Does Aggression Really Pay?

It’s hard to believe that the Tom Dwan Million Dollar Challenge is actually about to pass the 15,000 hand mark. Remember, Dwan and Patrik Antonius are playing to 50,000 hands, with $1.5 million going to Antonius from Dwan if the youngster goes down in flames. Durrrr’s aggression has been the talk of the town during this contest. Whether it will help him or hurt him in digging out of his current $400,000 deficit is currently up in the air. Let’s recap a hand from the May 20th session to see whether aggression really does pay off.

In the hand in question, Dwan began with a 2:1 edge in stack size. Antonius made it $1,200 pre-flop, Dwan raised to $3,600, and Antonius called the extra $2,400. The flop came 4-7-9. Durrrr bet $4,800 into the $7,200 pot, Antonius bumped the price of poker to $21,600, Dwan bet enough to put his opponent all-in, and Antonius called for his last $30,000. The king on the turn and deuce on the river brought Dwan the nut flush with Q-A-10-7, leaving Antonius holding 5-3-K-6 for a pair of kings. sat down with our resident Omaha expert, instructor Chris “Fox” Wallace, to learn more. Talk about the big draw that Antonius flops.

Wallace: Since he has 3-5-6 with a board of 4-7-9, any three, five, six, or eight fills his straight, which means he is slightly better than 50-50 to make a straight. His draw is a favorite over most hands. We all know that Dwan is aggressive. Is he too aggressive on the flop with just a flush draw?

Wallace: Durrrr is probably being over-aggressive. If he was facing a monster draw like 5-6-8-10, a flush draw is a huge underdog. He doesn’t even have a reasonable made hand; a pair of sevens isn’t going to hold up. Once Antonius raises to $21,000, Durrrr doesn’t have a lot of choice; he either has to fold or shove. Antonius only has $30,000 behind him. If Dwan just calls, he’ll be facing a $30,000 bet on the turn.

The reason that these kinds of players are so aggressive and it works for them is because they don’t like to face tough decisions. They’d rather just get it in. In my opinion, any time you don’t want to have to deal with a big decision, it’s a sign that you have to work on your game. I think Durrrr hates to make decisions on later streets. Dwan has dug himself a $400,000 hole. Can playing aggressively and trying to build pots get him out of it?

Wallace: Durrrr’s aggression is what caused that hole, not what’s going to get him out of it. Would anyone watching this thing think that Antonius is going to fold instead of call off his last $30,000? There’s no possibility of that. Dwan should have folded if he had a flush draw. He wasn’t getting 2:1 odds. Our Prediction Contest is about to close when play reaches 15,000 hands. Based on what we’ve seen so far, where do you think the contest will end?

Wallace: I say Antonius will win by $750,000. It’s a decrease in the current win rate. I think that Durrrr will learn a little something or Antonius’ luck won’t keep up.

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