Can you spot the fatal flaws of this hand's play?

And why you see this as a fatal flaw or flaws…

I am looking forward to the explication.

preflop: i think the A8s is a good hand to raise utg when 5h. the obvious thing to doubt is the 72s, however there is something to say for it if the pf raiser has a lag image and he wishes to mix his range up somewhat. but since there are better hands to do it with my guess is that this is more just for the fun factor :slight_smile:.

flop: for matusow it’s a clear check-call situation and for ferguson it’s a clear cbet situation. so this is played well. the cbet is because the bluff won’t make sense if you don’t follow through, and the check call is because he have hit his ace but ferguson could easily have a higher ace, so check calling i easily the best to do.

turn: the turn card doesn’t really change much, so matusow can’t really bet since there is not much he can represent, even if it’s for information you still won’t know really much since almost all cards are in his value range and since he checked the flop he is capable to raise with hands that are still only bluffs. a bet would even erase the only advantage he has which is that he might be slowplaying. so checking is right. also the bet of ferguson is the right thing to do because he can only be slowplaying a monster or keeping the pot low with a medium stregth hand, and since the second is more likely the bet is right. the call however is a difficult one, by now it’s quite clear he bluffs or has him crushed. since he won’t know anything yet he is only hoping he won’t bluff or maybe semi bluffs on a draw. but since he won’t know anything here i don’t think the call was the right thing to do here so folding would be better.

river: matusow has got his 2pair here, but he probably isn’t really so happy with it because the only thing that it will help with is AK and maybe Q10. also if he had a strong hand all along it would still beat his A8 by any other Ax hand. all things considered i think checking here was a big mistake of matusow, don’t get me wrong i won’t bet for value here but as a bluff, all the time he was representing a big ace, 2pair or even a set. if he indeed has that he might fold all those things with the possible J making a str8. with the check-calls he could represent KJ or AJ which might be trustworthy enough to get him fold. as played the 3rd barrel of ferguson was probably the right play since he also could have AJ or KJ. however AJ might have checked back the turn and KJ might have used somewhat more slowplay in the beginning, however since he was teh last aggressor preflop i can imagine him cbetting the nuts and since he was willing to call i can also imagine him fire again on the turn, which means KJ is more likely to be in his range. and simply because it’s hard to continue without a jack it can also be a good reason to triple barrel here. so i agree with the bet. as for matusow i think i would have called instead of folding because as explained before the only thing in his range is KJ while everything else is a bluff, the flip side is that preflop 3betting is often meaning strength and almost all big cards have value by now, but since this is high stake poker there are light 3bets from time to time so with all things considered i think making the call would have been the best decision.


I see nothing wrong with this hand . Awesome job Chris !!!

He stayed consistent in his raising and put the " mouth" to silent night.

And that’s the other half to successful poker winning.

Nuff said…

Hahahaha :+1:t2:

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not a fan of the mouth, hilarious.

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I don’t think there is anything that bad about either of their play. Obviously Ferguson knows he is going to have to bluff, and while 72o is just about the worst hand to bluff with because it has no equity and blocks nothing, he clearly knows his opponent and thinks he can get him to fold a medium strength hand.

Mike has a decent hand with good equity against Ferguson’s 3-bet range. The only real problem with his play is that he is clearly in check-call mode on all 3 streets, and that makes it a little too obvious that he has a medium strength hand. It is fine that his hand is obvious, as long as he also knows he is going to have to make some hero calls against players who will try to bluff him by representing the nuts (since he pretty clearly doesn’t have the nuts, at least until the river). The river 8 is a terrible card for him because a single jack beats him (instead of just KJ or J8), so the fold is understandable. He also loses to AA, QQ, TT, AQ, AT, or A9, but those hands should not be betting for value on this river because Matusow can also have a Jack in his range. His plan all along was to call down unless, as he says, the 8 hits the river. If you narrow down his range to only showdown value hands on this river, he has several better hands to call with here than A8, including TT, AQ, AT, and A9 (assuming that AA and QQ would be 4-betting preflop), so it is fine to lay down A8. Plus he can have many Jacks in his range that just improved to the straight including AJ, QJ, JT, J9. It is very difficult to put Ferguson on a bluff because Matusow can easily have the nuts (KJ) himself here or another jack that just improved.

