Pro Takes Advantage Of Position
Is he a calling station who will pay you off on the river? Is he capable of being bet out of a pot?
In this hand from the $10,000- buy-in World Series of Poker main event at the Rio Hotel in 2010, longtime pro and author Blair Rodman had a solid read on the type of player his opponent was and had a plan for milking more chips out of him.
With blinds at $100-$200, Rodman open-raised to $575 from the cutoff seat with A-9 offsuit. Only the big blind called.
“The guy had beaten me out of a hand earlier,” said Rodman, winner of a WSOP bracelet. “We had a history. He’s not an aggressive opponent, but he’s hard to get off a hand. He’s more of a calling station. But he’s the kind of guy who will pay something off if I have something.”
The flop came 5-8-2, two hearts, giving Rodman two overcards and a couple backdoor draws. The big blind led out $700.
“It tells me he got a piece of the flop,” said Rodman, co-author of Kill Phil, a top poker strategy book. “Either he has a heart draw or he has 7- 6. But I had the ace of hearts, which was key. I thought for a while because
I wondered if I could win a big pot from this guy. If an ace, 9 or heart comes, then I’d be in good shape. If I call behind the guy, he might check to me on the turn and give me a free one.”
Rodman called. The turn came the 3 of spades. The big blind checked, as Rodman hoped, and Rodman checked behind him.
“When he checks, I don’t think I can bet to get him to lay anything down, so I’m taking the free card,” Rodman said. “He’s that type of player. If he has a hand, he’ll call me. If he has a draw, then I’m ahead of him. I’m looking for a heart because I have the ace of hearts. I’m playing behind him, so I’m just using position.”
The river came the 9 of clubs, giving Rodman top pair. The big blind checked.
“The only thing he could have that would scare me is 7-6,” Rodman said. “I’m almost positive he would’ve led out with a bet if the 9 helped him. Now I have a shot to make a value bet.”
Rodman made it $650. The big blind called and showed J-8 offsuit for a losing second pair.
“It’s early in the tournament, so I could look to trap somebody or play a hand deeper,” Rodman said. “If it’s later in a tournament, I might get away from it on the flop. But in checking the turn, I looked weak, and when I hit something on the river, I knew I could get paid off.”
Backdoor draw: Needing the last two cards to make the hand.
Steve Rosenbloom is a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the author of the book “The Best Hand I Ever Played,” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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