If you’re going to flop four of a kind, there is no better tournament to do so than in a high stakes one! At Event #4 of PokerGo’s Stairway To Millions NLH tournament series, poker pro Jesse Lonis would go toe-to-toe with fellow crusher Chris Brewer, and compete for poker glory. If you’re facing a player with a skillset like Chris Brewer’s, getting dealt a hand like four of a kind can be extremely helpful!
The Game: Stairway To Millions – Event #3 Effective Stack: 30 Big Blinds Where: PokerGo Studios – Las Vegas, Nevada
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Playing A Pocket Pair Preflop
Down to just three players at the final table, Lonis raised 225,000 after being folded to on the small blind holding 7♥-7♦. Chris Brewer would make the call, after peering down at Q♥-J♠.
Lonis’ raise in this spot was perfectly fine and standard, but he should consider mixing in some limps with the pocket sevens. By sprinkling in some limps with medium pocket pairs, Lonis gives himself the option of ripping it in on Brewer when he happens to raise from the big blind.
The Pot: 510,000 The Board: 7♣-7♠-5♠ Effective Stack: 27 Big Blinds Effective
Hitting Four Of A Kind On The Flop
Hitting every hockey stick in the deck on the flop, Lonis led out for a small, 110,000 bet, which Brewer would call.
Typically when you flop a monster hand like four of a kind, you usually want to check to give your opponent every chance to bluff. While four of a kind is an extremely strong hand, it can be tough to extract full value from it, as your opponent will usually be drawing dead and thus will lack the strength to bet.
Even though checking would likely have been preferred, Lonis was fine betting as well, since he utilized such a small sizing.
Brewer’s decision to call may seem confusing, but holding two over cards and being offered quality pot odds, his float of the flop was technically sound. If you regularly fold to small bets in similar spots, you are essentially over-folding and allow your opponents to run over you on a consistent basis.
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The Pot: 730,000 The Board: 7♣-7♠-5♠-9♦ Effective Stack: 25 Big Blinds Effective
Inducing Your Opponent Into Betting The Turn
Wanting to trap Brewer, Lonis deceptively checked out of position. Likely hoping a bet would reward him the pot, Brewer fired out a 250,000 bet, which Lonis quickly called.
By checking, Lonis expertly lured Brewer into betting, further providing value to his flopped four of a kind. Unless he was facing a tight, passive opponent that would check back the majority of hands, Lonis was wise to give his opponent some slack before reeling him in.
Even though he was dead to rights, Brewer had to bet this turn card if he had any chance of taking down the hand. Although we know Brewer had no shot at pulling the pot towards his stack, if he was facing another marginal hand, his bet could induce folds in a different scenario.
Masterfully inducing a bet from Brewer, Lonis made the correct play calling to provide Brewer one last street to fire a bet. If he was lucky enough to see a jack or queen come on the river, Lonis gave himself a great opportunity to print max value with four of a kind.
The Pot: 1,230,000 The Board: 7♣-7♠-5♠-9♦-Q♠ Effective Stack: 21 Big Blinds Effective
The Worst River Possible For Chris Brewer
Chris Brewer likely thought he was about to take down a massive pot by pairing his queen on the river, but little did he know just how behind he was. Wanting full value from his quads, Lonis could not resist, leading out for a 325,000 bet.
With a favorable card on the river that connected with Brewer’s range, Lonis was much better off checking and inducing Brewer into betting or shoving. With the pot growing to a size larger than Brewer’s stack, there was a high probability he would shove. By betting, Lonis could have very well scared Brewer away, but lucky for him, Brewer responded by calling.
Unfortunately for Chris Brewer, he really had no idea what was going on in this hand. When an opponent elects to raise preflop, bet the flop, check-call the turn, and lead small on the river, such unusual play typically signals strength. Even though he was crushed, Brewer maintained his tournament life by making the call.
Despite flopping four of a kind, Lonis could not capitalize on the momentum and fell in heads-up play to Salim Admon. Regardless, we salute Lonis for his terrific performance, and for his recent run in the WSOP.
About The Author
Two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little is a powerhouse in the global poker community. He's authored several bestselling strategy poker books, and accumulated over $7 million in live tournament cashes in the last 15 years. Crowned 2019 Poker Personality of the Year at the Global Poker Awards, the American pro is constantly rolling out a stream of exclusive articles, videos, and webinars here on PokerCoaching.com.