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Poker After Dark, Durr v. Hellmuth

by Roy Winston |  Published: Dec 15, '09

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From time to time I watch some poker on TV. I like to see if I can pick up anything specific on the players for use against them later and also general playing style as well. So I recorded Poker After Dark this past week, which was a high stakes cash game, and watched it over the weekend. It had a great cast with Patrick Antonius, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu and Tom Dwan. I thought it was one of the best line-ups possible; all great players and the banter would be enjoyable as well.

Much to my surprise I found it not even close to my expectations. Early on they each (except for Hellmuth) put $100,000 in the middle and just ran out the whole board. They wanted a little gamble and hoped it would put some of the players on tilt if they lost, and while this may be fun to do occasionally, it’s not poker. They showed very few hands and the ones they did, really were not representative of great poker. Although I will say Patrick made some big folds that I thought were good against Tom Dwan even though he was ahead. Sometimes you need to fold the best hand. Hellmuth and Dwan mixed it up a few times, and those hands were interesting. Dwan had 66 and Hellmuth 77 and although the pot started multi-way, Hellmuth continued on the flop, which missed both players, and Dwan hung around to catch a six on the turn. Hellmuth got away from Dwan’s value bet on the river. I don’t think Dwan played the hand very well, other than catching a two outer on the turn. The show then cut to this year’s NBC Heads Up match between Hellmuth and Dwan where they get it all in pre-flop with AA vs. 10 10, and Dwan hits a 10 and sucks out. Hellmuth does berate Dwan for his call with pocket 10’s. I am not sure Dwan is ever folding pocket 10’s pre-flop in a heads up match unless he is much deeper. What was interesting is that Negreanu bet Hellmuth that he would lose in the poker after dark cash game, and that was the source of some good natured abuse. Durr did double up Hellmuth in a hand where the flop hit Hellmuth and Durr turned a flush only to have Hellmuth river a bigger flush. Interestingly enough Durr when deciding whether or not to call Hellmuth’s all in on the river talked through the possibilities and concluded Hellmuth had it, and then called anyway. It was like a page from Negreanu’s play-book where he correctly deduces his opponents hand, which beats him and then calls anyway.

I find that I am asked on a regular basis about Tom Dwan or Durr as he is known online and is he the best. Everyone wants to know how he does what he does and about the stakes he plays. In many a sport a dominant player emerges and for their time they are unbeatable. In basketball I always think of Michael Jordan as that guy. Although Theo Tran argued with me that he though LeBron James is much more dominant today than Jordan ever was, I don’t even think this is worth addressing. In golf it was Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and now Tiger Woods, although Tiger recently moved his ball into a hazardous lie and wound up on the wrong side of a club. In their own time they were each the best and since they never played against each other while in their prime, you cant really compare them.

I say the same thing about Durr. He is that type of dominant player. Although unlike professional sports there is a fair amount of luck involved which will have an impact on short-term performance. In poker it’s sometimes hard to pick the overall best. You have cash games and tournaments, lots of different games and high stakes, very high stakes and just plain crazy. There is no question that Durr has changed poker and the way it is played. I am waiting to see his final results with Patrick and then of course Ivey. I would have to say across the board from game to game and tournament to cash, it’s hard to pick anyone who is better than Phil Ivey. It seems the action is heating up with the relatively recent arrival of the somewhat mysterious Isildur1. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I had a brief chat online with Isildur1 who seems like a good guy. I don’t see myself playing those stakes anytime soon or for that matter ever, unless I inherit like half a billion from a rich relative that I don’t know about, but I enjoy the stakes I play and am content only meeting those guys at the tournament tables. The way I look at it is it would be fun to take a shot but if I lost, which is highly likely because in a cash game I would not be comfortable at those stakes, which would negatively affect my play and I am definitely an underdog in that group anyway. Still it would be fun, right up until I lost my buy-in and wanted to find Dr. Kevorkian. I wonder if you have to wait a long time for an appointment, and does he take my insurance, I guess he could just bill me?

