Just before the 2017 WSOP started last month, all eyes were on the $300,000 Aria Super High Roller Bowl.
An array of top pros and a group of both skilled and affluent amateurs played for a winner’s check of $6 million.
Before even Day 1 was finished there were a multitude of hands that showed the prowess of the pros — but also that of the amateur players.
This is one where Dominik Nitsche demonstrates why he is where he is in the poker pecking order.
Flop to River
A couple of hours into Day 1 of the SHRB and over 40 of the original 56 players are still in. Blinds are up to 1500/3000 with a bb ante of 3000.
Players are about 100 bb deep on average. After Ben Lamb folds, Bill Klein (160,000 chips) raises to 7,500 from second position.
Kevin Hart folds, Talal Shakerchi (386,000) calls from the cut-off, Nick Petrangelo folds the button and Dominik Nitsche (336,000) calls from the small blind with
Dan Colman in the big blind (411,000) comes along as well. Four players and 33,000 chips in the middle go to the flop.
The blinds check. Klein bets 10,000 and Shakerchi calls. Nitsche check-raises to 40,000. Colman folds and so does Klein after some pondering.
Shakerchi calls and the pot grows to 133,000 with effective stacks now at 290,000. The turn is the
Nitsche now checks and so does Shakerchi behind him. With still 133,000 chips in the middle, they go to the river
Nitsche checks again. Shakerchi bets 68,000 and Nitsche decides to make the call. He beats Shakerchi’s busted draw with
With this pot Nitsche builds his stack to over 500,000. But the holdings of the other players also deserve some attention.
Bill Klein folded Q♦ J♥, which was the best hand on the flop. Dan Colman would have had the nuts on the turn with his T♠ 8♣.
Quite a turbulent hand that ends with a Nitsche hero-call and one of the biggest stacks in the field.
But let’s look at the different stages of this hand and how not just Talal Shakerchi but also Bill Klein and Dan Colman influenced the way it played out.
Klein opens with a rather loose raise with Q-Jo. At this stage of the tournament, many players try to accumulate chips to secure themselves a better position for later and he’s not taking too much of a risk.
Shakerchi calls from the cut-off with Q-To. The calls by Nitsche with A-9s and Colman with T-8o in the blinds are pretty standard regarding the pot odds they get and the chance to take a look at as many flops as possible.
This flop rewards everybody’s willingness to invest chips. But it’s even more interesting to watch how the players handle it.
The blinds check and Klein follows with a regular c-bet. Then things start to get going.
Shakerchi calls with an open-ended straight draw and then the action goes back to Nitsche with A♠ 9♠.
Nitsche Makes a Point
The German 888poker ambassador has quite a brilliant idea: He check-raises. But this is a move that won’t find the approval of all our readers here.
Nitsche’s thoughts probably went along these lines:
— Klein has bet out into three players but this could be an automatic c-bet. Also, the c-bet was rather small and doesn’t speak strength.
— By check-raising I can probably make Colman fold, and if Klein doesn’t have a very strong hand he’ll have to fold, too, as he’s sandwiched between me and Talal.
— If Klein folds I only have Shakerchi left to get rid of (if he makes the call). Also, Talal’s range is weaker than Klein’s.
— Apart from all that, there are a lot of good turn cards for me in the deck. Like an ace, a nine or a spade.
— Instead of folding I will raise. It doesn’t even have to work every second time to make it profitable.
If this is what Nitsche was thinking about, it worked out pretty well. Colman folds what would have become the nuts, Klein folds the best hand, and Shakerchi, who only has a draw, stays in the hand.
Nitsche Slows Down
The turn, it turns out, is not one of the cards Nitsche was looking for. It doesn’t improve his hand and it completes a possible draw to the nuts.
Thus, he doesn’t barrel again with his second pair. When Shakerchi checks behind him it doesn’t look like he filled up as you’d expect him to bet on such a draw-y board.
So, they to the river and the 4♦ is a complete brick. It’s unlikely that any player filled up to a flush so the best hand on the turn is most likely still the best hand on the river.
For Nitsche, it only makes sense to bet if he can make a better hand fold – for example a pair of jacks.
But he does have second pair, top kicker which could still be the best hand. Considering these factors, a check seems to be the best move.
Talal Shakerchi is a player who calls himself an amateur but is a regular at big live events. He was also the winner of last year’s SCOOP main event.
So What’s His Range?
It’s still quite a thin call that Nitsche is making and it would have been a lot easier to make it without the seven on the turn (which completed a straight draw).
Still, he was able to make the call. A call that separates the pros from the amateurs; a call that shows how to make the right decision.
With a tricky and savvy move on the flop Dominik Nitsche manages to make the hand that is better than his fold while keeping the hand that is worse in the pot. On the river he then goes on to make a good call and reveal Talal Shakerchi’s bluff.