Everyone in the poker world has been talking about this $3,100,000 hand between Tom Dwan and Wesley from Hustler’s Million Dollar Cash Game.
It’s the biggest pot in televised poker history and I’m going to break it down for you in today’s article.
The stakes are $500/$1,000/$2,000 with a $3,000 ante. The effective stack between the two, as you might have guessed, is just over $1,500,000.
Without any further ado, let’s jump into the hand!
LSG Hank raises to $7,000 with from the Hijack. Wesley 3-bets to $30,000 with from the Button. Tom Dwan 4-bets to $100,000 with from the Straddle. LSG Hank folds. Wesley 5-bets to $275,000. Tom calls.
Given the presence of the ante, the players are incentivized to play loose ranges preflop to attack the dead money in the pot. This time, given that there is a very large ante, they should be playing significantly wider ranges than a standard cash game.
Thus, Hank’s raise with A8-offsuit from the Hijack, which would otherwise be way too loose from that position, is actually the correct play. The size he used is large but probably fine given that there are a few loose players at the table and the stacks are extremely deep.
Wesley has an easy 3-bet with Ace-King offsuit. His Button strategy should contain both calls and 3-bets given the amount of dead money that is in the pot. Nonetheless, TT+ and AQ+ should always be 3-betting as they are extremely strong considering Hank’s loose range.
Hank now has an easy fold with his A8-offsuit.
Facing the cold 4-bet and given how deep they are, plus the fact that he is in position, Wesley should be calling with his entire continuing range. This way, he will be able to put Tom in very tough spots with a highly versatile and uncapped range.
Ace-King offsuit plays very well against the 4-betting range. But once he 5-bets, Dwan’s range that continues is going to give him some big problems on the coming streets.
That being said, 5-betting is not a much worse decision if he is going to have a 5-bet range.
Tom figures he’s probably up against Ace-King, QQ, KK, or AA. Against that range, he has around 40% equity, which is enough to make a profitable call as his pot odds dictate that he needs to have (realize) ~31% equity.
At this point, he is probably calling with TT+ and folding up to and perhaps even including Ace-King due to the reverse implied odds it may have on Axx and Kxx flops.
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The flop comes and the pot is $562,000.
Tom checks. Wesley bets $125,000. Tom calls.
Tom’s check is best here even though he has all the pocket pairs up to Aces in his range. This is because Wesley has a higher proportion of AA in his range compared to Tom.
On the flop, in theory, Wesley should be looking to put a lot of pressure on TT and JJ and he probably won’t manage to do this with a quarter-pot bet. He should probably bet around 50% of the pot which shows an intention to shove on the turn very frequently.
Against such a small bet, Tom has an easy call with Queens and all of the other hands in his range (which I said would very likely be TT+).
The turn comes the , making the board . The pot is $812,000.
Tom checks. Wesley bets $350,000. Tom calls.
The turn is a brick that helps Tom’s range a bit due to not completing Wesley’s AK.
Tom’s check is standard here.
With his range, Wesley should be looking to get value with AA, KK, and maybe QQ. He should balance this range with AK at some frequency. So betting here is a fine play at least in theory.
Tom should now be often folding with JJ and TT and continuing with QQ if Wesley is balanced with his betting range.
The river comes the , making the final board . The pot is $1,500,000.
Tom checks. Wesley bets all-in $786,000. Tom…
Another card that is good for Tom’s range since it doesn’t improve Wesley’s bluffs. That being said, Tom should still check here.
Wesley should approach this situation in a polarized fashion. On the one hand, he has his value range which should be made of exactly KK and AA. He can balance that range by bluffing with AK at some frequency.
AK works as a great bluff due to blocking AA and KK which Dwan should have in his calling range at this point.
In practice, assuming Wesley is putting Tom on the same range as I did (QQ-TT with the occasional KK/AA), he needs to figure out whether or not Tom will fold with QQ-TT or not. His bet needs to work around 33% of the time (risking about half the pot). If he thinks Tom folds at least 33% of the time, he should go for it with AK.
In theory, Tom should be defending with TT-QQ at some frequency in order to disincentivize Wesley from bluffing with all of his AK.
But in practice, once he faces the shove, Tom is playing a similar guessing game to the one Wesley was just playing. He needs to guess if his opponent is going to over or under-bluff with his AK. If he thinks Wesley will bluff with AK here “too often”, he should call. If he thinks Wesley will not often bluff with AK here, he should fold.
In the end, he opts for the former and takes down the largest televised pot of all time.
Tom thinks for a while, and calls. He drags in a $3.1 million pot with his Pocket Queens.
Some truly chilling stakes! It takes the average American 30 years to earn $1,500,000, and these two guys exchanged this sum between themselves in a matter of 15 minutes. Astonishing!
The hand was played decently well by both players, but in the end, there will be 1 winner and 1 loser. It’s 50/50 really (not!).
That’s all for this breakdown! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new from it! If you have any hands that you’d like me to break down for you, please let me know in the comment section down below!
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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