Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Poker Legends Collide

jonathan little poker legends collide

3 minutes

Last Updated: November 5, 2023

If you want to increase your edge at the tables, make sure to get your FREE 3-day pass and check Jonathan Little's training site.

The hand I’ll be analyzing today comes from a high-stakes Hustler Live stream and features two poker legends, as Phil Ivey and Garrett Adelstein go toe to toe.

The blinds are $200/$400/$800, and the $1,600 straddle is active in this hand that starts with Phil Ivey on the button, making it $5.4K to go with 66.

It’s important to note that Ivey has almost $450,000 in front of him and Garrett has him covered, so they’re playing very deep!

The action folds to Adelstein, who already posted $800, and he looks down at A9, a reasonable hand to play.

Garrett decides to go for a 3-bet here, and given he is out of position, he goes for a large sizing, as he should, making it $25,000.

When 3-betting out of position and playing deep, you should always use a big sizing as you don’t want to give your opponent good odds to call and see the flop.

The action gets back to Ivey, and he makes the call despite the big sizing, though. With his particular hand, it makes sense, as he is trying to flop a set and potentially win an additional $400,000+ from his opponent.

The Flop

The flop comes JJ5, and Garrett goes for a small continuation bet of $15,000, which is quite reasonable given the action and the flop.

For Ivey, this is a pretty simple decision, given the pot odds he is getting. He can easily have the best hand here, so he makes the call.

That said, calling against a player as aggressive as Adelstein can be tricky, as he might keep on firing on turns and rivers, making things very difficult unless your hand improves, so that’s something to consider as well.

The Turn

The dealer peels the 4 on the turn, and it’s not a great card for Garrett. When picking his bluffing hands, he’d want to have some equity at least, and this card doesn’t help him at all. So, he goes for the most reasonable option and checks.

The question for Ivey is whether he wants to play pot control and check behind or bet to protect his equity.

This is where many players make a mistake and just go for a check as they are afraid of getting check-raised. However, Ivey understands that he is the one holding many nutted hands in this spot, which means he can bet wide for thin value and protection.

That’s exactly what he does, betting $30,000, which is less than half the pot, but it helps protect his hand against random over-cards that Garrett will have a lot here.

The action is back to Adelstein, and he doesn’t have many options unless he wants to go for a crazy bluff against the player he’s often referred to as his role model.

In this spot, many less experienced players will think that this is a great spot to raise and get Ivey off of a pair of sixes. However, Adelstein doesn’t know Phil’s exact hand, and he could easily have many jacks in his range, which he’s never folding.

So, does Garrett go for the reasonable option, or does he find another one of his trademark insane plays? 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

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