Stephen Chidwick

What do you get when you face off the No. 1 and No. 6 all-time money winners in live tournament poker? Well, an incredible hand, that’s for sure!

In this poker hand, Stephen Chidwick played a hand against Bryn Kenney and faced a tough river decision. Did Chidwick put on his hero cape and find the call with just ace-high? Here’s how it went down.

The hand took place in a partypoker NLH High Stakes tournament when Chidwick (4,290,000) raised to 150,000 from the cutoff holding the a-Spadesq-Diamonds and Kenney (3,635,000) called from the small blind with the q-Heartsj-Hearts. Stefan Schillhabel (2,650,000) came along from the big blind with the a-Hearts7-Clubs and it was three-way action to the k-Spades2-Hearts9-Diamonds flop.

In tournaments, you can call more frequently from the small blind, as Kenney does here, as there is no immediate rake taken from each hand like in a cash game. Remember to protect your small blind calling range by balancing it with some of your best hands.

Two checks on the flop put action on Chidwick, and I think this is a spot where he can either bet small or check depending on what he thinks Kenney’s flat-calling range was in the small blind. Kenney’s small blind flat calling range at 40 big blinds deep connects very well with this board as it contains a lot of Broadway cards. However, a small bet will often fold out a lot of Kenney’s small pocket pairs.

Chidwick continued for 130,000, Kenney called, and Schillhabel got out of the way, which led to the 5-Diamonds on the turn. By betting the flop instead of checking it back, Chidwick employed a strategy that allows him to pot control better as being in position usually will give him the ability to check back on the turn assuming Kenney would check again.

Indeed, Kenney checked and Chidwick did the same. The former doesn’t have much of a leading range and the latter will often only continue with his best made hands and his draws.

On the 8-Hearts river, Kenney has just queen high. When you have one of your worst hands on the river, bluffing can become a reasonable option. Especially when you consider that when Chidwick checked back the turn, he eliminated a lot of his strong made hands from his range. When boiled down, Kenney has a stronger range than Chidwick on the river that will contain some kings.

Bryn Kenney
Bryn Kenney

When Kenney bets here, he will be very polarized. It’s a spot where his bluffing range is junky, but his value range is strong. By betting 415,000 into the 715,000, Kenney puts Chidwick in a tough spot.

What do you do in Chidwick’s spot here? First, you get out your superhero cape and grab your x-ray glasses. Put a read on your opponent and go with it. His ace-queen is actually a bad bluff-catching hand because it blocks some of the q-j- and q-10- type hands that Kenney would bluff with. That said, Chidwick has played a lot with Kenney and knows he gets in there and battles.

I think if you know your opponent is going to be over-bluffing, you in turn should be over-calling. Chidwick wound up making the hero call and took down a nice pot.

For a more thorough breakdown of this hand, check out my thoughts in the following video used with permission from partypoker:

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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