Hand Review: Pratyush Buddiga Calls it Off With Aces in the $300K SHRB
Covering live poker tournaments for a living affords me the opportunity to see countless thousands of hands played out, many of which offer interesting and potentially valuable insights into how players — both amateurs and professionals — play the game. In this ongoing series, I'll highlight hands I've seen at the tournaments I've covered and see if we can glean anything useful from them.
We have already looked over a number of hands from the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl through the expert lens of winner Christoph Vogelsang's analysis. You should definitely check those pieces out — available here and here.
Today I'll do my best Vogelsang impression and look over a different hand from the same event, albeit one that doesn't involve any German wizards.
This hand was one of the most talked about that occurred at the final table, one involving Jake Schindler and Pratyush Buddiga. In a previous hand that may have had a bearing on this one, Buddiga took an extremely passive line with on a board, only check-calling a river bet after checking twice on the flop and turn.
Both players were playing north of 4 million at 20,000/40,000/40,000 (the button paid the entire ante in this structure), with Buddiga covering Schindler by 600,000.
Vogelsang opened this pot to 90,000 in middle position and Schindler called on the button with . Buddiga held in the big blind and made it 400,000 to go. Vogelsang folded but Schindler called, and the remaining two players saw the flop come .
Buddiga slowed down with a check and then called a 400,000 bet from Schindler. He check-called another 750,000 on the turn, then checked again after the came on the river.
After using a time extension, Schindler shoved for about 2.5 million into the pot of approximately 3 million. Buddiga used his own extension and called, and Schindler won the huge pot.
Concept and Analysis
It's always fun to look at a big hand between two expert-level players. Such hands can be very informative when thinking about ways to improve your own play and better read the ranges of opponents.
This particular hand was one of the most critical of the entire tournament, and Buddiga found himself in a classic spot playing a huge pot with one pair against an opponent who seems pretty polarized. Getting these spots right can be a huge turning point in any tournament run.
As he had many times throughout the event, Buddiga chose to take a passive line postflop, this time with a very strong hand. If Buddiga takes these check-call lines with strong hands like the earlier boat, it protects his medium and weaker hands and possibly induces Schindler to value bet some worse hands.
The most interesting decision obviously comes on the river where Buddiga has to decide whether to call off most of his stack on a board of . Remember, he also put in a sizable preflop three-bet and was called by a player who just called an initial raise in position.
Given that, what sorts of hands does Buddiga put Schindler on? Obviously, sets of eights and sevens are likely to make up a big part of his value range. Could Schindler have and have run trips? Most players would likely three-bet this hand preflop since it's a little too weak with which to call a raise.
Since an aggressive player opened in middle position, it seems likely Schindler would three-bet kings and queens from the button. But would he shove kings for value on the river when Buddiga had already shown he was willing and able to take passive lines with very strong hands? What would he be hoping to get called by?
What about bluffs? Something like makes sense, as Buddiga doesn't block the . Maybe .
All in all, both ranges seem quite narrow. Unfortunately for Buddiga, his most likely hand does look like one pair in this spot, making it easy for Schindler to put the screws to him with either a big bluff or a big value bet.
We have to wonder, does Buddiga's earlier line and his overall out-of-position strategy affect Schindler's frequency of bluffing? My best guess is that he might be a little less likely. But there's no way for me to know for sure. That's why I'm only playing in $1,000 tournaments and watching the $300Ks!
Buddiga was openly hard on himself on social media after this final table, but this spot is just incredibly difficult. It's tough for me in the $300-$1,000 tournaments I'm used to playing, so it's at least triply so in this spot against a fellow expert player.
While I think this is a fun hand to analyze, it's beyond my abilities to say whether Buddiga's call was right or wrong — but I imagine I would probably puke and call if I were in his spot. What do you guys think?