Stephen Chidwick Demonstrates When to Execute a Blocker Bet in Poker

stephen-chidwick-demonstrates-when-to-execute-a-blocker-bet-in-poker
Stephen Chidwick

Stephen Chidwick is one of the most feared high-stakes poker tournament crushers in the world and has consistently put his opponents in tough spots by pulling huge bluffs in big poker tournaments.

In this PokerNews strategy column, I look at a hand that took place during a $10,000 buy-in tournament at the 2021 PokerGO Cup in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas. On the turn, Chidwick breaks the mold and decides to opt for a min-bet (block bet), with his opponent, Dylan Destefano, deciding to call.

When you decide to min-bet it can often confuse your opponents as it is such a rare bet size that people will often make big mistakes as they are not comfortable with how to proceed. Generally facing a min-bet you should not be folding much of your range as you are getting such good pot odds and your hand should have the right equity to call on most boards.

On the river Chidwick finds himself with just six-high and no chance of winning the pot unless he pulls the trigger and attempts to bluff Destefano off the pot. Will he take it?

The hand kicks off at the final table with blinds at 20,000/40,000/40,000 and Destefano opening to 80,000 on the button with {q-Hearts}{9-Clubs}. With a sizable chip lead, Chidwick defended out of the big blind with {6-Clubs}{4-Hearts}.

With there being a short stack at the table, Chidwick can put pressure on his medium-stacked opponents like Destefano, so he can defend with a wide range here.

The flop landed {10-Clubs}{2-Spades}{3-Hearts} and Chidwick checked with his gutshot straight draw. Destefano continued for 85,000 with his queen-high and Chidwick called.

I think Destefano’s continuation bet is fine, but he does need to check back sometimes on boards like this. I’m surprised Chidwick didn’t check-raise but check-calling is also a viable option.

Stephen Chidwick
Jonathan Little examines a hand played by Stephen Chidwick during the PokerGO Cup

The {8-Diamonds} on the turn gave Destefano his own gutshot and Chidwick led out with a minimum bet of 40,000.

When the turn card brings a card that should not be especially good for the preflop raiser who c-bet the flop, you should be leading a decent amount of the time, especially when payouts are very relevant.

So Chidwick gets to lead using a small size with a wide range of hands, including pairs and draws. But if you do make this lead, you want to make sure you have a plan heading to the river.

Facing the tiny lead, I think Destefano’s call is fine since his hand has pretty good equity.

The river brought the {2-Diamonds} to miss both players and Chidwick pulled the trigger with a pot-sized bet of 470,000, which brought a snap-fold out of Destefano.

Chidwick is not going to give up on the river with six-high! This is a spot where Destefano is going to have a lot of draws and ace-high, while Chidwick’s range is polarized to hands like a tens or better and busted draws.

I have to imagine Destefano should be making some hero calls here with hands like ace-high. But most players won’t make those hero calls, so great job by Chidwick taking down this pot! The British crusher went on to win the event for $183,600.

For more on this hand check out my breakdown in the following video:

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 JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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