Game: Party Poker Premier League Season 7

Players: Jason Koon, Phil Laak, Daniel Coleman, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates

Why is it interesting?:

Preflop: I’m not a massive fan of an early position opening raise with 1010 in tournament play; maybe that’s just me being a super-nit, who knows? That said, I don’t like Laak’s bet sizing here. It’s a just above min-raise, and I think that opens the door for a lot of high-card limpers, which is what he gets. I can understand why you want KQ in the pot when you have AK, but not 1010!
I prefer to see a limp with a view to call a raise, or a bigger initial open, with a view to maintain an aggressive line.
Is he really planning to 4bet with 1010 if he gets raised here? Would he just fold if he had been raised? I do not understand where he’s going to go with this, whatever happens behind him.
I accept I could be missing something, but I get the impression Laak looked down here, saw 1010 and thought, “oooh, so pretty!”, which is not what I expect from a a poker God. Have I missed anything, or am I just terrible at playing 1010 preflop?

The commentator “guarantees” that Coleman is only calling that bet because it’s Laak who made it. I disagree, I think it’s because he’s got the button and the Laak’s raise is tiny. If Coleman calls, he’s opening the door for the two blinds to limp in, and with J7s, that’s the pot you want, right?

I also find it interesting that the commentator thinks Koon has a optimum squeezing spot here. Hmmm. I think it’s fair to say that I overuse squeeze-play, mainly because at the stakes I play, it’s just too damn easy. I do like to do it with a hand that might play well after the flop against likely calling ranges, and I can’t think of a game where 10-8os would meet that criteria!

Flop: It’s a rotten flop for poor old Laak, but I still don’t understand why he doesn’t c-bet. This is the only time he could realistically represent Ah. Perhaps he was planning a check-raise, as Koon might be reliable for a bluff, but let him down?

I think he should have bet this flop, or made the decision to give up on the hand right here. How flawed is this thinking?

Turn: I hate Laak’s bet here so very, very, much. It would have been a superb bet if he actually did have the Ah, but with no heart, I think it’s pretty bullshit. It could be said that he was going for a psychological double-bluff, ie: only an idiot would make that bet without it, so he must have it. Trouble is, with a only a 40% pot bet, how can a player with any flush not call Laak here after he checked the flop? I think it’s fair to say Laak’s 40% pot bet works as a bluff 0% of the time, so he should probably keep it in his pocket.
I like Koon’s call, because he can then check the river (if Laak doesn’t tell him his hand) and Laak will then have a tough decision to make.

Poor Laak, he just makes a silly mistake, and thinks the river’s been dealt. It happens, less at this level admittedly, but it happens. I actually think it would have been amazing speech-play if he did have the nuts! But he didn’t, so it wasn’t.
Koon’s flat response of “alright, well, we’ve still got a street to go” really made me chuckle.

River: I don’t like the size of Koon’s bet here. Laak’s just dropped a mega-clanger, but why does he bet only 15% of the pot? They all scream at Laak for “paying the guy off”, but for 10k into 75k, I’d have called it too!
I think Koon should have bet more here, partly because the bigger the bet, the more bluffy it looks. Also, if Laak had raised that bet aggressively, then what’s Koon to do? He has very good reason to think he has this hand locked up, and I think he should have bet more. I think Laak may have called up to about 1/2 pot, because his verbal mis-step on the turn made it so easy to bluff him on the river. Thoughts?

After The Action: Laak is so clearly embarrassed, and he tries to get away from the teasing, with “it doesn’t matter now, it’s doesn’t matter now”. Does it matter now? How costly is a mistake like that to a player at Laak’s level? Does it say anything about his game as whole, or just his mental state on that day alone?

Geeky Considerations: Take off your glasses, put down that spliff, and concentrate on your game. Laak could have, and should have, won this pot. If pros like him can lose concentration so spectacularly, then any of us can, and unlike him, we probably can’t afford it!