Folding Kings Preflop Leads to WPT Gardens Cash for Albertin Hernandez

Jan 12, 2020

Albertin Hernandez

By Sean Chaffin

Folding pocket Kings preflop may be one of the toughest decisions in poker. The second-best hand in the game is a difficult one to lay down no matter what the action is before the flop hits the felt. Even seasoned pro waiver in the face of such a conundrum But L.A. area player Albertin Hernandez did just that on Day 1 of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship.

With blinds at 400/800, Hernandez saw Ping Liu raise in early position and Hernandez put in a big reraise. Chance Kornuth put in another hefty raise and Liu moved all-in. After some careful thought, Hernandez decided to send his Kings to the muck.

“I didn’t want to take the risk,” he says. “I had a good idea that I was beat by one of them.”

He’s done that a few times in his poker career and is glad to have made the right decision in this case. As it turned out, Liu had Queens and Kornuth had Aces. The flop brought a third Queen on the board, but running clubs gave Kornuth a flush. Hernandez would have been sent to the rail had he called with his Kings.

Mostly a cash game player, Hernandez has $210,000 in live tournament winnings. He plays poker full time and won his way into the Gardens Poker Championship after winning a bounty tournament at the property. 

His biggest previous cash came in 2008 when he won a $125 event at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, for $22,790. This would make his first WPT cash if he can hang on to get in the money. He plays a few hours in a cash game almost every day.

“It has its ups and downs,” he says of playing poker for a living. “I was playing higher stakes before, but did poorly. I was playing a house game and lost my bankroll, but I came back [after moving down in stakes].”

The 53-year-old has three grown children and enjoys running and being outside. He says his tournament has gone well and was hoping to end his time at the Gardens with a final table appearance. For him, he said that included avoiding mistakes. So far that game plan has worked.

During the first break in the action on Sunday, Hernandez was still alive and hoping to turn his free entry into the tournament into a nice score. Hernandez found his way in the money at Gardens Casino follwing a lengthy bubble. 

Folding those Kings may look even better in hindsight if he can catch some momentum and continue his deep run. 

He says simply of that huge fold: “It kept me alive.”

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

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