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Going For Thin Value Against Jason Koon

GGPoker Super Millions Final Table

The weekly GGPoker Super Millions usually draws some of the best players in the world, this last week was no different as one of the best in the game Jason Koon made a final table run to add to his already legendary resume. A pro in his own right, GGPoker regular Pascal Hartmann entered the final table as the chip leader with over a hundred big blinds. With a huge stack advantage, did Hartmann have the goods to squeeze full value out of Koon?

The Game: GGPoker Super Millions
Blinds: 80,000/160,000
Stack Sizes: 15 Big Blinds Effective

When To Go For THIN VALUE Featuring Jason KOON On A GG Poker Final Table

Any Two Cards

Having more than three times the stack as the second place player, Hartmann clearly felt comfortable at the table when he raised 320,000 on the button with J♣-3♠. With four short-stacked players remaining, the payout implications these players faced allowed Hartmann to apply effective pressure with a wide range. Holding K♣-9♦ on the big blind, Koon’s only viable options were to call or go all-in with only 15 big blinds effective. While Koon likely knew Hartmann was betting with a wider range than usual, the payout implications did not make K♣-9♦ effective as a shoving hand. Koon made the call, taking it to the flop.

Just Enough To Stick Around

The Pot: 800,000
The Board: J♠-9♠-2♥
Effective Stack: 13 Big Blinds

While Koon may have felt ahead with his middle pair, the pesky J♠ would make this flop somewhat difficult out of position. Being checked to, Hartmann had a decision to make with his top pair-bad kicker. As the big stack Hartmann had enough reason to play aggressively, but a hand like top pair-no kicker can preferably be checked back as it avoids the disaster of a check-raise. Hartmann made the check, hoping for a safe river that would help him take Koon to value town.

The Bets Start Coming

The Pot: 800,000
The Board: J♠-9♠-2♥-2♣
Effective Stack: 13 Big Blinds

The second two on the turn would be detrimental to Koon as it made his pair of nines look a whole lot better, but not quite as good as his opponent’s jacks. With K♣-9♦ the preferred strategy for Koon was to continue checking and hope Hartmann would add chips to the pot with his bluffs. If Hartmann were to have bluffs in his range the turn was likely the spot where he would start betting, incentivizing Koon to stay in the hand for as cheaply as possible to get to showdown. Making the check, Koon faced a 560,000 bet from Hartmann. While it may seem like it would have been a good spot for Koon to shove, an all-in would have only been called by jacks and twos. Even if Hartmann were bluffing, in hands in which Koon is ahead such an aggressive play forces Hartmann to fold out all of the junk he is bluffing with. Making similar calls will result in you getting outdrawn sometimes, but more often then not your bluffing opponents will miss.

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And They Don’t Stop Coming

The Pot: 1,920,000
The Board: J♠-9♠-2-2♣-10
Effective Stack: 9 Big Blinds

The 10 was certainly a nasty river card for Koon as it brought in some straights for Hartmann. Checked to, Hartmann was left with a decision: check to showdown with a chance of taking down the pot with top pair, or forcing Koon all-in with a shot of winning or getting him off a better hand. Prior to making his decision, Hartmann likely considered what hands Koon would call with that his jack beat. There were almost zero two’s in Koon’s range as he would not have defended the big blind with such hands, which left hands pairing the nine and the ten to be considered. With his staggering stack size Hartmann had the benefit of low risk when making his decision, but what did he end up doing? Utilizing top pair Hartmann fired out for 1,600,000, leaving Koon with his own decision.

Conclusion: Koon Is The Latest Arrival To Value Town

Caught in a brutal spot, Koon tanked for some time before making the reluctant call with his two pair of nines and twos. Some people think when they call and lose at the final table that they “messed up”, but in poker sometimes the proper play doesn’t produce the ideal results. All you can do when you play poker is study to the best of your ability and apply what you know with the cards you are given. After taking down this hand, Hartmann would continue using his momentum and staggering stack to wipe out the remainder of the competition and win the Super Millions for over $485,000. Congrats Pascal!


Jonathan Little

Jonathan Little

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. Recently 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.

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