Poker Strategy: Joe Cada Discusses Ace-Six Bluff Versus Alex Lynskey In WSOP Main Event


In the video above four-time bracelet winner and 2009 World Series of Poker main event champion Joe Cada ran one of the most exciting bluffs of the 2018 summer series, firing multiple barrels with just ace high and getting his opponent to lay down top pair as the final-table bubble approached in the 2018 WSOP main event.

Card Player caught up with Cada after the summer to discuss this exciting hand that helped propel him to a fifth-place finish in the tournament for $2,150,000.

The Hand: Joe Cada was in eighth chip position with 12 players remaining. With blinds of 250,000-500,000 and an ante of 75,000 Cada raised to 1,100,000 from the button holding the AHeart Suit6Spade Suit.

Alex Lynskey called from the big blind with the KClub Suit9Heart Suit. The flop brought the KSpade Suit10Diamond Suit5Heart Suit. Lynskey check-called a bet of 1,000,000 from Cada and the turn brought the JHeart Suit.

Lynskey checked and Cada bet 2,600,000. Lynskey called and the 3Diamond Suit completed the board. Lynskey checked. Cada moved all-in for 7,150,000. After plenty of consideration, Lynskey folded his pair of kings and Cada grew his stack to 17,300,000.

Card Player: Can you talk about the bluff you ran with ace high against Alex Lynskey during playdown to the final table?

Joe Cada: So when I ran that A-6 bluff in the main event, I had been playing really tight the whole day. Both chip leaders were to my left. I had folded four out of the five buttons recently, and the one I did play I ended up raising with an ace and I just checked down with ace high.

So in this hand, it is a unique situation because A-6 is literally the worst hand I’m going to raise on the button given the situation with the chip leaders on my left, stack sizes and everything. So that context, and the fact that the table likely had noticed how tight I’d been playing, that all informs how I played the hand. The flop came K-10-X.

Generally, that flop would be good for my range. I bet pretty small on the flop with the goal of folding out hands like a weak ace high, or eight-nine or other non-equity hands. My smaller bet targets those types of holdings for Lynskey and protects my hand. If he happens to call I planned on bluffing the turn if either a queen or jack hit, because with my preflop range it is more likely I have hands like two pair or a straight. With only ace high for showdown value I have one of the weakest hands that I possibly could given the action, and so it’s one of the only hands I can bluff with.

The turn did bring a jack and I realized that I just had to stick to my gut. It fits with my range and I’d been playing tight. Also, [as the player in the big blind who called a raise] he can have a lot of hands like Q-10, 10-9 and even K-X. There are so many hands were he is just forced into a really tough spot on the river, and sometimes you just have to make something happen when you aren’t getting hands.

CP: For sure. Now, given the information that Lynskey had at the time, do you think his fold is a good play? Does he just have to assume that the board interacts better with your range than his? To a layperson, it might seem a little tight to fold top pair in this spot.

JC: He’s only really bluff catching with his hand. One thing his hand has going for it is that the K-9 is kind of good in a card-removal sense. I’ll say that if I were him I’d probably have ended up folding. Also, it is worth noting about this hand that I likely wouldn’t have played it the same way against a less experienced player. Lynskey is a really good player and clearly thinks deeply about the game. I just felt like he should give me credit in this spot due to the factors I have already laid out: how tight I’ve been playing, the way the board ran out and what type of hands I would even take this line with. Ace-six is one of the only hands I could have as a bluff here. Ultimately I just thought that he would give me credit. In his spot, it is so hard to call with less than two pair.Spade Suit