Poker hand analysis: Ivey vs Dwan

Poker after dark episode 5

6 handed (Oppenheim 360k, Dwan 297k, Peat 255k, Antonius 240k, Ivey 200k, Elezra 148k)

Blinds: 400/800

Ivey: A Q♣, BB, 200k

dwan: 7♠ 7♣, UTG, 297k

  1. Dwan raises to 2500
  2. The rest fold and Ivey flat calls
  3. Flop Q A 5♣
  4. Ivey checks
  5. Dwan checks
  6. Turn Q A 5♣ K
  7. Ivey checks
  8. Dwan checks
  9. River Q A 5♣ K 4♣
  10. Ivey checks
  11. Dwan checks

Very passive play from both players, but should anyone have bet out? I shall attempt to guess their reasoning and see if I would do any different.


Dwan 7♠ 7♣ 65.76%

Ivey A Q♣ 63.48%

A Q♣ 45% vs 54% 7♠ 7♣

[Dwan bets triple the BB UTG]

Analysis: Proactive way of playing middle pairs, slightly more aggressive and a little unconventional to disguise his hand. Good alternative to limping in with smaller pairs and praying to hit a set. Raising UTG also traditionally a show of strength (pretty bold and rather uncommon to pull a bluff with rubbish from that position), might inflate opponent’s evaluation of his hand strength. 3XBB bet is not exactly a bet that would scare everybody away, and pocket pairs do better as the number of opponents decrease statistically.

6 handed: 21.49% avg 16.67%  +4.82%

5 handed: 26.45% avg 20% +6.45%

4 handed: 34.04% avg 25% +9.04%

3 handed: 46.12% avg 33.33% +12.79%

2 handed 65.76% avg 50% +15.76%

[Ivey flat calls with everyone else folding]

Analysis: Ivey is aware that AQ is crushed by AA AK, and fares unfavorably to pocket pairs. Flat calling not only gives him the chance to improve his chances, but also reveals very little information to Dwan as opposed to re-raising him.

Flop Q A 5♣

Dwan 7♠ 7♣ 58.69%

Ivey A Q♣ 90.63%

A Q♣ 92.02% vs 7.98% 7♠ 7♣

[Ivey checks]

Analysis: At this point Ivey is way ahead in the lead with AQ at over 90%. He is only losing to AA, QQ or 55. Checking is a good move here because no matter whether Ivey puts Dwan as having any of the trio or is behind, checking is the correct solution to both problems. Suppose Dwan has any of the three hands, Ivey wouldn’t want to put more money in the pot for Dwan. On the other hand, if Ivey puts Dwan on a worse hand than AQ, it would make sense to check and allow Dwan the chance to improve his hand so that Ivey can maximise profit. Of course there are reasons to win the pot there and then, one of which being that two hearts are already on the board and Dwan might get lucky and hit the third heart for a flush (perhaps with a hand like a K Jbut it’s not that likely).

[Dwan checks behind]

Analysis: With a Q A 5♣ board and you are holding a pair of 7s, it doesn’t seem wise to bet because you would be forced to fold most of the time if you were re raised, and a flat call would also give you the troublesome decision of working out whether your opponent is still drawing or is already slow rolling you.

Verdict: Safe Play

Turn Q A 5♣ K

Dwan 7♠ 7♣ 54.3%

Ivey A Q♣ 90.86%

A Q♣ 95.55% vs 4.55% 7♠ 7♣

[Ivey checks]

Analysis: Would Ivey give Tom Dwan credit for an AK? Would you give credit to your opponent for an AK? In my opinion, it would not make sense to put Dwan on AK because it is makes more sense for him to bet out on the flop rather than check behind if he were holding AK to protect his hand. So Ivey assumes he is ahead and that check is once again for profit maximisation, he doesn’t want to scare Dwan away and hopes he will take a shot at the pot.

[Dwan checks]

Analysis: A King is not the card Dwan wants to see with his pocket 7s. Bluffing and taking a stab at the pot isn’t really an option now because by at this moment, a bet would most probably be representing a King, and it is unlikely that your opponent will give you credit for that. So Dwan checks for safety, and hopes he hits his 7 on the river.

River Q A 5♣ K4♣

Dwan 7♠ 7♣ 56.44%

Ivey A Q♣ 94.63%

A Q♣ 100%% vs 0% 7♠ 7♣

[Ivey checks]

Analysis: Ivey knows that he got Dwan beat. But luckily for Dwan, Ivey has put himself in a spot where he cannot bet out, because Dwan is never going to call any bet. What Ivey can only do is check and hope Dwan tries to steal the pot with a bluff

[Dwan checks]

Analysis: There is no way that Dwan will attempt any bluff at all on the pot because Ivey is never going to back down now, and manages to reduce his losses to the minimum.

Last thoughts: So where did it go wrong for Ivey? I don’t think it’s his fault, because big pots in poker happen when players have very similar hand strengths and eventually the winner triumphs by the tiniest margin. This was never going to be the case, although I do have some issue with Ivey’s flop check. By checking, it is likely that he was thinking of profit maximization already and hoped that Dwan would improve his hand. However, at this moment is unclear whether that lesser hand was AX or a pocket pair, and if Dwan managed to hit his set Ivey would have been punished severely. Perhaps Ivey was confident and put Dwan to an AX, I am not sure. But I would have been happy to take the board there and then, especially since I seem to be particularly susceptible to opponents making flush draws…but that’s just me.


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