January 16, 2021 Poker Strategy, Poker News Lars Liedtke

Poker Hand of the Week – How Phil Hellmuth got Alan Keating to stack off preflop with K9o in a $42,400 Pot!

Poker Hand of the Week Setup

We witnessed a spectacular trap by Phil Hellmuth in the latest Poker After Dark episode, where he got Alan Keating to stack off  pre with K9o! Let’s take a look how the Poker Brat managed that he put all his chips into the middle with such a mediocre hand.

This hand was played at the latest episode of Poker After Dark Season 12 The Bratty Bunch Episode 2, which features a lineup consisting of rich businessmen such as Chamath Palihapitiya, David Sacks, Jason Calacanis, Bill Gurley taking on the two poker pros Alan Keating and the Poker Brat himself Phil Hellmuth.

The latter two clash in this exceptional hand playing NL $200/$400 6-max with straddle and a minimum buy-in of $40,000.

Poker Hand of the Week – How Phil Hellmuth got Alan Keating to stack off preflop with K9o

Phil Hellmuth and Alan Keating have a lot of history and know each other’s game well. Hellmuth is applying a short stack strategy having only 52 big blinds at the start of the hand and Alan has him covered.

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Poker Hand of the Week Action

Preflop Action:

Alan Keating straddles to $400 and Phil Hellmuth limps in from the button with K♠J♦ and Bill Gurley calls with 6♦3♦ from the small blind.

When the action comes back to Keating, he decides to aggressively defend his straddle with a huge squeeze to $5,400, which is a 16x raise.

Phil Hellmuth insta-shoves all-in for $20,800 and Gurley gets out of the way. Alan Keating calls surprisingly quickly with K♦9♣ just to see that Phil has him dominated, when the cards are on their back.

The Poker Brat is a huge 69% favourite to win the hand, but as usual plays it safe by running it twice.

First Runout:

The first board brings 5♠2♥7♥8♦Q♣ and secured Hellmuth one half of the pot.

Second Runout: 

The second board is dealt with 2♠7♦4♥A♥J♣ and Phil takes down a $42,400 Pot.

Poker Hand of the Week Analysis

Phil Hellmuth is known for his traps and this hand is the perfect example why. Alan Keating is by far the loosest and most aggressive player at the table, who makes a lot of moves.

In addition, he showed several bluffs previously in this session such as a huge bluff with 620 in a $65,100 against David Sacks. Hellmuth observes his opponents very well, knows this and has only been waiting for the right spot to trap him.

To be honest it is quite an obvious trap to open-limp from the button, when the most aggressive player sits in the big blind or like here in the straddle, but those traps still work.

In this case it even worked out to perfection as Keating’s squeeze was too large in my opinion as he made a 16x raise. As a consequence he is almost pot-committed after Hellmuth shoved or at least gets very attractive pot odds of 2.75 to 1. That means he only has to win the hand in 26.66% of the cases to make a call profitable.

I ran an equity simulation to find out if this is a call or not. As Phil Hellmuth is very tight in all-in preflop spots, I constructed his range to be AA – 99, AK and AQ. Against this range, K9 has 27,76% equity, so it is a call by a hair:

Poker Hand of the Week – How Phil Hellmuth got Alan Keating to stack off preflop with K9o

So the remarkable thing about this hand is that Hellmuth brought Keating into a spot, where he has to call all-in pre with K9o in a NL$200/$400 cash game.

Watch the Poker Hand of the Week here:


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