The 2nd Largest Poker Hand In TV History (\$2,250,000 Pot Analysis)

Hustler Casino Live changed the poker live-streaming game forever when they put on the Million Dollar Cash Game.

It featured some of the most viral poker hands of all-time, including this \$2,250,000 pot between Wesley and LSG Hank.

This hand currently ranks as the second biggest pot in poker live stream history.

The blinds are \$500/\$1,000 with a (massive) \$5,000 big blind ante. The effective stack is a staggering \$1.1 million.

Let’s dive into the weeds of this monster pot!

Preflop Action

Hank raises to \$3,000 from UTG+1 with . Wesley 3-bets to \$15,000 with  from Hijack. Hank 4-bets to \$50,000. Wesley 5-bets to \$130,000. Hank calls.

This Unique Preflop Structure Has Strategic Implications

Before analyzing the flop action, let’s first talk about the preflop ante setup.

In short: the ante is extremely big. Everyone is paying close to 1bb every hand they get dealt.

This incentivizes extremely loose play for open-raising, cold-calling, 3-betting, 4-betting, etc.

Without going into too much math here, just imagine that in a normal game with no ante, when you open-raise to 3bb, you are risking 3bb to win the blinds (1.5bb). This means that your risk/reward ratio looks like 3 / (3+1.5) = 0.66. This translates to you needing to win the pot at least 66% of the time in order to break even. The percentage includes both how often you win the pot preflop and postflop.

Now, when you have this kind of ante structure, when you risk 3bb to win the blinds, the blinds are now 6.5bb. Your risk/reward equation looks like 3 / (3+6.5) = 0.32. This means that you only need to win the pot at least 32% of the time in order to break even.

This is a monumental shift that incentivizes much looser play!

One other key note: players should open-raise much bigger. Since the player in the Big Blind (and, to a lesser extent, the other players) will be getting incredible pot odds versus a raise with all of that extra money in the pot, the optimal open-raising size in this structure increases to around \$5,000-\$6,000 (5-6bb).

Preflop Analysis

Hank should be looking to open-raise with around the top 25-30% of hands. When he holds Pocket Queens, which ranks in the top 1-2% of starting hands, it’s a no-brainer raise. Size-wise, Hank would be better off raising bigger — more like \$5,000 or \$6,000 instead of the \$3,000 he went with.

Since this is such a non-standard game structure, it’s hard to say exactly what each player’s strategic approach looks like. But Wesley should be looking to 3-bet extremely wide here if he assumes Hank is open-raising very wide himself — especially because Hank’s raise size is so small relative to the dead money in the pot.

A7-suited is a great candidate for 3-betting. It has great blocker properties (blocking Pocket Aces, Ace-King, and other strong Aces), very good equity when called, and very good playability.

His large 3-bet size is interesting because it gives the remaining players bad pot odds to continue, which is overall good. That being said, it does make Hank’s life much easier as he can now easily fold a ton of hands without fear of being exploited. All-in-all, it is probably the optimal size for this scenario.

Hank’s 4-bet is good. He has an absolute monster against what should be a fairly loose range, so he should be happy to put more money in the pot.

Wesley’s 5-bet is probably not bad given the deep effective stacks and the loose preflop dynamic. Is it the best hand to do it with? Probably not. Is it the worst? Definitely not. Having said that, I would rather choose hands such as Ace-Jack offsuit, or suited wheel Aces like Ace-Five suited or Ace-Four suited, which have just a bit more playability.

Wesley’s sizing is on the large side. He doesn’t really have to go so big because, if Hank did happen to be 4-bet bluffing himself, he’d still fold to a smaller 5-bet (2.3x instead of 2.6x). Not a massive mistake anyway.

Hank’s call is the best option. 6-betting doesn’t make any sense with his hand as it will fold out worse and only better hands will continue. He should probably also just call this 5-bet with hands such as Pocket Aces, Pocket Kings, and Ace-King since the stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) is so low.

