Big Hand Blunder: Greg Raymer vs Aran Kanter WSOP 2005

Well its not often I get to critique a pros blunder, but this one stood out as a whopper, which turned the tables at the 2005 WSOP and propelled a young internet player to the final table in place of Greg Raymer who was on a miraculous path to challenge for the WSOP main title for the second consecutive year.

Down to 26 players, Raymer is one of the chip leaders with around 4 million. With the blinds a very comfortable 20 and 40 thousand, he picks up KK in middle position and puts in a raise to 100 thousand. Does that seem small to you? It does to me, even though it is a well concealed 2 and a half times the blind, it literally invites a draw out. Raising that small, compared to your stack in an internet tournament is tantamount to limping in. What it also negates is being able to judge what your opponent may have later in the hand when it could become crucial, as it did in this case.

With a small raise you are inviting low pairs, low connecters, weak suited aces, weak suited kings, and unpaired big cards. With such a variety of possibilities, you are essentially playing blind, and hoping your kings hold up. Kanter calls in the cutoff followed by Ivey and Hechem folding the blinds. The pot is around 300 thousand including the antes. The flop comes 6c, 3h, 5d. Raymer could look at this as a good flop, assuming Kanter called with big cards. Myself, I see straight chemistry, and definitely something that could jive with a call of ace, 4 suited or 8, 7 suited. When there is chemistry on the board you need to get your opponent out. If he calls a big bet, or re-raises, I am apt to let the hand go if I am playing another big stack. If my opponent is significantly shorter, I will put him all in without fear of jeopardizing my tournament.

Raymer follows up his wimpy preflop bet with an even more pathetic flop bet of 150 thousand. When assessing this flop, you need to bet big, and cut your losses with that. With an over bet here, you either eliminate the danger, or you determine that you are beat, or on way to being beat. But this is also your stop-loss bet. Once a reaction is taken by your opponent, you will know to fold, or check it down, save for other intelligence factors. Curiously, Raymer moves rather quickly through this hand, failing to assess this game critical intersect properly. Clearly, at this point Raymer failed to realized he was not the favorite in this hand anymore. Turn card is 7h. This is a great card for Kanter as it gives him his heart draw, and puts a scare card out there him to take it at the river. Raymer simply seems not to notice.

The odd thing about this hand is that Raymer was in fact, ahead all the way. Kanter played this hand like an internet rookie calling the flop bet with only a back door flush draw, and over cards. He could have been planning to take this pot from Raymer with a bluff on the river, but that doesn’t explain his rash all in call after reraising Raymers 300 thousand turn bet. But when Raymer does make his turn bet and gets reraised, in that spot, with my tourney on the line, and that board, I am out of the hand, even if I still feel I am ahead. It is simply too risky, and too probably that your kings are beat. You think I am over analyzing? I have laid down aces in this spot, several times in money play in online tournaments. Maybe just a couple thousand was on the line, not millions!

I take this situation to reiterate several things here. Play back the hand, and figure your opponents possible hole cards. Investigate the flop by knowing what the nuts are at all times. Do not go up against another stack in marginal situations while moving up the pay scale. Raymers actions here would have been perfectly fine if he were up against someones last 700 thousand chips, but as it turned out, and I quote Norman Chad from ESPN, Kanter makes an horrendous play and puts a big hurt on Raymer. The heart came for Kanter who should have really never been in the hand, but his awful play was surpassed by Raymer in that particular exchange.

How to Use an Omaha Hand Simulator

An Omaha hand simulator is a toll you can use to help you simulate two or more Omaha poker hands. You can use the same simulator for both Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi/Lo poker. This tool allows for simple simulations of games in which you know the cards each player has. You can contrive complex situations as well where one player could possible have several different combinations. To use this simulator, you enter possible hand combinations into the system, which will then evaluate the hands telling you which player has the winning hand.

The results you get from a simulator of Omaha will tell you the pot equity percentage for each hand along with the percentage of wins and losses for each hand. The pot equity percentage refers to the average amount of money that each hand wins. It does take the occurrence of ties into the calculation. If you get a result stating that it is an invalid race, this means that you must have entered only one hand. In order to receive any calculations, you have to enter at least two hands. You also have to make sure you have enough cards in the deck. For example, if you have five players, each of them cannot hold an Ace.

There are other buttons for you to use on the simulator as well. The unroll button lets you see the pre-flop, flop, turn and river odds for each hand. To use this button all you have to do is enter all of the hands and the final board and then click the button. Graph is the name of another button on this simulator. The equity graph shows you how often a given hand will have equity against other hands you enter into the simulator in the next round of betting. If you have no board cards, the graph will show the data for a certain number of flops. If you have three board cards, the graph will show you the expected values for a certain number of turn cards. The axis on the left has a label that tells you which hands are being displayed in the graph.

You cannot use wild cards or ranges when using this simulator. You have to specify the cards for each hand from a standard deck of suited cards. The simulator will also give you results of exhaustive and random race results, Exhaustive races are those in which every possible combination of cards is considered and is exact. The results of a random race are approximate.

When you request the to percentage of hands created, the simulator will go as close as possible to the percentage number you choose without going over. There are specific symbols that you must use when using a simulator. For a hand with all low cards, you would enter four L’s. To enter any hand with two Aces, you would enter AA**. Any hand with two hearts requires * h * h. Once you get used to using the simulator, you will be able to calculate virtually any hand.