Remember, the action doesn’t always stop with you


Here’s a recap of the hand that busted me at the Deep Stack $2 million guarantee at the Borgata Open. The hand is not at all instructive as far as my play, but it ended up a three-way pot and one of my opponents played it so horribly that it’s worth examining. Blinds were 250-500 with a 50 ante.

Player A raised from middle position for 1,500. He had about 27K chips. I didn’t like the raise as this was a fairly tight player, so I knew he had a strong hand.

I looked down at A-K suited and had about 6,800 chips. I didn’t have much choice other than to push all-in, which I did. It got folded to Player B on the button. He looked conflicted, asked for a count and then went in the tank. Player B had about 30K chips and I watched him count out an amount equal to my stack. At this point, I was hoping he would call as I knew what was going to happen. During his two minutes in the tank, not once did he look at the original raiser to measure his stack.

Player B finally called. The blinds folded and the original raiser pushed all-in. Player B looked surprised and annoyed and I could only chuckle inside. How could he not see that coming? I fully expected Player B to fold and we’d have his dead money in the pot. I didn’t want him to call as I couldn’t win any more of his chips and fewer opponents is best. To my surprise, he made the call. Player A turned over pocket jacks and Player B had A-9 suited.

The jacks held up and I was eliminated. Player B, however, went from 30K chips (second at the table) to the least amount of chips with a paltry 3K. Not only did he greatly overvalue his A-9 with a raise (from a tight player) and a reraise in front of him, he played the hand oblivious to any potential action after him. Now, perhaps he didn’t notice the original raiser, but I don’t think so. He never looked over at the blinds, who still had to act.

Having watched Player B all along, he really seemed to be making moves in a vacuum. While this was an egregious mistake, I see plenty of similar mistakes where players think their call is the end of the action when there are still players left behind them. Before you commit chips to any pot, always think through what you plan to do and if there’s further action behind you. I’m sure our Player B wasn’t ready to commit 27K with A-9.

— David Apostolico is the author of You are the Variable: Play Your Best Poker, ($5.99 for Kindle). Email him at