The biggest televised cash game in history has come and gone, and now it’s time to reflect on what we’ve witnessed. While it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing across the whole five days (which became four after the Monday night show was cancelled), there’s plenty to talk about and analyse. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in and take a look at some of the highlights from this crazy game.
Tom has a knack for being involved in these “biggest pots of all time” doesn’t he? He’s done it on multiple occasions, whether it’s on High Stakes Poker, the Full Tilt Cash Game, or the Triton Cash Games. However, his hands against Greenstein, Ivey, and Phua all pale in comparison to this $3.1 million pot that was played against “Wes Side” Wesley Fei, where he called down with a pair of queens against Wesley’s AK to scoop an absolutely massive pot.
The hand started in bizarre fashion when, after LSG Hank raised to $7K with A7o, Doug Polk announced that he had seen Wesley’s hand. Unperturbed by this, Wesley raised to $30K with AdKh. The action folded around to Tom Dwan who 4bet with black queens, before Wesley put in the 5bet to $275K. Both players started the hand $1.5 million deep, with Wesley having Dwan covered, so there was plenty of postflop play left.
The flop came down 8d8s3d. Dwan checked to Wesley who bet $125K, and Tom quickly called. The turn was the 5h, Dwan checked once again, and Wesley this time bet $350K. After a bit of deliberation, Tom decided to call with his queens. The river was essentially a brick - the 6c unlikely to have helped anyone given the preflop ranges, and Wesley quickly moved all in for Dwan’s last $786K. It was a huge river bluff that took a lot of heart - not many people could shove that much on the river on a stone-cold bluff (aside from a couple of people who we’ll mention later).
After a roughly 3-minute-long tank, Dwan placed his chips into the middle, winning himself just over $1.5 million and the biggest pot in televised poker history. Watch the action unfold below.
Many people believed that the Million Dollar Cash Game had gotten off to a rather slow start in the first couple of streams; players seemed reluctant to put chips in the middle while sitting on such huge stacks, and there was a general lack of action to be found. Step up Ethan “Rampage” Yau - a poker blogger turned poker crusher, who two years ago was playing low-stakes games at his local casino, and is now running six-figure bluffs on the biggest live stream ever.
Ethan approached the game with a freedom that we hadn’t seen from the other players - a bravery, if you will, and it was that bravery that allowed him to pull the trigger on what has to be the biggest bluff he’s ever made. Let’s see how it went down.
The action folded around to Rampage in the SB who raised to $9K preflop with Ac7c. Handz in the big blind decided to just flat-call with QsQh, Pav called in the straddle with Kh8h, and the trio saw a flop. The flop came down QdJdTc, giving Handz top set, Pav an open-ender, and Rampage a gutshot and a backdoor flush draw. Both Rampage and Handz checked to Pav, who bet $15K. Rampage then shot it up to $50K, Handz just called again, and Pav folded.
The turn was the 2c, giving Rampage a flush draw, and he followed up his flop check raise with an overbet of $175K. Handz made the call, and the pair saw a river. The 5s was a complete brick, all the straight and flush draws missed, leaving Rampage with just ace-high, and seemingly no way to win the pot.
However, one factor that played a big part in this hand was the nut advantage that Rampage had over Handz. Given that Handz flatted Rampage’s preflop raise, it all but eliminates AK from his range, but Rampage has all 12 combos of AK, as well as a number of K9 and 98 combos. Saying that, it’s one thing to recognise when you have a nut advantage, and another to pull the trigger, and it took tremendous heart for Rampage to shove his $618K into the middle.
It was an incredibly strong line from Rampage, and after a relatively short tank, Handz let his queens go, giving Rampage a well-earned pot.
He was only here for one day, but boy did he make his time count! Tom Dwan was involved in not one, but two seven-figure pots in his time on the Million Dollar Cash Game, coming up trumps in both of them. This time, there was no need to make a hero call, as he expertly trapped Doug Polk with middle set turned middle boat. Many were wondering whether Dwan slow-rolled Doug on the river, given some of the things Doug has said on his YouTube channel, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
The hand begins with Doug Polk raising from the cutoff to $3000 with 5s4s, Dwan 3bets to $14K with 7h7c from the SB, and Doug calls. In an eerie parallel to the first hand we highlighted, Doug let Wesley see his hand before the flop was dealt - so in the two 7-figure pots played on this stream, Doug and Wesley knew what the other had during the hand, and both ran monster bluffs!
