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Poker After Dark - Phil Galfond vs. Tom Durrrr Dwan

This week's hand was played during the first week of the 2011 season of NBC's Poker After Dark. The format was a $100,000 buy-in winner-take-all Sit-and-Go tournament.

The six-handed lineup featured some terrific players. The old-school was represented by veteran pros Huck Seed, John Juanda, Phil Ivey, and Erick "E-Dog" Lindgren, while Tom "Durrrr" Dwan and Phil Galfond carried the flag for the young guns.

When this hand was played, $600,000 in chips were in play, with Durrrr in the lead with $248,000, followed by Ivey with $134,000, Galfond with $121,000, and Huck Seed with $97,000.

With the blinds at $1,500/$3,000, Durrrr opened under-the-gun for $7,000 with Ad-5d and Ivey folded on the button. Galfond peered down at A-K and raised from the small blind making it $19,500 to go. Huck Seed found A-Q from the big blind but somehow managed to make a good read and fold his hand against his aggressive young opponents.

Durrrr called Galfond's raise and watched as the flop came down 9h-3s-2s.

Galfond bet out $17,000 into the $42,000 pot and Durrrr responded by moving all-in!

With a still hefty $84,500 in chips remaining, Galfond made the call. And with the chip lead on the line, and a whopping $246,000 in the pot, Durrrr now needed a five or a four to improve his hand. Nope, didn't happen. The turn card was a seven, the river was a ten, and Galfond had the chip lead.

Let's take a closer look.

Durrrr's $7,000 min-raise was okay. Today's new-school players like to keep their raises right at or slightly above the min-raise level.

Galfond's $12,500 reraise, roughly 75% of the pot, was just a tad above the current new-school reraising standard of about 60% of the pot.

Durrrr's pre-flop call with Ad-5d was reasonable as he did have position on Galfond. But a note of caution to my amateur readers: You need to be very careful about making this play with A-5 suited as you risk blowing all of your chips even if you do hit an ace or a five. On the other hand, you don't want to fold the best hand either!

Look, what I'm saying is that calling a reraise with A-5 suited in that spot can lead to some very tricky situations on the flop. It's probably best to leave that kind of play to a slick pro like Durrrr.

I like Galfond's $17,000 bet into the $42,000 pot on the flop. Making a continuation bet - a bet that you automatically make on the flop no matter what hits after having made the last pre-flop raise -- is the standard play. The bet size was appropriate, too.

No doubt about it, Durrrr's all-in move was strong. He presumed that Galfond didn't have an overpair and might fold A-K, A-Q, or A-J, or that Galfond might even have K-Q in which case Durrrr would be in the lead.

Galfond's $84,500 all-in call with A-K high was a tremendous play! With blinds at $1,500/ $3,000 and a load of chips remaining in his stack, Galfond could have easily folded his hand and still had twenty-eight big blinds left to play. For a pro like Galfond, that's plenty of ammo to come back and win with.

If Galfond thought Durrrr had a small pair or suited connectors like 9d-8d, then his A-K would have been in bad shape -- a clear folding hand. So Galfond's call came down to whether he thought his A-K high was indeed the best hand.

He thought it was, and he was right!

There was another factor that made Galfond's call a bit easier. With straight and flush draws possible on the flop, Galfond correctly figured that he'd be the favorite against most drawing hands.


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