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Garrett Adelstein Hates How He Played This $164,000 Hand (Analysis)

There have been some insane high stakes hands on poker live streams recently.

Garrett Adelstein has been involved in a number of them, including the 6-figure pot that is the subject of today’s article

(No, not that one.)

The hand takes place on Hustler Casino Live at the massive stakes of $100/$200/$400 ($200 Big blind ante).

Read on for a recap and analysis.


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Preflop Action

Garrett opens up the action with A K♣, raising to $1,200 from UTG+1. Ryusuke calls from the Hijack with K♠ 2♠. Mike X calls from the Small Blind with an unknown hand. Emil calls with T♣ 7♣ from the straddle.

Preflop Analysis

Garrett makes the easy raise here with Ace-King and his sizing is good. He should be opening the action with around the top 10-12% of hands from his position.

Ryusuke’s call with K♠ 2♠ is a losing play. He simply doesn’t have enough equity and playability to make this call a profitable one, especially against a strong player’s raise.

We don’t know Mike X’s hand, but he should be looking to mainly 3-bet or fold from the Small Blind when faced with the raise and a call. Calling can be fine with some hands given his pot odds, but it should be done relatively sparingly. This is because calling ranges in this spot are capped and he has two players behind who can squeeze him out of the pot preflop.

Emil’s call from the Big Blind with T♣ 7♣ is definitely profitable given that his hand has good equity and great playability. When I am talking about playability, I am referring to the fact that this hand can flop flush draws and straight draws. This means that it will be able to continue on vastly more flops (and thus realize more equity) than a hand such as T♣ 5♣.

Flop Action

The flop comes A♣ 9♣ 4♠ and the pot is $5,200.

Mike X checks. Emil checks. Garrett bets $2,500. Ryusuke folds. Mike X folds. Emil calls.

Flop Analysis

Both Mike’s (unknown hand) and Emil’s (T♣ 7♣) checks are standard. They don’t have the nut advantage and they are out of position with deep stacks (roughly 200 straddles deep), so there’s no reason to lead.

Garrett (A K♣) is correct to leverage his strong range and c-bets. His choice of a half pot sizing seems appropriate on this board texture. It’s worth noting that his top pair is not vulnerable to that many hands, so the equity denial/equity protection component of the c-bet is not as important as it would be on a lower flop.

Ryusuke (K♠ 2♠) makes the easy fold with a hand that whiffed the flop.

Emil should always check-call with his flush draw and backdoor straight draws. There are a lot of great turns for Emil — obviously any club, but also any J, 8, 6 will transform his hand into a combo draw.

Well-played street by all players involved (unless Mike folded something surprisingly good).

Turn Action

The turn comes the 6♠, making the board (A♣ 9♣ 4♠) 6♠. The pot is $10,200.

Emil checks. Garrett fires a $9,000 bet. Emil check-raises to $25,000. Garrett calls.

Turn Analysis

Even though he improved to a combo draw, Emil’s still needs to check to the superior range. If he leads with any of his good hands, he’ll throw his checking range off balance and Garrett will run him over without even trying.

Garrett should look to barrel much bigger and do so with a very polarized range. An overbet of around $13,000 to $15,000 would make a lot of sense. This would make it slightly easier to get it in on the river should he want to, while also lowering the expected value (EV) of all of Emil’s bluff-catchers. Betting $9,000 isn’t much different, and perhaps Garrett had a reason for sizing down a bit.

Emil’s check-raise is completely fine given that he needs a very strong bluffing hand in order to balance out the A6-suited in his range. (He could have some slow-played hands too, but A6 is his most obvious value hand.) He should be check-raising slightly bigger, though, something like $30,000, because he needs to make Garrett’s bluff-catchers suffer more against a highly polarized range.

Against this raise, Garrett should either get it all-in right now or fold due to the stack-to-pot ratio. If he doesn’t think Emil will make this play as a bluff often enough, he should be folding right away. If he thinks Emil could be bluffing/semi-bluffing, sticking all the money in now charged Emil the maximum to chase his draw (or forces him to fold it, which is also a win).

By calling, he allows Emil’s bluffs to realize their equity. Plus, think of how difficult Garrett’s decision may end up being on the river. 19 cards complete either flush draw, except for a King, all the other cards leave him with a pure bluff-catcher. 

Let’s take a $60K+ river card.

River Action

The river is the 3♣, making the board (A♣ 9♣ 4♠ 6♠) 3♣. The pot is $60,200.

Emil checks. Garrett bets $20,000. Emil raises all-in for $52,000. Garrett thinks about it for a while and eventually calls, quickly seeing the bad news as the $164,000 pot is pushed towards Emil.

River Analysis

Emil’s check is interesting. Many of his bluffs have become close-to-nut hands, while his former nutted hands (A6s, sets) have become bluff-catchers. When this happens, he should be protecting his bluff-catchers by checking with some of his nutted hands, which is exactly what he does here. A high-level play.

Garrett should check back with a sigh of relief, but he chooses to go for a razor thin value bet. I can’t think of many worse hands Emil can have here, let alone worse hands that will call a bet. This is way too ambitious.

Emil makes the easy check-raise all-in with his flush. This was a really well-played hand on all streets by him.

I think this is a clear fold on the river for Garrett, even when holding the pesky K♣. I can only guess that he was thinking Emil wouldn’t shove often without the exact nuts, which he blocked, but that’s (apparently) not even close to true. Dare I say, a rare punt from Garrett here.

Final Thoughts

This was an awesome nosebleed hand.

Garrett played this hand great right up until big money started going in the pot. When it came to the most important street, he was unable to come up with the right actions and it cost him big. That goes to show how consequential decisions on the river can be!

If you want more high-stakes hand analysis, scroll down to “Related Posts” below.

Until next time, good luck, grinders!

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