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Flop Action

The flop comes . The pot is \$267,000.

Hank checks with . Wesley c-bets \$80,000 with . Hank calls.

Flop Analysis

Hank should be checking his entire range here. There is no reason to lead into the preflop 5-bettor, even on this somewhat middling flop.

Wesley has the range and nut advantage on this flop. His value range is probably Pocket Queens or better. His non-value range is a mixture of semi-bluffs that have at least 1 overcard + a backdoor draw, like suited Aces and some big offsuit Aces.

With an SPR of roughly 4, a small c-bet size (20-30% pot) is appropriate for this type of board. Given how strong his range is, he should c-bet with his entire range. , specifically, is a good betting hand given that it still has a chance to improve to two pair or trips, while also denying equity from hands such as suited Broadway cards or Ace-King, which Hank will likely fold versus a bet.

Hank’s call is also good, but check-raising small is also an option. It feels like a dicey play this deep, but it allows him to get some thin value and deny equity.

Turn Action

The turn comes the , making the board . The pot is \$427,000.

Hank checks. Wesley bets \$325,000. Hank calls.

Turn Analysis

The turn is a brick that should rarely change the strength of either player’s range…

…except this time Wesley happens to be holding the one hand that does connect with this turn: A7-suited.

Hank’s check is very good. Again, no reason to donk bet against a polarized range on a card that doesn’t improve his range asymmetrically.

Wesley’s double barrel is perfectly justified and his bet size is good. His betting range is polarized between mostly Pocket Aces and Kings, with some Pocket Queens and A7-suited in there. To balance this out, his bluffs can be nut flush draws.

Given the SPR that’s left, a 66%-80% pot-sized bet is perfect. This sets up a half-pot shove on the river.

Hank is put into an extremely tough situation at this point since his Pocket Queens are transformed into a pure bluff-catcher. Having the  is a small positive because it lowers the equity of the nut flush draws in Wesley’s range, while also ensuring that a potential Queen on the river would not bring a flush in.

Shoving is not a good option given the amount of money left behind. Put simply, his equity in the pot will be too low when his shove gets called.

Calling and folding will likely be very close in expected value.

River Action

The river is the , making the final board  . The pot is \$1,100,000.

Hank checks. Wesley goes all-in for \$584,000.

River Analysis

The river is a crucial card since flushes have now completed. It is, however, a better card for Hank since a much larger percentage of his range has now become a flush relative to Wesley’s range. That being said, donking is unlikely to be an optimal strategy given that the SPR is so low.

Wesley can still comfortably shove all-in for value with Pocket Kings or better. He can balance that range by also shoving with or at some frequency for bluffs.

Hank is again in the worst situation possible, having to make a very tough decision (close to 0 expected value ) but with over \$1,100,000 at stake.

It all comes down to whether or not he thinks Wesley is over-bluffing or under-bluffing at this point. That is not for me to speculate about at this point as I haven’t studied Wesley’s game deeply enough to make a good assessment.

But perhaps you have. Wesley plays on Hustler all the time, so if you’ve watched a lot of the streams, please drop your opinion in the comments below!

Results

Hank calls and sees the bad news. Wesley drags in a comically huge pile of brown \$5k and purple \$25k chips.

I like comparing pot sizes to cars, and this life-altering \$2,250,000 pot is worth roughly 5 new Lamborghini Urus S and a full option brand new Mercedes Maybach.

Do you think Hank should have called on this river?

The correct answer depends on how Wesley would approach this spot. I’m curious to know what you all think.

Anyway, there you have it, folks. An absolute poker thriller that left us on the edge of our seats!

Wesley and LSG Hank battled it out in a high-stakes showdown, with a jaw-dropping \$2,250,000 pot up for grabs.

From the preflop fireworks to the heart-pounding river decision, this hand had it all.

That’s all for this breakdown guys!

If you want more high stakes hand analysis, check out Angel Investor vs High Stakes Poker Pro: \$294,000 Pot Analysis.

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

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