Now you will see the most terrible defeat in my career. 2014, I lived in Vancouver, I have an office on the top floor of a loft. I've been trying to play with Isildur for quite some time, but he always refused me action. And then one fine evening, when I'm sitting in the lobby waiting for my opponents, he sits down at my four $300/$600 tables. End of the day, I'm already a little tired, but I've been waiting for this opportunity for so long!
We played almost 5,500 hands in a session! For comparison, in the Galfond Challenge matches, I usually got 500-800 hands a day, because only two tables were played at the same time. And here the length turned out to be almost 10 times greater. No wonder we played almost 60 pots over $120,000. Pure madness! I will not analyze each of them in detail, otherwise, this video will stretch for several hours.
2014 was perhaps the worst period of my career in terms of the quality of the game against the field. A couple of years before that, I had launched the Run It Once training site and was actively delving into business issues. I also spent a lot of time with my future wife, whom I met shortly before. Around the same time, more modern software for learning the game began to appear, and although Omaha did not seem to have reached the solvers yet, I definitely lagged behind most competitors in working with software. From all this, the quality of my game suffered quite a lot. It was not obvious to me then, but it is clearly seen in the hands. I played at my best level in 2008.
I raise and call a 3-bet, so far so good. I raise a continuation bet on the flop and it's terrible. Right from the start, we see a completely terrible game. I don't understand the point of this raise. It's a very easy call with a very playable hand, but I'll have terrible equity against a lot of hands when shoving.
I’m up against , run it twice, and split the pot. Played well for him. And I seem to remember why I raised the flop. I had the feeling that in 3-bet pots he c-bets too much on the flop and turn, and I constantly had to fold to the second barrel. In order not to do this, I began to change it up on the flop.
Raise and call 3-bet, okay. Calling a continuation bet is also quite normal. He bets the full pot on the turn, and given the depth of the stack, going all-in looks good for me. The all-in is not the most joyful, but there is enough equity against his range, and there is not much point in continuing with a call.
I bet all in and split against . Perhaps a turn pot bet for him is a bit thin, but this is a typical example of his style – he tried to make it as difficult as possible for his opponents to realize equity.
I 3-bet correctly pre-flop, flop c-bet is good too. I get raised, I need to call – I call, great.
And I shove without much hesitation. Well, nothing to complain about! Great game, love it.
Viktor shows and wins both rivers, the pot is $150,597. Cooler.
Defending the big blind. On the flop he c-bets big and I raise... So. First, this flop is usually worth playing small. Against today's standard sizing, my hand can be raised, and it's pretty marginal, I like calling better. Against a big sizing, raising this hand is definitely bad.
I bet $15,600. Big bet. I'm putting too much into this pot, but overall it's not the worst bet with my hand, since I'm in this situation.
River ($55,200, $33,000 effective stack):
And I check. Of course, this is an obvious all-in. He will have , with a spade, with which you can shove all-in. Why did I check? I felt like he thought I was a nit and wouldn't believe I could bluff on this river, so he would make a lot of good folds to an all-in. So I checked, hoping to get some bluffs.
He goes all-in, I happily call, and he wins $121,200 with .
I 3-bet and check the flop. Okay, that's fine, but checking this depth is to check-call, and I check-raise to $28,800. This leaves me with $44,000 behind me, so if he calls I'm going to have a hard time on a lot of turns.
He makes it easy for me by going all in. I’m up against , we split the pot equally.
A bad check-raise from me and a bad all-in from him – he should just call. You can see that we both like to gamble.
Raise and call the 3-bet. Three pair on the flop, call, so far so good.
He bets full pot. I should go all-in. That's what I do. I’m up against , we split the pot. Well played for both.
Raise and call the 3-bet. I flop a multiway with a diamond blocker. Viktor c-bets and I raise to $32,400. Pfft... What a monstrously bad raise. The only reasonable explanation I've already given is that I didn't want to see a six of spades on the turn and fold to another pot bet. But that's a bad reason to make a minus raise.
Viktor bets all-in with . I win the first round, I lose the second. His play is within reason. He definitely puts a lot of pressure on.
I call a 3-bet, I call a c-bet on the flop, all is well.
