John Juanda Reveals Insight Into The Mind Of A Poker Pro

John Juanda is one of the top poker professionals in the world today and has earned over $9,600,000 from live tournament cashes throughout his career. He has also cashed 49 times at WSOP events and picked up 4 WSOP bracelets, so when he describes his insights at this year’s World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas, you know people will take note.
In this particular extract, Juanda describes a hand he played during the $10,000-buy-in main event, and explains some of the thought processes he went through while being faced with some difficult decisions. The blinds were $100-$200, and Juanda in late position came in for an open-raise of $600 with A-J, only to be raised to $1,500 by the player on the cutoff, which Juanda then called.
Heads up, the flop came J-10-A with two diamonds, giving Juanda top two pair and a backdoor flush draw. Juanda explains: “If you raise before the flop and someone re-raises you, that means they’re representing a big hand like kings or aces or A-K.  But since I had one ace in my hand and there was one on the flop, I didn’t really put him on aces, so his most likely hand there was A-K or two kings. So, I checked, hoping to check-raise him, but he checked, too.”
The turn brought the 9d, and Juanda said, “I was still pretty sure I had the best hand.I bet $3,000, which was almost the size of the pot. When he called me, I put him on kings with the king of diamonds or A-K with the king of diamonds.
A 3d on the river gave Juanda the third-nut flush and a difficult decision to make after he checked and his opponent bet out $3,500. “He checked the flop, so he didn’t have that huge of a hand. But when he called my big bet on the turn, I should’ve known that he was probably drawing to the flush. He wouldn’t be calling with nothing. He wouldn’t be calling with two black kings or two black queens. I didn’t put him on a straight because if you back up in the hand, he wouldn’t re-raise me before the flop with K-Q. That’s how you put people on a hand, and that’s how you can take certain hands out.”
A call by Juanda revealed his opponent’s nut flush with the Ao-Kd, a hand Juanda had put him on but still cost him money. “I usually go with my instincts,” Juanda said. “That hand, my instinct was to fold. But then he bet and for some reason I second-guessed myself and called. I ended up making the wrong decision.That was one of those hands I didn’t play very well because I didn’t go with my read. I should’ve folded on the river.”

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