Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Brock Wilson in a Tough River Spot
Last Updated: November 5, 2023
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The hand I’ll be analyzing today comes from the final table of the $10,000 Poker Masters tournament and features two of the game’s best, Brock Wilson and Elio Fox.
The action starts with blind at 25,000/50,000, and Brock is the effective stack, with 795,000 chips to start the hand.
With five players remaining, Wilson peeks down at A♣10♦ in the cutoff and goes for a min-raise of 100,000.
This is the spot where many players will just move all in for 16 big blinds, but I think min-raising is actually the best play in this scenario.
Elio Fox looks at K♣10♣ on the button, and with 2.3 million chips, he has a decision to make. Ideally, he’d want to shove, but he has to worry about players in the small and the big blind, who could wake up with strong hands.
The small blind has Elio slightly covered, and you can’t afford to shove for 50 big blinds when there are players yet to act who cover you.
So, after some deliberation, Fox opts for the most reasonable option and calls in position, and the remaining two players fold.
Elio is sitting with two over-cards to the board as well as backdoor straight and flush options, so I can see the argument for both options (i.e., checking and betting).
On the one hand, if the hand checks down, Fox is unlikely to win, as Brock will have a lot of medium pairs and ace high.
On the other, you really don’t want to get check-raised off of a hand with decent equity, so you have to be careful in these spots.
When an irrelevant 2♠ peels on the turn, Brock checks again. This card doesn’t change anything, and this is an easy check for Wilson as he can be pretty certain that if the hand does check down, he’ll win very often.
Elio’s spot is somewhat more interesting, though. Once he checks back the flop, he doesn’t have many strong hands in his range. Since 2♠ doesn’t really change anything, he can’t do a ton of bluffing on this turn.
For these reasons, he’ll want to check back a lot, and that’s exactly what he does.
I will say, though, that if you’re not up against a strong, thinking opponent, there is an argument to be made for betting on the turn with the view of barreling the river to get them to fold their ace-highs and medium pocket pairs.
The river is an interesting card as it comes 8♦. Brock checks his option for the third time, and the action is now to Elio Fox.
After short thinking, he goes for a chunky bet of 300,000, putting Brock in a tough spot, especially given his stack size.
Before watching the video, I’d like you to think about what you would do in this spot?
What you need to do here is figure out what hands your opponent will value bet and what hands they’ll bluff with. Then, you must find calls with hands that beat their bluffs but also don’t block the hands they’re likely to be bluffing with.
In this particular case, Brock holding a ten isn’t that relevant, as this card would be in his opponent’s bluffing and value bet ranges.
An ace is a good card to have, though, as it does block some of the value hands that Fox could be betting on the river. Cards you don’t want to have in this scenario are kings and queens.
So, with all this in mind, can Brock Wilson put all the pieces together and pick off Elio’s bluff? Check out the video above for the answer and a surprise announcement!