In Parts 1 , 2, and 3 we looked at some interesting hands played by eventual winner Ramon Colillas at the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship final table. We will now wrap up the series, picking up the play with heads up action after Rivera has busted in 3rd with A3 vs chip leader Martini’s AK.
Julian Martini started heads up play with more than twice the chips than eventual winner Ramon Colillas, holding a 42M to 19.45M advantage. At 4:17:18 with the blinds at 250K/500K, we see Colillas open on the button with 9♦9♣ to 1.25M, and Martini defends in the big blind with 4♥3♥. The flop comes J♠8♣3♣ and Martini checks. Colillas elects to continuation bet 800K, and Martini makes the call. This bet and call scenario is pretty standard for heads up play. Colillas usually has the best hand right now, but it is very vulnerable to overcards. Additionally, he will expect Martini to continue heads up with any pair, and he’s beating 8x and 3x. Martini does give a call for the small sizing with his pair of 3’s. It’s a weak hand in normal situations, but heads up it’s hard to make a pair and he will be ahead of a lot of cbet bluffs. One could suggest if Martini were to fold any pair at all, this one would be it… bottom pair no kicker, with no back door draws… it’s truly the weakest of them. Still, in heads up play, this is ok to continue.
The turn comes the A♥, and Martini checks again. Colillas bets again, 1.6M this time. I think it’s reasonable to go either way here, checking behind (and planning to call a river bet), or betting again (and likely checking and showing down the River if called). The bet works a bit better as it avoids giving a free card and his hand is still very vulnerable to many rivers. If Martini had been playing very aggressive and Colillas suspected he may check/raise this turn a fair bit with bluffs as well as value hands, then checking behind may become prudent. But that’s not how Martini had been playing. Martini elects to call the turn bet. I think this call was optimistic… yes Colillas certainly can be bluffing a number of draws or just repping the ace, but when he’s behind with his bottom pair his equity is very poor as he as only 5 outs to improve, and he is really just hoping Colillas gives up on the river with his no pair hands as calling a final barrel will be very tough.
The river comes the 10♥, and the players check it down, Colillas winning with his pair of 9’s. It’s a good check, as he has tangible showdown value despite only holding what has become 4th pair. He can’t expect better hands to fold to a bet heads up, nor will worse hands than 4th pair call a triple barrel too often, so betting this river with 99 wouldn’t accomplish much.
Next was the pivotal hand heads up. At 4:31:30 Martini opens the button to 1.25M with 9♥6♥ which is very standard heads up, and Colillas defends with Q♣5♠. The flop comes A♥Q♥4♥, giving Martini the flopped flush and a pair of Q’s for Colillas. Ramon checks it over to Martini who makes a continuation bet of 1M, with Colillas making the call. Both plays seem standard, Martini would cbet a wide range of hands here, and Colillas with middle pair will be ahead of a fair bit of them.
The turn is the Q♦, giving Colillas trip Q’s, and he checks it over to Martini again. Martini now makes a very big bet of 4.6M into the 5M chip pot. Colillas again makes the call. The call seems prudent. If he raises, he can expect to fold out many worse hands, including all of Martini’s bluffs. No better hand will fold of course, so he ends up getting it in bad when his raise gets action (a raise would likely be an all-in as Colillas only has 17M behind after calling the 4.6M bet).
So he calls and fills up on the 5♦ river. How to play this out of position, with 17M left in his stack and 14.2M in the pot? He checks one last time, which is a decision I like. He allows Martini to bet some bluffs, which would simply fold had he led out. And Martini can value bet many hands that his full house beats now, so a plan to check to allow bluffs to fire, and shove over a bet to get value from Martini’s river value bets with worse hands makes a lot of sense. A check-raise proves to be unnecessary, however, as Martini simply bets declaring he’s going all-in, giving Colillas’s running full house the complete double up and giving Ramon a better than 3-1 chip lead at 48.3M to 13.15M.
From there Colillas would never look back, grinding Martini down until the eventual preflop all-in confrontation with Martini shoving with J♣9♣ on a short stack of 14bb’s and Colillas making the call with A♦5♠. The board ran out 9♦8♥A♥2♣5♦ giving the Platinum Pass winner from Spain the victory and 5.1M dollar first-place prize. It was an exciting final table filled with tense moments and great poker. Thanks for following along with me in this article series and congratulations again to Ramon Colillas for a very well deserved and hard-fought victory!