Santhosh Suvarna Faces a River Check-Raise in a Massive Pot

santhosh massive pot

6 minutes

Last Updated: June 26, 2024

There have been few players that came up out of the woodworks lately and managed to stir up the poker world as much as Santhosh Suvarna. His aggressive and often reckless style brings life to every game he sits in.

The hand we’ll be looking into is one of many examples of why Santhosh is such an exciting player to watch, but it also shows that he’s capable of finding a fold button every now and again.

The action is $1,000/$2,000 with the $2,000 big blind ante, and Santhosh and Brandon are the two main protagonists, with effective stacks close to $1.4 million.

Preflop Action

The hand begins with Brandon opening from UTG to $7,000 with 77 and picking up four callers.

Santhosh is on the button, and he decides to get in the mix with A4. Tom Dwan, in the cutoff, has Ace-Queen but decides to just make the call, as do Peter and Stanley with Q-9 and pocket sixes.

Going to the flop, the pot is $37,000.

Preflop Play Analysis

Brandon’s UTG open with a middling pocket pair is perfectly standard, even if stacks were shallower. Playing super-deep, pocket pairs go significantly up in value due to their ability to flop sets and win massive pots.

Santhosh’s call on the button with an offsuit small ace is questionable. There is absolutely no reason to call with this hand, especially when not closing the action.

This is the type of a hand that will almost never flop the nuts, and in situations where you get a big flop and face a lot of heat, you’ll often be in trouble, as this hand demonstrates quite well.

Master your preflop play with our free poker charts!

Flop Action

The flop comes 744, giving Santhosh the best possible trips, but Brandon has him in horrible shape with the top full house.

After blinds check to him, Brandon fires a small continuation bet of $10,000. Somewhat surprisingly, Tom Dwan with Ace-Queen decides to call the bet while Peter and Stanley get out of the way.

The action gets back to Santhosh, who also just calls, bringing the pot to $67,000.

Flop Play Analysis

This is a definition of an action flop, and it is easy to see the pot ballooning by the river. Brandon could go both ways here, as he has the board pretty much locked up, and the fact that he decides to c-bet into four people on a paired board does indicate that he has a pretty strong hand.

Tom’s decision to call that bet is quite optimistic. With Brandon generally being on the tighter side, several players to act after Dwan, and everything described above, an ace-hi9gh should be a pretty easy fold.

But it is such a good price, and pairing the ace or the queen could still give him the winner, so it’s not that unreasonable of a play.

As for Santhosh, his decision to just call was certainly a surprise. Perhaps he feels that he has too big of a hand and doesn’t want to give it away just yet. However, with a couple of straight draws available and Dwan calling in the middle, this is definitely a good spot for a check-raise.

Brandon’s range contains a fair number of overpairs, many of which will continue, especially given Santhosh’s image. At the same time, a check-raise will make things pricier for Dwan when he does have a draw and help build a pot for those times when he does have a weaker four.

Turn Action

The turn is the 10, which doesn’t change much, making the runout 74410. Brandon now decides to check. Dwan follows suit, and the action gets to Santhosh on the button.

He now bets out for $40,000, which is quickly called by Brandon, while Tom finally gets out, leaving the two to battle it out in what’s now become a $147,000 pot.

Turn Play Analysis

Brandon’s decision to check the turn after betting the flop is interesting, but it’s consistent with his range. On a paired board and with two out of four preflop callers continuing on the flop, he’d probably look to slow down with a hand like pocket aces, kings, or queens.

Both of his opponents could easily have a four, so this is the time to exercise some pot control. So, if he’s going to do it with his overpairs, it makes sense to also do it with his monsters, allowing his opponents to bluff or possibly over-value their own hand.

Tom is obviously done with the hand here, so he checks, and now Santhosh puts out a  reasonable bet of $40,000 into the $67,000 pot. With how the action went, there is no reason to think he doesn’t have the best hand here.

Brandon makes the call, continuing to tell the story of an overpair he’s not certain about. This is an excellent plan, especially against such an aggressive player who likes to pounce on any perceived weakness.

Always know your equity with the best free poker odds calculator!

River Action

The river is the K, making the board 74410K. The king on the river doesn't change much, but it does hit Brandon’s range somewhat. Pocket kings are certainly a possibility.

Brandon checks once again, and Santhosh now goes for a pot-sized bet of $140,000. After pretending to think for a few moments, Brandon goes for a massive check-raise, making it $540,000.

Santhosh is now in a tough spot, and he takes his time before eventually releasing his hand and saving $400,000 in the process, while Brandon drags in the $827,000 pot.

River Play Analysis

After checking the turn, it makes sense for Brandon to check on 100% of the rivers and let Santhosh do his bidding for him.

If he’s bluffing, this lets him keep at it; if he has a big hand like he does, he can comfortably value bet and put some more money into the pot without thinking twice about it.

Santhosh’s bet size on the river is perhaps a bit ambitious, but he wants to put the maximum pressure on those overpairs and really make it hard for Brandon to call. He’d do it with his bluffs, so it makes sense to do it with his value hands, too.

The only slight caveat is that the king on the river means that some of those hands, i.e. pocket jacks and queens, are no longer overpairs, while pocket kings made the boat.

Brandon’s raise size is equally as ambitious, but he’s targeting exactly the type of hand Santhosh has. If his opponent is bluffing, the raise size doesn’t matter, as he’ll fold anyway.

Back to Santhosh, and he eventually arrives at the right decision to fold his hand. If we consider all the action, it’s really hard to find any bluffs for Brandon. While a flopped full house may not seem as likely, it is entirely possible he filled up on the river.

Is he ever turning a hand like pocket queens or pocket aces into a bluff? It’s not entirely impossible, but it doesn’t really fit Brandon’s style of play, and even the most aggressive of players don’t often take these spots and turn them into bluffs.

Disclaimer: content on may contain affiliate links to online gambling operators and other sites. When you use our affiliate links, we may earn a commission based on our terms of service, but that does not influence the content on the site since we strictly follow our editorial guidelines. Learn more about how we make money and why we always stick to unbiased content. All content on this site is intended for those 21 or older or of legal gambling age in their jurisdiction.

Copyright © iBetMedia UAB. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced or distributed without the prior written permission of the copyright holder.