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Poker Hand Matchup: Ryan Riess vs. Steve O'Dwyer

Swords A K 4 Q 2

Ryan Riess

Win Pre-Flop Win Post-Flop Win Post-Turn

Starting Stack: 2,215,000


65.51 %

81.62 %

88.64 %


Steve O'Dwyer

Win Pre-Flop Win Post-Flop Win Post-Turn

Starting Stack: 3,400,000

K 7

33.93 %

18.38 %

11.36 %

Posted On: Oct 16, 2018


Preflop, nine players remain, with blinds of 70,000/140,000 with a big-blind ante of 140,000. Ryan Riess raised to 300,000 from under the gun. Steve O’Dwyer called from the big blind. On the flop O’Dwyer checked. Riess bet 175,000. O’Dwyer called. On the turn O’Dwyer checked. Riess checked. On the river O’Dwyer checked. Riess bet 460,000. O’Dwyer folded.


Playing out of the big blind is a tough proposition. You are forced to put in chips before having seen your cards, and then have to deal with playing out of position for the rest of the hand. Defending a raise from the big blind puts you in what can feel like a lose-lose situation, because if you fold too frequently you give your opponents carte blanche to steal your big blind. On the other hand, if you call too many hands from the blind you will be stuck acting first after the flop with a very weak range. In this hand Steve O’Dwyer demonstrated his adeptness at navigating these tough situations, just one of the many skill sets that has helped him accumulate more than $24 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. O’Dwyer defended his big blind with king-seven suited, calling 160,000 more while getting laid roughly 4:1. O’Dwyer flopped showdown value with second pair and checked to his opponent, 2013 World Series of Poker main event champion Ryan Riess. Riess fired a very small continuation bet with his top pair. O’Dwyer made the call and the Q™ on the turn drew checks from both players, with Riess likely deciding his hand was best served by going for two streets of value rather than three. O’Dwyer had an easy decision to check for a third time on the river, as betting his relatively strong second pair in this situation would essentially turn it into a bluff: he won’t get enough calls from worse hands and will almost always get called by better hands. Riess fired out a bet of 460,000 on the end and O’Dwyer made a nice laydown, correctly identifying Riess’ line of checking back the turn and then firing the river as representing just the type of hand that he held: a pair of aces with a solid kicker. O’Dwyer lost the hand, but he made good decisions throughout and in the end that is all we can try to do as poker players.

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