GGPoker Super Millions Final Table

Whether for hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars, the payout implications at final tables make having a proper short stack strategy essential. Featuring another pulse pounding hand from the weekly GGPoker Super Millions Tournament, we analyze the short stack strategy of chess master and poker phenom Ottomar Ladva.

The Game:  GGPoker Super Millions
Blinds: 35,000/70,000
Stacks Sizes: 20 Big Blinds Effective

This video comes from Jonathan Little’s YouTube Channel. If you would like to stay up to date with more video content such as this, including hand breakdowns from Hellmuth vs Dwan, Daniel Negreanu, Bryn Kenney and more, click here.

A Table Full Of Sharks

With five players remaining, Ladva was folded to on the small blind holding 8-8♠. With 20 big blinds effective Ladva could have strategically shoved, but elected to limp instead. Considering ICM implications late in tournaments, limping with hands like pockets eights is often a wise decision as it protects your stack from aggressive raises. Ladva faced Elio Fox, an accomplished pro with over 10 million in career winnings. On the big blind, Fox would check holding Q♠-5♣. While Fox could have targeted Ladva’s limp with a raise, it is often best to check to opponent with a strong limping range.

A Dry Flop

The Pot: 182,500
The Board: K-3-2
Effective Stack: 20 Big Blinds

Out of position, Ladva was in a difficult spot despite having the best hand. Whenever you are a short stack at the final table, if there are other short stacks you want to avoid marginal scenarios. If the flop has an overcard and your opponent bets, your hand becomes a bluff catcher, a hand you want to avoid getting all-in. When another short stack is at the table, getting to showdown cheaply is preferred as it protects your stack and marginal hand. Checking and betting were the best options for Ladva, whose check elicited another check from Fox.

More Dry Cards

The Pot: 182,500
The Board: K-3-2-9♣
Effective Stack: 20 Big Blinds

With another blank on the turn, again Ladva’s best options were to check or bet for a small sizing. Making a small bet for 70,000, Ladva’s bet left Fox with the decision of what to do with queen-high. With good pot odds and position folding was out of the question, as there were unpaired hands in Ladva’s range that lose even to queen-high. Whenever you have a hand like queen-high that can potentially beat draws, you cannot fold good pot odds unless your opponent is a weak, tight knit. Fox would make the call, hoping to improve on the river.

A Two On The River, Is It Bluffable?

The Pot: 182,500
The Board: K-3-2-9♣-2♠
Effective Stack: 19 Big Blinds

With pocket eights, does it make for Ladva to bet for value? Again, ICM implications should influence big decisions at the final table, with a check acknowledging the other short stack remaining. Checking would have been the easiest and likely the best decision for Ladva, as Fox lacked worse hands in his range that would have called bets. Betting against a big stack severely exposes you to being raised and getting called by better hands, a lesson Ladva would learn the hard way when his 80,625 bet would get 3-bet to 612,750 by Fox. Being one of the best in the world, Fox along with other elite pros often make these aggressive bets on the river. Realizing calling would not win him the hand, Fox applied substantial pressure recognizing Ladva held a marginal hand. Unable to detect Fox’s well executed bluff, Ladva would fold out the better hand, rewarding Fox with a lucrative pot.

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