Viktor bets $13,800 and I call again. Still good.
Finally! Viktor moves all in for $43,200, of course, I call. He has . The nut flush... This hand is not in his 3-betting range, so he's 3-betting very wide, as you can see.
I call a 3-bet, and I get a c-bet, how did we bust in this pot? How about, haha! Don't raise this hand on the flop. Yes, I have a raising range and should have a lot of bluffs, but more equity is needed. Apparently, then I had enough blockers for and .
Having caught the lady, I can go to the river. He checks, and I check next.
He bets the full pot and I call. It's not the worst call, but still bad. He won't bluff with a pair of fives or higher, and there are a lot of them in his range after 3-betting and c-betting the flop. Yes, there are some missed flush draws, but not enough.
Viktor takes the pot with .
I call a 3-bet and flop a set. I hope I don't spoil anything now. Yes, I like call.
Viktor bets $13,800, just over half the pot. Call again, also correct.
River ($52,800, $38,400 effective stack):
Viktor goes all-in, of course, I call. What does he have? , stacked just on a gutshot straight. This is not a preflop 3-bet, and post-flop play is pretty loose.
I 3-bet, flop two pair, c-bet. He calls.
This is a difficult spot. Viktor checks and I just bet the pot to make the hand as easy as possible. He shoves $46,800. Looks like I should call, although I'm not entirely sure, despite the pot odds. Call and lose two runouts against , pot $120,000.
Okay, I played well and was in great shape on the flop.
I make a standard 3-bet and check the flop. I don't check these textures now, but if I did, this hand would be a good candidate. I call my opponent's bet and get the nuts on the turn.
I check, and Viktor bets $13,800, I have $48,600 behind me. I think it's still a check call, although against him a raise is also good. Yes, I'm equalizing.
River ($50,400, $34,800 effective stack):
I check and, of course, call the all-in. He had , the pot is split. It's a shame, although he was ahead on the flop.
I 3-bet and check-call the flop. I could have bet, but I also like check-call. Hitting the nuts again on the turn.
I check, and Viktor bets $13,800. We're a little deeper and my range feels really bad here, so just check call. I call.
I check – let him bluff. He pushes me all in for $45,000, I call and split against . Both had the nuts again.
I 3-bet and call a 4-bet, I think it's ok. You can lead on the flop yourself, but he will bet-fold hands like , so I like my check-push line.
I’m up against , I lose the first runout, I win the second.
I call a 3-bet, I need to call a c-bet, but I don’t need to do it the way I did. Although... if he 3-bets a lot wider, which seems to be true, maybe my line is viable. Either way, it's pretty lame.
He shows (approximately 56.5%), run it twice and chop the pot. Standard play for him.
Good texture for me after calling a 3-bet. Calling c-bet.
He bets the pot leaving $33,592 behind. I go all-in... (Shakes his head) Do I believe he can pot-fold here? Although with him you can never tell for sure! My equity is, of course, perfectly fine against anything, but another call is clearly better – most people don't play pot-fold on this texture.
I’m up against , exactly 50 to 50. Divide the pot again.
I 3-bet correctly and check the flop, where I continue with my entire range today. If I check, I like a check-raise more than a check-call, although my check-call isn't terrible. But in general, you just had to put it in yourself.
I check, and Viktor bets the pot. I go all in and go into the pot for $142,784. Him (12% equity). Divide the pot evenly again. The play for him as a whole is standard. You can check the flop, but it's not a mistake to bet two pair.
I call a raise on the flop, I get an ok flop, not particularly good, but not bad either. I check, he checks back. I bet the turn and see a raise. Cooler...
To bet 3-bet the turn with this hand, I have to trust that he is bluffing a lot and raising-folding a lot. Real people don't play like that. Yes, he played very aggressively, but I misunderstood his aggression. He's had some bluffs, but generally, he's been pushing with a fairly strong range, and playing his weakest part quite passively, and folding well. So what I'm doing here is suicide.
Well, club outs are going to be live quite often, I have a multiway draw so it's not like I'm burning a lot of equity, but it's clearly not necessary. He has to fold a lot to get my line to work.
