Poker Hand of the Week: Nothing is as Successful as Success

German player Andreas Klatt raised a lot of eyebrows at the PokerStars Championship Monaco.

First, he won the €1,100 buy-in, 1,252-player National Championship for over €150,000. Then he came second in the main event for another €402,786.

To get there in the main event he had to go through a lot of interesting but also tough spots — like this one, where he was up against temporary chip leader Romain Nardin from France.

Flop to River

Ten players are left and they’re down to two tables at the PSC Monte Carlo. The remaining players all have €44,280 locked up.

Romain Nardin and Andreas Klatt are two of the big stacks and they’re sitting at the same table. The blinds are 25,000/50,000/5000.

After a fold in first position Nardin (3.88 million) raises it up to 125,000. Klatt (3.25 million) on his left calls with    

The eventual winner of the tournament, Raffaele Sorrentino, folds in the small blind. Davidi Kitai in the big blind also folds.

There’s 350,000 in the pot and the flop is      

Nardin bets 155,000 and Klatt calls again. The pot swells to 660,000 with effective stacks now at 2.9 million. The turn is the  

Nardin now bets 370,000 and Klatt calls again. The pot is now up to 1.4m, effective stacks are 2.5m and they go to the river  

Nardin now bets 625,000. Klatt ponders for two minutes until he eventually calls. Nardin shows     and loses about a third of his stack.

Klatt takes the chip lead with over 4.5 million chips, paving his way into the heads-up. Watch the hand below at 33:55.


Quite a crucial hand in the event and the biggest pot so far. It took Klatt over two minutes to find the call and win it.


Nardin gets speculative.

To understand the players’ moves, let’s see what they did here street by street.

Nardin raises from the cut-off with a very speculative hand but he’s one of the big stacks and wants to exert pressure on the others.

Klatt responds with a move that will pay-off later but needs a lot of nerve to go through with. He has a strong A-Q on the button but he just calls, although there are good reasons to re-raise.

Why does he do this? There are several reasons:

Just calling means he can play against Nardin’s whole range, which has a lot of bad hands in it.
Just calling means Klatt can avoid getting into a situation with a lot of variance with another big stack. That kind of situation could arise if he re-raises.
He also might induce a push from the smaller stacks in the blinds which he could easily call in case Nardin folds.

A Flop Klatt Likes a Lot

So, Sorrentino and Kitai fold and the flop falls A J 7. That’s a flop that Klatt likes a lot.

But it’s Nardin’s turn first and he continues with another bet, representing pretty much the hand that Klatt has.

This is a good move as he’s going to make many hands like middle pairs fold. But Klatt plays his hand right, too.

He calls to keep Nardin’s complete range in the hand while he would have made almost all hands fold that are worse than his.

A Near-Perfect Turn

Andreas Klatt

Klatt: Plays his hand right.

On the turn Nardin would probably have given up most of his hands to give Klatt the pot. But the card – the 5 – is near perfect for him.

It gives him a flush draw and a gutshot draw, which means it adds 12 outs. So his next bet isn’t a pure bluff as he now has a proper hand that has 25% equity.

His bet size of 155,000 into a pot of 350,000 is chosen well. It has a good risk-reward ratio as he only needs to win 30% of time to be profitable and it might well make a king fold.

At the same time it implies that he has to have another move on the river.

Klatt still sees no reason to give up his hand. There are now two flush draws on the board and Nardin might have a weaker ace.

Max Polarization On the River

What happens on the river is something we’ve seen many times. The draw doesn’t come in and Nardin decides to polarize his range to the max and go for the big bluff.

Klatt sitting and thinking for more than two minutes shows how tough this spot is even for a strong hand like the one Klatt holds.


Not the hand we expected to see.

He obviously has very good odds and of course it’s possible that Nardin was three-barrel bluffing – with possible hands like K T or 9 8.

But there are also hands like A-K, A-J, A-7 or sets which he would have played the same way.

Because none of the draws came in Klatt pretty much has to cal. He eventually decides to do just that. 

But what about Nardin? Should he have given up his hand?

Unfortunately he’s in a dilemma as he has a hand that doesn’t even beat something like 9 8. He has absolutely no showdown value and even loses to most of the busted draws.

But Klatt’s range is pretty much aces and a few diamond flush draws, so it wouldn’t have been a mistake for Nardin to give in.

On the other hand, even after losing this hand, his stack with more than 50 bb remains intact so you can make a point for the bluff, too.


Playing a bluff that never got serious with a speculative and weak hand loses Romain Nardin almost 1.3 million chips.

Andreas Klatt keeps his nerve on the river with what a good, but not great, hand. Once again we realize that nothing is as successful as success.