When poker fans debate the “greatest of all-time”, often longevity is mentioned as a factor when contemplating the GOAT. Whether playing inor battling it out at the highest stakes, poker legend Phil Ivey continues to be a mainstay in the poker space. In the tournament poker scene, the stakes rarely get higher than the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl, a tournament that always attracts the best in the world. In this hand, Nick Petrangelo is put in a tough spot by a poker icon, could he get away from Ivey’s play?
The Game: $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl
Stack Sizes: 66 Big Blinds Effective
Blinds: 1,000/2,500 (2,500 Ante)
Where: PokerGO Studios – Las Vegas, Nevada
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Folded to on the button, Ivey looked down at A♦-9♥ before raising to 6,000. Serving as the big blind, Nick Petrangelo made the call holding 3♥-2♥. While it may seem like a weak hand to be calling a preflop raise with, 3-2 suited from the big blind is fine to call with when facing a late position raise.
The Pot: 15,500
The Board: A♥-J♥-9♦
Effective Stack: 63 Big Blinds Effective
Flopping a strong two pair, Ivey executed a 6,000 continuation bet following a check from Petrangelo. Holding the nut-low flush draw, Petrangelo quickly made the call.
Assessing Ivey’s bet size, it may have been in his best interest to bet larger in this spot. While the small sizing was perfectly fine, such a coordinated board could have incentivized him to bet larger for protection. The call from Petrangelo may seem surprising as he was holding a flush draw, but whenever the board favor’s the preflop raiser’s range, you want to avoid check-raising whether it is for value. Considering the value hands Petrangelo would want to raise with on this flop, it’s going to be hands like two pair and better. With almost all the possible two pair combos being well out of his range, Petrangelo made the right play calling Ivey’s bet.
The Pot: 27,500
The Board: A♥-J♥-9♦-7♥
Effective Stack: 60 Big Blinds Effective
The 7♥ on the turn completed Petrangelo’s flush, inspiring him to lead out for 18,000. Pondering for a moment, Ivey would eventually call the 18,000 bet.
You may be wondering why Petrangelo would want to lead after turning a flush, especially if you have been putting in the time to study at PokerCoaching.com. You usually would want to avoid raising as the preflop aggressor could be holding a lot of better flushes, however, the A♥ and J♥ on the board make it unlikely Ivey has a flush. Considering Ivey’s raising range, he is likely not holding many suited hearts, while Petrangelo would defend almost all suited-heart combos from the big blind. Petrangelo’s lead was strategically sound, especially if he thought Ivey would have let the turn go check-check.
The Pot: 63,500
The Board: A♥-J♥-9♦-7♥-9♣
Effective Stack: 53 Big Blinds Effective
Not feeling the chill in the air caused by the cooler, Petrangelo led out again this time for 48,000. Even with the board pairing on the river, Petrangelo’s flush would usually be ahead making the 48,000 technically sound.
Milking some time to try and induce a call, Ivey eventually moved all-in sending Petrangelo into the tank. Exhausting all of his time banks, Petrangelo eventually was down to just 20 seconds to make a decision. Thinking it through and recognizing he was likely behind, Petrangelo showed his poker prowess by making the fold.
Examining Petrangelo’s river decision, this truly was an expert fold. While Ivey was holding a full house, he could have very well held a better flush considering Petrangelo’s was the pure nut-low. If Petrangelo had bet for a smaller size, calling could have been viable considering the potential for an induced bluff, but by betting large and being met with aggression, Petrangelo was wise to forfeit his flush. When you have a hand that is at the bottom of your premium hand range and think your opponent has plenty of better hands in theirs, it is best to just give up.
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