In “The Tao Of Poker” I said that most of your money will be made by having the best hand when all the chips go in. What I omitted to say is that a corollary of doing so is getting away from big hands when you are second best. That is – to be a great poker player – you will have to make some big folds. In this blog I’m going to review two legendary folds.
The first one comes from 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem late in that event. Hachem raised with AKdd and Steve Dannenmann called with 99. The flop came down 1095dd. Hachem checked, Dannenmann bet 150,000, Hachem check raised to 1 million and Dannenmann went All In for just about all of Hachem’s chips. Almost every poker player would call in Hachem’s spot with the nut flush draw and two over cards but Hachem was able to get away from the hand. How? He started talking to Dannenmann and realized that Dannenmann was completely relaxed. I once heard him say “He could only have been so confident if he flopped a set”. And so Joe Hachem correctly laid down a monster and went on to win the tournament. Had he made the call – as almost every other player would do – and lost, nobody would have ever heard of Joe Hachem. It’s one of the great plays in World Series of Poker history. You can watch it in the above YouTube in which it runs from about 4:17 to 8:06.
The second legendary fold comes from the GOAT Phil Ivey in the 2022 Triton Short Deck Main Event. Ivey leads out for 75,000 with KJhh in a 4 way pot on Ks7x6x rainbow and gets two callers, including Tony G. The turn is the Js and Ivey makes an almost pot sized bet of 300,000. Stephen Chidwick – who was also in the hand – folds and Tony G goes All In with 66. Ivey has top two which is an extremely strong hand. Almost every other poker player calls it off here but not Phil. Eventually he throws his hand away.