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Hand Review: Reichard Gets Huge Value at HPT Final Table

Josh Reichard

Covering live poker tournaments for a living affords me the opportunity to see countless thousands of hands played out, many of which offer interesting and potentially valuable insights into how players — both amateurs and professionals — play the game. In this ongoing series, I'll highlight hands I've seen at the tournaments I've covered and see if we can glean anything useful from them.

The Scene

A few weeks ago, I got to watch a good friend of mine ship yet another nice prize when Josh Reichard (pictured above) won the Heartland Poker Tour East Chicago Main Event for $186,812. It was just another day in the life of one of the Midwest's best, and as I watched the live stream, I noted some interesting hands.

One such hand came up fairly early during his heads-up match with David McDermott. Reichard held about a 2-to-1 chip lead, but both players were deep with McDermott having more than 6 million at 50,000/100,000/50,000. Also worth noting, Reichard had earlier pulled off several bluffs with large turn and river bets already at the final table.

The Action

Reichard raised to 250,000 on the button with {q-Clubs}{5-Spades} and McDermott defended the big blind with {j-Clubs}{5-Clubs}.

Both players checked the {2-Hearts}{q-Hearts}{j-Diamonds} flop, bringing a {4-Spades} turn. McDermott checked and called 180,000. On the {5-Diamonds} river, McDermott checked and then snap-called a much larger bet of 1,675,000, and Reichard won the pot with the better two pair.

Concept and Analysis

On the surface, a fairly straightforward cooler developed in this hand in which two players playing heads-up both made two pair. But it's still an interesting hand to examine because Reichard played it in a bit of non-standard fashion.

When raising with queen-five offsuit, the flops don't come much better than top pair of queens with plenty of inferior stuff for the opponent to potentially hold like a pair of jacks or any number of draws. Despite the seemingly excellent situation he found himself in on the flop, Reichard opted to check.

Generally speaking, it's best to bet your top pairs in vulnerable spots, but you want to mix in some checks every now and then. I definitely like to do so when my kicker is weak so I don't waste potential value in a spot where I've got my opponent outkicked. Given that Reichard's kicker is a five that's very unlikely to play, I don't see anything wrong with checking for a bit of deception.

When a brick hits on the turn, McDermott checks again. Reichard would most likely have continuation bet most of his misses in hopes of winning the pot, so I like checking again here to see what he does on the turn.

When Reichard bets small, it seems like a clear-cut call for McDermott.

David McDermott
David McDermott

Meanwhile from Reichard's perspective, it's definitely time to get some value out of what looks almost certainly like the best hand.

On the river the pot has inched up to 960,000. At this point, McDermott checks a final time and Reichard comes blasting out with a huge bet of almost double the pot.

Given the image Reichard has set up due to the bluffs he's gotten through, it's a great time to go for an overbet for value.

If you're going to fire pot-sized and bigger bets as bluffs, you need some value hands, too, and holding essentially the nuts here on a board where tons of draws missed is a great spot to balance yourself. Simply bet this way with the occasional missed draw and your opponents will be left guessing and paying a monster price the times they're wrong.

McDermott has one of the best hands with which he'll make it to the river, and his hand doubles as a fantastic call in a theoretic sense since he covers two of the board cards and holds no diamonds. Given that he also doesn't have a queen, he could even be inducing an overbet for value by checking to something like {a-}{q-}. His hand can't be folded, and I'd actually be a little tempted to go for a river shove here, although that may be optimistic as Reichard might fold the hands he beats.

Simply put, Reichard likely got more value out of this hand than he would have if he went for a standard bet-flop, bet-turn line that may have chased his opponent off his mediocre hand. Losing this huge chunk on the cooler pretty much broke any hopes McDermott had of pulling an upset, helping Reichard onward to capture the win.

Sharelines
  • A not-so-standard line while heads-up nets Josh Reichard value at @HPTPoker East Chicago Main Event.

  • Hand analysis: Josh Reichard checks back flop w/ top pair, then goes for value on the turn and river.

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Mo Nuwwarah

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