First-Hand Hands: Ryan LaPlante vs. Alex Foxen – Bally Live Poker

First Hand Hands Ryan LaPlante
Craig Tapscott
Posted on: March 13, 2024 08:19 PDT

This hand occurred at the 2024 Bally Live Poker Coaches Cash Game on February 8 at the Tropicana Las Vegas. At the table was a who’s who of poker superstars/coaches: Andrew Lichtenberger, Landon Tice, Justin Saliba, Ian Matakis, Jesse Sylvia, Alex Foxen, and Ryan LaPlante. 

Each player was only allowed to buy in for the max of $2,500, and they could only add to their stacks if they were felted. The blinds were $10/$25 with a $25 big blind ante. 

Ryan LaPlante had a stack of $2,435. Alex Foxen, one of the best tournament players in the game, was sitting with $2,800 in front of him.

In the video below, LaPlante talks through the hand play-by-play, providing exclusive insight into the thought process of a seasoned tournament/cash game pro and longtime poker coach.

Trapping Alex Foxen

LaPlante felt the best play in this hand was to trap Foxen.

“I think it's clearly a very easy trap spot,” shared LaPlante. “I have top set, and there are not that many hands I'm too concerned about. And anytime you're in a situation like that, you generally want to allow your opponent to pick up something. That way they can either put in more chips as a bluff or be able to jam for perceived value. So, by checking back the turn I created this river situation that enabled me to win an extra $1,300.”

Ryan LaPlante WPT World Championship 2023 Ryan LaPlante at the 2023 WPT World Championship

LaPlante’s love for coaching

LaPlante has been playing professionally for over 14 years and coaching for 12. He possesses a coveted WSOP bracelet in PLO from 2016 and has career MTT cashes of more than $3,600,000.

“I love seeing my students grow their game and be successful. My coaching style definitely has evolved over the years,” LaPlante told us. “I've always been a mixture of teaching theory and exploitative play. Lately my focus has shifted a little bit. I do more when it comes to teaching people how to study on their own and help them build on a solid foundational framework.”

Building edges in the games is key

LaPlante has worked as a coach for many of the top training sites in the industry, including his own at

“We sit down at the table to make a profit. It tends to be about making very specific decisions to get a bigger and bigger edge versus your opponents. I work with my students to explain the exact framework as to why certain decisions are made and where your profitability comes from.

“If you don't know what actually makes you money and why it makes you money, how are you going to build a big edge in any given situation? My approach has gotten a little bit more refined over the years, and I think that makes for a much better student experience.”

You can follow Ryan LaPlante on Twitter/X.