In our Poker Hand of the Week we analyze one of the sickest bluffs in the history of the European Poker Tour by Sam Grafton vs. Lucas Landa at the 2023 PCA.
Poker Hand of the Week Setup
This spectacular bluff was played at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) 2023 between UK poker legend Sam Grafton and Lucas Landa.
It is important to note that we are very close to the bubble with 132 players left and 128 places paid. The min-cash is a whopping $17,600, so there is a lot of ICM pressure.
Grafton has Landa covered at the start of our Poker Hand of the Week.
Poker Hand of the Week Action
At Blinds of 1,500/3,000, Grafton raises from UTG+1 with K♠9♣ to 6,000 and Lucas Landa just calls from the big blind with A♣Q♣. Everybody else folds. Pot Size: 16,500
They go Heads-Up to an interesting flop of 3♣A♠2♠, which hits the UTG preflop raising range hard. However, the preflop caller Lucas Landa has flopped top pair strong kicker.
He checks and Sam understandably makes a small continuation bet of 4,500 (27% pot), since this flop strongly favours his range. Lucas check-calls. Pot Size: 25,500
The Q♥ on the turn is a very good card for Landa, since he improves to Top Two Pair. He checks over to Sam Grafton for a second time, who now checks behind. Pot Size: 25,500
The 7♠ on the river does complete the flush draw. Now Landa decides to lead for 18,500 (73% pot). Sam quickly raises to 125,000, which is half of Landa’s remaining stack.
Lucas Landa goes deep into the tank and after more than a minute he folds Top Two Pair! Grafton can’t help it, but to laugh while collecting a nice 169,000 pot with just King-high.
Poker Hand of the Week Analysis
The question here is great bluff or terrible fold? Let’s see.
Two important pieces of information to start with: We are very close to the bubble and this is the last hand before the break.
Sam kicks things off with a loose UTG raise with K9o. Everybody folds to Lucas Landa, who picks up AQs in the big blind. This is a very easy 3-bet out of position against a lose opponent like Sam Grafton, but he decides to just call.
The reason is probably that we are close to the bubble and Landa therefore wants to control the size of the pot and not get blown of his hand by a large 4-bet shove.
The Ace-high flop strongly favours the range of the preflop raiser and Sam consequently makes a small cbet. It is however Landa, who has flopped top pair top kicker and he check-calls.
The Queen on the turn even improves the hand of the Argentinian further to Top Two Pair. He checks again and Sam wisely checks behind.
On the river the frontdoor flush comes in, which is a bit of a scare card for Landa’s Top Two. That’s why the right play here is to check-call. For whatever reason Landa now leads though with a large value bet sizing.
Grafton now makes a very large 7.5x raise and suddenly Lucas has a little bit of a decision and he does indeed go deep into the tank.
I am actually wondering why to be honest, because Top Two in a heads-up pot as played is a very easy call. Lucas doesn’t think so though and after thinking for more than a minute he folds the best hand.
Poker Hand of the Week Conclusion
To sum things up, this is much rather a terrible fold than a great bluff.
As so often several mistakes of the opponent are the reason, why Sam Grafton does get away with it here.
First of all, AQs heads-up is a clear 3-bet preflop, regarding that Landa is out of position, to which Sam would most likely have folded.
Secondly, the river is a clear check-call. Leading here makes zero sense, especially when you are not willing to call a raise.
By leading Landa gives Grafton the chance to make a play at the pot. The high ICM pressure close to the bubble and the fact that Sam has him covered increase the chances of the success for this bluff.
Nevertheless, Top Two Pair in this spot is WAY TOO STRONG TOO FOLD even more though after Sam checked back the turn as he would have kept firing with a flush draw.
The line of Sam Grafton bet flop, check behind turn, raise river is very often a bluff. In addition to that, the only credible hands that Sam is representing here are KsQs and KsJs, which are nowhere near enough combos to justify a fold.
Watch the Poker Hand of the Week from 9:25 on:
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