Rousso Calls Down Rival
While the pay is certainly better than if you go out during early levels, and the decisions aren’t for as much equity as those made at the final table itself, the most devastating hands of poker are those that go awry and cause you to bust leading up to the final table.
But Vanessa Rousso had no intention of letting that happen leading up to the final table at the World Poker Tour’s Bellagio Five Diamond Classic in December, and instead she made one of the biggest soul-reads of her career against cunning professional and eventual champion Antonio Esfandiari. That’s right, professional poker players can read your soul—you, too, atheists.
With just 14 players left on Day Five of the event, Esfandiari, the chip leader, raised the $10,000-$20,000 blinds under the gun to $53,000 and was called by Rousso one off the button. WPT Borgata runner-up Kia Mohajeri called out of the big blind, and they saw a three-handed flop that came 8h 8c 4s.
After Mohajeri checked, Esfandiari fired out $111,000, leading to a call from Rousso and a fold from Mohajeri. The turn brought the 8d and a bet of $260,000 from Esfandiari. Rousso thought for a couple minutes, then placed the necessary chips in the pot.
The river brought the harmless 7c, and Esfandiari thought for a moment before announcing that he was all in. Esfandiari began the hand with about $2.5 million in chips against the $1.2 million of Rousso, meaning that his river bet was for a little under $800,000.
Rousso began talking to Esfandiari while staring him down in consideration of her decision, saying, “You don’t look scared at all, Antonio,” then eventually asking, “What do you think I have? Anything?”
Esfandiari sat silent, passing up the opportunity to banter with an attractive woman for the first time in his life. Eventually, Rousso announced that she was calling and
-SEE POKER ON PG. 70- turned over pocket 10s for a full house.
Esfandiari mucked his hand, and Rousso announced to the table: “Oh my god, that was the hardest thing ever!”
Both players deserve a lot of credit. Although Esfandiari’s bluff didn’t work, he applied an enormous amount of pressure to his opponent at one of the most crucial moments in the tournament, almost resulting in the fold he needed. Even more impressive was Rousso calling off her entire stack in a situation where guessing wrong would have been a fatal error.
Rousso deduced that Esfandiari was representing a polarized range— meaning that he either had one of the few combinations of better hands, like a big pair, or he had nothing and was bluffing—and then realized that Esfandiari was a clever enough player to recognize that making a bluff at this moment in the tournament would put her to an extremely difficult decision. It’s no surprise that she considered the call-down to be the best of her career.
Mucked: Placed one’s hand in the muck pile face down so as not to expose the cards.
Tony Dunst is a poker pro and host of Raw Deal on World Poker Tour telecasts. Catch him every Sunday night on FSN.
Post new comment