PokerStars Strategy: Lessons in cold four-betting with Faraz-eezing Jaka
Great tournaments call for great plays, and the EPT 8 Grand Final in Monte Carlo was no exception. With €1,350,000 for the win and 665 talent-laden runners battling, you didn't have to wait too long for some memorable plays to be made. This featured cold four-bet by Faraz Jaka on Day 1 ticked that box. But before we get into the nitty gritty of what made Jaka's icy aggression so hard to counter, it's important to define what a cold four-bet really is. Now for the technical bit...
Unlike in heads-up pots where player A raises, player B three-bets and player A can four-bet, a cold four-bet is where player A bets, player B three-bets and player C can four-bet. Got that? Good. Let's continue.
Jaka's victim at the EPT showpiece was Richard Lyndaker, who, with a raise and call in front, elected to three-bet and thin out the competition from middle position with A♠K♥. On any table it's a winning move, most of the time. Sadly for Lyndaker, Jaka was in the cut-off with an ace, and he's gone to war with much less ammo in the past. In a flash a cold four-bet had been squeezed out from Jaka's stack and the action folded back round to his Lyndaker.
Now, with a little north of $1m live career winnings to his name, Lyndaker is no slouch at the tables. And if he'd heard of Jaka before (he must at least have recognised the haircut), it looked a certain snap raise/shove. But with the stacks deep, the tournament barely out of the starting gates and Jaka's 4-bet looking stronger than his dress sense, it was a tough spot. Let's look at Lyndaker's options:
1) Call and miss (which will happen roughly 50% of the time with A-K) and he'd have to outplay a maniac post-flop and out of position.
2) Raise and he's all but committing his entire stack a long way from the money in one of poker's biggest live tournaments.
3) Fold and he'd live to fight another day, albeit with slightly less chips than he probably should've had.
Lyndaker plumped for option three, preferring to save his stack for easy situations rather than tussle with Jaka. It's easy when you see the cards to say that Lyndaker was pushed off the pot, that Jaka picked his moment - and more importantly his opponent - to pull off a perfect four-bet heist (the rascal). Sometimes though, and we think Silvestre Stallone put it best in 1993's seminal blockbuster 'Demolition Man', you've got to "send a maniac to catch a maniac". To win the biggest tournaments you'll need to fight off bullies who love backing you into corners. And Faraz Jaka is a massive bully.
Need more proof of just what Jaka can do with two cards and a bucket full of air? Check out this bluff from our Greatest Poker Hand survey. Bully's got game.
Keir Mackay is a copywriter for PokerStars.