I’m up against (62.5% for Viktor). We split the pot.
Raise. I don't c-bet the flop, overall okay. Raise on the turn... Well, I guess I can. Acceptable.
Viktor 3-bets $36,000.
Stacks at the beginning of the hand are about 150bb. I don't think it's possible to fold against him. Although I am depicting just a set of fives, so if he has with a redraw, he shouldn't 3-bet. But he can.
I think I should call a 3-bet, instead, I decide to shove right away. Well, theoretically it is not recommended to do this – the stacks are too deep. Already the first raise looked pretty borderline...
OK. A few marginal decisions, but in general, this hand cannot be called completely bad. I block sets of sixes and ladies.
True, this is not enough. Run it twice against , but three outs don't come. Viktor wins the $167,400 pot.
Raise preflop and c-bet. Right now I'd rather check, but you can bet. Of course, I call the check-raise... Phew, at least I didn't immediately push all in here.
Viktor bets $16,800. I call. And here I refrained from an immediate all-in! However, this is where an all-in doesn't look so pointless, because he can fold a stronger flush draw with a pair, naked or even ! So I take it back: it would be a very interesting all-in with a 5-high flush draw and a wrap that caught three extra outs on the turn.
River ($52,800, effective stack $68,086):
Viktor bets the full pot. Raise or call? I went with a raise. Um, I don't think there are any more sets in his pot bet, though it's not entirely out of the question.
He calls with the nuts and takes the pot $188,971. Would he fold to a turn raise? Don't know. Most likely no.
Raise, call a 3-bet, and the flop is ha ha ha... That's really bad. This is straight horror. Probably the worst decision so far. My hand is definitely closer to a fold than a raise. Although the most correct, of course, is just a call.
It's amazing how much worse I'm playing in this 2014 session than I was in the recently broken 2010 session. In 2010, I did not allow myself this. There is a regression!
Up against , and we chop.
You can call, but now a check raise is quite possible. Viktor 3-bets to $32,400. I don't think I can fold. Given the lack of position, it is necessary to go all-in.
I’m up against , with 33% equity losing both runouts, pot $120,000. I put it in badly, but I have no complaints about my game. Against his c-bet range, we're doing great, so a raise is fine. Getting a 3-bet is frustrating, but we have too much equity to give up.
I call a 3-bet, flop two top pair, and raise a continuation bet. This is quite reasonable, although today I would still prefer to call.
Turn ($75,600, $24,000 effective stack):
He pushes. I should call.
I win against , pot $123,600. His call on the flop is bad in theory, but given that I raised a naked open-ended straight draw, he probably has the right to do so.
Finally, I won something! Funny.
I call a 3-bet and a c-bet – I would be very unhappy to see myself raise on the flop. He bets the full pot on the turn...
At the time, I bet a lot of turns that hit the straight and my opponent checked. Too often! Against such a player, if I were him, I would often check with monsters. So pot bet doesn't really scare me.
I go all in, he calls with and we split again.
I had a good time with this hand. Another option is to call, give up on river clubs, and pay all in on the blanks.
Good call, 3-bet. Good call on the flop.
Viktor bets $13,800. You have to call again. Interestingly, he reduces the sizing on the turn: he bet 3/4 on the flop and half on the turn, although all sets can continue to bet big. I do not think that in this sizing he has . I call.
River ($52,800, $36,900 effective stack):
He goes all in. I have a full house that doesn't beat any value, but Viktor can bluff a lot. I call, I lose to . Pot $126,600.
Ace-queen is why he downsized on the turn. Interesting.
I 3-bet and check-raise the flop. Well, if he checks to me more than he should, which seems to be true, then my line is right. The staking is too loose in theory, but I have reasonable equity against two pair, good equity against combo draws, and a lot of fold equity.
Up against , and again we chop the two runouts. His shove on the flop against my raise looks pretty bad.
I 3-bet properly and check a board where I can c-bet the whole range. Check-call looks good.
I check, and he bets $13,800. I call.
River ($50,400, $44,700 effective stack):
I will call on such a river. I check, and Viktor goes all in. Call and lose to . Pot $139,800.
