Daring Decision: A High-Stakes River Call That Will Leave You Impressed in 2023
One of the most challenging situations in poker is when you’re holding a marginal hand but have to make a decision that could cost you all your chips.
Whether you’re playing low-stakes online games or high-roller tournaments like the legendary Super High Roller Bowl with a $250,000 buy-in, moments like these can be anxiety-inducing.
In this particular hand, Daniel Dvoress faced precisely such a tricky situation against none other than the poker world’s “Silent Assassin,” David Peters. When faced with Peters’ all-in bet on the river, holding just an Ace high, how would Dvoress react?
1. Hand Background
- Tournament: Super High Roller Bowl with a $250,000 buy-in.
- Stage: 42 players started, leaving 22 remaining.
- Relevant Chip Stacks:
- Dvoress – 34.1 big blinds (BB)
- Peters – 40.7 BB
2. Pre-Flop Action and Analysis
Dvoress, sitting in the Under the Gun (UTG) position in a 7-handed game, raised with A♠K♣. Peters, in the big blind, called with 8♠7♣.
Both players’ actions here were quite standard. A♠K♣ is undoubtedly strong enough to raise in any position, and Dvoress’s 2.5BB sizing was reasonable. Faced with a relatively small raise, Peters could call with a wide range of hands from the big blind, including weak off-suit connectors like 87o (o denotes off-suit).
3. Flop Action and Analysis
Pot Size: 5.8BB
Peters checked, Dvoress bet 2.5BB, Peters raised to 7BB, and Dvoress called.
In this scenario, being out of position, Peters should check his entire range. Even without hitting the flop, Dvoress’s continuation bet was standard because he had a significant range advantage on this flop. There are also many turn cards that Dvoress can continue betting on, given he has two high cards, a backdoor straight draw, and a backdoor nut flush draw.
However, it’s worth discussing Dvoress’s bet sizing choice. He could have chosen to split his range into two bet sizes:
- Larger sizing (70% of the pot): For his vulnerable but clear value bets and high-equity bluffs.
- Smaller sizing (30% of the pot): For less vulnerable value bets and lower-equity bluffs.
Instead, contrary to range splitting, Dvoress opted for a simplified strategy with a 43% pot-sized bet. He believed this medium sizing allowed him to include some low-equity bluffs in that range.
When it was Peters’ turn to act, he had the option to either call with his double-gutshot straight draw or raise, each with its own merits. He certainly had enough equity and implied odds to call, but he could also raise to give himself a chance to win the pot immediately and potentially win a bigger pot on later streets with a good card or by bluffing.
Peters decided to raise to 7BB, which was a good play. He likely randomized his semi-bluffing range to balance his range of flopped hidden sets and two pairs.
Faced with the raise, Dvoress found himself in an interesting spot. He had a good price, his hand beat Peters’ bluffs, and he had a lot of potential to improve. Considering these factors, Dvoress’s decision to call was a good play.
4. Turn Action and Analysis
Pot Size: 19.8BB
Peters checked, and Dvoress checked as well.
Despite Peters’ earlier check-raise decision, Dvoress still retained a range advantage. This meant Peters had to proceed cautiously, so he chose to check.
Facing the check, Dvoress had to consider how to proceed with his range. His high pairs, especially those with a spade, should be checked back as they need less protection. In fact, high pairs often prefer checking back to protect weaker hands, like the one he was holding. A♠K♣ was a very strong hand to bluff with on many river cards. For these reasons, Dvoress’ decision to check back was the correct play.
5. River Action and Analysis
Pot Size: 19.8BB
Chip-to-Pot Ratio: Approximately 1.25:1
Peters made an overbet all-in of 25BB, and Dvoress called.
The 3♠ on the river completed a potential flush draw from the flop. From Peters’ perspective, Dvoress seemed to be holding high pairs, possibly AJ, KJs (s denotes suited), or QJs most of the time. With Dvoress’ range capped, Peters decided to apply maximum pressure with an overbet.
While this sizing can be effective, poker solver software tends to recommend a 70% pot-sized bet in Peters’ situation. Interestingly, A♠ played a crucial role, as without it, solver software would have advised folding.
In the end, Peters revealed 8♠7♣ (a semi-bluff), and Dvoress won a pot of approximately 70BB.
Dvoress made an excellent call on the river, sticking to his fundamental principles bravely throughout all the streets. Peters’ play was somewhat aggressive and optimistic but had an impact, even with slight deviations from the norm.
How do you view Dvoress’ river call? Feel free to comment.