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How risky is risking it all?

November 22, 2009|By Steve Rosenbloom

In the course of putting opponents on a range of hands by factoring in styles and betting patterns, you attempt to conclude whether you have the best hand.

The top pros also try to determine whether they are a big enough favorite to make it worth risking all their chips.

In today's hand from the 2009 World Series of Poker $10,000-buy-in main event at the Rio in Las Vegas, with blinds at $250-$500 plus a $50 ante, the woman in the hijack seat raised to $1,500 and got called by the player immediately to her left.

Greg Raymer, the 2005 WSOP main event champ, found A-Q offsuit in the small blind. Raymer called, as did the big blind, actor Jason Alexander.

Four players took a flop of Q-5-Q with two hearts, giving Raymer trips. Alexander bet $2,500. The other two players folded.

"I didn't think there was any chance Jason would bet there with a flush draw," Raymer said. "I thought he would check and fold. So I put him on a queen or pocket 5s, or maybe a pocket pair like jacks or 10s where he wanted to see a flop."

Raymer called. The turn came the 10 of clubs. Raymer checked. Alexander bet $6,000. Raymer called.

The river came the 4 of diamonds. Raymer checked again. Alexander made it $12,000. Raymer called. Alexander showed Q-3 offsuit, getting outkicked by Raymer's ace.

So Raymer took the pot -- with regret.

"I underplayed the hand," Raymer said. "I should've played the hand faster. If I check-raise the turn or the river, I might've gotten all the chips in. I should've been willing to take that risk.

"I should've given him a broader range. If I had, I would've been a bigger favorite over that whole range and now I'm willing to risk all my chips in that spot."

Table talk

Trips: Three of a kind where one hole card matches two on the board.

srosenbloom@tribune.com

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