Strategy Snapshot: Lady Maverick Goosed

With EPT Season 5 off to a record-breaking start in Barcelona, we turn to the live arena for our latest snapshot and catch PokerStars pro Vanessa Rousso getting iced with A-K.

Players: Doug “WCGrider” Polk vs. Vanessa Rousso

Situation: Day 1, EPT Season 5 Barcelona Open, Blinds $150/$300

Stack Sizes: Doug Polk $16,000; Vanessa Rousso $15,000

The Setup

With the blinds $150/$300, PokerStars pro Vanessa Rousso limps from under the gun. It’s folded to Doug “WCGrider” Polk in middle position, who raises it up to $1,200.

It’s folded around to Rousso, who contemplates raising but chooses to smooth-call. The flop comes A-J-3 rainbow. Rousso checks to Polk and he fires $1,800. Rousso then check-raises to $4,000 and Polk calls.

The turn brings an offsuit seven, and she shoves for $10,000. Polk snap-calls. Rousso turns up A-K and is trailing his A-J. The river comes the brick of diamonds and Vanessa Rousso now has plenty of time to ride the gondola over the city of Barcelona and wonder how it all went wrong.

The Breakdown

Rousso opens the hand up with a limp from under the gun with A-K. This is something I would never do, but it is occasionally acceptable. Ideally you limp in from up front, hoping that a player from late position will raise so you can come in over the top.

This is exactly what happens when Polk raises it up to $1,200 from middle position with A-J. With a big ace he has more than enough hand to punish the early-position limper.

Rousso now elects to just flat-call this raise – a move I really don’t like. She limped in and now a player raised. This is what you should be hoping for when you limp A-K first in, so she should have jacked it up.

I would avoid calling because it makes this hand very difficult to play. Should the board come all undercards, there is no way to play this hand. She can only check-fold. A-K is too strong a hand to play this passively.

I believe Rousso likely chose to flat-call because she felt her stack was awkward. A limp reraise would be to $4,000 or $5,000, just over a third of her stack.

It is never a good idea to commit a third of your stack, then fold for the rest, so she would likely have to commit on any flop. She decides she doesn’t like that option, so she chooses to limp/flat-call.

The flop comes A-J-3. Rousso checks with the intention of check-raising. Her top pair is likely good in this situation against a middle-position raise.

Polk has top two on a dry board. He fires $1,800 into the $2,850 pot. This is obviously for value. With top two pair he is well ahead of Rousso’s under-the-gun limp/call range.

Rousso now check-raises to $4,000. She has top pair, top kicker; she likely believes she has the best hand and is doing it for value. Polk would bet this flop with most of the range he raised pre-flop with, so this is a good play to get value out of smaller aces.

Unfortunately for Rousso, Polk flopped top two. He isn’t going anywhere. He decides flat-calling will make the most in the long run, and smooth-calls the flop check-raise, hoping she will shove any turn.

The turn comes an offsuit seven and, sure enough, she shoves her last $10,000 in.

Polk makes the easy call with two pair, scoops the $30,000 pot and sends the PokerStars pro to the rail.

To catch up with the latest action from Day 2, jump to our live updates from EPT Barcelona right here.

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Strategy Snapshot: Lady Maverick Goosed

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