Ian Steinman made one of the most incredible folds at a final table you’ll ever see, but Doug Polk thinks it was a terrible decision.
With six players remaining at WPT Rolling Thunder, the Reno, Nevada grinder faced a sticky situation against 2015 WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen.
Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)
Steinman (small blind) K♠K♦
McKeehen (big blind) Q♣10♦
In the following hand, Steinman, a California grinder with minimal tournament experience, had nearly a 2-1 chip advantage over McKeehen, a regular on the tournament scene.
The hand begins fairly uneventful with the action folding around to Steinman where he makes the obvious decision to raise it up, choosing a 160,000-chip bet size, with the second best starting hand in Texas hold’em. The former Main Event bracelet winner makes a standard call. Both plays were approved by Doug Polk in a hand analysis video on his popular YouTube channel.
Questionable Decision to Float Flop
Steinman bets 150,000 and McKeehen makes the call.
Antonio Esfandiari, a pro and regular ESPN WSOP commentator, always says, “it’s hard to make a pair in Texas hold’em.” With that in mind, many poker players these days opt to “float the flop” (call a bet in position in hopes of taking down the pot on the turn), so McKeehen, holding a weak hand with minimal equity called the 150,000-chip bet.
Polk, who approves of floating the flop to see what progresses on the turn, called McKeehen’s decision “terrible.” He prefers players float with hands such as two over cards or a backdoor flush draw, neither of which the former Main Event champ had.
Picking Up Equity
Steinman checks, McKeehen bets out 375,000 and gets called.
With the ace on board, Steinman knew he wasn’t going to get three streets of value. So, he decided to play it safe and go into check-calling mode. McKeehen picked up a bit of equity with a gut shot straight, also thinking his queen could potentially be good if it hit on the river, so he fired out a bet.
“I would say the turn was well-played on both parts,” Polk said.
The Sickest River Card of Them All
Steinman leads for 800,000, McKeehen goes all-in for 2.9 million, and Steinman folds.
The river brought the absolute sickest card in the deck, giving McKeehen the stone cold nuts and Steinman a set of kings. Conventional wisdom says there was no way Steinman could possibly lay this hand down, but he did.
After tanking for nearly four minutes, he folded in a spot most players would have made the snap-call. Although it turned out to be the correct laydown in that situation, Polk doesn’t think it was the right decision.
“When people make the wrong play, we criticize them. When they make the right play, we appreciate them. But is that fair? Shouldn’t we look at each play on the merit of those plays, the (expected value) of the play itself? Or, are we just going to be results-oriented?”
David Larson ended up winning the tournament ($295,128). Steinman was the runner-up ($201,428) and McKeehen finished in 3rd place ($131,081) thanks in large part to winning that massive pot.