Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Kid Poker Tries to Get One Through Against a Young Gun
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Today, we’ll be looking at an interesting situation that happened at the final table of the $300,000 PokerGO Super High Roller Bowl.
The action is five-handed, and the winner gets to take home the cool $5,000,000!
The hand in question features none other than the Canadian superstar Daniel Negreanu as he goes up against the young high roller Mikita Badziakouski in a blind-on-blind battle.
The action folds around to Mikita, who decides to complete for additional 15,000 in chips, starting the hand with 4.2 million and J♥9♠ in the hole.
Negreanu is in the big blind with 4.4 million, and he looks down at A♦6♠ and raises it up to 120,000.
Daniel is the tournament chip leader, and he has a strong hand in the big blind, so it makes perfect sense for him to play the hand aggressively, especially since he’ll have a position on Badziakouski for the rest of the hand.
For all these reasons, I really like raising in this spot. The only time I’d be cautious about doing it is if you expect to get limp-raised a lot.
Mikita doesn’t go for the raise, though, and instead decides to take the flop with a solid hand.
The dealer reveals the flop of 9♥7♠2♠, giving Mikita the top pair. He decides to play the hand in flow and checks it over to Negreanu, who checks back.
Looking at this board, you have to wonder who has the range advantage. And, a lot of small blind’s limp and calling hands will contain small and middling cards, like the ones on this flop.
Given this knowledge, this is an excellent spot for Daniel to check back and avoid any problems, and that’s exactly what he does.
The turn is a fairly inconsequential 3♣ that doesn’t change much of anything. Now, Badziakouski decides to lead out with what’s likely to be the best hand and bets for 180,000.
This is a pretty rough spot for Negreanu. The fact he has a 6♠ in his hand makes it less likely Mikita has a drawing hand because a lot of his draws would contain this particular card.
Player images courtesy of PokerGO
That’s why I think he should probably let this one go, but Daniel goes the other way and makes the call.
If you think Mikita is over-bluffing in this spot (which could be the case, as he is a very aggressive player), there is a case to be made for calling. So, in that light, Daniel’s call is certainly justifiable.
The final card is a very interesting one as it comes 8♠, completing many potential draws from the flop.
Despite this, Badziakouski bets out again for 240,000, looking for some thin value, but this is met by Negreanu’s hefty raise to 750,000, putting Mikita in a blender.
I think there is a chance that Daniel is over-bluffing in these spots. Old-school poker players used to almost never bluff on the river, but Negreanu spent a lot of time working with solvers, and he’s not afraid to go after it on the river.
That said, I’m not sure that too many players are aware of this fact and realize just how capable Daniel is of making these types of moves on the river.
In this particular spot, Negreanu has a very relevant blocker in his hand. That, combined with the action, means that Mikita probably doesn’t have a very strong hand, which makes this a good spot for a river bluff.
Can Badziakouski figure this one out? Is his hand simply too strong to fold, or will Daniel’s bluff work? 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