Check-Call Your Way to Victory

In the February 9th installment of the Durrrr Challenge, we saw Tom Dwan check-call every street in one hand, ultimately making a full house on the river to trump Patrik Antonius’ lowly pair of deuces. sat down with PokerXFactor instructor and Omaha expert Chris “Fox” Wallace to get his take on what went down.

Pre-flop, Dwan sat with a $137,000 stack, while Antonius owned a little over $103,000. Wallace noted, “Notice they are pretty deep-stacked here. That changes things a little bit and makes people less aggressive when the pot size might get out of hand.”

Pre-flop, Antonius raised to $1,200 with 3s 7c 5h 4d and Dwan made it $3,600 with Kd Qc 2s As. Antonius made the call.

Chris Wallace: Antonius has a very speculative “surprise hand” and doesn’t want the pot to get too big yet, so he just calls the re-raise. That’s not surprising. He’s playing the small run like you would play a small pair in Hold’em: wait and see if you hit it before you put a lot of money in the middle.

The flop came Ts 2d 6d and Dwan check-called a bet of $6,000 from Antonius.

Chris Wallace: Antonius flops a big wrap straight draw and bets it. He has a ton of outs and I would bet too. Durrrr’s call here is not smart. No matter how good people think he is, this is just an idiot call. If he wants to bluff-raise, then fine, but just calling here could not be a worse play. This is equivalent to calling with undercards to the board on the flop in Hold’em. He has nothing.

The turn was the deuce of hearts, improving Dwan to trips. The youngster once again check-called a bet, this time $14,800.

Chris Wallace: Durrrr gets very lucky and trips up and I have no idea why he continued to play it slow except maybe to mix it up. He can’t really be afraid of a full house already – not in heads-up play – and he needs to bet now because there are lots of draws out there. He was probably hoping to get Antonius to bet again on the river with a busted draw while controlling the pot size if a draw comes in or he runs into a boat.

Sometimes that is a smart way to play a hand like this, equivalent to checking top pair, top kicker on a safe turn card when you think your opponent either has nothing or a set in Hold’em. If your read is good, then you call a bet on the river and win a bigger pot than you would have against a junk hand because they will bluff at it, while losing a smaller pot than you would have to a big hand because you checked through a street and kept the pot small.

The river was the king of spades, giving Dwan a boat. He check-called a $48,800 bet from the Fin.

Chris Wallace: Durrrr fills up and only calls here. I don’t know what hand he is afraid of and I understand that bottom full house is not the nuts in Omaha, but it is very strong on this board with this action in a heads-up pot. He has to be afraid of a bigger boat; there is no other possible reason for just calling, but I have no idea what read would make him so worried about that when it’s so unlikely. Maybe he had a bad timing tell or he misclicked, but this has to be a mistake. He can beat everything except sixes, tens, and kings; the latter is very unlikely given the pre-flop action.

To read another take on this hand, check out the second hand on this Durrrr Challenge article.

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