(Hand history and stats from PL.com MarketPulse Biggest Pots section.)
Game: No-Limit Hold'em, Cash, Full Tilt Poker
Situation: $300/$600 blinds, $60,000 buy-in
Stacks: Urindanger ($69,899)/Ivey ($125,594.50)
This hand comes from the new PokerListings MarketPulse section, where you can find the Top 10 biggest Hold'em pots won over the last day, week and month and their hand histories. This one took place on February 12.
The hand begins with Phil Ivey raising 3x the big blind to $1,800 from the button with K♥ 8♥. Urindanger in the big blind three-bets to $6,600 with T♥ T♠.
Ivey makes the call and the flop comes down 2♣ 8♣ 7♦. On the flop Urindanger bets $9,800. Ivey tanks and then pushes all-in. Urindanger calls. The turn brings the 9♥ and the river brings the 8♦, giving Phil Ivey the triple eights and the $139,797.50 pot.
If we take a closer look at this hand we find what we normally do in a high-stakes heads-up game: tons of aggression and multi-level thinking. Pre-flop, Ivey makes a standard raise in position with a suited king. This hand is actually well ahead of his raising-off-the-button-in-a-heads-up-match range.
Urindanger, out of position with pocket tens (a very strong hand heads-up), makes a re-raise of just under four times Phil Ivey's bet. This is where the multi-level thinking comes into play.
Ivey knows he is known as a loose player and raises lightly; aware of this, Urindanger could be re-raising light as well. So Ivey calls the bet - they both have plenty of money behind and he decides to play poker on the flop.
When the flop comes down 2♣ 8♣ 7♦ there is already $13,200 in the pot. Urindanger makes a two-thirds pot bet of $9,800. Of course this play is very standard here with an overpair.
He would actually make this bet with far far less after three-betting pre-flop. Ivey tanks for a while and then pushes all-in. Why he does this is twofold; first, he thinks he has the best hand. At these stakes both players are perfectly capable of doing this with or without a hand.
Obviously they both know this, so Ivey could be trying to make his hand look like a flush or straight draw to goad a call from a pair of sevens or eights or even a smaller pocket pair. However, Urindanger holds an overpair to the board - which is practically the nuts in this situation - and makes an easy call for all his chips.
The turn co-operates with Urindanger but unfortunately the river brings down the miracle eight and gives Ivey the winning hand.
Despite this being a horrendous suck-out for a pot containing more money than most of us can even fathom seeing in our lives, this hand is actually very very standard from a strategy point of view.
Check out the MarketPulse page to see more big pots from the last week and tons of detailed stats from across the industry.
More Strategy Snapshots: