Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bizarre Final Hand at Canada Cup

The final hand at this year’s PokerStars Canada Cup was a wild one indeed.  And not just because it started with the big stack at the table getting the dreaded pocket Kings.

The final table had been going on for nine hours, and then….well, watch it for yourself.

After watching it once or twice, I felt the last two players were both making huge errors.  But, after a few more viewings I realized something that changed my mind just a little bit.

Robert Notkin, the chip leader, just limped in with those Kings.  A very odd, very risky move.  I mean, when you’re down to four players in a tournament, aren’t you just dying to get a big pocket pair and raise with it?  If he was the short stack, I could see taking a chance and limping with them, thinking you might not get a call if you raise.  That’s still risky and I’d probably only do that with Aces—again, if I was the short stack and desperate.

But Notkin limped.  Justin Miller, next to act with a very short stack, shoved with King-Queen off.  Very logical play.  With that hand, he might have easily done that even if Notkin had raised, because he was so short.

So then it’s on Vincent Jacques with Ace-10 off and a fair amount of chips. He knows Miller could be shoving very light, and Notkin’s limp totally disguised his hand. He might have a low-to-medium pocket pair, or maybe just some random paint cards.  Jacques shove feels ok to me because of Notkin’s limp.  If Notkin had raised, and Miller had still shoved, then I would say it’s an easy fold for Jacques.

Ryan Rivers, with the third shortest stack and in the big blind, should have an easy fold with his pocket 8’s. Unless all of his opponents have the same hand—say Ace-King—he has to be very lucky to have the best hand on the river. Why not fold and hope that two of his opponents bust out on the hand?  Even though that would leave him incredibly short stacked, he’d move up to 2nd place money.  Although I have to admit, with his stack, about 1/5’s of Jacques’, it does make it tempting.

Of course Notkin called and he can’t believe his good fortune (though he must have at least considered the possibility that one of his opponents had Aces).  It made for an incredibly exciting, dramatic finish.  Anybody recall any other tournament ending with three players busting on the final hand? 

What do you think?  Is my analysis flawed?

One thing’s for sure, it taught me how to play pocket Kings.  From now on, I limp with them.  That’s what made the hand play out that way.  The limp with pocket Kings.

This post is sponsored by Spreaditfast.


  1. I think the guy with 88 made the biggest mistake. Maybe he really wanted to win the tournament and didn't care about moving up one spot, so he was willing to gamble for the chance at picking up a bunch of chips. If it were me I would fold hoping to see another player eliminated and move up in the money. The guy with AT was just trying to push everyone else out of the pot and play heads up with the short stack with some dead money in the pot. Not a bad idea but bad timing running into kings. I think the limp with KK isn't so bad since there's a couple shorter stacks that are probably in shove or fold mode, and will shove over a limp with a lot more hands than they would shove over a raise where they know they have no fold equity. Of course if his opponents are paying attention he can't only limp with his best hands or they will know something is up. So whether it's a good play or not depends on how he's been playing earlier on too.

    1. Thanks, Dave. Valid points. I'm just worried about someone in the BB in for free with garbage hand (or a weak Ace) that hits. How about if an Ace spikes and the A-10 wins the pot....think the guy with the KK is wondering if he should have raised? Ace-10 probably doesn't shove if UTG raises.

    2. Yeah, that's a good point. I was defending the play somewhat, but I don't think it's something I would do unless I felt it was very likely someone would raise.

  2. Replies
    1. Sorry.....not appropriate for this post.

    2. well, if u think some of these ppoker players actions r donkey like or acting like a BOOB, or BOOB-wiene

    3. ...and you're gonna be disappointed with the next post too. Sorry.

    4. man, the bluff by mrs Chang really fornicated u up,huh??

    5. It's true anger. Since then, I've pretty much lost the will to live.

    6. well dont listen to Judas Priest or Ozzy. u might do something stupid. instead,follow thechive on twitter and look at all the pretty ladies that Mind the Gap,Hump Day,TugTuesday and drink some Diet(in yr case) Baja Blast