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Cash game strategy - Brilliant play by Tom 'durrrr' Dwan on High Stakes Poker

10 March 2009, By:
The fifth season of high stakes poker has just taken of and the second episode was aired on GSN Monday night. We get to see some great poker and a few pots on over $200 k. In the most interesting hand of the episode the whole table decided to see the flop.


The blinds are $400/$800 with a $200 ante and the game is no limit Texas holdem, as always. Barry Greenstein picks up American Airlines (Ah-Ac) under the gun and makes it $2,500 to go. For the first time in the entire game the whole table decides to call. So we have Tom 'durrrr' Dwan, David Benyamine, Eli Elezra, Illari 'Ziigmund' Sahamies, Daniel Negreanu, Peter Eastgate and Doyle Brunson going to the flop together with Greenstein.

There is $21,600 in the pot. The flop comes 2c-Td-2s, giving Tom 'durrrr' Dwan a top pair with his Qc-Tc and reigning world champion Peter Eastgate holding 4h-2d hits trips. The rest of the players don't improve their hands.

Eastgate checks his trips and Greenstein continuation bets $10,000 with his aces, to see where he stands. When action moves to durrrr he re-raises to $37,300. It's folded around to Eastgate who reluctantly calls and so does Greenstein. There is $133,500 in the pot and all of a sudden the hand is getting interesting.

The turn is the blank 7d. Eastgate checks and Greenstein checks. The action is to durrrr who after some deliberation bets $104,200. What at the flop seemed like a strange play now starts to make perfect sense.
Or as commentator Gabe Caplan puts it,
- He got the weakest hand, but the biggest heart.

What durrrr does here is making a perfect read on both his opponents. His re-raise on the flop gives him a lot of information and even more importantly - the initiative. To truly understand what happens here we have to look back at another hand that was played in the first episode of High Stakes Poker season five.

In this particular hand durrrr bet the whole way with 6-7s on a 6-6-x flop and was called down by Eastgate. Durrrr was really sure that he held the best hand but to his surprise Eastgate had A-6. What surprised durrrr was that Eastgate never made a raise with his strong hand, which would probably have won him a large chunk of durrrr's stack. This made durrrr realize that Eastgate is a cautious player that doesn't like to risk too much if he doesn't hold something close to the stone cold nuts.

Well, let's get back to the $104,200 bet. After some contemplation Eastgate releases his trips of deuces and Greenstein reluctantly folds also. Durrrr manages to work his magic and get both players fold their way better hands.

After his check call on the flop durrrr is probably pretty certain that Eastgate holds a weak 2. If he had pocket tens (or an over pair) he would most likely have re-raised pre-flop, and there are not that many hands he would check-call a bet and a raise with on the flop. If he held something like A-2 he would probably check-raise the flop, especially considering his previous hand against durrrr. And Greenstein proceeds cautious on the flop because his original bet faces a raise and call in a hand where all eight players have seen the flop.

When both players check the turn durrrr is sure enough that he can take home the pot right then and there with a large bet. There is $133,400 in the pot and the $104,200 bet doesn't even have to work half the time to make it worth while. Eastgate has been running good and has about $500 k in front of him, which he's not ready to risk on his weak trips. He's scared that durrrr also has trips, but with a better kicker and he doesn't know where Greenstein stands. Durrrr probably puts Greenstein on an over pair, but for Greenstein the board is scary with so many players seeing the flop and the amount of action that followed. And he's not ready to risk all his money either, especially not with only a pair.

So durrrr brings home the pot on a stone cold bluff (he only has two outs if he gets called). He is so sure of his read of the situation that he even makes a side bet with Doyle Brunson afterwards, claiming that Eastgate held the best hand. Pure poker artistry.


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