The stakes rarely get higher than PokerGO’s Super High Roller Bowl. With a buy-in of $300,000, the Super High Roller Bowl attracts the best poker players in the world who look to not just win millions, but add their names to high roller history. One of if not the best in the world, Australian pro Michael Addamo looked to add to his already impressive resume with a seven-figure win. The chip leader with just six players remaining, Addamo applied maximum pressure to fellow pro Jake Schindler. Could Addamo’s bluff scare Schindler off of a premium holding?
The Game: Super High Roller Bowl VI – $300,000 Buy-In
Stack Sizes: 191 Big Blinds Effective
Where: PokerGO Studios – Las Vegas, Nevada
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Cornering With Connectors
First to act with six players remaining, Schindler raised to 4,000 after looking down at Q♠Q♣. After it was folded around, Addamo picked up 8♥7♥ and elected to raise for a huge sizing of 28,000, a 19 big blind bet! Despite the prominent bet sizing and aggression, Schindler was willing to call with his pocket queen’s.
One of the aspects of Addamo’s poker play that makes him one of the best in the world is his ability to put opponents in extremely tough spots. While the gigantic sizing of Addamo’s three-bet may seem foreign to some poker players, this sizing effectively applied pressure even to a premium hand like pocket queens! Sometimes players at the highest level incorporate strategies that appear unconventional, but through intensive study they can recognize spots most players wouldn’t consider.
Despite Addamo only holding suited connectors, Schindler could only assume his opponent’s range was extremely strong representing aces or kings. Whenever your opponent three-bets for a substantial size you usually want to avoid executing a four-bet, especially when you have the advantage of position. Schindler was wise to call Addamo’s bet and play the flop.
A Pair And A Pesky King
The Pot: 58,500
The Board: K♥-7♣-5♠
Effective Stack: 172 Big Blinds Effective
Schindler’s heart likely sank a bit when he saw the king of hearts through the window, and probably sank even lower following a 19,000 lead from Addamo. Despite the overcard on the board, Schindler made the call to see the turn.
On a king-high board, Addamo is likely to continuation bet with almost his entire range, incentivizing Schindler to call with his queens. Some recreational players would raise with pocket queens to “see where they are at”, but that would be a huge error with the strength Addamo was representing.
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Addamo Gets Even More Outs
The Pot: 96,500
The Board: K♥-7♣-5♠-6♥
Effective Stack: 160 Big Blinds Effective
Now drawing to both a straight and a flush, Addamo had many avenues to winning this hand despite still being behind Schindler’s ladies. Checking out of position, Addamo would see a free card after Schindler checked as well.
While the turn was perfect for Addamo’s exact hand, it is not a card he should be betting often due to Schindler having a plethora of pairs in his range. Much like the flop, Schindler would have put himself in a tough spot if he had bet and was called or raised. Checking to see the river was the optimal play for Schindler, who was still ahead with his queens.
Addamo Goes For Glory
The Pot: 96,500
The Board: K♥-7♣-5♠-6♥-K♦
Effective Stack: 160 Big Blinds Effective
Not hitting either a straight or a flush, Addamo again checked out of position to Schindler. Hoping to extract some value with what was the best hand, Schindler bet 55,000. Holding the weaker two pair, Addamo utilized two of his time bank chips before doing the unthinkable: going all-in.
Some cautious, recreational players in similar spots may elect to call from Addamo’s perspective, but it is important to consider if that is better than bluffing. With his willingness to bet the river, it was highly likely Schindler held a decently strong hand (which he did with pocket queens). Addamo could likely tell his 8♥7♥ wasn’t ahead, which meant the only path to taking down the pot was through a bluff.
Regardless of the fact he held the best hand, Schindler was in a brutal spot after his attempt at value was met with Addamo’s whole stack. On this paired board, there are not many poker players that have an adequate amount of bluffs in their range. If Addamo were to have a king, this is definitely a spot where he would execute a check-raise, and citing his aggression earlier in the hand, his range had plenty of them! When holding a king, sometimes players will opt to lead out wanting to get value, but often that just results in forcing opponents out of the hand. Checking your made hands not only allows you to check-raise opponents, but it also opens up bluffing opportunities on the river. Properly balancing your checking range requires you to check-raise for value and for bluffs, a balance Addamo struck perfectly in this hand.
Result: Addamo Bluffs His Way To $3 Million
With his pocket queens being no more than a bad bluff catcher, Schindler had little choice but to fold the better hand. Building on the momentum of this monster bluff, Addamo would go on to win Super High Roller Bowl VI, and even defeated three-time SHRB champion Justin Bonomo heads-up. As the 2022 World Series of Poker quickly approaches, we look forward to seeing what wild bluffs Addamo busts out this summer.
A special thank you to PokerGO for allowing us to use footage of this hand from Super High Roller Bowl VI.