It just worked out for Ferguson this time. Matusow didn’t make any huge mistakes, and there were really no spots where he could have done anything differently except to fold preflop, which we can see would be too tight since clearly Ferguson is 3-betting a wide range.

Edit: I am curious what the “fatal flaw” is. If it is that Ferguson can’t have the straight because he would not be 3-betting many hands with jacks in them, then I disagree because good players will 3-bet with a wider range than the typical QQ+, AK we see on Replay and will 3-bet as a bluff regularly. I believe Ferguson can have AJ, KJ, QJs, JTs, or J9s. He would be betting big with some of these drawing hands, especially if his QJ or J9 or even J8 were were suited in hearts. He wouldn’t bet this flop with JJ, so we can probably remove that one.


Yes ! Great analysis. I too am waiting for the OP to state the “Fatal Flaws”.

I like your analysis of the preflop and flop action, through to Matusow’s decision on the turn. As you said the turn card doesn’t really change much (only J8 improves to a straight and A9 to two-pair, and it is unlikely that Ferguson holds these hands). Matusow blocks aces, so there is a good chance that Ferguson has a heart draw or a pair with a straight draw. Of course he still loses to AK, AQ, AJ, AT, or QT, but he blocks the first four, so his decision hasn’t really changed from the flop.

On the river he has to check. Of course, he can have jacks in his range, so it might seem like he can represent a jack or even the nuts here, but he blocks a lot of the medium strength hands he would want Ferguson to have by holding an ace. Perhaps a bluff can get Ferguson to fold some value hands like 2 pair or sets, but all of the straight draws have come in, and it is very possible that Ferguson holds those on the flop as well, plus he beats missed flush draws and any other bluffs anyway, so there is no reason to bluff against those. He is checking and hoping Ferguson checks back with AK or QT or some other weird Ax. I know what you are saying, that he can have a lot of jacks while Ferguson seems more likely to have a made hand like a set or 2 pair, but there are 7 combos of sets and 2 combos each of ATs and AQs, while there are 4 combos of KJs, 3 combos each of JTs, QJs, J9s, and 2 combos of AJs, so Ferguson can have at least as many straights as he has medium strength hands. Plus, we don’t know if Ferguson would even fold a set to a bluff here because those are the best of his bluff-catching range and block several of Matusow’s possible hands with jacks in them. Matusow beats AK, bluffs, and blocks a lot of Ferguson’s medium strength range, plus it is a very tricky spot for Ferguson to bluff, so there is no reason for Matusow to turn his hand into a bluff first.


It may not be the flaw you are thinking of but the fact that Ferguson is still allowed to play after the Full Tilt saga is a major issue to a heck of a lot of people. Mike the mouth was one of the big losers there and also lost big when Ultimate Bet was caught rigging games.

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Also, if Matusow wants to bluff this river, he should use KT, KQ, or QT, preferably not in hearts, so Ferguson can have missed flush draws. These hands block Ferguson’s straight hands, KJ, QJ, and JT and don’t block the aces in Ferguson’s range that are more medium strength, showdown value hands. They are also probably the weakest hands Matusow can have here and have the least showdown value.

I do not see anything wrong with this hand or the way it was played. In fact, I thought it was beautiful that the only guy who didn’t want to play the 7/2 bonus torched the table with it and showed the bluff. My read is that Ferguson was making a statement (on several levels).

From his perspective: First, I doesn’t like adding gimmick hands to spice up the game, its fine the way it is. Second, if we were playing the 7/2 bonus, I’d still torture you so please don’t ask me about it again. Third, I just managed to increase the frequency everyone who plays me will pay me off because I showed I’m not nearly as tight as everyone thinks I am. Lastly, getting Mike Matusow on tilt is about the most fun thing in the world, especially if we are filming for TV.

Of course this is all conjecture but I honestly loved this hand as played. As a cash game player and someone who has played with the 7/2 bounty, I thought this was brilliant.


Yes indeed !!! Brilliant :+1:t2:

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