EPT11 Malta: Panka's fold - sick or standard?


Panka and Montury face off in that hand

We've seen some pretty amazing folds at EPT final tables down the years. At the EPT7 PCA final table Galen Hall made a brilliant lay down against Chris Oliver when they were heads up. On a 5♦3♦2♣2♥A♠ board, Hall bet the river and then somehow found a fold with 8♣4♥ when Oliver shoved with A♦2♠.

Earlier today in Dominik Panka submitted his own entry into the "sick folds" category but was it sick or standard? Well who better to ask than the man himself?

Before reading on if you haven't watched the hand yet head here and fast forward to the six hour 23 minute mark.

For those who prefer their hand histories text based this is how the players stacked up for the hand in question. Blinds were 80,000/160,000 ante 20,000.

Button: Valentin Messina, 13,900,000 (87 big blinds)
Small blind: Dominik Panka, 4,655,000 (29 big blinds)
Big blind: Jean Montury, 8,300,000 (52 big blinds)

From the button Messina opened to 325,000, Panka then three-bet to 850,000 with pocket tens, only for Montury to four-bet to 2,085,000. Messina folded and action was now back on Panka. We won't reveal Montury's hand just yet because Panka didn't know what it was at the time either.


Panka reaches for raising chips

Anyhow, let's allow Panka to tell us what was going through his head during this hand...

"It's a really interesting hand, I pick up tens in the small blind and Valentin opened from the button. He was opening super wide, some hands he folded because I played with Jean blind versus blind many times, but sometimes he opened 7-2 off so his opening range is very wide. So for me it's a great spot to three-bet against him and get it in. But Jean makes a large four-bet and he's playing very snug.

"I'd got a lot of information from my friends watching the feed about the way he plays and the way he was acting during hands as he gives off a decent amount of tells. I'm not an expert with tells but we were pretty quickly able to identify that how he touches and moves his chips depends on the strength of his hand. If he had a decent hand but he wasn't really comfortable with it then he was stroking his chips. But, if he had a good hand he was either shuffling his chips or moving them in a different way. Additionally he was raising smaller with weaker hands. If he had ace-queen or nines here he would probably have raised to around 1,600,000. So, he pretty quickly gave away the strength of his hand. Obviously he can have ace-king there but I was pretty comfortable with this fold. In other circumstances against other players, tens, three handed with 30 big blinds is a premium hand and you get it in.

"I also knew that even though I was quite short I had a decent shot if I doubled up. So I also considered tournament life and the fact that I think I am the most experienced and that Valentin was the tougher opponent and Jean was playing pretty straight forward. This wasn't his first four-bet though, he had four-bet with ace-king, but bigger and quicker. I had a very good read on him and I was pretty comfortable folding tens. I don't think I would've laid queens down, I would never have forgiven myself if he had a worse hand. I would probably have got it in with jacks and ace-king suited. Fortunately I had the tens."


Fortunately indeed as Montury had pocket queens and had Panka crushed. So there you have it, tens was the absolute top of the range that Panka would've folded in that spot and it was mostly down to a cluster of live tells. He was comfortable with the fold but does that make it standard? Let us know by contacting us @PokerStarsBlog.


Panka's AI told him to fold

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour