Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Ivey & Petrangelo Play a Cooler Hand
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The hand we’ll look into today took place between none other than Phil Ivey, one of the best players of all time, and Nick Petrangelo, a man with over $24 million in live tournament earnings.
This is a hand from the $300,000 high roller event, with blinds at 1,000/2,500/2,500, and Ivey is the effective stack with 165,000.
The action starts with Phil opening to 6,000 with A♦9♥, and Petrangelo in the big blind decides to defend with 3♥2♥.
You might be wondering why Nick is calling with this hand, but 3-2 of the suited variety is actually an okay defend against a small open and ante in play.
The two proceed to the flop heads-up, and the board comes A♥J♥9♦, giving Ivey two pair and Petrangelo a flush draw.
Nick plays in flow and checks to Phil, who goes for a small continuation bet of 6,000. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a slightly larger bet on this board configuration, but betting smaller is fine as well.
Petrangelo just calls, and you might be surprised he takes this option with the nut-low flush draw. However, whenever the board is really good for the preflop raiser’s range (which is the case here), you don’t want to have many check-raises in your range.
The dealer peels the 7♥ on the turn, completing Nick’s flush. Now, he decides to lead out for 18,000.
In general, you don’t want to be doing a lot of leading when flushes complete, as the original raiser will have a lot of strong flushes in their range.
Player images courtesy of PokerGO
However, when there are multiple big cards on the board that make the flush, it’s actually unlikely that Phil has a flush himself. At the same time, Petrangelo has pretty much all the suited hands.
In this spot, if you believe your opponent will call with a lot of marginal made hands (like one pair), but they won’t bet those hands when checked to them, leading out makes a lot of sense.
With his two pair, Phil Ivey naturally makes the call, and they proceed to the final card.
The river comes an interesting card in 9♣, pairing the board and actually giving Phil a full house. Overall, though, this is a spot where Petrangelo’s flush will almost always be good.
So, he decides to continue the aggression and bets out again, this time for 48,000, hoping to get called by hands like AK, AQ, etc.
After taking a few moments, Ivey naturally moves all in for 135,000, and the action is back to Petrangelo, who has quite a decision to make.
When Ivey moves in over Nick’s strong bet on the river, he has to decide whether to call with a hand that’s near the bottom of his value range.
Given the circumstances, folding is probably the best option, as Phil is unlikely to do this with a worse hand or as a bluff, as he can expect to get called a lot.
So, what does Nick do in this spot, and can he figure it out? Check out the video above to find out!
Jonathan Little is a two-time WPT champion with more than $7 million in live tournament winnings and best-selling author of multiple poker strategy books. If you want to learn from the best and increase your edge at the tables, make sure to get your FREE 3-day pass and check his training site at pokercoaching.com