Hand Analysis: Phil Galfond Folds a Full House (vid)


shutterstock_104970683Phil Galfond is well known for his poker skills and it is no wonder he has won over $1 million in tournament winnings with an instinct like this.

He was in a hand versus another well-honed poker player with over $2 million to his name. Considering his opponent already has proven talent on the poker felts, Phil Galfond made his amazing fold seen in the video below against a player that is skilled at not only milking the pot for as much as he can get, but he is also virtually unreadable, or at least unreadable to the average poker player.

The table had the likes of two times WSOP World Championship Main Event winner Doyle Brunson, who gets out the way of this hand. Daniel Negreanu is also seated at the table to the left of David Benyamine who sensibly raises with pocket tens, but only makes a weak minimum raise. Then into the action comes Galfond, and this is the start of his incredible road to a fold as he raises to $16,000. Now he has Kh-5d from middle position, which is not a recommended hand for anyone to play with outside of a heads-up match, so the only excuse for a raise with this hand was that he must have been trying to steal the button to guarantee position. It worked!

The trouble for Galfond begins when Eli Elezra wakes up with pocket Kings on the small-blind and raises the pot to $40,500. Tom Dwan is cleared off the big blind and Benyamin folds. So far it seems Galfond’s plan to steal the button and take position has worked, but not against Benyamin is originally planned. Galfond finds himself with the pressure back on him, but calls Elezra’s bet.

Flop: 9d-9c-Ks

After the flop when Elezra bets a large amount, Galfond assumes this could just be a continuation bet. Taking a look at the board texture the flop shows rainbow, so the only danger right now is the nines. At this stage there is no harm in Galfond giving his opponent a free card by calling the bet without having to re-raise, which allows Galfond to gauge whether Elezra has hit the nine after the turn. However, with Galfond’s strong pre-flop raise it would be unlikely he has a nine.

The Turn: 9s

This is now a sticky situation because Galfond has turned a full house, but Elezra has the better Full House. Both players check in what looks like an attempt to trap or get a read on what is now a scary board.

The River: Qs

The Queen is ultimately what probably scared Galfond out of the pot, and he clearly says this. The range he must have put Elezra on may have eliminated pocket Kings, but not Ace-King or Ace-Queen for the split pot plus the pocket Queens matched the pre-flop raise, so they would have been a real possibility at this point. When Elezra loads up the chips he probably plays this too fast and Galfond somehow picks up on this and drops his hand.
Elezra may have wanted to play this a bit slower plus as Galfond says, he would have called a smaller bet, Elezra should have value bet and hoped for either a call or a re-raise to get more chips into the pot.
Great fold.