Top Two Versus a Set = All In!

In the most recent edition of the Tom Dwan Million Dollar Challenge, a $140,000 pot took place between Dwan and Patrik Antonius. In it, Dwan raised pre-flop to $1,200, Antonius re-raised to $3,600, and Dwan called. The flop came Q-J-7 rainbow and Antonius led out for $5,200. Dwan called and the turn revealed a harmless four that didn’t match any suit on the board. Antonius put out a bet of $15,600, Dwan pushed all-in, and Antonius called with his stack on the line.

The river came a king. Dwan flipped over Q-J-6-6 for top two pair. Antonius showed J-J-5-5 for trip jacks, scooping the $140,000 pot. We sat down with poker pro Chris “Fox” Wallace to talk about the thought process of our two combatants during the hand. Talk about what Dwan and Antonius were thinking prior to the all-in.

Wallace: When Antonius re-raises, Dwan is going to put him on a top 30% hand. It’s very possible that it could mean he has a big pair. With a Q-J-7 flop, Dwan believes that top two is a pretty good hand. Top two is a hand that, if you’re going to fold, you’re going to get run over. It’s going to be tough to get away from it in such an aggressive game.

DC: The rag on the turn, the four of hearts, initiated the all-in. Why?

Wallace: The fact that a rag came on the turn is the reason this pot got so big. The four could not have given anyone anything. That’s pretty rare in Omaha.

DC: What if Dwan or Antonius had a wired pair of fours?

Wallace: The likelihood of that is very low. It’s low not only mathematically because there’s a four on the board, but also because they both expressed interest pre-flop and on the flop. Someone would have to hold a hand like J-Q-4-4. None of those hands are going to be in pre-flop. Dwan can discount a set of fours immediately.

DC: What went through Dwan’s mind when he saw the king come on the turn?

Wallace: The king is a worrisome card for Dwan because it completes a reasonable straight draw. Antonius could have also held a king, making a better two pair.

DC: What makes Omaha such an aggressive game?

Wallace: The draws are so big in Omaha and you don’t want to let your opponents catch up. The hands are also closer together pre-flop. If you took a hand like 3-5-9-J and ran it against A-A-K-K, it’s not that big of an underdog. If you ran similar cards in Hold’em, you’d be a big underdog.

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