Untitled Document Hard Poker Truth: If you make a big laydown, you will have to make a big call later in the tournament, or else everybody at the table will try to run over you.

And that call will define you as a player with a future.

Daniel Negreanu, the CardPlayer magazine Player of the Year for 2004, faced that situation last year at the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, folding two pair to a big bet and showing everyone the cards he was laying down.

A short time later, he found himself in a hand with Kido Pham, and Negreanu knew Pham saw his laydown as Pham open-raised $2,500. The button called, and Negreanu called another $1,500 from the big blind with 7-3 of hearts.

The flop came A-7-5 – ace of diamonds, 7 of clubs, 5 of hearts. The table checked around. The turn came a 3 of diamonds, putting a flush draw on the board and giving Negreanu two pair again.

"I bet $5,000," said Negreanu, who represents the Poker Mountain Web site and is interactive at Fullcontactpoker.com. "Kido calls and raises $20,000. The other guy and I call the $20,000 rather quickly, hoping that it goes check-check on the river."

The river came a Q of clubs. Negreanu checked. Pham bet $50,000. The button folded. Negreanu was facing a big call. Again.

"I could fold and still have $80,000 in chips, which would be a good day," Negreanu said. "It wasn’t my goal, but it would be OK. But I’m thinking, `I don’t come here to just hang in here; I come here to go with my instincts and my reads.’

"I looked at him, and he was really stiff. Really, really stiff. More so than in the past. At the same time, I know that he’s capable of having 4-6 and having the straight. I asked him, ‘You have the 4-6, don’t you?’ And he looked really nervous.

"Finally, I factored that in with the other fact that he knows I can make a laydown, and I said, ‘You know what? This is my chance to take a shot,’ and I called him, and he said, ‘Straight,’ and I was like, ‘Ohhhh,’ and he said, ‘Kidding,’ and he mucked his hand."

The difference between great players and even good players is the willingness to make that play.

"If I’m wrong, I’ve got $38,000," Negreanu said. "I’m not dead. I’ve been there before. But if I’m right, wow, what a chip position I’m in (finishing the day second with $217,000).

"I’m going to go with my read. What tipped me off was, if he had a real hand, he would’ve bet $30,000 or $40,000. But when he bet $50,000, it’s a huge amount, and I’m thinking, ‘He really wants me out; he doesn’t want to make it easy on me at all.’ It led me to believe that he didn’t want me to call at all."


Laydown: Folding a hand.

© 2005, Chicago Tribune.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.