With over $5 million in career tournament winnings, Hoyt Corkins has more than earned his reputation as one of the best ever to play the game. The “Alabama Cowboy” is no stranger to the bright lights and cameras of televised poker, having appeared at a World Poker Tour final table an astounding six times in his career.Recently, the man nicknamed “Mr. Move All-In” took down his second career WPT title, banking $713,986 for winning the Southern Poker Championship in Biloxi, Mississippi.Corkins entered the final table with a big chip lead on the other five players, but found himself nearly even with Jonathan Kantor entering heads-up play. About 20 hands in, Corkins found some separation with a creatively played pair of aces. The hand left a dent in Kantor’s stack, and he was eliminated just three hands later.In this interview, the DoylesRoom pro discusses the hand and gives his reasoning on each street.The HandHoyt Corkins raised to 190,000 on the button, and Jonathan Kantor made the call. The flop came down A 10 9 , and Kantor checked. Corkins continued with a bet of 210,000, and Kantor called.The turn was the 5 and Kantor checked again. Corkins took some time and checked behind. The river was the 5 , and Kantor fired in a bet of 450,000. Corkins called, and Kantor mucked his hand. Corkins showed A 3 for aces up and scooped the pot, giving him a 2-1 chip lead for the title.The InterviewJulio Rodriguez: Are you always raising any ace heads up? And why did you raise such a small amount?Hoyt Corkins: I was trying to push the action to a point. On the button, I was raising a bit smaller, just because the blinds were so heavy. The bigger the blinds are in relation to the stack sizes, the smaller I’ll raise preflop.JR: You also put in a relatively small continuation-bet.HC: You got top pair there, and you want to keep pushing the action and avoid giving him a free card, but you don’t want to pump up the pot too much with a hand that is probably only good for two bets. That way, I can still get pretty good value when I’m ahead and limit my losses when I’m behind.JR: On the turn you decided to check behind on a seemingly innocent card. Were you going for pot control, or did you sense something was coming from Kantor?HC: There were a lot of draws out there, but I could just as easily be drawing, as well, in his mind. If you bet that turn, you are pretty much playing your hand face up. By checking, I disguise the strength of my hand and give him an opportunity to bluff the river. If he checks the river, then I can make another small value-bet and get two streets of value.JR: What kind of hand were you putting him on?HC: I think he had some kind of gutshot draw or something. A hand like K-Q makes the most sense, but he never told me what he had.JR: He ended up firing a pretty big bullet on the river. Was it an easy call?HC: I played the hand for that call, so I can’t really fold. When you check the turn like that, you have to be ready for your opponent to try to take the pot from you, so you can’t fold when you very likely could be getting him to bluff at it. Unless I pick up a read otherwise on his river bet, then I’m going to be making that call most of the time.JR : It seems like position played an important role in this hand. Perhaps Kantor should have waited until he had to button to make a play like this.HC: Position is very important, especially heads up. In that particular hand, I was able to take control just because I happened to be in position. I’m not going to play it like that every time, but having the button allowed me to make sure the bets went in when I wanted them to. From his perspective, if he did have a hand like K-Q or K-J, then he should have maybe check-raised the flop, led the turn, shoved the river or gave up altogether. Instead, he bet my hand for me. That gave me a decent chip lead and he busted three hands later.
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