Poker Strategy

4 Deep Poker Lessons From ACR Pro Tom Dwan

If you somehow haven’t heard, poker legend Tom “Durrrrr” Dwan recently signed as an ACR Pro and returned to televised cash games by immediately taking part in some enormous pots. Here are 4 lessons I learned watching the return of Durrrr over the past couple of weeks.

1. Everyone underbluffs (the river)

I’ll admit I didn’t get to watch every last minute of action this week, so if I missed one let me know, but in the significant amount of time I did watch, I did not see a single bluff-raise on the river. Instead, in every pot where the river action went bet/raise, it was the case of a huge hand up against the actual or effective nuts. Watching the scenario play out the same way over and over again, the horrors of my very many unsuccessful hero/frustration-calls flashed before my eyes like some sort of war PTSD. The lesson was suddenly so obvious: if you can’t develop the ability to make big river folds, you may get to feel like a hero every now and again, but you’re going to catch a lot of strays in the process. And unless you have a Dwan-sized bankroll, you’re eventually going to catch one too many – and that will be it.

So the next time you find yourself thinking “Could he really have a better hand here?” – and I would guess this is exponentially more true the lower down the stakes you go – take a moment to count on your fingers all the bluff raises you’ve seen on the river in meaningful pots over your career, and once you realize you don’t even need to use your toes, let go of the feeling of injustice and just fold the damn hand.

2. Sometimes the best luck is the luck you fade

One of my favorite hands from the recent streams came when the man we used to call Durrrr was dealt the dream scenario, picking up kings in position against Santhosh’s queens. Unfortunately for Dwan, not only did his opponent flop top set, but the board ran out in literally the most innocuous way possible, bringing a rainbow 825 in addition to the offsuit queen. With the pot quickly approaching 600K, Tom was left with only a 1.3x pot bet left to lose, which sounds a lot less terrifying than 781K. When the hand was over, Dwan confirmed he would have indeed gotten stacked on any card but an ace or queen, but fortunately for the ACR Pro, the quad queen did mercifully fall on the river, saving him more than three-quarters of a million dollars.

Although the action itself was entertaining enough, the reason I loved this hand so much was because of what happened next, with Dwan (who I’ll remind you had literally just lost $270,000) flipped the dealer a $1,000 chip in gratitude for reminding us all of a very important lesson – that sometimes the best luck of all truly is the bad luck you fade.

And by the way, in case you’ve ever wondered, this is what the happiest man to ever lose a 580K pot looks like.

3. Preflop weakness lead to postflop pain

Incredibly, over the course of just two sessions, Tom Dwan lost 4 separate hands while holding trips or better, for a total loss of more than 1.5 million dollars! Interestingly, Dwan’s preflop holdings in those 4 pots were 94 suited (flopped trips), J8o (flopped 2nd nuts), JTo (turned trips), and 54o (rivered trips, though this one was 3 handed).

Of course, the point is not to say Dwan can’t profitably play those hands, as he most certainly can (especially in these televised lineups, respectfully). What it does point to is that playing a super wide preflop range as an average poker player who does not possess Durrrr’s experience and poker intelligence, will inevitably lead to some brutal beats and some deep, deep pain. So the next time you decide to “just see the flop” in your local 2/5 game, do us both a favor and just ship me the cash instead.

4. Sample size is a hell of a drug

Finally, it’s good to remember that sometimes in poker it’s you who runs like god, and unfortunately, sometimes it’s literally all of your opponents who do. So make sure not to read too much into any one bad run…and most certainly not into an article about one.

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