EPT11 Deauville: Aces against...what? Guess the first hand of the day

Back in the days when three bets were called re-raises and the term "online player" was a slur, early discussions on primitive poker forums used to obsess over one subject in particular. "It's the first hand of the World Series," the OP would begin, "and you look down and see aces. What do you do?"

A hypothetical situation would then play out in which at least one other player gets all his or her chips in the middle, and the player with the aces is faced with a decision as to whether to fully commit too.

It says quite a bit about the state of strategy at the time that plenty of cases were made for not getting ones chips in. ("I'm not taking a punt for $10,000 on the first hand; there'll be better spots, etc., etc.") Meanwhile other folk simply wished for the moment when they could be in the position, insisting that you've always got to be prepared to risk the lot when you've been dealt the best hand you can get.

EPT Deauville does not quite have the prestige of the World Series, and the buy in is slightly smaller, but Frederic Bertrand peeked down on the first hand of play today and saw aces. What's more, he was first to act, put out a small raise, and then faced a three bet (re-raise) from Eddy Maksoud, one seat to his left. Were we looking at the online forums' hypothetical situation playing out for real?


Freddy Bertrand and Eddy Maksoud: At it first hand

Bertrand and Maksoud were one of a smattering of players who had taken their seat ahead of play starting on Day 1A. Most seats were still empty around the 20 or so tables allocated for action as Edgar Stuchly, President of the EPT, went through his introductions. To a darkened room, Stuchly welcomed players, media and sponsors to Deauville for the eighth time, predicting a "great combination of exciting poker and great French hospitality". He then instructed dealers to shuffle up and deal, on the implied understanding that at least three players were seated at the table.

Table 11 had six players, and Bertrand was under the gun. That's when he saw the aces -- A♥A♠ -- and made it 300 to play. (Blinds are 50-100 in Level 1.) Perhaps wanting to lay down an early marker that he was not here to be bullied, Maksoud, UTG+1, made it 1,100 to play. Everyone else got out of the way.

Folded back to Bertrand, he four bet to 2,800 and Maksoud called that too. This now must also represent a pretty big hand. Stacks are 30,000 at the start of play and, remember, this was the first hand they had been dealt.

The dealer peeled out [10d]K♣J♣, which could easily have hit Maksoud. But both players checked. The turn was K♦.

On the rail, I'll confess, I was thinking we could end up seeing the lesser-spotted first-hand elimination here. Even without knowing Bertrand had aces, this run out must surely smash both of these players' ranges given the pre-flop action.

But it went check, check.

The river was yet another picture card, and yet another king. This time it was the K♠ and Bertrand cut out a bet of 4,600. It didn't take Maksoud too long to throw out a call, but then mucked when Bertrand showed his aces.

Bertrand, therefore, added 7,550 to his stack on the first hand, getting what was possibly the maximum from his aces. But what did Maksoud have?

Anyway, the larger point is that EPT Deauville is under way. There will be plenty more where that came from.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mis-identified both players. Apologies.

Coverage from the Main Event of EPT Deauville is on the Main Event page. The FPS will wrap up today. Coverage from that is on the FPS Page. And you can follow the action from Australia on the Aussie Millions page.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Main Event