• Greg’s Dillemma

    Date: 2004.12.01 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    Greg Pierson is the man! No, you haven’t heard of him yet, but mark my words: GP’s new company, IoVation’an internet security company–will have a billion dollar valuation by 2008. Considering how much respect I have for Greg, and considering the fact that I’m lucky enough to be an investor in IoVation, I vowed to Greg that he could get some private lessons from me anytime.

    Greg was playing in the $10-$20 blind no limit Hold’em game at the Bellagio when the following hand came up. He had run his $1,000 buy-in all the way up to about $4,200, and limped in with 9s-7s. When the fellow behind him also limped, and the aggressive played behind both of them made it $100 to go; Greg called the bet as did the fellow (Player B) behind him. So far so good, I told Greg. There’s nothing wrong with taking a flyer here or there for 2 1/2 % of your chips.

    When the flop came down 9-9-2, and Greg and Player B checked, then the original raiser bet out $200, and Greg smooth called the bet. This is OK as well I told him, as you probably should smooth call and bring the third party into this growing pot, unless the nine and deuce provided for a possible-flush-draw, in which case you may want to raise immediately and put the raiser to the test, or get him to commit all of his chips with a flush draw. In any case, Player B called the bet as well.

    The next card was a 2, and now both players again checked, and the original raiser then bet out $400. Now Greg smooth called again with his nines full of deuces, as did Player B. Good play, I again told my friend Greg. On the end, after a three hit the board, Greg bet out $1,000, and now Player B raised $600 more all-in. Greg called, and Player B showed down four deuces.

    My expensive advice here was: don’t make top-full-house when your opponent has four-of-a-kind! Seriously, there was no saving any money in this situation. Greg summed it up well,”I’m just glad he didn’t have anymore money in front of him!’

    Hand number two played out this way. First of all let me say this: Greg has decided that he wants to be a player, not just someone that sits there anteing off his chips. So here we go, Greg called $20 with Qd-Jd, and the same aggressive player raised it up, making $100 to go again. Greg called the raise quickly, with everyone else folding before the flop.

    The flop came down 9-4-4, Greg checked, and then his only opponent bet out $100. Greg called the $100 bet with the intention of bluffing out his aggressive opponent on one of the two ensuing rounds of betting. The next card was a ten, and now Greg checked again. His opponent now bet out $600, whereupon Greg studied for a moment and then moved his opponent all-in for his last $1,000.

    After what seemed like an eternity to Greg (it always seems like a long time when we”sweat out”someone calling our big bluff!) his opponent called him with A-9. Now Greg could still win with an eight, a jack, a queen or a king. As fate would have it, the last card was a three, and Greg lost the pot.

    I told Greg,”GP, I like the way you played your hand here, you gave yourself two ways to win this pot: one by having your opponent fold, and the other by hitting your hand. Give your opponent credit for making a good call here, but also understand that he is now set-up to call you down. All you have to do is wait until you have a strong hand, play it the same way you just played your bluff, and you’ll get all of your money back plus.’

    Experimentation is a good thing in poker, if you always play your hands the same way, then you’ll become predictable and easy to read. This lesson cost GP a few dollars, but after all, he could have won the pot!