J Little sat down to analyze an interesting Game of Gold spot with Fedor Holz and Daniel Cates, with a particularly strange river sequence.

Jonathan Little: We are playing about 1.3 million effective at 30,000/60,000 blinds, so a little bit more than 22 big blinds.

Fedor Holz under the gun, also the cut-off, raises it up with the . Dan Cates in the small blind with calls. Everyone else gets out of the way. Let's see what the flop brings.

Flop

Dan Cates checks, as he will do with his entire range on this board, and then Fedor Holz, with three-of-a-kind, just checks it back.

You may ask, "Why in the world would you want to check it back?"

Well, his hand is almost always good and very unlikely to get outdrawn. When that is the case, checking back becomes a very reasonable strategy.

Next, Dan Cates is not afraid to bluff. Now, the problem with this spot is that when Fedor checks it back, I think his range looks either like a really good hand, like a that's never folding, an that's trying to not fold as well, or maybe an under pair like pocket Queens.

That type of range is going to be pretty call happy. So while Cates certainly is not afraid to bluff, I'm not sure he's going to be bluffing all that often in this spot. In general, I feel like this is a spot where it's just going to get checked down a lot when Fedor does have a hand like pocket Queens. So I'm not sure he's going to induce that many bluffs.

That said, I like the check here because you want to do everything you possibly can to let Cates pick up some sort of a pair.

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Turn

The turn is the 6 of Spades and Dan Cates goes for roughly a pot-sized bet, just trying to set up stacks to easily get it in on the river. I want to ask you the same question though, in this scenario, what would you do in Fedor's shoes with your King Jack? Would you call, raise the minimum, or put Dan Cates all in?

This is a situation that I think a lot of people mess up by raising. In this spot, you want to do everything you possibly can to keep Dan Cates in with all of his bluffs. And yeah, some of his bluffs are going to improve to beat you some portion of the time, like flush draws, but if you give Dan Cates a hand with no showdown value on the river, he's going to feel at least somewhat inclined to bluff, especially since he's already starting to polarize his range with a relatively large turn bet.

So this is a spot where Fedor's only option, in my mind, is to just call and that's exactly what he does. Let's head to the river.

River

Dan Cates makes a very interesting play of betting 780,000 out of his 980,000 stack, leaving himself with only 200,000 behind.

Kind of odd, kind of weird. I figured he would just rip it in here, although maybe keeping a tiny stack does have a little bit of merit on the off chance that he is beat.

Anyway, 780,000. Let's see what Fedor does.

After almost no thought, Fedor finds the call.

He does not go for that extra 200k of value. And you may ask, why doesn't Fedor almost always have the best hand? In this spot, I think he probably just does. If Cates has a , it could be , but that may rip it in pre-flop. is chopping. you do lose to, but it's only 200k more.

But what about when he has like suited, suited? Maybe he calls like suited. In those scenarios, I think you probably want to extract the value. What about the times that he has an ? Will he call for only 200k more? Maybe he will, maybe he won't.

I suppose if Fedor thinks that his range is almost entirely a that will call a shove, then it doesn't make sense to shove. But I think in this spot, given there are no real payout implications for Fedor and it's only 200k behind, it's like a tiny amount, I think Fedor probably should go for that little tiny bit of extra value.

But I do understand why in this scenario, calling is perhaps ideal. I do think there is a lot of merit in just getting Dan Cates out of here. You don't let him sit around with a few big blinds, unless there are payout implications you can take advantage of.

Now, I'm not exactly sure the implications in this particular table because they were variable throughout Game of Gold. But in this spot, if you will have the big stack as Fedor will, Fedor actually does not mind keeping a short stack around. This is very different when you are early in a tournament where we don't really care about eliminating the player.

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But here, imagine Dan Cates is left with three or four big blinds and the other two players have let's say 15 or 20 big blinds, and you're sitting there with 50. Now Fedor can raise almost every hand and push around the other two middle stacks because they really want to outlast Dan Cates who is almost certainly going to be the next one out, right?

So in this situation, it might actually be very ideal for Fedor to keep Dan Cates in. This might actually be one of those spots where Fedor had pocket Kings, he should just call because he wants to keep Dan Cates in. Interesting concept that I think a lot of people do not fully grasp, but I learned this one many many years ago and I used to play a lot of sit-and-go (SNG). If, let's say three people pay and four people remain, you really want there to be a one or two big blind stack in there because as long as they're there, you are going to be able to completely run over the middle stacks. And that's probably what Fedor recognized in this spot and that is what he's going for.

Enjoy your games, have fun, good luck when you make trips. Hope you don't lose.

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