Brian Rast 5-bets Mizzi With Rags

Gutsy Bluff By Brian Rast

I saw this hand the other night on the Party Poker “Premier League” final table, and thought it was worth sharing. Sorel Mizzi and Brian Rast get into an early position pre-flop bluffing battle, at the final table. A great hand, and hilarious confused banter by Phil Laak from the commentating booth.

Take a look:

What were they thinking?

The hand begins pretty harmlessly, as Sorel Mizzi raises K-Q offsuit from under-the-gun (1st position). Then Brian Rast decides to 3-bet Mizzi from UTG1 (2nd position) with J-9 offsuit. Rast is the shorter stack in this position with 250k at 2,000/4,000 (about 65 big blinds).

I think Rast chooses to do this because raising a UTG raiser, especially from UTG-1 looks super strong. He wants to represent a tip-top hand and win the pot right there, or on the flop/later street. Furthermore, he’s doing this to mix up his range, so later when he does have a huge hand he can make the same play, and his opponent may play back at him.

Mizzi is savvy enough to read through this play and put in a 4th bet, effectively turning his K-Q into a bluff. He could just call with his hand since it flops pretty well, but he then would be forced to play the hand out of position, in an inflated pot, against a very aggressive and smart opponent representing a huge hand.

So Mizzi choose to simplify the hand and 4-bet to try and win it right there, and put Rast into an “all-in or fold” situation. I also believe he may have 4 bet because he thinks Rast may just flat call in his position with hands like AK, and 1010-QQ, and not re raise with them. This makes his 3-bet a bit more polarized to either nuts or nothing (or a decent hand he’s planning to raise/fold with rather than flat call).

The 5-bet

However, Rast is not done with the hand and elects to 5-bet with his rags, putting in what looks to be just over 30% of his stack with the intention of folding to an all in. Mizzi can’t continue after this action and is forced to fold. A gutsy play by both, and you have to give it to Rast here. He made a fantastic play and won a big pot with no hand (at a final table). That’s high level poker.

I think both players had the feeling the other might be bluffing, or playing a hand like 88-JJ or K-Q/A-Q, with intentions on folding to a 4th or 5th bet.

What do you guys think?

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