My favorite event at the World Series of Poker is the $5,000 No-Limit Six Max, not only because I won a bracelet taking down that event in 2011, but because I like the way action plays on the smaller tables.

At no time during the tournament will you have more than six players at any table, thus the name of the event. That leads to different tactics than you would get at a normal WSOP event with a nine- or 10-person table. It also feels a lot more like the home games most of you play, or the hundreds of late-night cash games I've been involved in over the years.

I was running pretty well in this year's event. A late hand on Day 2 pushed me into the chip lead going into the final day. Down to 18 players, with only about 30 minutes left before play ended, I moved to a new table. I was among the chip leaders, so I wasn't going to do anything crazy.

On the button, I picked up As Kh and raised to $17,000. Andrea Dato called from the small blind, and the big blind defended his position. Three-handed, the flop came down Ah 7h Ac. At that point, I could hear angels singing in the back of my head.

Action checked to me. A lot of people would have checked it back here to disguise their strength, but I wanted to bet. If I had nothing, I would bet. When you have something, you want to bet. In poker parlance, it's called "balancing your range."


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I bet $19,000, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the pot. Dado check-raised to $45,000. The big blind folded. I called.

The turn came out Ks. I had a top full house. It would be virtually impossible to beat me.

Dato led out for $53,000. I decide to raise him. With such a big hand, I didn't want to scare him away. It's so rare to hold the nearly unbeatable nuts, and when it happens, you want to extract as much money as possible.

Many people would ask: Why not just call? I didn't call because I wanted to act as if I was bluffing. I put in a near-minimum raise of $109,000. An exact min raise would have been $106,000, but I've found that a min raise plus a chip or two from out of position gets people to do absolutely crazy things.

It worked perfectly here. Sure enough, Dato reraised to $200,000.

Now was the time to merely call. If he was bluffing, great. If he wasn't bluffing, he wouldn't fold the river.

The river was 6d. Dato moved all in for $215,000. And of course, I called.

He had Ad Qh.

The thing is, I don't think he needed something as good as A-Q to turn crazy on this hand. I played it the way people perceive a bluff to be played, and sometimes players read that and throw in a bunch of chips when it doesn't make sense to do so. Plus, once I make that play with a real hand, I can use it as a bluff later on.

That hand catapulted me to the top of the leaderboard as we bagged our chips for the night. Unfortunately, Day 3 didn't go as well. Everything went wrong, and I finished ninth. But I look back on that hand and am proud of the way I played it, and know that I'll be able to use that play again.

Matt Jarvis is a professional poker player from Vancouver, British Columbia. A World Series of Poker bracelet winner, he has amassed more than $2.2 million in career tournament earnings.