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Tournament Hand Analysis with Lauren Kling

Lauren Kling

Lauren Kling is a rising star on the live and online tournament circuit. In her short career, she’s already earned almost half a million dollars in winnings including five cashes at the World Series of Poker. Kling was recently featured on The Sunday Grind, and she also took the time out to talk to PokerNews about a hand she played in a tournament on Full Tilt for this strategy article.

Stacks and Lineup

  • Hero: locoenlacabeza (10,905)
  • Villain: AsMetzmagnyAs (12,283)


  • Awareness of pre-ante play
  • Check-raising the river

Preflop Action: With the blinds at 80-160, AsMetzmagnyAs raises to 360 under the gun plus one. It folds to locoenlacabeza who calls 360 with {8-Hearts}{8-Clubs}. The pot is now 960.

What went into your decision making to just flat with eights? Did you think about reraising?

I flatted with eights since a lot of people's opening ranges are not as broad from earlier positions and AsMetz opened UTG+1. My goal is to get the most value from my hand, so if I raise and I get reraised, I would probably have to fold. Also, most likely, I'm probably behind if he does four-bet pre-ante, so three-betting him would be turning a hand which has a lot of value into a bluff. I also have set odds, so if I do flop an eight, I'll be more likely to get him to stack off with an over pair and since I'm in position, I have the option to steal the pot from him post flop if I don't hit. 

Flop Action: The flop comes {4-Spades}{Q-Hearts}{3-Spades}. AsMetzmagnyAs bets 480, and locoenlacabeza calls. The pot is now 1,920.

This is a pretty dry board. Why did you decide to flat here? Is there any merit in raising the flop since it’s unlikely you would get better to fold or worse to call?

I flatted here because AsMetz had c-bet probably 95-100 percent of the time, he had played aggressive, been in a lot of hands, and he appeared to be a capable player. If I am playing against an opponent who is capable, I need to be prepared to call one to two streets and sometimes three, depending on the texture of the board, my opponent, and my perceived range of my opponent. 

I wouldn't raise this flop because I lose bluff value from him if AsMetz has a hand like ace-king, ace-jack, ace-ten, spades, or any under pair to the board, I extract the most value by just calling and letting him bluff or barrel with air. Additionally, I lose the least amount if he does have me beat by keeping the pot small.

Turn Action: The turn is the {6-Hearts}. The board now reads {4-Spades}{Q-Hearts}{3-Spades}{6-Hearts}. AsMetzmagnyAs bets 1,120 and locoenlacabeza calls. The pot is now 4,160.

At this point, what are you thinking about the hand? Are you confident your hand is best? What do you think your hand looks like to him?

Honestly, I did think my hand was best at the time, based upon how aggressive he had played and the fact that this was a great card for him to double barrel. Since my calling range pre flop is often times a midpair, he could think I'm just floating the flop and would fold to a turn bet. Thus, assuming I was good, my plan was to call the turn and reevaluate the river. 

River Action: The river is the {Q-Clubs}. The board now reads {4-Spades}{Q-Hearts}{3-Spades}{6-Hearts}{Q-Clubs}. AsMetzmagnyAs bets 2,400. locoenlacabeza raises to 8,940 and is all in. AsMetzmagnyAs folds. locoenlacabeza wins the pot of 8,960.

Why did you decide to check-raise ship on the river? Is it for value? What range did you put him on when he barreled all three streets?

I jammed on the river for a few reasons. First off, the sizing of his bet seemed obvious to me that he didn't have a queen.  If he had a queen he would have bet more on the river and 2,400 seemed like the next number in his sequence of betting. For example, he bet almost 1,200 on the turn and 2,400 on the river, doubling his turn bet. At this point, I knew he was either triple barreling with air or had a hand that had me beat, such as nines through aces and would most likely bet-fold the river.

In his eyes, I'm not going to be jamming over him unless I have a queen or a boat, so he could be value-betting a hand like kings and get me to call with jacks. I decided to turn my hand into a semi-bluff by jamming and representing a queen, getting him to fold nines through aces. He can't call me with anything except a queen or a boat and the likelihood of him having either of those two hands is so slim, especially because of his bet sizing as I mentioned above. Lastly, people are less willing to stack off pre-ante, so it makes my jam so much stronger and makes it almost impossible for AsMetz to call without the nuts.

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