Doug Polk & the Largest Pot in the Lodge Poker Club History: The Breakdown

doug polk largest pot

5 minutes

Last Updated: May 31, 2024

Although this particular hand happened a few months ago, it certainly deserves a closer look, not only because of the massive $700k+ pot, but also because of the very aggressive line taken by Doug Polk.

The game in question is $200/$400 with a $400 big blind ante, but the stacks are extremely deep. Doug is sitting with almost $750,000 in front of him, while Alex, the second character in the story, starts off with about $350,000.

With stacks this deep, you’ll often see some non-standard plays, as players have plenty of room to get creative. And we all know how creative Polk can get, especially on the home turf.

Preflop Action

The hand begins with Taras opening to $2,000 with A6 from an early position. Polk, who is the next to act, goes for a 3-bet of $7,000 with A4.

Alex wakes up with JJ in the cutoff and makes it an even $20,000 to go. The action folds back to the original raiser, who gets out of the way, and it’s back to Doug.

Polk weighs his options and goes for a surprising one, as he 5-bets to $60,000! Alex thinks it over and ends up making a call, bringing the pot $123,800 before any of the community cards are dealt, and plenty of money left behind to play for.

Preflop Play Analysis

The preflop is probably the most interesting part of this hand, and there is quite a bit to unpack here, so let’s get started.

The original raise with a suited ace is fairly standard. Although Taras is in an early position, this is a loose game, and they are very deep, so trying to see flops with suited aces makes sense.

Doug’s 3-bet with A4 may seem ambitious, but it is actually one of a few hands in the 3-bet bluffing range, even at 200 big blinds. There are no charts available for stacks this deep, but it stands to reason that with deeper stacks, there is even more motivation to 3-bet here with some frequency.

polk largest pot in lodge history
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Alex, with pocket Jacks, is in a bit of a strange situation. Even with this kind of action in front of him, the hand is too strong to fold. Flatting is probably a reasonable option, but by 4-betting, he’ll be able to narrow the ranges further and hopefully get rid of Taras and get the hand heads up.

When the action gets folded back to Doug, he only has two options: fold or 5-bet. He’ll never call what’s a pretty sizeable raise and play out of position with a hand like A-4. At 200 big blinds, this is a fold.

However, with ultra-deep stacks, there is room for a few 5-bet bluffs, and this hand fits the bill perfectly for its blocker properties and playability.

Facing a big 5-bet, Alex is actually in a really tough spot. While pocket jacks are a decent hand, Polk is representing a very narrow range, and Jacks don’t do particularly well against that range. Thus, folding is a completely viable option, as it removes the need to make some very tough decisions on the flop and later streets.

Alex decides to take the road less traveled, though, as he makes the call and decides to take his chances in position.

Flop Action

The flop comes 943, giving Doug a gutshot and leaving Alex with an overpair to the board. Polk fires a continuation bet of $28,000.

Alex calls the small flop bet with his pocket Jacks, and the pot grows to $179,800 heading to the turn.

Flop Play Analysis

After 5-betting, Polk will be firing a continuation bet on pretty much all flops, so there is nothing surprising about his decision.

The sizing is small in relation to the pot, but this is perfectly standard in modern poker. With the pot already bloated, there is enough time to get all the chips in the middle by the river, so there is no need for a large c-bet here.

For Alex, there is nothing else to do but to call. The flop didn’t really change much, as Polk still has aces and kings in his range and some bluffs. If he happens to have a hand like he has, i.e., A-4 or A-5, but in clubs, a raise won’t accomplish much, either. So, by calling, he gets to keep all Polk’s hands in and allows him to keep bluffing, if that’s what he’s doing.

Turn Action

The turn is an absolute gin card for Alex as it comes J. The board reads 943J, which means he has the absolute nuts at this point.

Polk continues with his story and bets out, but he sizes up this time and fires for $78,000. With the nuts in position, Alex just calls, and the pot grows to $335,800.

doug polk vs alex largest pot
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Turn Play Analysis

From Doug’s perspective, a Jack on the turn doesn’t change much. He knows that Alex would call with a wide variety of hands on the flop facing a small bet, so he continues the story he started preflop – the story of pocket aces, most likely.

After turning the nuts, Alex has only one reasonable option, and that’s to call. Raising would serve no purpose other than to alert his opponent that he has a big hand, allowing him to get away from all his bluffs and maybe even some value hands.

River Action

The final card off the deck is the 8, completing a few backdoor straight draws, as the board reads 943J8. Polk fires for one last time, moving all in for his opponent’s remaining $186,000.

Alex wastes no time calling with what’s effectively the third nuts, but with the way this hand played out, pretty much the actual nuts, and he drags in a pot of $707,800.

River Play Analysis

The 8 on the river changes nothing. Polk certainly doesn’t have any T-7 in his 5-betting range, and Q-T is extremely unlikely as well. So, when he shoves, he’s basically continuing his story of a big pocket pair, most likely pocket aces.

With just over a half-pot bet left on the river, he can’t expect to move Alex off of many hands, but he could get him to fold some pairs and missed flush draws. With the river pretty much bricking out, he can’t simply check and give up with a weak ace high.

Alex clearly has an easy call here, and there isn’t much to say about it. He has a top set in a 5-bet pot and has to call only $186k to win over $700k, so he can’t get his calling chips in the middle fast enough.

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