After checking the flop, the hand is played very standard, my line would show good expectations. On the river, he can bet for value with .
One time a single raised pot. The continuation bet for me is very bad, don't play like that. Obviously, I won't fold or the pot wouldn't make the cut, but I should fold to a raise. Two bad decisions on the same street!
Victor bets $15,600. There are more outs on the turn, this call will be good.
River ($50,400, $48,600 effective stack):
He checks. Easy all-in for me. I get a call from – a set of sixes with a blocker on my flush. Pot $147,600.
On the flop, he should check-call, otherwise, everything is standard.
Raise, call 3-bet. I suspected that I could play like this on the flop. If he c-bets too much, my line isn't terrible, but I don't think he's folding any overpairs! Do not know what to say.
Up against near a coin flip and a chop.
I call a 3-bet and call a c-bet when I should have raised – the hand just has too much equity. Okay, let's call.
He bets $13,800, an easy call with a full house.
He pushes me all in. Again an easy call. What's he have? , a missed draw. Pot $131,400.
I 4-bet with aces. My c-bet size is big, but not outrageous. Viktor goes all-in. I think I don’t have a fold – there are a lot of combinations in his range . Often there will be a queen there, but what can you do?
I lose both runouts to his hand . A full house on the flop could also be played through a call. Okay, well done too. Pot $144,600.
Call 3-bet, flop the super nuts. Easy call.
He bets $15,600. In deeper stacks, it would be possible to raise, but here I like calling more. I have about $80k behind me. Maybe it's a raise here too? Don't know. I call.
River ($56,400, $63,600 effective stack):
He checks. I bet $47,400. He can't fold, otherwise, we wouldn't have seen this pot. I wonder what he has there – I don't have any ideas.
Viktor calls with . Pot $151,200. OK. For him, a pretty good line, meaningful.
Raise, easy call to the 3-bet. The flop is monstrous again. I repeat the same mistake. You should just call, and my line is frankly dumb.
Viktor pushes all in and I should call. He shows and wins both runouts, the pot is $121,800. I can't even knock out such a weak hand!
Of course, we don't see all the hands. Maybe he folded a lot on flops and my wild raises somehow worked.
One time raised pot. You can check-call, but check-raise is fine. Viktor calls.
I check and he bets the full pot. I don’t like the check at all, I have to bet. It is clear that I joyfully bet all in on the pot. We go against , and he manages to win both runouts.
You don't have to c-bet him, but you can. Calling a raise is good, pot betting on the turn is good. In general, a normal hand for him.
Raise and call the 3-bet with a fairly weak hand, but within limits. He bets big on the flop, but I still seem to have to call with an open-ended draw. However, I don't have full confidence in this, the board is very dynamic. I call.
He bets the pot. I have the second nuts with a redraw, I see no options against such an opponent – all-in.
Up against the same straight – , he manages to win 3/4 by catching a full house on the second river.
It looks like I should just be calling a raise, instead we play a 4-bet pot and I bet the full pot on the flop.
This is bad. Start with a check. If I want to have a lead range on the flop, I need to decrease the sizing. And this hand will not get there anyway.
I’m up against and win both runouts, finally!
What's wrong with my pot bet? Quite often he will check the flop and let us realize equity or make a small bet that we can call. So we don't have to rush into the all-in, nothing will stop us from realizing our flush draw.
I call a 3-bet. He checks on the flop. I can check this hand.
He calls and checks the turn.
We have additional outs, but a check afterward is quite appropriate here.
He checks. I bet $19,500. Right. He check raises to $82,500. Hate it, but it's a call against him. I don't regret this call at all, although I certainly lose because I lost what seemed to be all the important hands of that session.
Pot of $189,000 goes to .
The most standard cooler: call preflop, check-call the flop and turn, check-raise the river, he shows with the second nuts. There is nothing to discuss.
So, what is this? I raised preflop and he donks on the flop? Exactly, I already forgot that he played like that. And, by the way, quite often. It would be interesting to download more hands, study his strategy and think about how I would adjust to it now, but this is a four-hour task, no less. Yes, and it would be no less interesting to analyze my old stats. I played just awful.
I call the flop, that's right.
