The comeback of iconic poker TV show Poker after Dark last week was highly appreciated by poker fans the world over.
Especially because it also brought about the spectacular return of Tom "durrrr" Dwan.
Dwan won almost a million dollars on his return to PAD but Andrew Robl showed some astonishing moves as well, demonstrating that he’s still in the top class of live cash-game players.
Flop to River
This is Day 3 of the PAD cash game and apart from Robl and Dwan there are also Jean-Robert Bellande, Matt Kirk, Lauren Roberts and Bill Klein at the table.
The game is $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em but we’ve long reached a phase where one or two straddles have become the rule more than the exception.
In this hand Dwan has brought in the $1,600 double straddle and after Lauren Roberts folds Robl - $1.3 million stack – raises to $4,500 with A A J J
Klein gets out of the way but Bellande calls from the big blind with a stack of $270,000. Kirk folds and the action moves to Dwan, who has a stack of $285,000 and re-raises to $26,500.
Robl calls, Bellande calls and suddenly we have $80,900 in the pot. The effective stacks are at $260,000. The flop falls J J 6 6 2 2
Bellande checks and Dwan bets $45,000. Robl and Bellande both call. The pot has grown to $215,900 and effective stacks are down to roughly the same - $215,000.
The turn is the K K . It's checked around on fourth street. There's still $215,900 in the pot and the effective stacks remain the same.
The river is the Q Q . Bellande checks again. Dwan bets $120,000 and Robl goes into the tank. When he makes his decision he announces all-in and both his opponents fold.
Bellande was playing 10 10 10 10 and Dwan was playing 9 9 3 3 as if they’d been something completely different.
The $645,000 pot goes to Robl, though. Unfortunately you can’t watch how this hand played out on YouTube as it isn’t available.
Poker Hand Analysis
This is a highly interesting hand even if the best hand wins -- mainly because the best hand also bluffs for a $645,000 pot.
How did Robl come to the decision to make a move on the river that's pretty much the opposite of textbook poker?
Pre-flop, Robl finds A-Jo and raises like you’d expect. Bellande flat calls, which is a smart move.
If he raises it up again he would build a big pot with his pocket pair and there’d be a big risk of facing overcards on the flop -- plus one of the toughest players on the other side of the table.
If you know Tom Dwan, you also know that after this action and holding a veritable monster in 9-3o, the last thing on his mind is a fold. Instead he elects to re-raise to $26,500 with what many people would call “total garbage."
You really shouldn’t try this at home too often. However, it’s good to include the odd bluff-raise into your arsenal to balance your ranges. If you only re-raise with aces and kings, you’ll never get paid off.
On the other hand – quite literally – this means Robl and Bellande can’t just throw away their good hands here. A-Jo and 10s are pretty much automatic calls.
The J-6-2 rainbow flop is very dry. It hits the range of the re-raiser the most as this would generally have a lot of big pairs and high cards in it.
When Bellande checks, Dwan consequently follows up with a c-bet. If this $45k bet works 1 in 3 times, it’s already profitable. But Robl has flopped top-top and has no reason to give up his hand. His call is a mandatory one.
Things are different for JRB. His pocket tens might still be the best hand on this kind of flop, but making the overcall isn’t easy as he has to continue the hand out of position. A fold from Bellande would also be justifiable.
The Twilight Turn
With no less than $215,900 in the pot they go to the turn. It now becomes a major factor that both Bellande and Dwan only have about a pot-size bet left.
But Bellande’s pocket pair keeps losing value so there’s no good reason for him to bet. Dwan seems to give up now as well to limit his losses.
However, going all-in wouldn’t have been a bad move at all as he could have credibly represented A-K or better. This would probably have won him the pot, but things sometimes turn out a weird way. Robl also doesn’t see a reason to bet as his pair of jacks might still be the best hand.
Now It Becomes Spectacular
This hand’s been pretty interesting already but now it becomes spectacular. The river Q fills up possible flushes and straights which also opens up bluffing possibilities.
When Bellande checks again, Dwan decides to take a stab and exploit the situation.
Betting $120,000 into $215,900 is smart because it only has to work 35% of the time. But it also has a significant disadvantage -- he can’t properly represent anything.
Pocket queens would be possible because of his 3-bet pre-flop, bet on the flop and check on the turn. A-T is also realistic, but all the other strong hands like flush draws or sets would certainly have moved all-in on the turn.
Robl apparently recognizes this and is bound to think his jacks are still better than Dwan’s hand. However, he must be worried about Bellande.
In this spot Robl uses his PLO experience and goes for the full push. As he’s holding the A he’s blocking the nut flush while simultaneously representing it.
This doesn’t only win him the pot if he has the best hand (which he does) but he can also make several better hands than his fold. Although Dwan’s getting fantastic odds to call, $90,000 is still a lot of money and you can’t call that off lightly.
Once again Andrew Robl proves he can think along different lines than many other players and that he’s an extremely tough opponent.
Tom Dwan, on the other hand, missed the opportunity to run a big bluff. At the end of the hand his range had become almost empty and he was facing an opponent at eye level.
Respect, Andrew Robl!