Dan "KingDan" Smith is without a doubt one of the best poker tournament players in the world.
Players like him always have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
In this battle with Aaron Kaiser in the WSOP Main Event Smith digs deep for a surprising, decisive blow.
It’s the 2014 WSOP Main Event. There are just 36 players left and Smith is one of the big stacks.
On the other side of the table Aaron Kaiser is a short stack so he can really use the pocket aces he’s now dealt.
If he doubles up now, he can go on to win a lot more than the $230,000 he has already locked up. Kaiser raises and gets only Smith to call from the button, which is the ideal scenario for him.
Kaiser's Main Event Destroyed
The flop couldn’t go any better for him. Not only does Kaiser hit top set, there are also three different suits on board offering almost no draws.
Kaiser decides to go ahead and c-bet and he gets lucky again as Smith calls. The jack on the turn doesn’t hurt Kaiser either. He’s still holding the nuts so now he checks the turn, feeling as safe as possible.
Maybe he’s even hoping to induce a bluff, but Smith checks back. Then he hits an incredible river card that destroys Kaiser’s Main Event and leaves the table baffled.
Method in the Madness
If you feel sympathy for Kaiser and you’d like to despise Smith for his call with nothing on the flop, beware that this call was based on a plan.
The most important element here is not the value of his hand, it’s perspective – the perspective that the turn card might open something up for Smith.
Smith has two backdoor draws and he might see a chance to represent the ace in case his opponent shows too much weakness. His dream would be the J♠, as it would give him a double gutshot and a flush draw – an ideal hand for a semi-bluff.
His only mistake is he doesn’t realize Kaiser’s stack is too small to efficiently bluff him out of the pot post-turn. So, Smith just had to hit the river, I guess!