Coolers (like set over set) are inevitable in poker.
It doesn’t matter if you are playing micro-stakes or the nosebleeds; every once in awhile, a cold deck will slap you in the face.
The following “old school” hand between Tom Dwan and Patrik Antonius is an example of that, and unfortunately for one of them, the stakes were anything but micro.
The game is $300/$600/$1,200 and the effective stacks are around $280,000. By the end of it, it was a classic set over set situation with more than a half a million dollars in the middle.
Without any further ado, let’s jump into the action!
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Patrik Antonius raises to $4,100 with T♠ T♥ in the Cutoff and David “Viffer” Peat calls on the Button with A♦ 3♦. It’s folded to Tom Dwan who raises to $19,800 with K♦ K♣ in the Straddle. Antonius calls and the Viff lets his hand go.
Patrik’s raise is a bit on the big side, but fine. A better raise size, generally speaking, would be around 2.5 straddles ($3,000), though Patrik may be using this bigger size to try to build bigger pots given that the players are sitting with big stacks.
Against a smaller open-raise, Viffer could either cold-call or 3-bet with his hand. Given how large Patrik opened, however, he should elect to 3-bet bluff with his holding. Suited wheel aces make great 3-bet bluffs because the ace blocker it less likely your opponent is holding an extremely strong hand. Not to mention that they also have great playability with straight and nut flush potential.
Dwan has an easy decision to re-raise with kings, and his size is just fine.
Patrik has an easy call, and Viffer makes a reasonable fold, so let’s see a flop!
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The flop comes Q♣ T♥ 4♦ and the pot is now $45,100.
Dwan checks, Antonius bets $27,000, and Dwan calls.
Dwan’s check is very peculiar. This board favors him as the squeezer, much more than it does Patrik as the caller. This is due to his range interacting very well with the Q and the T.
Thus, Dwan should play an aggressive c-betting strategy, betting a small-to-medium size with his whole range (33-50% pot). Generally speaking, you should not slowplay your overpairs on advantageous boards against most opponents.
Once checked to, Antonius has a very easy decision with his flopped set, although the bet size is not quite the best from a theoretical point of view. The stack-to-pot ratio is very low, so he can use a smaller bet size and still get all-in by the river. The benefit of using a smaller size is that it allows him to bet with more of his range, extracting thin value and/or denying some equity.
The turn comes K♠ and the board is now Q♣ T♥ 4♦ K♠. The pot is now $99,100.
Dwan checks over to Antonius who now finds himself on the wrong end of a set over set situation. Antonius barrels $59,000, Dwan elects to go all-in, and Antonius reluctantly calls.
Dwan makes a standard check to the aggressor, as he should with his whole range in this spot.
Patrik’s bet is on point, including his size.
Before we move on, answer the poll below with what you would do versus Patrik’s turn bet in Dwan’s shoes.
Once you’ve answered the poll, read on.
Dwan is now beat by a maximum of 20 combinations of AJ and J9, but he is also beating hands like 44, TT, QQ, QTs, KQ, KJ, AK (around 23 combinations).
Even though his hand is very strong in an absolute sense (top set), his relative hand strength in this situation is that of a very strong bluff-catcher since by raising he can’t expect to get called by all the hands that he is beating.
Given all of this information, Dwan’s highest EV decision is to call and play the river.
Once Dwan raises, Patrik has a very tough decision to make because his hand is very strong in an absolute sense (it being a set). Dwan is saying he either has AJ, KK, or a bluff.
The problem is: even an aggressive player like Dwan will not be able to bluff-raise often here. There are no natural semi-bluffs, except for maybe JJ, and it’s extremely unlikely that he would turn a hand like AK into a bluff here, which means that his range is severely lacking bluffs.
Another important aspect in this hand is that they are more than 200 straddles deep, which means the pot is very big even in relative terms.
Putting this all together, Patrik should make the tough lay down and pat himself on the back for it.
Patrik calls all-in and the players agree to run it twice. The first river was the 6♣ and the second was the 8♥, and so Dwan scoops the entire pot.
Do You Have a Different Opinion On This Classic Set Over Set Hand?
Share your analysis in the comments below.
Even the best have a hard time laying down some big hands every once in a while, and who can blame them. We all know how hard it is to make a big hand in poker, and versus a nutty player like Dwan, it’s hard to fault Antonius’ turn call too much.
This was a very interesting hand and I enjoyed breaking it down!
If you want some more hand analysis, read How a Poker Boss Bluffs with Ace-King (Analysis).
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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