This week’s hand is taken from last week’s One Drop $1m buy in event. It was the 85th and final hand of the final table played between Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett.
As we know Esfandiari won the tournament. The deuce of hearts sealed the deal for him and as crappy a card as the deuce of hearts is in its own right, with $18.3m for first place and $10.1m for 2nd, it was the most valuable river card in history.
As they went heads up, Antonio Esfandiari had a 2.5 to 1 chip lead. Sam Trickett started to make a little comeback but lost a fairly big pot when Esfandiari rivered trip nines against him to crack his top pair. That was the 81st hand of the final table. And not longer after they played this final hand.
Now the only reason I’m writing about this hand was because in his interview afterwards Sam Trickett said something to the effect he wasn’t happy about the way he’d played this hand. He told the interviewer he’d made his decisions with a cool head throughout and then with a little laugh said “except that last one”. So let’s take a look.
At the start of the hand Esfandiari had 106.5m and Sam Trickett had 37.5m
Esfandiari raised to 1.7 million from the button, Trickett called and the flop came down Jd 5d 5c. This was especially good news for Esfandiari because he was holding 7d 5s.
On the flop, Trickett checked and Esfandiari bet 2 million. It was 2 million and 25 thousand to be exact because he tossed in a 25k green chip for luck as well. (A tell perhaps? I doubt it!)
This bet is a sort of “reverse bluff” if you like. Well he’s supposed to throw out a continuation bet isn’t he, to keep the pressure on the shorter stack? It’s just this time he happened to have flopped trips. Not a bad spot to be in because hardly anyone will believe he has got a five here. He must have dearly been hoping Sam Trickett didn’t fold. He didn’t disappoint.
Trickett check-raised to 5.4 million. He had Qd 6d for a flush draw with one overcard. I suspect he thought (and hoped even) that this would be the end of the hand. But Esfandiari reraised him back to 10 million.
Time to reconsider! The board doesn’t have too many draws so it must have been a hard job for Sam Trickett working out whether Esfandiari had a Jack, a five or a flush draw, which could be worse or better than his own flush draw. But he could also be bluffing. He certainly has the chips to bluff a few and he is certainly capable of a bluff to 10m here. Esfandiari still has a big stack behind him.
After a minute or two, Trickett reraised to 15 million. This raise practically said “I’m not folding” because it only left him 20m behind and I don’t think it was his intention to fold and meekly carry on as a 6 to 1 underdog.
Esfandiari raised all in and Trickett did indeed make the call.
The turn was the 3h and after what seemed like 5 minutes the dealer burned the top card and turned over the lowly two of hearts. Two flashes of red must have given Esfandiari a fright. It must have been agony for Trickett.
So make of that what you will. I suspect the part that Trickett wasn’t happy with was the reraise to 15m on the turn, but I’m not about to criticise the way he played it.
He’s being a bit harsh on himself I reckon. It’s not his fault that Esfandiari held a five! And if he flat called the 10m he’d have to play a turn card which most probably wasn’t a diamond. Another tricky decision. Let’s face it he’d have had to call another bet at some stage of the hand.
At least by raising he could have ended it there and then. But raising also had the effect of opening the betting back up for Esfandiari. And once that happened, the die was cast. Sometimes in poker the stack sizes mean the hands play themselves and this is a good example of that.