In the ongoing Strategy Snapshot series, PL.com looks at a key hand from a major live tournament and breaks it down from a strategy standpoint.
Players: Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Mike White
Tournament: WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods, Nov. 13, 2007
Situation: Final Table/Six-Handed
In the very first hand of the televised final table, online phenom and all-around poker stud Tom "durrrr" Dwan has the chip lead with $4,875,000. Mike White has a slightly below-average stack of $2,875,000.
Action is folded around to White on the button, who opens the pot to $175,000 with 9-9. This is a completely standard raise from the button at a little under three times the big blind. The small blind folds and durrr three-bets to $640,000.
durrr's three-bet is an aggressive blind defense. He's extremely experienced in both shorthanded and tournament play, and he plays at the highest nosebleed stakes online.
On the Internet, he is known for his unbridled aggression and his ability to read players. In this hand he reads Mike White's button raise for a steal, which is quite logical as your average tournament player would open up on the button with an extremely wide range of hands.
His $640,000 bet is a little over three times the size of White's original raise. White calls and we see a flop of 4♠ 4♣ 3♣ .
durrr bets out $355,000 - a continuation bet. He took the initiative in the hand pre-flop and now he continues the aggression here on the flop. With $1,280,000 in the pot from before the flop, this bet is under one-third of the pot - a probe bet.
He wants to see how strong White's hand is. When White called the three-bet pre-flop he told durrr he had a fairly good hand. Now with this bet, White will either fold if he has overcards or continue if he has a pair.
durrr does not want to bet much more because White has already put a third of his stack into the pot. If White puts in any more, durrr knows White will be committed to the hand. In effect the $355,000 bet works the same as a half-pot bet.
There's a lesson in this: never bet more than you have to to get the job done. If a one-third-pot bet does the exact same as a half-pot or even a three-quarter-pot bet then you save money when you are called. So bet the smaller amount.
White calls and we take a heads-up turn of the J♣. durrr, knowing White has a strong hand, decides against firing an expensive third barrel. He checks over to White.
White checks through. White probably has an idea his hand is good but he doesn't want to risk betting here. Any reasonable bet would practically put White all-in; that would be a disaster if durrr was actually trapping.
The river comes down the T♠. Once again durrr checks over to White. White takes his time and eventually decides against betting and checks through. He realizes durrr is not going to pay him off with a worse hand.
He turns up his nines and durrr mucks. White rakes in the $2,000,000+ pot.
The question we're left with: What did durrr have? Well, we'll never know. And by "never," I mean we'll have to wait until the episode airs.
It really could have been anything. durrr has been known to re-raise very light so it wouldn't be surprising to see as little as seven high when the coverage is broadcast.
In the meantime, you can check out how all the final table action went down in the PL recap blog right here.