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Hand of the Week: Isaac Haxton Battles Ilari Sahamies
This week we’re taking a look at a slightly obscure hand between renowned cash-game experts Ike Haxton and Ilari Sahamies.
While Sahamies is a PLO specialist and rather eccentric, Haxton is slightly more introverted, but one of the best NLHE players in the world.
The hand we’re going to discuss today was played out in Pot-Limit Omaha:
From the Flop to the River
It’s a 6-max PLO cash game with blinds of $200/$400, and the effective stacks are about $52,000, equaling about 130 big blinds.
The first two players fold, then BERRI SWEET raises to $800. Ike Haxton sits in the small blind and 3-Bets to $2,800 with
Sahamies calls in the big blind. BERRI SWEET calls, too, bringing the pot up to $8400. The flop falls
Haxton checks from first position, Sahamies bets $5,400, and BERRI SWEET folds. Haxton calls. The pot now contains $19,200 and the effective stacks are at $43,000. The turn is the
Haxton checks again and Sahamies now bets $9,900. Haxton calls again, and the pot is now $39,000. The river is the
Haxton now moves all-in and Sahamies calls. At showdown, Sahamies shows
and wins the pots with quad tens. It’s the stone-cold nuts against second nuts from Haxton, who holds the best full house.
The pot size is $106,000.
This is a hand both exciting and unusual and it plays out between two world-class players to boot.
At the end of it, Haxton gets very unlucky because of that one single out, but it’s worth taking a closer look at the hand.
After a min-raise by BERRI SWEET, Haxton decides to 3-Bet from the small blind. As his opponent sits on only about 40 big blinds, it would always be correct here to try to get the money in as soon as possible.
Behind Haxton, however, sits Ilari Sahamies, and he holds a hand that is both connected and single suited.
In addition, he has position on Haxton, which is a huge advantage when both players have about 130 bigs.
We don’t know BERRI SWEET’s hand, but even if it was mediocre, a call in this spot is perfectly understandable.
On the flop, Haxton hits top set but there is also a possible flush draw. It seems reasonable for Haxton to check here, as there are few weaker hands than his that would call here.
Sahamies decides to go for a semi-bluff. Chances are, he can push BERRI SWEET out of the pot and then play in position against Haxton on later streets — if Haxton even comes along.
Also, Sahamies could draw to a winning straight, unless Haxton already has a flush. Unfortunately, he holds two tens that block his outs.
Mostly, however, it is the fold equity and the position that keep Sahamies in this hand.
After BERRI SWEET calls, the turn is revealed. Indeed, the ten on the turn completes the straight for Sahamies.
Haxtons hand is getting worse. Not only does every flush beat him but now there are also possible straights.
Haxton checks again and Sahamies bets. This is a mixture of a value and a bluff bet. Basically, his bet only makes sense if a weaker hand than his can call – or if he can make a stronger hand like a small flush fold.
A check would have been a valid alternative here.
Haxton is getting pot odds of almost 3 to 1 and he has to think he has ten outs. Taking the implied outs into account, a call is just acceptable, as Sahamies could also be bluffing and give up on the river.
The river is a dream for Sahamies and a nightmare for Haxton as he thinks he’s hit one of his ten outs.
Haxton naturally pushes all-in, as he wants to get paid off by all flushes and straights that might check behind.
Other full houses will call anyway, and it’s simply incomprehensible that Sahamies holds pocket tens.
And Sahamies? This hand went perfectly for him. You don’t get the chance very often to call all-in with the stone cold nuts.
In an eventful hand with different leaders, the river makes a dream come true for Ilari Sahamies.
His opponent’s hand improves massively, while at the same time it gives him an even bigger monster.
But, then again, Sahamies knows a couple of things about how bad you can run in poker.