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Lessons from the 2014 PCA: Being Aware of Bet-Sizing

Daniel Gamez

The 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is just one day away, with the much anticipated $100,000 Super High Roller getting started tomorrow. PokerNews’ Live Reporting team will be providing start-to-finish coverage of that event as well as the $25,000 High Roller and the $10,000 Main Event. Today we look back at another key hand from last year’s PCA Main Event final table.

The 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event drew 1,031 entries and culminated with an exciting final table won by Dominik Panka. Among those Panka outlasted at that final table were Shyam Srinivasan who eventually took sixth and Daniel Gamez who finished fifth. Gamez (pictured at right) was the source of many interesting and oftentimes unconventional moves during his time at the final table, and it was one of these moves against Srinivasan that ended up putting Gamez on the defensive early on.

Unfortunate Timing for Gamez-manship

The hand in question occurred at a blind level of 25,000/50,000 with a 5,000 ante. Srinivasan began the hand with about 2.4 million in chips while Gamez held about 1.8 million. Srinivasan was sitting in early position and where he was dealt {A-Spades}{A-Hearts}. He opened with a raise to 110,000 and it folded around to Gamez in the small blind who looked down at {J-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}. Gamez cut out a reraise to 385,000 and when the action got back to Srinivasan he flat-called.

The flop fell {5-Spades}{K-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} and Gamez made a continuation bet of 500,000. Srinivasan announced that he was all in, which was a bet for Gamez’s tournament life. Gamez released his jack-high and Srinivasan was pushed the pot.

Inflating the Pot When Out of Position

While Gamez’s loss can be partially attributed to poor timing, what makes it more problematic was his bet-sizing. Srinivasan had been active early on during the final table and Gamez was clearly attempting to make a move on him, but he ultimately lost more chips than he should have while attempting to make this move.

Lessons from the 2014 PCA: Being Aware of Bet-Sizing 101
Shyam Srinivasan

First, let’s look at Gamez’s three-bet before the flop. Srinivasan had opened the pot with just over a min-raise to 110,000. Gamez, out of position, then reraised to 385,000. This is fairly large-three bet and betting this much with a relatively weak hand is more often than not going to hurt Gamez down the line.

Gamez began the hand with roughly 1.8 million, which meant this reraise was for about 21% of his stack. What a bet of this size is doing is inflating the pot and thereby forcing Gamez to continue out larger and commit even more of his stack on the flop. Reraising to a smaller amount in this situation will more often than not serve the same purpose while alleviating a bit of the risk.

Good Chips After Bad

Srinivasan called the reraise, then Gamez absolutely whiffed on the flop (as often happens). He was out of position and first to act, meaning that after committing so much before the flop he was essentially forced to continue out and try to take down the pot right there, which is why Gamez pushed out a continuation bet of 500,000. Again, though, this was a case of Gamez continuing out for way too much and not a good enough hand to back it up.

With 860,000 in the middle, Gamez put in a bet of 58% of the pot. Regardless of how much Gamez continues out for, he is folding his cards to a raise in any scenario. With this information in mind, continuing out for a large amount like this does not make sense. All that this bet is doing is committing more of Gamez’s stack than was necessary, leaving him in an even more dire position after the hand.

Srinivasan came over the top with an all-in bet and suddenly Gamez had his back against the wall. There was nothing he could do to win the hand and he was left to fold his cards and sit on a stack of around 19 big blinds.


Gamez made a very key mistake in this hand of committing way too much of his stack without a proper hand to back up his bets. It was, of course, rotten timing that he attempted to make a move on Srinivasan when the former held two aces in the hole, but yet Gamez could have saved so much more of his stack while attempting to make the same move.

By committing that much of his stack, Gamez was left hurting and spent the next few orbits searching for a starting hand that was good enough to move all in with in hopes to double-up. But with more proper bet-sizing, he might have avoided losing as much as he did.

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