One topic I address frequently with new players is bankroll management. It is perhaps the fundamental corner stone around which a winning poker game is built. Even a solid winning player that plays above their bankroll can find them selves broke with a short run of bad luck. I am very conservative when it comes to bankroll management. In cash games you should have a minimum of 20 times the buy-in, and I’m liking 50-200 buy-ins. You may think that’s crazy and it depends what games you are playing and whether they are live or online. For instance if you are playing 6 simultaneous games online each with a 1k buy-in and lets say they are PLO where more often than not your whole buy-in will be in the pot several times in a session versus someone playing a live limit game with a 1k buy in, bankroll requirements will be quite different.

If you are playing 200/400 PLO and you are 100-200k deep, you can go through several buy-ins in a day and if you run bad over the course of a month, which sooner or later happens to everyone, it is conceivable to drop 10 million or more. So how big does your bankroll and net worth have to be? Pretty damn big, in fact almost nobody should be playing those limits. For some players ego dictates they level they like to play, other’s look for softer games, whatever choices you make try and satisfy a few rules. Never play so big that you are jeopardizing money you need for necessities, Don’t play so big that you are uncomfortable and it affects your play, try and pick a level you can beat or at least tolerate the losses.

Roy Winston finished 16th in 2007 Card Player, Player of the Year race. He won the WPT Borgata Poker Open and finished the year with well over $2 million in tournament poker winnings. Roy plays online exclusively at Full Tilt. For more information on Roy Winston, you can visit his website: www.oraclepoker.net or send an email to: winstonpoker@yahoo.com with your questions or comments. The contents presented herein on this blog are purely the opinions of Roy Winston, and are not intended to reflect or promote the opinions of any other person, group, or entity. If you like what I write than thanks for reading, and if not well, thanks anyway.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

adamdubbs
over 11 years ago

theo tran is a moron if he said that.

 
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YakshaNZ
over 11 years ago

a) You NEVER 'need' to fold the best hand. That's ridiculous.

b) Dwan caught his 6 on the river, not turn.

c) 200 buyins ?! Is that why you play $2 tournaments?

 
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brunell4070
over 11 years ago

First of all, Poker after dark is not meant to be an hour show with 100% serious play, so you can try and get a much needed edge against opponents. It is just supposed to be a fun show filled with action, and if they want to play 100k dollar hands, hell i would watch that all night. Get off your high horse and quit thinking Everything in this world revolves around you. As for the 66, 77 hand, durrrr would have won the hand regardless if he hit the 6 or not, clearly it was a semi-float, and would have pushed hellmuth off of the hand.

Get real Winston.

 
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runitwice
over 11 years ago

brunell4070 you are nothing but a loser. I've been playing with Roy at the commerce for years, and in all of poker you will have trouble finding someone who is as nice a person and a winning player. Everyone who knows him likes him. I enjoy reading his blog, I don't always agree with him, but I none the less appreciate the effort it takes and respect his point of view.

You should grow up, I'm sure you are not half the man he is or able to play at his level.

 
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brunell4070
over 11 years ago

Get real runitwice.

 
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raydavis77
over 11 years ago

I agree with runittwice, and those of you who know me are aware of my reputation. This is the first time I have posted here, I am tired of the haters who are nothing more than ignorant.

 
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SawItOff
over 11 years ago

I think true poker fans would rather watch PAD than the wsop or wpt. With PAD we are watching what true pros do during their cash games. Deep stack cash games seem to be more fun rather than watching actors and loud-mouthed amatuers shove their stacks in with A9 against 2-2. And brunell was right on about durrrr floating Hellmuth. Im suprised someone with Roy's superior poker iq couldnt figure that one out.

 
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Sazzle
over 11 years ago

Sazzle

 
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brunell4070
over 11 years ago

Sazzle Dazzle

 
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coldharbor
over 11 years ago

Theo Tran must know absolutely nothing about basketball if he thinks Lebron is more dominant than Jordan was.