The flop came Kd7d2s, Dwan bet $15K, and Doug peeled one off with the backdoor straight draw/backdoor flush draw. The turn was the 6h, giving Doug an open-ended straight draw. Dwan made a bet of $30K, and Doug raised it to $115K. Faced with this raise, Dwan went into the tank for some time, before Doug decided to call the clock. Somewhat perplexed by this decision, Dwan decided to call, and the players saw the river.
The river came the 6s, giving Dwan a full house. He checked it over to Doug, who knew the only way he was going to win this pot was by betting, so he bet $420,000 into the $291,000 pot. Dwan went into the tank again, most likely weighing up whether to raise or call. In the end, he decided on call and took down a $1.1 million dollar pot while putting Doug on tilt.
It seems like everyone had their bluffing shoes on for the last day of play, as LSG Hank made an outstanding play on the river to get Doug Polk to fold his aces. It’s not often that a recreational player will come in and mix it up as much as LSG Hank, and it shows a lot of heart to do that in the biggest-ever televised cash game.
LSG Hank gets the action underway by raising to $6K in the HJ with AdJd after Dwan limped UTG with T2s. Doug picks up AsAh in the SB and 3bets to $30K. Hank makes the call, and the two see a flop. The flop comes down Qh4d3c, giving LSG a backdoor flush draw and a couple of backdoor straight draws. Doug bets $23K into around $60K, and LSG calls.
The turn is the 8d, giving LSG Hank a flush draw and a bit more of a reason to stick around in the pot. Doug continues to bet for value, betting $81K, and Hank calls. The river is the 9h, meaning that Hank misses his flush draw. Doug goes for some more value, betting $200K on the river before Hank does the unthinkable and shoves for nearly $750K more.
This sends Doug deep into the tank, as he agonises over what to do. In the end, he decides to leave his decision up to chance - using a randomiser to make his decision for him. After coming to the decision that he should call around 25% of the time, he uses his cards to randomise - after mixing his hole cards, if he pulled the Ah twice, he would call; otherwise, he would fold. He turned over the As on his first pull and folded.
LSG Hank immediately sprung out of his seat, tabling the bluff, much to the shock of everyone at the table. You can see from Nik Airball’s expression just how shocking this moment was, as many people don’t expect recreational players to bluff raise the river, let alone for nearly $1 million!
You can tell the action ramped on the last day, can’t you? Our fifth and final highlight from the game is another 7-figure pot, this time between Wesley and LSG Hank, who shows us what happens if your hero call with QQ goes wrong.
LSG Hank opened with QdQc from UTG and Wesley 3bet to $15K with Ah7h. The action folded back to LSG who immediately put in the 4bet to $50K. After a short tank, Wesley made the 5bet to $130K, LSG Hank decides to call, and the pair see a flop. The flop looked dangerous for Wesley, as he flopped middle pair on a Td7d6c board. Hank checked to the 5bettor who bet $80K into a roughly $260K pot. Hank decided on the check/call, only to see a disaster card on the turn. The 7s hit the felt, giving Wesley trips and leaving Handz with just two outs.
Wesley made a big bet of $325K, which Hank called after some deliberation. The river was the 5d, completing the front door flush draw. Hank checked to Wesley who insta-shoved, sending Hank into the tank. After copying the now patented Doug Polk card shuffle, LSG Hank made the call, doubling Wesley up in a $2.2 million dollar pot.
While it wasn’t enough to get Wesley even for the night, it certainly put a dent in his losses.
After a slow start, the HCL Million Dollar Cash Game certainly lived up to the hype, providing us with some of the most insane pots in televised poker history. We certainly hope that the team have learned their lessons from this game, as it takes a special group of players to get the action you need when the stakes are this high. Given the success of the game, we’ll likely see another iteration of the Million Dollar Buy-In Cash Game in the future, and we can’t wait to see it! Let us know in the comments below who you’d like to see if HCL runs this game again.
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