Alec Torelli on using live reads on day three of the WSOP Main Event

Alec Torelli

This is the third article in this series where I break down a key hand from each day of my eight days Main Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2023 run. You can read about Day 1 here and Day 2 here.

I also created video breakdowns of the key hands I played. which you can access for free here.

I started Day 3 with just over 200,000 chips, but worked my way up to over 350,000 chips in the first level through a well-timed bluff and a few solid hands.

The blinds were 1,000/2,500 with a big blind ante of 2,500 when the following hand took place.

The flop

I raised to 5,500 preflop in second position QQ, and only the big blind called. The flop came with 14,500 in the pot 954 and the villain checked. I bet 4,000 and he called.

This was a great flop for both my hand and my range. I continuation bet here quite often with my strong hands (9x and TT+), bluffs that can hit good cards on the turn (JTs, QJs, QTs, KTs) and some ace-high hands for protection.

Since I bet frequently and have the Queen of Diamonds in my hand, making my opponent less likely to have a flush draw and my hand less prone to a Diamond falling on the turn, I opt for a smaller size .

The turn

With 22,500 in the pot, the dealer was on fire and turned the pot K. My opponent snapped and then called when I bet 10,000.

I read that he didn’t like the twist. This and the fact that I had a diamond in my hand gave me confidence that he didn’t have a flush. I also knew that he didn’t have two pair or a set since he didn’t raise me on the flop.

Assuming the above, it would make sense that he didn’t like the king, as that could make my hand a better hand than his.

Alec Torelli
Alec Torelli

A “standard” method here is to check pot control and hold my position on the river, but I felt I could get value out of his pairs that included a diamond since they were still would go along once. Holdings like 5x, 66-88 and 9x will all be tempted to call and go better than 3:1 on the turn.

My thought was that I have the above hands in very bad shape and want to build a pot while I’m ahead. Also, this turn I will also be tempted to bluff with big cards that contain a diamond like AJ, AQ, QJ, or maybe even a pure bluff with hands like JT and QJ so that my opponent can still put me in the could bring air.

Finally, the fact that most people rarely bet in this round makes my bet seem suspicious. Being in tune with the way people generally play can give you a psychological edge and deviate from the game on a reading.

The river

The river came with 42,500 in the pot 8th and my opponent checked again, opening the door for me to shoot 23,000.

It is unlikely that the river helped him unless he specifically had 98 or 88. I believed that he was in a position to call another bet, reasoning that “his turn- Flush draw failed”. And he wouldn’t be crazy if he thought that.

As for my size, I wanted to put an amount big enough that it could feel bluff. Ironically, a slightly larger size makes my bet seem more polar, meaning I either have a very strong hand or air.

Due to the collective way most people play this spot, it is rare to see low value bets here.

People often use their previous experiences to figure out what their opponent thinks is most likely. In situations like these, most players have two pair, sets or flushes as value. Otherwise they have air. Given this spread, a hero call can be profitable provided I bluff with all the missed diamonds.

He thought for a moment and called when I showed my queens.

This hand took me to over 400,000, almost double what I had at the start of the day, and put me in a superior position to make money.

Stay tuned for the next article on Day 4 after the money bubble bursts and things heat up quickly.

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Alec Torelli has been playing high-stakes poker professionally since 2006. With over $1,500,000 in tournament winnings and millions more in live and online cash games, Alec is now one of the most respected poker players in the industry. He has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, Travel Channel, Fox Sports, Cigar Aficionado, PokerNews and many others.

In 2015 Alec founded Conscious Poker to teach poker players how to improve their game, advance in the limits, and achieve their poker goals. Since then, Alec has trained nearly a hundred players both in person and virtually, and thousands more have used his programs to take their game to the next level.


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