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3 Key Hands from a Sunday Million Final Table

Ready to improve your strategy by getting inside the head of a truly great tournament pro? Keep reading.

One of the best parts of the Upswing Lab training course are the Play & Explain videos, in which you get to watch a top poker pro play a session as they explain their thoughts (hence the name).

There are 216 Play & Explain videos in the Lab as I’m writing this, and a new one is added every week by one of the poker pros. Join the Lab now to access all 216 Play & Explain videos, 71 in-depth lessons, and 259+ preflop charts.

One of the coolest and most valuable Play & Explain series is a full review of Moritz “Mo” Dietrich’s final table run in the PokerStars Sunday Million during SCOOP last year. He ended up making a deal heads-up, and he explained every hand he played along the way for Upswing Lab members to learn from.

As an added bonus, Doug Polk joined him to review the final two tables as well!

This article will give you a look at three of the hands he played at the final table. Each hand includes a clip with analysis from Mo and Doug, so let’s get started.


You can’t analyze final table hands without knowing the payouts.

This tournament had over 6,300 entrants, amplifying the ICM pressure on the final table.

Here are the payouts:

As you can see, every pay jump is worth between 30 and 280 buy-ins — quite the incentive to try to ladder up!

Now, let’s get into the hands.

Hand 1: Great Turn, Terrible River

The first hand takes place nine-handed at the 400k/800k blind level.

Mo is the chip leader with 86 million chips. There’s another big stack with 82 million chips, three medium stacks with between 24 and 53 million chips, and four short stacks between 9 and 12 million chips.

Action folds to Mo in the cutoff who opens to 1.7 million with 78♣. Twitch streamer Matt Staples (50 BB) calls on the button. The small blind folds, and CZTitan (13 BB) calls out of the big blind.


The flop is K♣ 7♠ T♣ and the pot is 6.4 million chips.

The CZTitan checks, Mo checks, and Staples checks behind.


The turn is the 8 making the board K♣ 7♠ T♣ 8. The pot is still 6.4 million chips.

CZTitan checks, Mo bets 3.8 million, Staples calls, and CZTitan folds.


The river is the T♠, completing the K♣ 7♠ T♣ 8 T♠ board, and the pot is 14 million chips.

Mo checks. Staples bet 10.4 million.


Due to Staples’ stream, Mo was able to see shortly after that he actually had QTo. Mo made a good fold, especially given that Staples apparently has some offsuit Tx hands in his range that Mo and Doug didn’t initially account for.

Hand 2: Can You Bluff a Board-Pairing River?

The next hand we’re looking at takes place after three players have busted out.

There is one player with an extremely short stack (1.4 BB) and two other short stacks with 15 and 19 BB. The remaining stacks are Staples with 44 big blinds, Mo with 76 big blinds, and the chip leader BillFray with 117 big blinds.


Action folds to BillFray on the button who opens to 2 BB. The SB folds, and Mo defends with 9♠ 8.


The flop is Q♣ 6 3 and the pot is 6.3 million chips.

Both players check.


The turn is the T♣ making the board Q♣ 6 3 T♣ . The pot is still 6.3 million chips.

Mo bets 3.78 million chips and BillFray calls.


The river is the T♠, making the board Q♣ 6♥ 3 T♣ T♠, and the pot is 13.9 million chips.

Mo bets 16.5 million chips and BillFray folds.


Mo recalled from watching the replay of the final table that BillFray folded A9.

Hand 3: Should We Hero Call?

The final hand we’ll review takes place three handed! Mo and BillFray have 85 big blinds and Staples has 35 big blinds.


BillFray opens to 2.2 BB, Mo calls in the small blind with 5♣ 5♠, and Staples calls in the big blind as well.


The flop is K23 and the pot is 11.16 million chips.

Mo checks, Staples checks, and BillFray checks.


The turn is the 7 making the board K237 and the pot is still 11.16 million chips.

The action checks around again.


The river is the 8♣ making the final board K2378.

Mo checks, Staples bets 4 million, BillFray folds, and Mo makes the call.


Matt shows TJo and Mo scoops the 20 million chip pot!

Tournament Results

Matt staples shortly busted out in 3rd place. Once heads up, Mo and BillFray made a deal, but left $30k on the side to play for.

The final hand of the tournament was an exciting one. Mo check-raised with 5 4 on a J-6-3 board. The turn was a Q and he bet again. On the T river, Mo decided to run the triple barrel bluff, but unfortunately ran into BillFray’s JJ for a flopped set!

Final Thoughts

Since joining Upswing as a coach, Moritz Dietrich has taken the Upswing Lab’s tournament content to the next level.

He has multiple tournament victories and final tables in the Play & Explain section, including a 2-part review of a victory in the $1k Fast Friday on PokerStars and a multi-part series featuring Mo grinding during WCOOP.

He has also released multiple modules that take an in-depth look at specific, common tournament spots (such as betting on the flop or check-raising vs a c-bet).

Want to upgrade your tournament skills and results? Get instant access to all of Mo’s tournament training content when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Learn more now!
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About the Author
Ernest Gorham

Ernest Gorham

California bred writer and poker player you can now find frequenting the London MTT scene.

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