Lex Veldhuis , of the Netherlands, travels the world tournament circuit and recently made the final table of the World Series of Poker $40,000 no-limit hold’em event, but he spends most of his time playing cash games online under the screen name “RaSZi.” His main game is $25-$50 no-limit hold’em, but lately he’s been frequenting the $100-$200 tables. Veldhuis sat down with Card Player to discuss a hand he played during a heads-up match.The Game:Stakes: $25-$50 Game: No-limit hold’emStack Sizes:Villain — $17,439.50 — Small blind $25 (button) Lex Veldhuis — “RaSZi” — $44,462.50 — Big blind $50Review of the Hand:Preflop Action: Villain raises to $150 from the button. Veldhuis reraises to $600 with 6 4 , and Villain calls. The pot is now $1,200.Kristy Arnett: Before this hand came up, how was the match going, and what kind of read did you have on this player?Lex Veldhuis: We played six-handed for a while on a couple of tables. I was stuck a lot, and then the game broke. He is a very good six-max player but not very used to playing heads up. Since I was losing a lot; I think he decided to stick around and take the rest. This hand is quite a bit into the heads-up session. I lost some big pots early, but managed to win a lot back playing hyper-aggro preflop, hence the stacks.My read on him was that he is a very solid TAG [tight-aggressive] player with moves. He plays straight-forward, very solid poker, but then once in a while he shows up with a J 9 type of hand to throw you off. Also, he is a thinking player.KA: Why did you decide to three-bet him with this hand? Had he been folding to reraises much?LV: I basically wanted to take him out of his comfort zone. Before, I played kind of passive, pot-controlling a lot because I had been playing for a while. There is usually a point where I decide to go all out for a while, just to trick people. This is 25 hours into the session or something, mind you. Also, against this player it was important to have the initiative, because up until now he let me get away with it.KA: By letting you get away with it, do you mean that he wasn’t four-betting you light and he was folding a lot of flops?LV: Exactly. He hadn’t been four-betting, and usually I could take it down on the flop. The last couple of pots, however, I was meeting some more resistance, and I had to double- or triple-barrel more often to win it.Flop Action: The flop comes Q 6 2 . Veldhuis checks, and Villain bets $750. Veldhuis calls, and the pot is now $2,700.KA: So on this flop, you make middle pair. Why did you decide to check?LV: Because he was being more resistant. This didn’t feel like the spot to start splashing around. I tried to practice pot control out of position, hoping the hand would go like: Check-call flop, check-check turn, check-decide on the river. I flopped a pair but didn’t feel like continuation-betting because I had been doing that a lot, so I decided to mix it up and check a pair to him.KA: Was there much of a read that you got from his bet on the flop? Or is that just a pretty standard spot for him to bet?LV: I think with or without a hand, he will always bet the flop, so his range is really wide at this point. Especially seeing how deep we are and the way I was playing, he will call a lot of hands preflop.Turn Action: The turn is the 5 . The board now reads Q 6 2 5 . Veldhuis checks, and Villain bets $2,250. Veldhuis calls. The pot is now $7,200.KA: Does your plan change on the turn now that you have a straight draw?LV: That would only matter if I planned to make a semi-bluff at it. If I decided that he had a queen and I wanted to make him fold, the gutshot would come in handy, but if I put him on air, it’s insignificant.KA: When he barrels the turn, are you still putting him on air? Do you get any information from his bet size?LV: His bet size is exactly what rang some bells. He bets 60 percent [of the pot] on the flop and suddenly he bombs 80 percent of the pot on the turn. Especially against a player who had been betting a lot against him, he would have to put me on a weak hand, since I had check-called the flop. So, if he did have a strong hand here, he would want to lure my weak holding in. Had he bet $1,750, I would have folded or check-raised.KA: Why fold or check-raise against a smaller bet?LV: If he bet smaller, I have to decide he is value-towning me with a hand he is not going to fold, like a set or two pair, or if he has a queen and I can make him fold either on the turn or on the river.River Action: The river is the 10 . The board now reads Q 6 2 5 10 . Veldhuis checks, and Villain bets $5,550. Veldhuis calls.KA: The river seems like a fairly negligible card, completing no draws. Did you check the river expecting him to check behind?LV: I definitely hoped he would check the river behind. The card is pretty pointless, so at least that is good. An 8, 7, 4, or 3 would have been a lot worse, because if he has air on the turn, a lot of air hands include straight draws. KA: When he doesn’t check behind, it seems like it polarizes his hand to something super strong or a total bluff, is that right?LV: Yeah, it’s definitely either/or. I don’t expect him to value-bet a queen in this spot, especially with game flow. That would be way too light for the way he had been playing; when he bets, it’s two pair-plus or air.KA: Your hand is essentially a bluff-catcher, do you ever raise in this spot in case he has a better hand that he thinks he’s bluffing with, like 7-6? Or are those types of hands never in his range?LV: I would, but not here. If he had a pair on the turn, he would have checked behind, even if he rivered a 10, because he has showdown value.KA: What were thinking when he bet $5,500, and why did you ultimately decide to call?LV: When he bet the river, I basically had to make a decision as to whether or not I wanted to follow up on my turn read. The river is a good card for me, and I have check-called twice, which would induce a bluff. It’s unlikely he has a set of sixes, because I have one, and queens he would have four-bet preflop. Fives check the flop. Because of his bet-sizing on the turn and the general game flow, I decided he wanted to make a stand.Outcome: Veldhuis shows 6 4 for a pair of sixes. Villain shows 7 4 for queen high. Veldhuis wins the pot of $18,299 after $1 rake.KA: When you make a great call on a heads-up opponent, what does that do to the game flow, and how do you have to adjust knowing that he knows you are capable of making big calls?LV: I think you basically destroy his momentum if he had any at that point, and you gain full control. Especially in this case, because I was one step ahead of him in game flow, and I mixed it up, showing him I can win pots both ways. From this point on, he will be a bit more reserved with his bluff. Plus, it opens up some new lines I can take in the match, since this one was successful. I don’t really have to adjust, except for knowing that he is going to bluff me a little bit less in these spots.
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