He bets $8,400. Raise to $28,800. It is also good. He calls.
River ($67,200, $99,000 effective stack):
He checks and I bet $46,500. I don't know why I bet two-thirds, it's better to just pot it. He calls! With what? ?
No, . Hmm, okay. If you want to play with a lead range, you can lead these hands. Further, I like his actions on all the streets. Both played well.
Standard call preflop and flop. I hit the nuts on the turn, and I check. He makes a big bet. Don't raise, Phil, just call! We don't have enough redraws to raise. Here, good.
I check, and he bets the pot. Looks like we can split. I go all-in, and I get called by . How often do we split?
I make a bad 3-bet preflop, catch the nuts on the flop and check badly! This board is suitable for a 100% continuation bet. Okay, if you don't use a small sizing, which I didn't, then we get checks, and sometimes that can be slowplayed.
He checks next. I like my check on the turn much more: when he sees the second check, he will start betting with hands like .
I check-raise to $25,800, which is a good idea, but the sizing is probably too big. He pushes me all in, which looks dubious of him.
I’m up against . Like no outs? Pot $121,200.
He played well on the flop, and the turn bet was also good, but the all-in was terrible. Actually, I think it's right to bet-fold for him.
I call a raise preflop. C-Bet can also be paid. I call.
I check. He bets $8,400. Gotta fold. Instead, I raise to $28,200. What?
Oh. Perhaps the new worst decision in this session. Or not? Definitely one of the worst. Look at the stack depth: after he bet the turn, I have 135k behind me!
I guess I thought I didn't have enough to call, so I'll check-raise bluff! Alas, this is such an unsuitable hand... You should just fold.
A suitable bluff card. I bet $53,100. Big bet, okay. He goes all in. It's annoying. Out of the blue, an extra $80,000 was lost.
I 3-bet with aces and get called. C-Bet is big. He calls.
You can bet, you can check. I check, and he bets $13,800. Call. Also acceptable.
River ($49,200, $36,000 effective stack):
I check, and he goes all in. Obviously, I called. I wonder why? Well, I am not blocking spades... Also, he will pick this line with and . I block. Okay, at least there is some reason to call, I've had worse calls. It will do.
Viktor wins $121,200 with . Just flopped the nuts.
I guess my hero call is worse than it looks because Viktor should fold his weakest hands to the half-pot c-bet. and . But if you don't fold, then fine.
Raise, call 3-bet. Big c-bet on the flop... I have to call and I do.
He checks. I bet $17,700. Right now, I'd be checking for the nut straight outs. If we check the turn and the river hits a ten, I can make it with a straight when he checks. That's why I don't like my bet.
He calls and checks the river.
River ($60,600, effective stack $52,863):
Having bet the turn, I have to go all the way. I get a call from . Pot $166,327.
He played well. My line isn't terrible, but a turn check would be better.
Continuation betting for me is not terrible, but it is better not to do so. And you certainly don't need to pay a raise, just fold it, Phil, it's a very weak hand! Against a value range, I have no outs, and I have poor playability on most turns... though somehow I made a big pot with it, so I found the right turn. All in all, a very simple fold.
Well, yes, something like that. Excellent turn. Viktor bets the pot. I call for sure.
River ($57,600, $38,100 effective stack):
Will go with it. Viktor goes all in, I call and hope to see .
I see . Or this, yes. For him, it is logical on all streets. I should have folded on the flop, but the following streets played correctly. Pot $133,800.
I start to tilt looking at this session, and not because I'm losing, but because it hurts to see how badly I played.
Open, call 3-bet. I call a continuation bet, everything is ok.
Victor bets $16,800. Big bet, but I don't really believe in it. (I've already talked about how I loved attacking straight turns in position...) You need to call and give him a chance to bluff. That's what I do.
River ($58,800, $90,300 effective stack):
He bets the pot. I still don't believe it – call. Probably in vain – he has . Pot $176,400.
I make a standard 3-bet, c-bet 2/3 on the flop, second barrel on the turn – everything seems to be fine, and here it is ... I don’t think I can fold it. We'll usually be behind, but I don't need that much equity. Given the hands we're showing each other this session, I could suddenly be ahead.
