Poker positions Magnus Carlsen’s Using Pocket Aces

Magnus Carlsen’s Counter-Intuitive Bluff With Pocket Aces
Magnus Carlsen’s Counter-Intuitive Bluff With Pocket Aces

The ability to think analytically, the creativity of using opponents to gain advantage and the capacity to play under intense scrutiny are essential components of an elite poker or chess player’s arsenal. The books of history are filled with players who perform at the top level in both fields;

  • Eloi Relange Chess GM the age of 22 and the creator of Poker Academie (France’s biggest online poker site with more than 100,000 members)
  • «Action» Dan Harrington: 1971 Massachusetts Chess State Champion & 1995 WSOP Main Event winner, earning $6.6m profits on Hendon Mob
  • Alexander Grischuk: 3 times World Blitz Champion & recently cashed in 6 events in the WSOP online bracelet events
  • Dan Smith: He was able to achieve a chess rating of 2100 at his 16th birthday. He decided to concentrate on poker, and became an extremely popular poker player of the past. 7th on the all-time list of money with $38.2m earnings reported on Hendon Mob

It was therefore not a surprise to see the five-time World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen go to the felt like ducks to water at the most recent Norwegian Poker Championships. One particular hand that has people talking and we’ll take a look:


Magnus awakes with an A on the hi-jack. Magnus creates a standard open up for 2.2 huge blinds (60bb total).

The opponent he first faces, Sjostrom on the button chooses to flat 5 four (100bb stack). Since the blinds are deep, I believe that 3-betting this combination will be better than peeling in this case, since the flat can invite overcalls, which means that the draw value postflop is reduced quickly.


 3-betting lets us have some protection on the lower boards and to make cloaked hand that can pay in a big way, and we can also use the betting opportunity to the flop and can make many higher-quality hands for folding.

Frigaard at the table in the tiny blind (164bb stack) sets mining using his 5 5 and Dagslott at the blind of the biggest throws the ball in by putting J7 (60bb stack). Some commentators have even said that he’s getting a attractive price’.

This is a common misconception about big blind defense strategies that is seen when playing live. His price may be appealing, however, the instances when his seven or Jack is dominating, he has an unlucky straight draw and must continue, or the flush draw is dominant by a dull spade or diamond flop surpasses the times he beats someone to take home a pot of cash. The hand is almost zero playability, and he is playing the entire hand from a different position against two powerful ranges, Magnus’ especially.


So Welcome to Live poker where every player and dog would like to see the flop, and there are four strategies we can take! The dealer flops J 8 3 and gives Magnus an overpair that is vulnerable and Dagslott in the top pair of the big blind with weak flush draw. Magnus chooses to stay to sizing 40% while Dagslott continues. Carlsen’s hand is likely to favor playing here in four ways. In the event of 3 opponents, it is possible that he draws thin already , and is overflowing the pot by playing a hand that is struggling to improve. The hands that aren’t pade like ace-jack or pocket queens prefer betting to block equity from overcards in the game. With three players, he can’t justify three streets of value , and could prefer to take through a round and then reassessing from there. For Dagslott, this is among the top possible he could’ve wished for, however the preflop error is compounded due to the fact that the Spade Draw is probably to be heavily dominated and his highest pair may be in the back against Magnus betting on 3 players at the deep. Dagslott makes a call.


The 5 strikes the felt, and Dagslott gets the 100 100% checkmark. He is able to check and Magnus starts an additional third-pot sizing that is pretty swiftly called. Here , I believe Carlsen attempts to give himself a more easy river choice by putting a Jx hand in a difficult place and regulates the pot’s size so that he can allow the river to check-back, and avoid an uncomfortable and large river bet being hurled into his direction. Dagslott’s selection is full of improvement regarding the spade 4 that aren’t a problem calling the size of this pot, and the AA is not able to make any improvements. But, having said that Magnus’s range is more focused in the more potent spade and after firing the flop multiway , it’s difficult to come up with ways to beat him.


Dagslott looking tense in his seat is leading to five-pot. Magnus stops for a moment to contemplate his options, and then responds by securing more than three times his opponent’s bet which is met with a swift fold. The hand reminded me of some of my recent musings on and blunder-filled adventures that occasionally with a «brilliant decision» to help me get out of prison versus 10 year olds from India.


 Magnus had a few questionable postflop choices, but managed to overcome them with a unconventional bluff raise that earned his share of the pot. Live poker players tend to bet on the power of their hands and that’s just like Dagslott has done in this instance. He is convinced that his hand could be on the upswing, but doesn’t wish to be faced with a huge size, so he opts for an attempt to block bet to make a call more or to reduce the pot. 

Magnus put the pieces together to determine the fact that his opponent is likely to choose this option using a stronger spade as they are likely to go larger and play the previous streets more aggressively, or opt to check-call or check-jam the river. Magnus has also figured out that he is the sole player who is ‘uncapped’ (the only one to be able to hold on) when faced with this size bet. It will require a skilled player to guide this to a fifth pot by using the nut flush to get raises due to bluffs or other bluffs or of value.

 The hand is in all likelihood an example of the wit and imagination of a master of the art of Chess and the similarities in the game enabled Carlsen to get through a difficult situation. While each move might not be perfect, his ability to see a few steps ahead of his opponent’s dividends. Carlsen was able to achieve an impressive 25th place finish at the Norwegian Championships for around a cash prize of EUR5,000.

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