Last year, poker legend Phil Hellmuth battled against seasoned high-stakes pro Jason Koon in a match where the winner took home a staggering $1.6 million. This poker hand, which was played during PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel III, shows us The Poker Brat in all his glory as he faces an unlucky river that sends him on a classic Hellmuth tirade.
Hellmuth is never happy when he loses and this was no different as he lets it all rip. It was a quick demise after this poker hand which saw Jason Koon winning the $1.6 million match, all the while leaving Hellmuth furious at how bad he runs!
Read About the Heads-Up Match Between Hellmuth and Koon!
Let’s examine the hand in this PokerNews strategy column. The action kicked off with blinds of 3,000/6,000/6,000 and Hellmuth limping in on the button with K♥2♥ with a stack of 187,000 for around 30 big blinds. Jason Koon then raised to 24,000 in the big blind with 6♦4♦ and a stack of 1,400,000. Hellmuth called.
While some players may be surprised by Koon’s raise with the six-high, the GTO strategy in this scenario is for Koon to raise with both his best hands and junky suited-connector hands. Those are hands that will do very well against an opponent’s limp-calling range.
The flop landed J♦J♣J♥ and Koon continued for 30,000 as Hellmuth called with his king-high. Koon is going to have a lot of good pairs in his range, so I like his decision to continue here for around two-thirds pot. This is a scenario where Koon is going to have a big range and nut advantage.
Hullmuth’s call with king-high and a backdoor flush draw may look a little loose but I think it’s probably fine. However, Hellmuth could have a difficult time realizing his equity if he expects Koon to continue barreling on the turn or river.
Koon slowed down and checked on the Q♣ turn and Hellmuth checked back. The queen is an interesting card because I don’t think Koon is going to have very many queens in his range since he will mainly have ace-high, underpairs and junk. Hellmuth has an easy check-back with his king-high, since he is probably always beat if he bets and gets called.
The 4♠ river completed the board to give Koon a little full house and he elected to lead out for 36,000. Hellmuth paid him off and went on a signature tirade after losing the pot thanks to an unfortunate river card.
What would you do in Hellmuth’s situation?
I like Koon’s small bet size after making the full house since his hand is good but not great and he is looking to get called by a hand like ace-high. I thought Hellmuth played the hand well and got pretty unlucky on the river.
The very next hand, Koon raised with Q♣8♦ and Hellmuth three-bet with A♦K♣. Koon wasn’t buying it and four-bet to put Hellmuth all in. Hellmuth called before the board ran out 4♠10♣Q♠10♦3♠ to win Koon the match.
For more on this hand check out my breakdown in the following video:
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.