Final Table Heads-Up Overview
2021 Poker Masters winner Michael Addamo not only has a purple jacket in his wardrobe, but also has four (you read that correctly) GG Poker Super Millions tournament wins to his name, and in this hand, we see him chase his fifth Super Millions win against tournament qualifier Hightroler, who satellited into this event off of a $525 tournament. Hightroler has come a very long way up to this point, but do they have what it takes to compete against the Super Millions end boss?
The Game: GG Poker Super Millions NLH Tournament
Stack Sizes: 45 Big Blinds Effective
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Preflop Play Heads-Up
With K♣T♥, Hightroler makes the standard raise one would want to make when playing heads up. Addamo, digitally looking down at J♥9♥, flat calls on the big blind.
The Pot: 680,000
The Board: 8♥-3♦-Q♣
Effective Stack: 6,929,433
The flop is very beneficial for Addamo, who flops both a gut-shot straight draw as well as a runner-runner flush draw. In these spots, Addamo should be planning a strategic check-raise against his opponent. Whenever you have a gut-shot accompanied by two over cards to middle pairs, you are in a great spot for an effective check-raise. If the response from your opponent is a re-raise, you can easily fold, and a call will leave you in a great position to capitalize on any hearts, tens, jacks, and even nines. Additionally, you can induce your opponent to fold marginal hands (like king high). The only time you should be hesitant to make the check-raise in this position is if you know your opponent will push it all-in.
Following a check from Addamo, Hightroler throws out a bet of 231,201, which is met with a quality check-raise from Addamo of 784,000. Hightoler would make the call, and continue the hand to the turn.
Addamo Gets His Nasty Jack
The Pot: 2,248,000
The Board: 8♥-3♦-Q♣-J♣
Effective Stack: 6,145,433
While Addamo pairs his jack and has the best hand, he didn’t have the ability to know what his opponent had like we do (thanks GG Poker), and while he does in fact have the best hand, that jack could potentially help his opponent out way more than himself. Going from a junky draw to now a marginal made hand, Addamo should check as you should do with the vast majority of your marginal hands. A bet out of position would either induce a call from a potential made hand, or a raise that would be extremely difficult to navigate (even for a purple jacket winner).
Wisely, Addamo checks to Hightroler, who with the turned jack now has an open-ended straight draw. While Hightroler can certainly utilize their open-ender and make a bet with position, the fact that Addamo has double the amount of chips leaves them vulnerable to a check-shove. Even with the potential check-shove in the shadows, Hightroler should likely still make a bet as the probability of a check-shove, while possible, is low. A small bet of 1.5 million would result in over a 5 million chip pot following a call, leaving the pot sized shove as an option if the hand reached the river. Regardless of how we would play the hand, Hightroler elects to check, bringing the hand to fifth street.
A Second Snowman
The Pot: 2,248,000
The Board: 8♥-3♦-Q♣-J♣-8♠
Effective Stack: 6,145,433
With a second eight on the river, Addamo is now in a position where he has to decide whether or not to value bet his two pair. Against straightforward opponents, you should be inclined to make a small value bet in this and similar situations. Opponents holding a three or a pocket pair like sixes can find a call and pay you off with your better hand. With the value bet considered, the a potentially option in this case would be to check out of position, and look to call a thin bet from an opponent very willingly.
Not being nitty and passive, Addamo makes the aforementioned value bet for 741,840. With K♣T♥, Hightroler has the losing hand and knows calling is not an option. In this spot Hightroler has two options: fold the knowingly weaker hand or make a raise. One should be careful when considering a raise in this situation, a good, balanced player like Addamo will call off the appropriate marginal hands and could have eights/ten-nines in his range. On the flip side, Hightroler has valuable blockers with K♣T♥, taking away premium straights from Addamo. Weighing their bluff options, Hightroler elects to bluff with half their stack, throwing over 3 million chips into the digital pot. From our analysis, this size of bet is a mistake on Hightroler’s part. Opponents with marginal hands can likely feel priced into calling a bet of this size, and when you know you’re behind, attracting callers is the last thing you want to be doing.
Result: A Poker Master Makes The Call
With a whole 23 seconds to think, Addamo makes the call with the best hand, taking full advantage of Hightroler’s ineffective bluff bet and scooping the over eight million chip pot. Despite the result of this hand, Hightroler was able to do the impossible and defeat the Super Millions end boss Michael Addamo to turn a $525 satellite into an over $400,000 win. Congrats to Hightroler!