"How would you play against Phil Hellmuth?"

Marcwantstowin

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Imagine you are heads-up in the Main Event at the wsop, against Phil Helmuth! You both have about 50 BB's. He has been raising 3x almost every time he is in the SB, and each time you call, he places a pot-sized continuation bet on the flop.

Finally you are dealt :4d4::4h4: in the big blind. As usual, he again preflop raises 3x; you call. The flop comes :as4:, :ah4:, :4c4:.

He makes his pot-sized continuation bet. You think he could have AK or Ax, or perhaps a big pair. What's your move? Do you shove, raise, call or fold?

Phil hellmuth former wsop winner
 
laihuynh

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I choose shove if he raises 3x, the chances of holding cards are very large, such as QQ, KK, AK and in a bad case it is AA, if he does not hold AA, the chances of me sharing the win are high.
 
RhinoRyan89

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I would just call after the flop action.

To see/allow him to keep barling on later streets.

I don't think he would slow down on the turn with an A× or high pair.

And hope you don't get out drawn to a better full house.
 
pentazepam

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Just calling is the obvious choice. You keep all the bluffs and worst hands in plus if he has trips there is only a relatively small risk that he fills up.

I don't want him to do some white magic super fold so I trap the master trapper.
 
LaNimmer

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Just as I am to announce my decision, I wake up, roll over and tell my wife I was playing Phil Helmuth at a final table and she replies "who is Phil Helmuth"?
 
puzzlefish

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It depends on what he did in the past on the turn. If he likes to keep betting after his flop cbet, then calling is fine. If I have been raising him lightly before on his cbet, then I would raise here again. If I have been passive before, then I would just call. No need to get excited and spazz all in just yet.
 
S

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Call on flop and shove in his bet on turn most likely. Even if he folds there he would tilt and even if he didn't play worse after it I'd do it just to experience that first hand. :D
 
Gritz18

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Do you shove, raise, call or fold?
In this situation, I would use my time a little and just call, giving him rope to hang himself, and depending on the cards on the tuner and river, I would fit an all-in.
 
SpanRmonka

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There's no reason to believe he has a good hand, as he has been playing this way every SB. He has almost any 2 in his range.

If we shove, he likely has nothing and so folds. The only play is to therefore call and to hope he does barrel again, or that he will barrel the river. If he does have an A and sucks out, well, he is calling you anyway so it makes no difference.

I could also min re raise, to look extra strong as a double bluff. He probably calls with any type of hand, or draw, of which there aren't too many!
 
rhoudini

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I started writing how this is probably a good opportunity for a check-raise from GTO perspective, because in general this kind of board tends to be good to the pre-flop raiser, but in real world it would depend much more on my previous actions and on what is my image to Phil.

But the more I wrote, the more I realized that a call does not make much sense in any perspective. A call here is like yelling, "Hey, I just flopped good, please don't fold." Let's take from Phil's perspective. After a pot size bet, what hands we are calling? Does not make sense to call with anything besides made hands, even if they are as marginal as pocket fives, or if they are as great as this full house! With a check-raise, we balance bluffs and good made hands, and we take the initiative.

If I am 3-betting in a good frequency, and if I also have a good check-raise frequency on dry boards (a bit closer to a GTO play), I will not only check-raise with my monsters, but also with my draws. Well, if I am in a heads-up with Hellmuth, it probably means I am a good HU player, and yeah, I am going to do it. I will not raise only with made hands, but also with good draws, and sometimes with junk. This board does not offer many draws, though. But we have a lot of junk hands options to bluff. Check-raising this set is specially good because we don't block an ace for him. But even if we had Ax, calling does not seem the best approach.

What are we going to do on the turn if he checks (because has a junk hand)? Bet 1/3 and hope to get called? Fire a pot bet trying to represent a bluff? This is an easy fold for Mr. Hellmuth, we just made his life easier, and he just lost the same amount as he would have lost after our check-raise. But the difference of check-raising is that we would win this amount many times with bluff combos. If he calls, ok, we mostly have a free river before giving up.

This is why I would check-raise Mr. Hellmuth to 10 BB.
 
Poker Orifice

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Wow! Phil is playing terribly. What part of his range is C-Betting POT on a board like this? (also, why is Phil C-Betting 'POT' every hand? Has he been playing too many online freerolls & reverting back to a pre-2007 style of play.
 
TeUnit

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I think I would just call and hope he continues on the turn.
 
Luvepoker

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No matter how Phil is playing today, he is one of the greatest tournament players in history. He also has a great reputation of making big folds with big hands. We need to play the player.

Today we have aggressive Phil. Even though he is playing aggressive and playing as if he has a ace I would only call him here. If he has a big ace we will get him all in on the river. If he has the ace X he has 4 outs to beat us. If we re raise him hear what will happen? If he has a smaller pair he will just fold to our bet. If he has a very small kicker with his ace he could fold based on his past play. We basically have the nuts and I would not want to give him a reason to fold here. If he has a smaller Ace i think this would be the best way to stack him and get the bracelet. I just would be more afraid to lose him to a re raise than his sucking out on me.
 
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