Hand of the Week: Isildur1 Gets Stung on Historic $5m Day

Viktor Blom
That's how it goes in PLO.

Oh, those were the days my friends.

Last week we looked back at how young Viktor Blom exploded on the high-stakes scene and successfully challenged well-established stars like Tom Dwan.

Today we'll remember the flip side of the coin.

After his enormous success in NLHE the fearless Swede tried his luck in Omaha. And on one day he managed to go on a $5 million swing!

On November 8, 2009, he first went up a whopping $2m before things turned around and he lost even more. It was an historic day in online poker.

His battle with Brian Townsend and Brian Hastings especially went down in history as the two players had prepared themselves for this moment very thoroughly.

They even, it turned out, pushed the laws of fairness by exchanging hand histories. Our hand this week is between Blom and Hastings.

From Flop to River

Heads-up match, $500/$1,000 PLO. Effective stacks are over $341,000 meaning 341 big blinds. Blom sits on the button and gets

       

He raises to $3,000, Hastings reraises to $9,000 and Blom calls. There's now $18,000 in the pot. The flop falls      

Hastings bets $13,000. Blom raises to $48,000 and Hastings calls. There's now $114,000 in the pot and the effective stacks are at $284,000. The turn is the  

Hastings bets pot and Blom moves all-in. Hastings calls and shows

       

When the river is dealt there's $683,000 in the pot. With the   the pot goes to Hastings.

Brian Hastings
This is a real battle hand.

Analysis

This is a real battle hand and there are two key situations in it that deserve a closer look.

Pre-flop, Blom comes in with a standard raise holding a decent hand. Hastings has a nicely connected low hand and reraises.

Blom's hand is single suited so there is zero chance he can make a flush. On the other hand, his high cards can make a straight.

For Hastings’ hand, there are plenty of potential flops that can give him great draws or even a strong hand plus draws. Blom calls in position.

The flop brings something for everyone. Hastings hits a pair and a beautiful wrap draw with 17 outs. Not surprisingly, he c-bets two thirds of the pot.

Blom has flopped two pair. He can be pretty sure that he has the best hand now, and he actually does.

With regards to pot equity, though, he is clearly behind. Hastings has 64% with only his draw, and that against top two pair!

It seems even more surprising that Hastings only calls Blom’s flop raise. Instead he’s going to push it to the limits on the turn.

Although the T hasn’t helped him, he still has at least 17 outs. His pot-size bet also sends a little signal to Blom. It says he’s not going to fold anymore, he’s committing himself.

For Blom this means he can’t bluff anymore if he wanted to. But Blom doesn’t need to bluff -- he has top two pair.

Viktor Blom
Historic day on wrong side of ledger for Blom.

Blom evaluates the situation correctly and pushes all-in as his hand is still good against almost every hand except some unlikely sets, and there is no flush draw on the board.

Hastings has made his decision already. He calls. It's now a classic race, with Blom slightly ahead at 52.5%. The 7 on the river happens to be one of Hastings’ 19 outs.

Conclusion

In Pot-Limit Omaha there are always situations that arise where there is no escape and there's a lot of variance.

Viktor Blom was ahead in this hand until the river. Yet at an all-in on the flop he would have been way behind.

This is also a typical feature of PLO – the best hand is not always a favorite to win the pot.

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