David Viffer Peat Plays Circles Around Phil Ivey4 years ago
Phil Ivey is one of the world’s most successful poker players. His constant and successful presence in the highest stakes games both live and online as well as him being the face of Full Tilt Poker throughout the poker boom, Phil Ivey is known in equal measure for his amazing poker skills.
It is worth remembering, however, that even a player as good as Ivey can be outplayed in a hand by a proficient opponent. In the following hand, Ivey faces David “Viffer” Peat, a well-known and charismatic poker player who used to be a pool hustler earlier in his gambling career.
Viffer has a long-term poker image of being unpredictable and wild. This type of table image is an advantage if you play a hand straight as you can get three streets of value far easier than a tight player can.
The hand we will discuss today was featured in a great analysis video from “The Poker Guys” on their show, called ‘The Breakdown.’ See below.
In the hand Phil Ivey raises to $5,000 with As Jh and is called by Viffer on the button with 8d 7d and by Patrik Antonius who calls from the $1,600 straddle with 6d 3h. This builds a pot of $17,200 as we go to the flop. The flop comes down Js 4d 8s giving Viffer middle pair and Ivey leading with top pair. Antonius misses the flop completely and checks, Ivey bets $10,000, Viffer calls and Antonius folds. The pot is now $37,200 as we go to the turn, which is revealed as the 7s, meaning Viffer has improved to two pair. Ivey checks and Viffer quickly checks back. We move to the river, which is the 7c, further improving Viffer’s hand from two pair to a full house whilst Ivey remains on top pair with top kicker. Ivey value bets $20,000 and Viffer raises to $64,000. After tanking Ivey calls and Viffer shows his full house and scoops the monster pot of $165,200.
So what happened and what can we learn?
The stacks are deep and Ivey’s hand of As Jh must be raised. Antonius has straddled so is almost obliged to see the flop, whilst Viffer has plenty of implied odds if he hits his 8d 7d which does very well in terms of straights and flushes and will remain hidden if he hits it hard, which is exactly what happens. No fireworks here.
Ivey would never check the flop after raising preflop and bets out for value. Quite often the $10,000 would be sufficient to take the pot there and then as middle pair is usually folded here. So why did Viffer call? He is in position against Ivey and knows if he hits the implied odds are excellent. Ivey’s range certainly contains AJ so Viffer knows where he is. There is levelling going on here as Viffer knows that Ivey knows he could have almost anything in this spot.
The 7s is a dream card for Viffer, improving his hand yet the action goes check check! Ivey’s check makes sense as putting yourself in his shoes ask yourself what did Viffer call $10,000 with on the flop? Any two spades, which is certainly possible, has filled up with the flush on the turn which crushes Ivey’s top pair and in checking he controls the pot with a single pair. Loads of floated straights could have hit.
Moving to the river Ivey must think Viffer either has a remaining draw of some kind or is simply trying it on with nothing and plans to river bet with nothing. Ivey will be very aware he can improve his own hand to a very strong nut flush if the river delivers a spade.
7c is dealt. Ivey bets $20,000 here having missed the draw. He has top pair and Viffer has an image that could see him arrive to the river with nothing. Given that Ivey had his flop bet called and the turn checked, he must believe Viffer has completely missed on the turn and therefore the 7c on the river probably didn’t help him and he could steal the pot.
We must also bear in mind that levelling is in play here and decisions by both players will be taking into account previous action between them and their short-term as well as long-term table image. But when Viffer raises Ivey’s bet I must admit I struggle to see how Ivey managed to find the call. I hate to question a player so much better than me, but I would have checked the river and called a smaller bet if I thought I could be ahead but was unsure. However, if Viffer was “being Viffer”, Ivey would have to be congratulated for extracting maximum value. On this occasion, however, Ivey was on the receiving end of things.
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