EPT11 Prague: Vanessa Selbst reveals all about her pocket fives river bet

Towards the end of the penultimate level of play yesterday, Vanessa Selbst played a hand against Oscar Kroon in which she made a big bet on the river with pocket fives.

The board read 7♠3♣4♣9♥9♠ and she was first to speak, having three-bet pre-flop from the small blind, then called Kroon's four-bet. The full hand history is in yesterday's post on the subject, in which we also framed a teaser: If this hand had played out on the PokerStars Shark Cage, would Selbst have played the "Bluff" card or the "Value Bet" card?

Kroon called and mucked when Selbst showed her pocket fives, but it still seemed like a pretty thin value bet, if that's what it was. I wondered whether she would have had her heart in her mouth when Kroon called, so put it to the great Twitter public to have its say, with the intention of getting the "truth" of the matter from Selbst herself.


Oscar Kroon: Called but mucked

Well, Selbst has had her say this morning, but before we get there, here's a look at some of the responses from the twitter-sphere.

D0NKbet @D0NKbet: "I'd say @VanessaSelbst would have played the "value" card if this went down at SharkCage."

Chris McFayden @TheRealFayden: Value. I think she knows she can get looked up by a lot of Ax hands, esp with her image and since it's C/O vs SB."

Alex Smith @JamesWestfall_: "It's a very good value bet. She can't get him to fold anything other than 6s really so I doubt it's a bluff."


That's how she gets the chips

Dean McKenna @dean_omaphil2: "Due to the Check Check on the turn, @VanessaSelbst is putting her opponent on AK, Maybe AQ, and is value betting."

Danny Iachan @DanMan274: "Selbst was betting for value/info. If raised, she could fold. Easier than check/calling. Once called, win some + lose some."

Richard RBCPoker: "I'd call it a semi-bluff and use the bluff card, would have folded to a re-raise. But WTFDIK :)"

Artur art0990: "I'am pretty sure that was a value bet from Vanessa. After this board she can get call from AK AQ."

Wayne Lawrence wayne766: "Deffo a value call; she's thinking Kroon has a semi good hand like A-9 and she only has to worry about 6 cards"

Adrian McDonald @Adomcdonald: "Value all the way!"

Nick Wright, of PokerStars Blog, also had his say - without the character restrictions of Twitter, given that he's sitting next to me in Prague. Wright said: "It's not a bluff, because I don't think she expects anything better to fold. But it's also not a value bet as very little that's worse will call - A-K maybe, although with her image god knows. I imagine part of the reason she's betting is she doesn't want the guy to bomb it for pot (or more than she'd bet) because then she has a really tough call. So she's most likely block betting given she bet <50% pot."

Time, then, to get it from the horse's mouth. I cornered Selbst this morning and in the time it took her to fix a grin on her face, she said:

"I thought he had ace-king, and I thought he would call. I just knew he would call. People are really curious. The draw has missed and he just thought that I wouldn't bet the size I did with the hand that I had and he got curious. People get curious and they call.

"Is that because of your reputation?" I asked.

Selbst chuckled. "Sure."

So, well done readers of PokerStars Blog. Most of you nailed this one. Selbst was indeed playing the "value" card.

I think it's worth noting two things, though: 1) The fact that the only man whose opinion really mattered thought it was a bluff. Kroon has plenty of deep runs in major events, and is no slouch at this game. All of you might have picked it, but Kroon was curious enough to pay the price to see. 2) Selbst's reasoning: she said the bet size made Kroon think that she had missed her draw, which worked in her favour to get the call.

That and the fact that she's Vanessa Selbst of course.


Who could possibly fold?

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in Prague