So, today’s article is not going to be about any hands I personally played.
Over the weekend, I was watching the PCA 2023 main event. It’s a great tournament. The commentators are awesome and it’s always suspenseful and exciting to watch pros make big moves, given how much money they are playing for. Many of the hands are quite mundane and boring, especially as you get later into the tournament. That’s just how poker is honestly.
Recently, I posted an article talking about coolers. I said that folding a boat is extremely difficult but not always impossible.
There was one hand that I witnessed, that left me in disbelief.
So, let’s jump right into the action.
This hand took place between Alexandre Raymond and Pedro Neves. At this point in the tournament, there were only 8 players left. So it’s important to take into account ICM considerations as well.
I do think that ICM considerations were a huge factor in the play that was made here. Raymond had about 50% more chips than Neves at the start of the hand.
Anyways, Neves was dealt K♦️K♠ in UTG+2. He raised to 2x, or about 100,000 in chips.
Raymond was dealt A♦️Q♣ in the big blind. He flatted.
The flop comes: Q♥5♦️Q♦️. So Raymond flopped trips. Raymond checks, Pedro bets 70,000. Raymond check-raises to 200,000. Neves flats.
I’m not sure what kind of hand Raymond was putting Neves on here. I suppose he was raising to charge draws just in case Neves was on a flush draw, and to build the pot. Otherwise, I’m not exactly sure what was going through his head here. Perhaps he thought that given Neves raised that he would call and wanted to build the pot.
However, if Neves was c-betting with nothing then he was just folding here. Given he had one of the queens it was hard to put him on a queen here.
The turn comes: 5♥
So now it’s a double paired board. Not something you want to see with kings. Neves definitely didn’t like this card very much. If Raymond had something like A5s now he was losing, and he’s crushed by any queen. At this point, he’s not really beating anything except a bluff or a smaller pocket pair.
Raymond checks. Neves slows down and checks back.
The river comes K♥. Neves was drawing close to dead and he just drills the 2-outer on the river.
What happened next left me in absolute disbelief.
Raymond bets 325,000. About half of the pot. After some consideration, Neves makes it 1,800,000 to call.
I like this sizing. I suppose Neves was trying to make it look a bit bluffy, because that’s a huge raise size in relation to the pot. Perhaps he was trying to induce Raymond to call him down light.
When I saw this, I was like, okay, goodbye Raymond. Really unfortunate.
But, Raymond somehow gets away from queens full.
When I watched this, I thought that he threw in a time bank card. When I realized it was his actual cards, I was in disbelief.
I’m trying to think exactly what went through Raymond’s head here. There are a lot of things to consider here.
First of all, Neves’ hand is quite well concealed. Given he was in early position, and only raised 2x, it’s hard to put him on a hand like KK. If this was a 3 or 4-bet pot, it would be a different story. Neves’ range will still be quite narrow given his position, but you’re still not necessarily putting him on a hand like KK. There are many other hands that he could have.
There aren’t many hand combinations that beat Raymond. He loses to KK, QK, and 55. However, all of these hands could be in the UTG+2 opening range.
Also, given the fact that Neves checked back the turn yet did a huge raise on the river, is a possible indicator that he liked the river card.
Raymond check-raised the flop, so it doesn’t seem logical for Neves to check back the turn out of fear that Raymond would fold. To me it indicates that he didn’t like the turn card, but did like the river card.
Plus, the pot was already fairly large and taking it down uncontested at this point in the tournament wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
I think a big factor in this decision was the fact that Neves had chosen to raise on this board, at this point in the tournament. Would Neves really make this move on this type of board with a mediocre hand? With say, TT or even A5? In addition, would Neves really dare to bluff this late in the tournament? Where pay jumps are huge? And on this kind of board? Where he could’ve easily run into a good hand?
What is Neves truly repping here? Bottom line is, assuming it’s not a bluff, Raymond was likely chopping at best.
Given Neves’ actions, it’s reasonable to think that he had a big hand here. Either it was a bluff, or he was likely beat.
My personal opinion is that Raymond was putting Neves on QK. That would make sense given the way Neves played it. Checking back the turn is reasonable with QK because a worse hand will just fold and the hand is strong enough that it doesn’t really need protection. He would’ve turned a boat, after all.
And as mentioned before, if Neves did have KK, checking back the turn and raising the river also makes a lot of sense.
Putting Neves on 55 would be very difficult. You can’t really put someone on quads. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did consider it to be a possibility, given the way the hand was played. Like QK, 55 would not need protection and checking back the turn would be acceptable.
I suppose when you consider the fact that Neves probably isn’t doing this with a hand that Raymond beats, the fold is a lot more straightforward. But it’s definitely easy to say that when you can see everyone’s cards.
Still, a very impressive lay down. I was in disbelief when I saw him fold. If he did put him on QK, that is the case queen, which makes putting him on a hand like that even more difficult.
I still think Obst’s fold against that straight flush is the most impressive lay down in history. But this one is pretty impressive too.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any additional analysis to add.