We go all in. Viktor , caught a big set on the turn. I'm lucky – I chop the two rivers.
I 3-bet with this hand, which I shouldn't have done. Viktor 4-bets, I call and bet the pot on the flop. Could be bad. Today I would check, but the lead is fine too.
I’m up against , win both runouts. Pot $120,000.
I call preflop, 3-bet, and flop c-bet. A big bet on the turn should be called, albeit without much joy. I go all-in...
I don't know why I'm doing this. Although no, I know: I'm just afraid to play the river.
Viktor , he wins both runouts. Pot $143,046. Bad game on my part punished.
Again a 3-bet is called, a continuation bet is called, and Viktor bets the full pot on the turn. I can't fold it. In theory, this is a call, but in practice, it is possible to shove, not a mistake. Based on Viktor's style of play, I will see hands like .
I go all in. He calls with . Big set again... Ran it twice, and hit a straight once.
4-bet pot. I don't mind the lead on the flop here, it's to my advantage if he folds some A-highs that didn't hit the board, for example, .
I’m up against and win both runouts. Pot $120,000.
This is a fold on the flop. If he had bet a third, then he could have paid, but still, nothing good can come from calling with this hand.
Viktor bets $16,800. One of the rare good cards. However, deeper than 100k, should call again.
I raise to $75,600. This is overkill. Yes, he calls, but it's still not worth playing like that.
We're leading, he has , I win both runouts. Pot $240,571. Wow! How did I lose so much in this session? Apparently, things were worse in medium-sized banks.
Ha ha! I c-bet, he calls and leads the blank turn! I have no idea what that could mean. But with my hand, there is not much to think about, a simple call.
He bets the pot. I raise to $51,000 and I get called. I don't really understand why I decided to lower the sizing of the raise. Am I trying to portray to provoke him into a crazy bluff? I think he has himself here.
Viktor shows . An interesting idea is to catch extra outs on the turn and get Phil to fold some . Inventive, but hard to balance.
3bet pot. I call a c-bet on the flop, then he bets pot on the turn. Hmm... I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing here, but it's definitely not what I'm doing – no need to bet all in! The only choice here is between calling and folding.
I’m up against , the pot splits thanks to a deuce on one of the rivers.
Raise again, call a 3-bet, call a c-bet, and on the turn, I have a pair and am open-ended, and Victor bets the pot. It looks borderline, but probably still a call.
But don't raise, Phil! You have to stop betting these all-ins! Terrible.
Viktor has , kings with the nut flush draw. Again, the deuce allows me to chop the hand.
I just can't believe how much worse I'm playing in 2014 compared to a few years ago. Amazing.
Too big c-bet size for this texture, as usual. Calling a check-raise is standard.
Viktor bets $13,800. Simple call.
River ($46,800, effective stack $56,076):
He bets the pot, with about $9,000 behind. Should I go for the rest? Perhaps calling is a little better. I call, okay.
Viktor has . A straight flush sounds about right, doesn't it? Pot $140,400.
That's all! We did it. The big pots are done.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed it because I didn't get any enjoyment out of my terrible game. I liked the way I played against Patrik Antonius in 2010, but here... I'm in shock.
Of course, I suspected that I was behind in the game in those years, and even explained to you the reasons, but I did not think that I sank that much. It's not just about opponents who have surpassed me – I myself have frankly degraded.
This session shows both fatigue and tilt, but it is my fear that is felt most strongly. Fear of playing rivers, fear of constantly getting pot-bets on the turn in 3-bet pots... He 3-bets a lot, c-bets a lot, and double-barrels. I decided to fight this counter-aggression with insufficiently strong hands, but Viktor, as we can see, if he squeezed, then it was just a little bit. As a rule, he pressed the gas with quite adequate hands.
In total, I lost just under $900,000 in that session. The amount does not really upset me (although then, of course, it upset me), but the low quality of my game is frankly depressing. This is the level of 2005 at best. But I already wrote training videos for Run It Once.
In general, I really hope that this session is not indicative of my game as a whole. It's just that I tilted a lot on Viktor's unexpected strategy and came up with an adjustment that turned out to be even worse.