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Poker After Dark: Galfond vs. ‘Durrrr’

A great call

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Mar 18, 2011

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This hand comes from week 1 of the 2011 edition of NBC’s Poker After Dark. The six-handed lineup featured some great players, both old school (Huck Seed, John Juanda, Phil Ivey, and Erick Lindgren) and new school (Tom “Durrrr” Dwan and Phil Galfond), and the format was a $100,000 buy-in sit-and-go, winner take all.

With $600,000 in chips in play, Durrrr had amassed $248,000, Ivey was sitting in second place with $134,000, Galfond had $121,000, and Seed was sitting on $97,000. With the blinds at $1,500-$3,000, Durrrr opened from under the gun for $7,000 with the A♦ 5♦, Galfond peered down at A-K and reraised from the small blind, making it $19,500 to go, and Seed found A-Q in the big blind. At this point, a lot of viewers must have been nervous for Seed, but somehow, he managed to make a good read and fold A-Q to the aggressive youngsters. Durrrr called $12,500 more, and the flop came down 9♥ 3♠ 2♠.

With $42,000 in the pot, Galfond bet $17,000, and Durrrr decided to move all in! Galfond had $84,500 left, and decided to call. With the chip lead on the line ($245,000 in the pot), Durrrr needed a 5 or a 4. The turn card was a 7 and the river was a 10, and Galfond had the chip lead.

Let’s take a closer look at this hand. Durrrr’s raise to $7,000 is OK (the new-school players like to keep their raises at or right above the minimum-raise level), and Galfond’s $12,500 reraise into a $17,000 pot is roughly 75 percent of the pot, which is a little more than the new-school standard of 60 percent of the pot. Durrrr’s $12,500 preflop call with the A♦ 5♦ is fine, as he had position on Galfond. But when you make a call like that with A-5 suited, be careful not to blow all of your chips when you hit an ace or a 5; also be careful that you don’t fold the best hand, either! What I’m saying is that calling a reraise with A-5 suited is not a great spot for an amateur to be in. Making that call can lead to some very tricky situations on the flop.

I like Galfond’s $17,000 bet into the $42,000 pot on the flop. Making a continuation-bet (betting on the flop no matter what hits after making the last raise preflop) is standard, and 40 percent of the size of the pot is reasonable. Durrrr’s all-in move here was a strong play. Presumably, he thought that Galfond did not have an overpair, and therefore thought that Galfond might fold A-K, A-Q, or A-J — or might have a hand like K-Q.

Galfond’s $84,500 all-in call with A-K high was a great one! With the blinds at $1,500-$3,000 and $84,500 left in his stack, Galfond easily could have folded, and still would have had 28 big blinds left in his stack — plenty of bullets with which to come back and win. If Durrrr had a pair like 4-4, or the 9♦ 8♦, Galfond’s A-K would have been in bad shape. So, Galfond’s call came down to whether or not he thought that his A-K high was the best hand. He thought that it was, and he was right! One factor that made Galfond’s call a little bit easier was that there were a lot of possible draws out there (straight draws and a flush draw were possible on this flop), and he was a favorite over most drawing hands. ♠

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, www.PhilHellmuth.com, and visit his webstore at www.PokerBrat.com.