 
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BDub1
over 11 years ago

90% of the hands shown on PAD involving Durr, showed him conspicuously with the worst hand, every time outflopping his opponent with a small or medium pair. Then, of course there were the suckouts. It happens to all of us, however, consistently betting or calling with the worst of it and hitting your hand is not an overall winning strategy, long term. Durr is extremely aggressive and utilizes this to his utmost advantage and should be commended for his style. That being said, I don't feel that having millions at your disposal at 23, not giving a rat's a$$ about the money, and intimidating players is overall sound strategy. Just my $ .02

 
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brunell4070
over 11 years ago

you can not fulling comprehend durrrr's strategy, therefore it is a poor one in your eyes.

 
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occupant
over 11 years ago

I cannot "fulling" comprehend your grammar, dummy.

 
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mikeyb111
over 11 years ago

You guys (including Roy) all think looking at 2 cards and making some decision is a big Whoop. Poker is a game that any 10 yr. old can be taught to play about as well as anyone else. To compare it to endeavors that require real skill and talent is a joke. There will never be a Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps, etc. of poker. To think otherwise is to be foolish.

 
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SawItOff
over 11 years ago

Uhh yeah... I think his name is Phil Ivey. Hes the best in his respective field just like all the guys you named above. I also believe golf is more of a skill game much like poker. Not sure why youre reading this if you think poker is stupid mikey.

 
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big_tuna15
over 11 years ago

mikey, seriously. poker may not be measured in the same respect as sports, but players can absolutely be THAT dominant. Look at the cash games, the best of the best crush the competition, just like jordan, phelps, tiger, and federer.

 
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mikeyb111
over 11 years ago

If Ivey's that dominant why doesn't he win every tournament he plays in.Durrr wins millions, loses millions to Isildur1 who then gives it back to 5 or 6 other players. There isn't anybody who dominates because it's not that kind of game. You wanna buy into the hype and think one guy is the best then go for it. It just proves you don't really understand the game.

 
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SawItOff
over 11 years ago

Why doesnt Ivey win every torney? Because theres 1000s of people! If Tiger had to go through fields like this his win rate would drop dramatically. At the end of the year Ivey wins and keeps getting richer than anyone. Nuff said.

 
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mikeyb111
over 11 years ago

cameltoe has got it right.

 
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KingaDimuns
over 11 years ago

all winston said about durr is that he didn't play the hand very well, like maybe he could have won more. mikey is obviously a losing player, and ivey is not tens of millions in the hole. michael jordan, tiger woods, etc, have all lost many times, yet they are still considered dominant. mikey will only ever be dominant over some dudes butt-hole.

 
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mikeyb111
over 11 years ago

that butt-hole would be yours sucker

 
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mikeyb111
over 11 years ago

ditto

 
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texasroadgambler
over 11 years ago

cameltoe: Luck is not the dominant factor in the cash games when you consider that those games have their results measured by the yearly results of the winning players. If luck is dominant, then why is it that certain top players win year after year in the cash games?

Having said that, I agree that tournament poker has reintroduced a considerable amount of luck to the game. The reasons are obvious, and I need not offer a long explanation. You have offered the best example,i.e.the ever present pre-flop movein.

Indeed, chess masters might be expected to win every match against amateurs. But this is where your comparison to poker runs astray.

Chess is a game of complete information, whereas poker is a game of incomplete information.

 
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DCJ1
over 11 years ago

Apparently, Phil didn't take that 77 v. 66 hand well when hr saw it on PAD. I saw the following in the news last week:

http://grab.by/grabs/ec044c985b30190a20518bc0985abf5a.png

 
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magicohmeohmy
over 11 years ago

i watch all poker television, poker videos, read poker articles, books, etc....for enjoyment and too learn...and that particular Poker after dark was one of the best i have seen lately. the article by winston had some things that i disagree with too, particularly the part about comparing poker players with real athletic sports stars. Poker is a card game to gamble money. i saw my Dad fall in love with Michael Jordon and bet plenty on him with his bookie. I saw Dad lose his butt for too many years on sports betting, craps, horse races, etc. i love no limit holdem tournament play and find that players like durrr add their contribution to variations of play, reads, etc. but to compare durrr with jordan is not my idea of a good analogy. it is like comparing my grandson gamer with drew brees.

 
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