The Sickest River Moments4 years ago
The river is perhaps the most interesting and complicated street in poker. The last community card is routinely making and breaking players anywhere from penny kitchen table games, through countless online poker hands to prestigious World Series of Poker tournaments. Everyone has a story to tell about that sick river one outer or even sicker triple barrel bluff enabled by the perfect river card. In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the sickest river moments in poker history.
This hand has it all, third nuts looking suspiciously like the second nuts losing to the actual nuts that's scared of losing to something that isn't really there. Sometimes poker is about a meticulous optimization of the medium part of your range and sometimes it's about monster hands going at it, and rapidly changing fortunes caused by the river card. Jenn Harman did everything right but like many players, before and after her she fell victim to the worst possible river card in the deck for her hand. The context of a prestigious live tournament combined with the - presumably unintentional - slow play by Zeidman makes the situation all the more interesting.
Nothing makes a sick river moment better than the colorful commentary by the one and only Tony G. This is one of those river two-outer stories everyone loves to tell and the fact that Tony G was involved certainly adds to the appeal. The hand is a perfect example that the way you act in lost pots can be as important to your overall win rate as the quality of your lines in the pots you end up winning. Many lesser players would just go over the top with the nut flush and lose even more money. That being said Tony's post-hand reaction is far from optimal, but it's also the reason why we all love (or love to hate) him.
Sometimes life writes better stories than anything we could ever make up. Standard preflop tournament matchup between QQ and KK turns into a real emotional rollercoaster when both flop and turn award players with top sets. Finally, river decides to add to the drama with yet another reversal of fortune in form of an epic chop. This situation would be sick in a micro stakes online tournament and the fact that it happened at a WSOP table makes it a mandatory addition to this list.
Not every sick river has to act as a catalyst for a giant bad beat. Sometimes it provides brilliant players with the opportunity to attempt brilliant plays. This potentially 'epic' call gives us a rare glimpse into durrrr's reasoning. Dwan figured out that Negreanu's line was inconsistent with value hand like 7x and that the turn and river cards made thin value bets with something like 88-JJ much less attractive. Ax type hands had some marginal showdown value and therefore bluffing with them wasn't really a great idea. This made random gutshots like 45, 46 and 56 an abnormally large part of Negreanu's range for river stab which in turn caused Dwan to attempt a very thin call with 9-high. The fact that Daniel's range did, in fact, include many floated broadway combos like KT makes this call terrible, but it's hard not the admire the effort. It's not like we often have a chance to witness someone calling almost 30k$ bet with just 9-high. Most players would never think about making that sort of play and that's the reason why Tom 'durrrrr' Dwan made the fifth season of High Stakes Poker such a joy to watch.
Speaking of sick river plays with 9-high in High Stakes Poker we get this gem where another crowd favorite David "Viffer" Peat decides to go against the old saying about 'not bluffing the fish' by doing precisely that. Viffer's 100k river bet would've been absolutely brilliant for thin value with something like A2o or KJo but instead, we got this beautiful disaster. To be fair, while Phil Ruffin isn't exactly considered the best poker player that ever was it's impossible to know what he thought about during the hand and there's a chance this call was a stroke of genius based on the history between the players. In any case, 100k$ bet with 9 high on the river can definitely be classified as sick.
"The sickest river call of all time that never was."
Six of clubs was enough of a reason to keep millions of poker enthusiasts on the edge of their seats as they watched the agonizing decision of Phil Ivey in quiet anticipation. This epic showdown against two of the greatest poker players at the time is arguably one of the most exciting hands in poker history. Ultimately, we didn't have the chance to witness one of the greatest plays ever made but the fact that 99.9% of players wouldn't even entertain the thought of making a call with Ad6d on a TdQcKd3s6c board against an epic triple barrel bluff from Tom Dwan makes this river spot one for the history books.
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