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20/01/2010 No. 79
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Wed 20 Jan 2010
An amazing heads-up moment

The 2010 PCA tournament was won last week by Harrison Gimbel of California, beating Tyler Reiman into second place. Here is an amazing hand from the heads-up, which might make Reiman kick himself for years.

Gimbel had around 30m in chips and Reiman had around 15m. Blinds were 80K-160K. From the button, Reiman raised to 520,000 with 7 8 and Gimbel called with A 4. The flop came 5 6 4. Gimbel checked. Reiman made a fishy 630,000 bet with the nuts and Gimbel called with bottom pair. On the hook!

The turn was 10. Gimbel checked again. No more messing about for Reiman, who bet 1.8m. Gimbel called. The river was 7, bringing a possible flush. Gimbel checked for a third time and Reiman bet 4.2m. Gimbel declared himself all in. Quickly, and face-up, Reiman folded his straight. Hook dropped! Fish released!

Rested, neutral and knowing the cards, one must beware criticising players who have grafted through six days of poker to reach the final spots. But I can't help disliking Gimbel's call on the turn, and I hate Reiman's play on the river. The fold is too fast. Why not pause to consider: with a flush draw and 2/1 chip lead, wouldn't Gimbel have raised earlier? Secondly, it is always unwise to pass face-up and give free information. Most importantly, if Reiman was going to fold for a raise, he should never have bet a third of his chips.

Rumour has it that Reiman cried when he heard later about the bluff. He took $1.75m for second place, making some great plays on route, so it won't kill him. But whatever Gimbel's hand had been, Reiman must know: having built such a huge pot, holding a straight, heads-up, he should have bitten the bullet and made the call.

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