Hand of the Week: Fortune Swings Its Scales in Favor of Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey
Even Ivey needs fortune.

Thank goodness for Phil Ivey.

As the poker world dreaded the "end" of online high-stakes poker after Viktor Blom and Gus Hansen left Full Tilt, Ivey has made sure there's still plenty of action to talk about.

The man known as polarizing online got involved in several battles with this year’s best player, Alexander PostFlopAction Kostritsyn.

One of them resulted in the biggest pot this month.

This is a hand we'll take a closer look at as it featured several spectacular moves.

How the Hand Played Out

We're watching a PLO table with $200/$400 blinds. The two players have $128,000 in effective stacks, equaling no less than 320 big blinds.

Let's look from Ivey’s point of view in this hand. He finds


and raises to $1,200. Kostritsyn 3-bets to $3,600 and Ivey calls. The pot size is now $7,200. The flop falls


Kostritsyn takes the lead with a $5,200 bet. Ivey raises to $16,000 and Kostritsyn calls. There's now $39,200 in the pot and the players are left with effective stacks of $108,000.

The turn is the


Kostritsyn now decides to check but Ivey puts in $31,200. Kostritsyn raises all-in with $108,000 and gets the call. Kostritsyn’s hand at showdown is the


and the players agree to deal the river twice. After the two rivers


Ivey wins three quarters of the pot ($192,000) while Kostritsyn has to settle for $64,000.


Alex Kostritsyn
Omaha is always about redraws, too.

Omaha often leads to situations where none of the players involved can get out unscathed. This hand between Ivey and Kostritsyn takes an eventful course worth taking a closer look.

Ivey raises pre-flop with a hand that is both double-suited and semi-well connected. He then gets reraised by Kostritsyn.

As Ivey has position there's no need for him to force any additional action before he sees how his hand hits the flop.

He's playing an opponent who is capable of re-raising a wide range of hands, but of course there are a lot of hands in this range that beat him.

A call in position seems to be the best option.

Promising Flop for Both Players

The flop Q T 6 turns out to be very promising for both players. In fact, it couldn’t have been much better.

Kostritsyn now has two straight draws to the nuts (all the sevens and eights = 6 outs) plus two additional straight draws with kings and nines as 7 possible outs.

With a promising hand like this a c-bet is the natural move to make. But Ivey has hit the flop, too.

Not only does he have the same draws as Kostritsyn he's also drawing to the nut straight. He raises Kostritsyn, who surprisingly just calls.

The turn 7 gives both players the nuts, but this is Omaha and Omaha is always about redraws, too. While Ivey is still drawing to the nut straight with an ace on the board, Kostritsyn now needs a club for a flush to win the hand.

Kostritsyn now checkraises all-in. All-in and a call with both players holding the nuts is standard.

Mathematically, Ivey is a slight underdog here. Statistically, this pot gets divided in 62.5% of the cases, Kostritsyn wins 22.5%, and Ivey wins 15%.

At the end of the day this corresponds to 46.25% equity for Ivey and 53.75% equity for Kostritsyn.

Phil Ivey
PLO is not for the faint-hearted.

Fortune swings its scales in favor of Ivey this time. The ace on the first river brings him the nut straight, and the deuce on the second means the pot is split up. Ivey wins three quarters of the pot.


PLO is not for the faint-hearted.

Despite having the nuts on the turn plus a couple of good redraws, Kostritsyn loses a lot of money in this $256,000 hand.

Phil Ivey simply got luckier in this hand as both players played the hand perfectly.

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