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Patrik Antonius Leaves Tony G Steaming in This Poker Hand

Tony G and Patrik Antonius

In this week’s strategy column, I am throwing it back to 2012 when Tony G faced off against the never-aging Patrik Antonius.

In this hand, Antonius managed to find a check with the effective nuts, setting the bait three times for Tony G, who gladly took it by betting on the river. Antonius put in a huge check-raise but did Tony G find a call with his marginal hand? Either way, you know Tony G was steaming when he faced this kind of aggression! Let’s dive in.

The hand took place in the partypoker Premier League Poker V when Tony G raised to 30,000 under the gun holding the {k-Hearts}{k-Clubs}. Antonius called an additional 15,000 out of the big blind with the {a-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}.

The {4-Hearts}{a-Clubs}{a-Spades} flop gave Antonius the nuts and he checked to Tony G, who checked it back. I think this was a good spot for Tony G to bet frequently and small, but if you want to find some hands to check it back with, pocket kings is a good one to do it with as it is a marginal made hand on this flop. When it goes check-check on the flop, it became fairly apparent Tony G had either a marginal-made hand or complete air.

"If you know your opponent likes to bluff a lot then give them every opportunity to run those bluffs."

As for Antonius, checking the nuts is pretty standard here. Leading into someone out of position, you are saying you are not concerned with what their range looks like, which is a huge indicator of strength,

On the {6-Clubs} turn, Antonius checked again. It’s reasonable to keep super nutted hands in your checking range because you block so many hands that they may call with. Similarly, if you know your opponent likes to bluff a lot then give them every opportunity to run those bluffs. If your opponent is on the weaker and tighter side then you want to bet as they are unlikely to bluff.

Tony G checked behind, much to the astonishment of commentator Mike Sexton, but I don’t mind it. It’s one of those spots where you have to be concerned about losing a lot of chips, especially in tournament play, and betting the turn opens that door.

Antonius checking three times would really increase the value of Tony G’s marginal made hands, and that’s just what he did on the {3-Clubs} river. This time Tony G took the bait by betting 40,000 out of his 332K stack.

This is a spot where Antonius is going to want to put in a big raise, like 3.5-4x your opponent’s bet. By doing so he will be polarized between having a nutted hand or nothing. If you only raise here with the nuts like a lot of weak players do, it’s like a free bet for Tony G who can bet and get called by worse hands and then just fold whenever raised.

Remember this, a big difference in being a big winner and a marginal winner is the aggression that they bring on the river.

Antonius woke up with a check-raise to 170K and Tony G shifted uncomfortably in his chair. When your perceived range is these types of marginal hands you have to find some hero calls against good players that will attack this range.

In this spot, Tony G blocked the king-high flush, which made a hero call a bit more appealing. Against world-class players that have the ability to bluff in these types of situations makes for a stronger case for Tony G to call, which he eventually did.

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 JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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