Poker Hand of the Week: High-Action Sandwich on LATB


This week we've found yet another exciting hand from the Bicycle Casino's Live at the Bike stream.

For starters, no less than seven players see the flop. Then things really heat up on the turn and river.

Super High Roller Doug Polk finds himself in the midst of the action and sits behind an all-in and a call with a straight.

What to do?

Flop to River

When Doug Polk joined the Live at the Bike cash game a few weeks ago we had a recipe for some serious poker action.

That’s exactly what happened. The game is $50/$100 No-Limit Texas Hold'em and the players mostly have stacks of $20k-$30k in front of them. Polk is in the big blind with    

Most players at the table don’t have international acclaim but there is Ryan Fee who works with Polk on Upswing Poker.

The hand starts with a player named Andy raising to $300. He gets calls from two players in middle positions, the hijack, the button, Fee in the small and Polk in the big blind.

This means there's $2,100 in the flop and effective stacks are around $10,000. The flop is      

Everybody checks. The pot is still at $2,100 and effective stacks remain at around $10,000.The turn is a seemingly innocuous  

Now it’s Fee who leads for $2,400 from the small blind. Polk calls with the nuts and everybody else folds except a player named Mike in middle position.

There's $9,300 in the pot and the effective stacks are at $7,000. The river is the  

Fee and Polk check but Mike moves all-in with his $7,000. Fee calls the bet and Polk folds after some hesitation.

Mike shows     for the nut flush but loses to Fee’s full house with     Watch the hand again on video:

Hand Analysis

You can only see hands like this in live cash games and they require a completely different set of skills than online poker does. 

7-way? Ok!

We can’t take detailed looks at the action of each on the seven players in this hand so we’ll focus on the most significant ones.

Pre-flop, really every player has good reason for their moves.

The open raise comes from a pair of fours and then call after call makes more sense with the growing amount of money in the pot.

Polk is last to act from the big blind. When the action arrives at him he only has to pay $150 into a pot of $1,950 with low suited connectors.

 That means he’s getting pot odds of 13-1 – how often does that happen?

Interesting Flop, No Action

The flop hits at least three of the players. Fee has hit bottom set and checks in first position.

Interesting flop.

Polk is drawing open-ended but only the three will actually give him the nuts. The eight could be poisoned as it could give someone else the nuts and open up more redraws.

Polk also checks so the action moves all the way to Josh on the button. He has two backdoor draws and no reason to bet.

The only player who might want to bet the flop is Mike with A 5 and the nut flush draw. But he’s up against six players and has the shortest stack.

There’s a good chance he would have to pay an all-in.

What a Turn!

When the 3 hits the turn it doesn’t look like a dangerous card. Fee takes the lead with his made hand as there are now two flush draws on the board.

What a turn!

Polk has now found the nuts and could raise but he also has good reason just to call. Interestingly, despite holding the best possible hand, his equity is only 25% at this point.

This is a very rare situation and it has to do with the number of players in the hand. The call is also inviting worse hands to overcall and, if the river blanks out, he might win a huge pot.

Amateurs would often raise in this spot but top players aren’t afraid of the next street. They only have the maximum profit on their minds.

Mike is still drawing to the nut flush and is going nowhere so again the question for him is to call or raise. He opts for the call because he knows he can’t get a better hand to fold.

Just as Polk earlier, he’s probably right. Everybody else folds, which is a big fold in the case of the Button who’s drawing to the second nut flush.

The River Wild

Each of the players looks at the river differently, but it concerns them all. Fee has found a well-hidden full house and is pretty happy while Polk can’t like this card at all.

Fee goes for a tricky check now, which is a brilliant move as he correctly suspects that at least one of his opponents has hit a flush now and will bet. Also, there’s a slight chance that another player has a higher full house now so he has to take that into consideration, too.

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Most importantly the check is the move that will win him the most money. If he bets out and shows strength, chances are low that he gets called by two worse hands. By check-calling his chances are better.

Polk in the big blind has no reason to bet whatsoever. There’s a possible flush on a paired board. With his straight he might have to call a bet, but he can never bet for value.

So it’s on Mike on the button, and why wouldn’t he bet? He has $7,000 behind and could be called by worse flushes, a straight, a seven, and even a queen.

Fee makes the call, having trapped Mike. Polk is getting pretty good pot odds for a call. Still, he can’t really make the call.

Potentially, Mike is bluffing, but Fee’s call in the sandwich looks strong -- strong enough for at least a flush. Polk makes the disciplined fold but Fee still turns the biggest possible profit.

Had he taken the lead it’s unlikely Polk would have called. The way Fee played it there was at least the chance Polk would call.


In a complex and dramatic kind of hand, Ryan Fee and Doug Polk show how good they are.

Additionally, this hand shows how versatile and surprising Texas Hold’em cash games can be. You need some special qualities to master them.

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