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A Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Hand I Played During the 2013 World Series of Poker

by Ben Yu |  Published: Oct 16, 2013


The Setting

It is day 2 of the 2013 World Series of Poker $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball tournament with limits of 800-1,600 and 400-800 blinds. There are 66 people remaining from 282 who entered the tournament and 30 of them will make the money.

My starting table for the day had broken and I had recently been moved. Shortly before the hand in question, Team PokerStars Pro Naoya Kihara lost a pot to become shortstacked.


Kihara raises in the hijack to 1,600 chips with only 200 behind. It is folded to IveyPoker Pro Jonathan Tamayo in the small blind who reraises, effectively putting Kihara all in. I am in the big blind with 10-8-4-4-3.

This situation highlights the differences between shortstacked tournament play and cash games. At full stack depths, I would fold for a multitude of reasons:

1. I have a marginal draw two holding in 8-4-3 (even with an additional 4 as a blocker) with poor reverse implied odds. The best hand we can make without breaking the 8 would be the fifth nuts (8-5-4-3-2).

2. Tamayo will usually have a draw one or pat hand when reraising an early position opener. He would likely call with his hands that draw two.

3. We do not have position and are not closing the action — with a draw one or pat hand, Kihara will likely four-bet, bleeding us of more chips.

In this actual situation, I called and would continue with even weaker hands such as 8-6-3 for the following reasons:

1. Our reverse implied odds are mitigated with Kihara all-in and unable to make additional wagers. All three players will pat weaker hands when there are no bets to be extracted from the all-in player. Making any 8, much less one as strong as fifth nuts more desirable.

2. Tamayo should be reraising with all hands that he will continue with to isolate the shortstack. It would be profitable for him to three-bet hands that draw three against Kihara’s opening range if I folded too much, with a 44 percent overlay from my big blind.

3. I have position versus the small blind for the rest of the hand. The all-in player still discards last in the drawing phases, but without the ability to make bets, it is significantly less of a disadvantage.

First Draw

Tamayo draws 1 while Kihara and I both draw two and am greeted with a queen and ace, making my hand 8-4-3/Q-A.

Tamayo bets and I call.

This street is straightforward, the player drawing 1 will always bet whether or not he improves. Despite not improving, I have to call getting 9.25-to-1 and closing the action. It would be closer if the hijack still had a full stack, but still a call, as he often won’t raise when he improves to a draw one.

Second Draw

Tamayo draws one again, I draw two, catching a 2 and a 7, making 8-7-4-3-2 (tenth nuts) while Kihara stays pat.

Tamayo bets, and again, we expect him to do so whether he improves or not. I am also ahead of Kihara’s first draw pat range, as he has at least every 8 and better, which totals 18 hands. With the tenth best, there are 9 hands better, and 8 hands worse. However, being shortstacked, he should also have some 9s, especially the ones that are more difficult to break when they include a straight draw. (9-6-4-3-2)

I have not seen a 9 after discarding four cards (and seeing nine cards total), making it slightly more likely Kihara holds a 9 and that Tamayo could catch one, though in the latter case, if he caught a 9, I would be better off just calling.

In fact, if I knew Tamayo was pat here, I would make a freeze call, as raising would put in more money against better hands, and allow some of his worse hands that I have 100 percent equity against to correctly break. Holding tenth best (8-7-4-3-2), straddles an interesting dynamic — it is difficult to break 8-6s and better, which are either very strong hands (8-5-4-3-2, and all the 7s) or are 8-6s which have a gutshot-straight draw (in 8-6-5-3-2, for instance, the 4 is now a blank) leading people to usually stay pat.

Because we expect him to be betting his entire range, raising to simply get value from the majority of times he will still be drawing one plus the worse hands he pats is the straightforward and correct play. I raised and he called.

Third Draw

Tamayo patted in front of me. I expected him to have three-bet his 7s, 8 perfect (8-5-4-3-2) and possibly worse hands given that I had drawn two, though there is a chance he could pat the weaker of these hands in order to prevent me from breaking.
I pat, the dealer burns and begins to set the cards down, and Kihara exclaims, “Wait, I have my option, right?” Most of the table chuckled as the dealer acknowledged that he had dropped the deck prematurely.

While all of this was going on, I was trying to decide whether I should bet the river. If we assume the small blind would three-bet 8-5-4-3-2 and better, there are only four 8-6s better than my hand, while there are eight 8-7s that are worse, not including some possible 9s. Of these 8-7s, its possible he would consider breaking some of these.

Given the way the hand has played out with Kihara patting and being all-in before either Tamayo or I were pat, it is difficult for me to be bluffing. However, I did go from drawing two to pat on the last draw which results in me having a weaker distribution of hands.

Kihara tanked for a minute, then decided to break by drawing one. This greatly incentivizes me to value-bet. The main pot will contain more than 10 bets when the small blind faces a bet from me, and Kihara is now on a draw. If I had any weaker pats, I am now getting more attractive odds to bluff at the pot. These factors force the small blind to showdown with weaker hands.


Tamayo checked and called my bet. He showed 8-6-5-3-2 for the winning hand in the side pot, and Kihara turned over 7-5-4-2 claiming he had tossed an 8, breaking 8-7-5-4-2. He then peeled the 6 of diamonds as his draw to make 7-6-5-4-2 and triple up in the main pot and stay alive in the tournament.

Everyone involved in the hand played well. Given that Kihara was all-in and it was difficult for anyone to bluff, the hand was much more about analysis than soul reading, and everyone picked up on the clues that enabled them to make good decisions. I enjoy hands that have lots to analyze and don’t just boil down to a guessing game, and it is hands like this that excite me to play at the WSOP each year. ♠

Ben Yu attended Stanford University but knew even before finishing that he wanted to embark on a journey to become a one of the finest professional mixed-game players. He made his debut onto the tournament scene in 2010 with a second-place finish in the World Series of Poker $1,500 limit hold’em shootout and followed it up in 2011 by leading the WSOP with seven cashes across six different games.  In 2012, he moved to Rosarito, Mexico in order to continue playing online and was enthralled to perform well at the World Championship of Online Poker, including a final table appearance at the $10,300 poker 8-Game High Roller, and a cash in the main event.