THE BLUEPRINT: How Andrew Lichtenberger Won WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas

Andrew Lichtenberger earned his first career seven-figure cash and first major title in winning WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas Saturday night at the Bellagio. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

Andrew Lichtenberger earned his first career seven-figure cash and first major title in winning WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas Saturday night at the Bellagio. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

Andrew Lichtenberger has already accomplished virtually everything one could accomplish in poker. More commonly known to his peers as “LuckyChewy,”¬†Lichtenberger has played in and beaten high-stakes cash games and tournaments, both live and online, millions of dollars in the process.

Besides earning a living on the felt, Lichtenberger recently finished up his first book. “The Yoga of Poker: A High Stakes Journey to Freedom” is in its final stages of publishing and will be on shelves in bookstores soon.

Just before the end of 2014, Lichtenberger continued his poker success by earning his biggest score and his first World Poker Tour title. Lichtenberger won the WPT Las Vegas Alpha 8 for over $1.7 million after besting a field of 48 of the best players in the world.

Lichtenberger sat down with BLUFF to discuss his thought process from some of the hands that he played at the final table.

Lichtenberger’s Kings Top Kenney

With all eight players still remaining at the final table, blinds were 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante. Brian Rast raised to 70,000 from middle position and Lichtenberger called from the cutoff. Bryn Kenney three-bet to 300,000 and Lichtenberger called after Rast folded.

The flop was T82 and Kenney bet 265,000. Lichtenberger called and the the turn was the 5. Kenney checked and Lichtenberger bet 390,000. Kenney check-called and the river was the 4. Kenney checked again and LIchtenberger bet 930,000. Kenney called and mucks after Lichtenberger tabled KK.

Andrew Lichtenberger: “Initially against Rast’s open, with us being the bigger stacks at the final table, there is definitely an incentive for me to apply pressure, but with those stack depths I guess I felt that more hands would want to flat in my position than three-bet. So in the particular scenario and to set the tone for future scenarios, I thought that it would make it easier for me to apply pressure by widening my flatting range as opposed to playing a three-bet heavy game. I think it’s a personal preference sort of thing. I just thought playing a massive pot against one of the better players at the final table wouldn’t be so great.”

“I think raising the flop is kind of overplaying my hand because it shouldn’t really be a situation where he continues with much worse because my hand kind of looks like a set or a big draw. So to put kings in a raising range there kind of gets a little murky as to whether or not he is going to continue with too much worse. I kind of think in that scenario it is more advantageous, theoretically, to flat the flop as oppose to raise.”

“When he checks the turn, I’m pretty incentivized to bet my entire range there, even if it is to just fold out six-outers like if I had jacks and he had ace-king. And also it will slow him down on the river. Like if I did have jacks, I’m not going to face a big river bet because he isn’t going to take away the initiative just because he is aware of me flatting my whole range on the flop. I can very easily have a set there and it puts him in a situation where he is kind of stuck letting me dictate the action on the river.”

Rast Coolers Lichtenberger

After a couple eliminations and Lichtenberger out in front with a chip lead, the table was down to five-handed action and the blinds were increased to 25,000/50,000 with a 5,000 ante. Rast raised to 115,000 from the cutoff and Lichtenberger defended from the big blind.

The flop was A53 and Lichtenberger check-called 110,000 from Rast. The turn was the J and Lichtenberger check-called 270,000. The river was the 5 and Lichtenberger checked for a third time. Rast bet 640,000 and Lichtenberger check-raised to 1,640,000. Rast moved all in for 3,070,000 and Lichtenberger called. Rast tabled A5 and took the pot. Lichtenberger mucked 5-3, for a worse full house.

Lichtenberger: “When I take that line, it’s either a boat or a bluff. I don’t think I would feel comfortable raising a straight on the river when the board pairs like that and to be honest, I think I would raise a straight on the turn. It was a weird scenario because we played a hand earlier where I had a set of fives and I just check-called three (streets). So to him, it probably makes my raise look extremely polarized so when he jams, it’s not really good for me.”

“I guess I just thought there is enough worse hands that he can have that are value betting and enough chance that he can convince himself that for a million more when the pot is as big as it was, that I can have a worse hand. Like If he has A-J or A-K or even threes full or even if he had a straight himself.”

“With the cards that I had, it makes it pretty unlikely that he had many combinations of better hands. At the point he shoved, I had a pretty bad feeling about it. On the river, I just thought there was enough worse hands he could call with. When he shoved, I didn’t feel good about it, but the pot is big and it’s not that much more. I didn’t really feel like I could find a fold.”

Marchese Limps Jacks, Tops Lichtenberger

The event was down to its final three players in Thomas Marchese, Rast and Lichtenberger. The blinds were up to 50,000/100,000 with a 10,000 ante and Marchese limped in from the small blind and Lichtenberger raised to 300,000 from the big blind. Marchese called and they saw a flop of 975.

Both players checked and the J fell on the turn. Marchese led out for 425,000 and Lichtenberger called. The river was the 4 and Marchese bet 1,135,000 and Lichtenberger called. Marchese tabled JJ and Lichtenberger mucked 9-5.

Lichtenberger:¬†“My reasoning for checking the flop is that primarily he is going to connect more with that board with a limp-calling range than I am with a raising range. Given that the board texture is going to change with a large portion of cards to come, I felt that it was going to be hard to get three streets of value and against someone like Tom who is going to attack a lot of weakness when I check back there, I felt like it was a good spot to pot control and induce bluffs. I think the turn and the river play themselves. I think I don’t have a good enough hand to raise and I don’t think I can fold, considering he is going to be value betting like A-J type hands and the reason I checked back the flop was to induce bluffs.”

Lichtenberger Hero-Calls Marchese Heads-up

Rast was eliminated in third place and Marchese was left heads-up with Lichtenberger. With blinds of 60,000/120,000 and a 15,000 ante, Lichtenberger raised to 250,000 on the button and Marchese called.

Action was checked to the river as the board ran out J8345 and Marchese checked again. Lichtenberger bet 330,000 and Marchese check-raised to 1,130,000. Lichtenberger called with A5 and took the pot against Marchese’s A3.

Lichtenberger: “In order for him to have a value hand that plays that way, I think it is going to be specifically A-2 because I think 6-2 and 6-7 are both going to bet turn as him and most of his flush draws are going to bet turn. Knowing Tom’s intelligence about the game of poker and his ability to hand read, I don’t think he is going to check-raise for value there with a hand that is not a straight or a flush. It’s possible, but it’s tough to even find hands that he would play that way that wouldn’t be a straight or a flush.”

“With the ace of clubs in my hand, it made it easier for me to call because that’s a prime hand that he could check turn to check-call with and then end up with the nut flush. So blocking all of those combos really helped. Intuitively I just thought it was a good spot for him to attack. I don’t by any means have a capped range, but I primarily have a lot of thin value bets.”

Lichtenberger used that momentum to end the heads-up match between him and Marchese shortly after that hand to take home his more than $1.77 million first place prize money.

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