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Poker Pro's Advice

The partnership between 888 Pacific Poker and Michael Keiner has ended on December 2009

Hand analyses by German poker pro and WSOP bracelet winner, Michael Keiner


For this month's hand analysis, I have chosen a game during the EPT Main Events in Barcelona 2007. On day two of the tournament, I was somewhat short stacked with about $25,000 in chips; the average was $35,000. The chip leader on the table had about $90,000 and responded very aggressively, raising on average four times per round.

"With blinds of 400/800 and a 50 ante, he raised again to $2,400 I was on the Big-Blind and found myself holding Pocket 6's. I decided to call the raise and see the flop. Kd-6c-7d showed so I had made my set. I checked, the raiser bet $3,000 and I made a completely oversized re-raise all-in. After considering for 2 minutes, he paid with the words: 'I think you have a flush draw' and showed K-9. I won the hand, doubling to around $51,000, and was now above the average. "With blinds of 400/800 and a 50 ante, he raised again to $2,400 I was on the Big-Blind and found myself holding Pocket 6's. I decided to call the raise and see the flop. Kd-6c-7d showed so I had made my set. I checked, the raiser bet $3,000 and I made a completely oversized re-raise all-in. After considering for 2 minutes, he paid with the words: 'I think you have a flush draw' and showed K-9. I won the hand, doubling to around $51,000, and was now above the average. "In the rare cases when you make a set, you also want to gain the maximum possible pay-out. The fact that my opponent bet only $3,000 (i.e. just more than half the pot) after my check, indicated that the board had affected him. With his chip lead, he would normally have bet at least $4,500 in order to push me off, but he clearly wanted to let me have a valuable turn. "For precisely this reason I decided on the extremely high raise that very often indicates a flush draw. Even if he had not made anything, it would still have been hard for me to win more chips on the turn and river. The customary action then looks like this: Check – check on the turn, play and fold by him on the River. Considering his chip lead, I was still sure that he would not fold the top pair and therefore chose the radical path."

Hand analyses, played and scrutinized by Michael Keiner.


It is a pivotal point in the tournament, which I have been patiently waiting for. Blinds are 200/400 and I have 11,000 in chips – roughly the average chipstack. Benjamin Kang limped in MP1 (mid-position), Jan Heitmann limped at the cutoff and Marcel Luske also limped from the button. Andrea Wirth (SB) calls. "I looked down and was faced with AQ spades. On the big blind, I raised to 2,000. Ben and Jan come for the ride and the others fold. The flop hits - 2s-4s-6d. Without hesitation, I smack the all-in, betting far too much for the pot. Benjamin folds and Jan, after taking an eternity to decide, calls. "Jan flips 99, which has me beat at the moment, but with the turn and river still to come, I am not unduly worried. The turn brings a K, which doesn't help either of us but the river is the seven of spades, giving me the nut flush and the biggest pot of the tournament so far. "The example shows the classic Semi bluff. If both players fold, I collect a 6,800 pot, which brings me far over the average. If one or both call, I still have 15 outs on the turn and 15 on the river to win the showdown, which corresponds to about 54%. If I win the showdown, I subsequently possess almost one quarter of the chips currently in circulation, providing me with an excellent strategic position in the tournament. "Together with the fold equity, I therefore placed an excellent bet. These are exactly the situations that I seek in the tournament. Even if I get knocked out in the hand, the unavoidable confrontation here is the much better alternative than playing passively: simply leaving the pot as small as possible and then betting big only once I've hit a decent hand. "If I wait for Jan to represent a hand, I lose all of my own fold equity and the bet is losing enormously on value. As you all know, exactly therein lays the strength of the Semi bluff." Hand analysis by 888.com's Spanish poker professional Juan Manuel Pastor

I didn't see the hand I'm about to describe but I did live it a few days ago in the casino in Barcelona. The ingredients: Texas Hold´em no Limit, 10-20 the blinds and a table with 10 players. The cut-off button reached 40; the button sees; the small blind increased again to 180 and the large blind send him the rest (some €850). The first to raise threw but the button went all-in (almost 1,500). The small one, after thinking a lot, decided to go with everything (about €750). We have a pot of over €3,000. Given the insistence of the concurrence, those involved decide to turn the cards over before the common ones (this is only obligatory in tournaments, not in cash). The button shows two aces as two suns; the small blind, 7-6 of a different suite and the big one, K-10 diamonds. The five cards on the table were: A-7-J-2-2.

The commentary is easy. It"s now very fashionable to use the raises of the small and large blinds for positions close to them, cut-off and button, to steal what one supposes you wanted to steal from them. But sometimes doing this is more than dangerous since it could cost you your rest. In cash, you can replace and continue on your way, but in a tournament, this is the end of the journey. Take care with these movements. The button player was expecting exactly what happened afterwards since he had seen similar plays during the match. In this case, the trap worked.


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