Here’s a hand that features a strange move on the river. At first it seems totally perverse and you’ll probably think it’s a huge error, but there’s a good reason for it.
I’ve tried and tried to find this hand online but no joy. I remember reading about it but I just can’t seem to find it no matter what Google searches I try. Sometime I wonder whether I dreamed it up. (Er no, I definitely didn’t dream it up )
Anyway I’ve tried to remember what the cards were and that guarantees these definitely aren’t the actual cards that were dealt in the hand However, the action on the river is how it played out so the “moral” of the story stays intact.
(A little bit of background to the hand):
It took place between Dan “Jungleman12″ Cates and Tom “Durrrr” Dwan in their much hyped “Durrrr challenge” which never actually came to a conclusion. You’re probably aware of the story. Basically Tom Dwan offered 3/1 on a $500k bet to anyone who could beat him over 50,000 hands. Rules were they had to multi table 4 tables of heads up holdem at the same time. Players would get to keep their winnings so if Dwan lost, as well as handing over $1.5m he’d lose whatever he lost at the tables on top. Obviously 50,000 hands is tonnes of hands and it was going to take a number of days or even weeks to complete. (It’s actually taken about 3 years and there’s no end in sight.)
From the start Cates started spanking Dwan to the tune of about $700k. I reckon Cates has basically got Tom Dwan’s number at heads up holdem but I suppose it’s not impossible Dwan could reverse the loss. Luckily for Dwan Black Friday came in April 2011 so he could exclaim “oh no we can’t finish our match” and save a bit of face. Anyway who cares? Dwan did the same things with Patrik Antonius in an earlier match and after about 2 years that match also fizzled out into oblivion, Dwan being ahead in that one. Tedious!
Anyways, the hand:
Dan Cates: A♥ 3♥
Tom Dwan: 8♣ 5♣
I do apologise. I forget the exact action during the hand but it’s highly likely the pot was 3-bet preflop and that there was betting along the way. Suffice to say the pot was massive, of the order of $50,000. So by the river there’s a board with 4 hearts on and a load of money already in the pot.
6♥ K♥ 7♣ 2♥ J♥
Cates fires a bet with his absolute nut hand, the ace high flush and Tom Dwan raises him – with nothing at all. You can see what Dwan is doing – he is representing the ace flush himself – but we all know how unfortunate it is in poker when you represent the hand your opponent is actually holding.
The action was back to Cates. So what’s your move? What would you do with the nuts? Assuming you don’t disconnect and fold you can raise or you can raise all in! Right?
Cates just called!
Although I never heard Cates explain in his own words why he made what, is on the face of it, an inexplicable move, there is an explanation that makes sense. There are two reasons for just calling instead of raising. The first and most important reason is: if he raises he ain’t getting called!
People might argue the opposite: “but Dwan might call with the Kh”
I’d argue that no, he wouldn’t. Not Tom Dwan, anyway. Let’s get it right. A weak player might call with the King of hearts here. But Tom Dwan won’t – not when he’s playing against Dan Cates.
If Dwan did call a re-raise on the river with just the Kh he’d never be winning because Cates wouldn’t be re-raising with just a Queen of hearts in the first place. (He would have just called Dwan’s river raise at best. Cates wouldn’t re-raise here with a King of hearts for the same reason: lest he get blown off the hand should Dwan actually hold the Ace of hearts himself. He’d just call and hope it was good.)
To sum it up – if Cates raises with his ace all Dwan is going to do is fold. He isn’t ever going to make more money by raising on the river.
And the second reason?
Well I like this one. Cates wanted to see Dwan’s cards. Because he’ll put that information to use in ways we probably just don’t understand.