Kostritsyn Takes on Thuritz in Biggest PLO Hand of the Month

Mikael Thuritz
Mikael Thuritz

It was another busy week of high-stakes action but while much of the focus was on Gus Hansen, Alexander Kostritsyn and Mikael Thuritz recorded an absolute monster of a hand.

The hand ended up being the biggest and some might say beautiful PLO hand of the last seven days, even without the Great Dane.

Buckle in because it’s a wild one.

From the Flop to the River

We are following a mixed table with Chinese player Samrostan and Phil Polarizing Ivey as well as the aforementioned punting-peddler Thuritz and PostflopAction Kostritsyn.

We are playing Pot Limit Omaha, and the blinds are $300/$600. The effective stacks of the players are around 146 big blinds.

After samrostan folds, Kostritsyn raises from the button to $2,100. Thuritz sits in the small blind and holds


He re-raises to $6,900. Ivey folds but Kostritsyn calls. The pot is now $14,000 big and the players have around $81,000 behind. The flop falls


and all hell breaks loose. Thuritz bets $10,800, Kostritsyn raises it up to $46,800 and Thuritz pushes all-in with $88,000. Kostritsyn calls and shows


As agreed upon, turn and river are dealt twice.

Board 1:       ---   ---  

Board 2:       ---   ---  

The $187,000 pot is split up because Thuritz wins the first board with a straight and Kostritsyn the second one with a pair of eights.


Alex Kostritsyn
Alexander Kostritsyn

It all seems pretty harmless at the beginning but the largest pot of the month (as of now) builds up on the flop, as it happens so often in Pot Limit Omaha.

Let’s look at the hand in detail and analyze what happened here.

Kostritsyn holds an ok hand, not exactly a great one. He opens with a standard bet on the button. Thuritz in the small blind, however, has a very nice hand, connected and double-suited. This hand has the potential to flop a monster.

The hand is also a good example for the 3-bet range in the blinds, which of course cannot just consist of high pairs.

After Thuritz' 3-bet, Kostritsyn got 2:1 pot odds plus he has position. It is an offer he can’t refuse particularly because Thuritz’ range is pretty wide here. Also, the implied odds are very good because of the size of the effective stacks.

On the flop 8 2 6, things go crazy. Thuritz hits a near perfect flop with a wrap straight draw with 13 outs and a flush draw with nine outs. A theoretical maximum of 22 outs means Thuritz would have the following equities against hands that could be in the lead:

Over pair without diamonds: 78%

Over pair plus open ended straight draw (7-5-x-x): 54% win, 20% split

Top set with no diamonds: 55%

These are only a select few possible hands that his opponent has in his range. The problem with Thuritz’ hand, however, is that his flush draw could be dominated. This problem always applies with hands that consist of low, connected cards.

In reality, Kostritsyn is a 2:1 favourite on the flop thanks to hitting a pair and a flush draw. The Russian has to try and get his money in here anyway because he would be a 2:1 favourite against over pairs without a flush draw. He only has to fear the nut flush draw and sets.

So naturally all the money goes into the pot on the flop and thanks to running it twice both players get half of it.

Watch the second board: Kostritsyn wins here with a pair of eights (plus the deuces on the board), which shows that even in PLO, top pair can be a strong weapon.


Both players flop strong draws in this hand so it is no surprise that they both invest all their money.

That two completely different hands can connect well with one flop is a common phenomenon in Pot-Limit Omaha.

In this case the pot happens to be split up between the two opponents, which regarding the flop is (almost) fair.

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