo responds by putting in a pretty big raise to 175,000 holding {4-Spades}{2-Hearts}. What do you think his range is here after making a sizable raise like that?

I think the raise size will be the same regardless of the strength of his hand. He'll have all of his strong hands and he'll have some of medium weak-ish stuff with a low-to-medium frequency. I know that he can have complete garbage as he did in this hand. With king-ten, I have a pretty easy decision — always call.

On the {2-Spades}{9-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} flop, you check-call a pretty small bet of 100,000 into 400,000. Was the sizing a factor at all there, or are you usually calling in most cases knowing he can be wide?

I have king-high and two overcards. King-ten seems like a hand I would want to check-call there every single time.

Nothing happens on the {j-Clubs} turn, as you pick up a gutshot and check, and Bonomo checks behind. You get there when the {q-Hearts} hits, bringing in the backdoor straight. You checked again. Are you not tempted to bet here when he checks the turn, indicating he might be trying to get to showdown?

On the river, I think he's probably going to bet if he hits the queen or if he ever slow plays a big hand, as he did there. I can bet or I can check-raise, I don't mind too much [either way]. I think in terms of bluffs, if I have a bluff there, it's something like {10-}{9-} maybe, where I can block his king-ten suited.

He overbets the river for 700,000 into a pot of 600,000, leaving about 600,000 more behind. I see a lot of players these days just call with some very strong hands when faced with big bets in these river spots. I guess they figure not many worse hands will continue if they jam. Is that something that entered your mind here, or were you pretty confident in shoving for value?

I think it's kind of clear that I have to shove there with a straight. It was 40 or 50 percent pot more, and a straight is probably in the top five percent of hands I get to the river with. Maybe even better. There's no question at all you have to shove the river with king-ten. I think the hand actually plays itself in my spot. I always have to shove the river — it's not close.

* * * * *

Bonomo struggled with the river decision, but with his trip deuces ultimately called the rest of his stack off after using a couple of time extensions, resulting in a seventh-place elimination.

Vogelsang continued on with his newly acquired chips and made it to heads up against chip leader Jake Schindler. That's where we'll pick up next week, as Vogelsang shares with us his thought process during the hand that won him the tournament.

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