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Jonathan Little on How Charlie Carrel Tried to BLUFF a BILLIONAIRE!

Charlie Carrel

In this hand from Day 1 of the €100,000 partypoker Millions NLH tournament, we see Charlie Carrel do what Charlie Carrel does best - trying to run all over his opponents by forcing them into making extremely tough decisions. Cary Katz decides to stand up to this aggressiveness and fires back with some of his own.

Although Carrel is still young, he has managed to amass more than $9.5 million in tournament winnings. He’s widely known to be fearless and hyper-aggressive at the tables which has proved very profitable for him.

The hand started in the 2,000/4,000/4,000 level when Carrel (152,000) raised to 10,000 from the cutoff with the {a-Diamonds}{q-Hearts} and Katz (334,000) called from the small blind with the {a-Hearts}{j-Hearts}. Chin Wei Lim (209,000) then came along from the big blind with the {10-Hearts}{8-Hearts} and it was three-way action to the {5-Spades}{2-Hearts}{9-Hearts} flop.

Despite there being five hearts between the three players’ hands, two more appeared on the flop and Katz opted to lead out for 13,500. It’s kind of a weird lead. Perhaps he may think that Carrel is going to check behind a lot on the flop. If he checks and Carrel bets, Katz could just put in a check-raise. He decided to lead it though, and Lim had to decide what to do with his flush draw.

If Lim decides to raise then he is at risk of Carrel or Katz shoving all in, which would be a disaster for him. Carrel could easily have an overpair here as he was the preflop raiser. I think calling is the only play in this scenario. Make sure you are always aware of all the relevant stack depths of your opponents as well as your own.

Lim did call and Carrel was facing a lead and a call. He was going to be up against a combination of made hands and draws. I think you’re supposed to splash around for 13,500 here and he does call to see the {k-Diamonds} turn. Whose hand does this connect best with?

Jonathan Little on How Charlie Carrel Tried to BLUFF a BILLIONAIRE! 101

The king on the turn will often connect more with Carrel’s cutoff opening range than the small blind and big blinds calling ranges. Katz and Lim both checked their flush draws and Carrel had the opportunity to bluff. If you’ve ever played poker with Charlie Carrel, you know he enjoys bluffing. He is known to be very aggressive, and here his opponent’s ranges are fairly capped. The question is, can you get a nine to fold here?

If he bets too big then he will not have much fold equity on the river due to how small the stack-to-pot ratio will be. He doesn’t want to bet too small either because he will never get marginal hands to fold and he will be giving a profitable price to the draws. With 74,500 in the pot, I think betting something like 40,000 would be the sweet spot.

Carrel bet 50,000 and I think it may have been a tiny bit too big resulting in less fold equity on the river. Anyway, Katz burned a couple of time bank cards before check-raising all in for 310,000. Lim quickly folded and Carrel did the same.

Now, you might be wondering why check-jam here with really no fold equity? Well, he correctly recognized that against specifically Carrel, who he knows is capable of a bluff, he had some fold equity against the large bet size.

For a more thorough breakdown of this hand, check out my thoughts in the following video used with permission from partypoker:

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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