On Tuesday, Samuel "€urop€an" Vousden defeated Niklas "Lena900" Astedt heads-up in the $10,000 Super MILLION$ tournament.
Broadcast of the final table with open cards:
A few hands before his triumph, Samuel Vousden folded top pair on the river (beginning at 4:05:45)
This hand shocked Kevin Rabichow so much that he rushed to share his thoughts on Twitter.
– This is another good reminder that my idea of heads-up is very different from MTT regulars. It's also a great example that looking at final tables with cards up can be a very useful tool for working on your game. Let me share my analysis.
Preflop: Sam opened 400k at 100k/200k about 20bb deep. Niklas defends. Sam should limp more often here, but both players preferred to raise this heads-up. I think it's a pretty good hand to raise-call at this depth.
Niklas also has an easy call.
Flop: Niklas check-called a 25% pot bet. I think these are the obvious solutions for both.
Turn: Niklas bet 33%, Sam called. The lead will get rid of a lot of garbage hands that have quite a lot of equity. Additionally, his hand is quite good for betting for value. I like. And Sam could call or raise.
River: Niklas bet 75%, Sam was lost in thought. Intuition tells me that this is too wide a bluff, since has good showdown value (but I haven't watched the hand in software yet). Jeff Gross, who commentated on the final table, immediately said that Sam was thinking about folding. And I was sure that he was choosing between calling and raising.
In the end, he did muck. My analysis turned out to be fundamentally wrong (it seems that I am not alone here). Why were my ideas about this hand so far from reality? I've studied heads-up solver a lot and I know that in theory there is no point in turning a pair into a bluff on the river. But beats a lot of value hands, so you can't fold it. But this hand suggests that both players thought very differently to me. So I need to adjust.
Heads-up, there are enough bluffs in ranges even when draws complete. This gives us a good opportunity to catch bluffs from aggressive opponents like Niklas. But since even the best regs fold like that, we have to keep bluffing everything.
On the other hand, we need to see if Niklas has enough bluffs here. Will he call this flop and lead the turn with enough ? will almost always shove preflop, so he might just run out of unpaired hands.
Obviously, I can only guess how they reasoned. But this approach explains the deviation from the theory. And during the game, I need to think more about how my opponents play, and not get hung up on my own strategy. This is more complicated than it seems at first glance, I hope posts like this will help me with this.
“I think the explanation is very simple,” suggested one reader. Neither of them has studied heads-up very deeply.
“I agree,” Kevin replied. “That explains their mistakes, but doesn't help me figure out how I can play with them in the future. And I need to know what mistakes opponents can make in situations that they have not studied.
Patrick Leonard defended the MTT top regs and provided Kevin with some screenshots from a solver.
Niklas' strategy on the turn:
– Sam doesn't beat any value other than . Therefore, push for value with facing a bet sounds wild, here it is a bluffcatcher.
As On the river, you need to call both a 60% pot bet and a shove. But it doesn't seem like a big mistake to me if he chooses a different hand to call.
These are the two strongest players in the world with crazy dynamics that they have accumulated over 10+ years of playing against each other. Today one outplayed the other, tomorrow they will switch places, and this can go on forever.
I want to give you sincere advice – do not try to outplay them and do not waste time looking for a counter-strategy. It's better to focus on heads-up and try to play well. And crazy mind games will not lead to anything good, they are too good at them.
Coincidentally, a few hours after this discussion, Kevin and Patrick met heads-up in the $2,600 WSOP Online non-bracelet event.
They discussed several hands as they played.
“We are playing Kevin heads-up in a 6-max tournament,” Pads told readers . “Just two hours ago, he found out that my friends like to fold top pair on the river!”
– Excellent. In this hand, I folded a pair on the river after your bet,” Kevin shared.
– Cruel fold! – said an upset Pads.
Flop was checked.
Turn minbet call.
On the river he bet 110%, I raised, he shoved.
A very difficult decision, but still I threw it away.
He thought for 3 minutes and threw it away! Kevin posted the hand from his side.
However, it was the correct pass as a full house was no good for Pads. In the final hand of play, Patrick could not beat Q6 with QJ.