The Million Dollar Game kicked off on May 28th, with big blinds the size of monthly rent payments. Records were set in 2023, so expectations were set quite high for this year's Hustler Casino Live event.

Here’s a summary of the action from Day 1 to Day 3:

Day 1

  • Biggest winner: Peter (+$1,525,500)
  • Biggest loser: Tom Dwan (-$992,000)
  • Average VPIP: ~46%
  • Highest VPIP: Texas Mike (69%)
  • Lowest VPIP: Handz (33%)

Day 2

  • Biggest winner: Peter (+$999,500)
  • Biggest loser: Action Dan (-$1,004,000)
  • Average VPIP: ~45%
  • Highest VPIP: Action Dan (55%)
  • Lowest VPIP: Steve (34%)

Day 3

  • Biggest winner: Alan Keating (+$1,521,000)
  • Biggest loser: Texas Mike (-$2,747,500)
  • Average VPIP: ~57%
  • Highest VPIP: Texas Mike (73%)
  • Lowest VPIP: Steve (38%)

With so much cash on the table, everything is amplified. Wins are bigger, losses cut deeper, and misplays are extra painful. On that note, let’s discuss the half-a-million-dollar misplay from the Million Dollar Game.

Folding the Winning Hand in a $543,000 Pot

It’s Day 3 of the Hustler Casino Live’s biggest cash game of the year. About an hour into the game, a former lawyer and mysterious newcomer clashed.

Texas Mike raised preflop to $4,000 with , which Steve 3-bet to $22,000 with . Since this is the Million Dollar Game and most players have million-dollar stacks, he gets four callers.

Thomas even gets in there with in position, behind Texas Mike, Keating, and Tom Dwan (with ). Thomas and Tom are the underdogs, with 13% and 9% respectively.

However, the flop of gave Thomas an open-ender and a much larger equity share. Still, there’s $112,000 in the pot at this point and it will cost him to draw. Texas Mike bets out $56,000 with his middle pair, getting called by Steve, then Thomas.

On the turn, Texas Mike pulls out the min-bet, tossing $1,000 into a pot of $282,000. Nobody raises, but of course, they aren't folding either.

Steve’s reaction to the $1,000 bet

The river brings in lots of draws. gets there, along with flush draws and a bunch of other straight draws (including Thomas’ with ). When it checks to him, he quickly bets $130,000. Steve calls within 10 seconds and… Thomas throws his cards away.

Hero calling with the losing hand, but getting the chips anyway

The graphics show the winner, but that isn’t who got the chips

As one onlooker put it, “We’ve all been there, right?”

Here are some possible explanations for Thomas' misread:

  • Thomas probably thought he was bluffing, perhaps with a hand such as , , or something similar. This was only an hour and a half into the stream, so you wouldn’t expect players to be exhausted yet, but who knows.
  • Another possibility is that Thomas thought the was a , making any higher club than his a winner. Upon seeing the , he might have thought he was beaten.

Fans had other ideas and found many ways to explain this hand. It was a money laundering scheme, a mask covering his vision, or Hustler Casino trying to pump their ratings with wild action. RFID errors were also speculated, but it was a far less popular theory.

Whatever the reason, hopefully, he’s in a financial position to laugh this one off.

A Few Big Moments from the Million Dollar Game 2

Fans were disappointed to see short-handed action at times, but the Million Dollar Game still had plenty of memorable hands.

  • Tom Dwan raises after his opponent honestly reveals his hand.

Durrr has and Steve somehow gets to the river with . The board is .

After a min-bet of $1,000 into $151,000, then acting like he wanted to up it to $38,000, Steve gave Dwan a lifeline.

Steve – “You want me to just tell you what I have and make it easier for you?”

Tom – You’re free to tell me what you have. Anytime.”

S – “I have Jack deuce.”

D – “You have Jack deuce?”

S – “Yeah. Is that good here?”

D – “It’s not bad.”

About 20 seconds later, Dwan grabs a stack of red chips and moves $50,000 into the pot. Steve snap calls him. Maybe he’s seen too many clips of Tom on YouTube to ever fold this, for any amount of money.

  • Peter’s Alleged Hit & Run

On Day 2, Peter left the game around the 4-hour mark, apparently for a “personal obligation”. He racked up, shook hands, and left with smiles. However, as soon as he left, Steve asked, “How do you say hit and run in Chinese?”

Some people watching the Million Dollar Game 2 on the second day agreed. Peter, at the time of his early exit, was up over $2 million. Hit and runs in poker are generally frowned upon and viewed as poor etiquette. ACR Poker even has 7-Day No Rathole tables to prevent this. Players must return with the same stack size they left with for a period of 7 days, making hit-and-runs less attractive.

But perhaps, Peter really had a good reason for leaving. Of course, it's more sensational on Twitter to discuss the opposite.

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  • Keating and Texas Mike Have a $2.2 Million Flip

Towards the end of the Day 3 stream, things got very splashy. After what appears to be a limp from Texas Mike, Keating raises to $20,000 from the small blind. Brandon calls on the big blind with 6c4c, but Texas Mike rounds the number up to $100,000.

Alan Keating, holding AcQc and not being known for slowing the pace, 4-bets to $275,000. Brandon is sensibly out of the way after that and Mike promptly shoves for just under $1.1 million in total.

Keating snap calls. Texas Mike asks the classic line, “Do you have a pair?”

“No, do you?”

“Yes,” Mike replies.

“Good luck!” Keating then said, “I’m taking a couple minutes break after this hand. I don’t feel good.” He’d either spend his minutes up or down about a million dollars.

But it was a fantastic runout for Keating and he scooped on a board. Texas Mike was done. “See you tomorrow,” Alan said on his way out, but Mike shook his head.

$2.2 million is not a bad result for Keating in this massive coin flip.

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