Things Get Completely Out of Hand in This Three-Way Pot

Crazy three-way pot

6 minutes

Last Updated: April 21, 2024

For the most part, poker is a game of wits where players try to outplay and out-think one another. But every now and again, things turn into a complete mess.

The hand I’ll be going over today most certainly belongs to the latter category. It is from a $25/$50 ante game from Hustler Casino Live, featuring Nick Vertucci, one of the show producers, Luda Chris, a longtime Hustler Live regular, and another player, David, who finds himself in the middle of all the craziness.

Vertucci is the shortest stack to kick things off, with about $21,000 in front of him, while Luda and David have $40,000 to start the hand.

Preflop Play

The action starts with Nick Vertucci limping in with JJ. Two more players limp in for $25, including David with Q8, before it gets to Luda Chris. He looks down at 104 and goes for a raise of $600.

The action folds back to Nick who springs the trap now and makes it $2,600. After a short think, both David and Luda make the call, creating a pot of $7,925.

Preflop Analysis

 Nick Vertucci’s decision to limp in with JJ is certainly not standard, as you want to be coming in for a raise. However, in a game that’s particularly wild and crazy, including pocket Jacks into your limp-raise range from an early position is reasonable.

David limping behind with Q8 is fine. With this being an ante game, everybody is getting a discount to try and see the flop, so folding and calling are options here.

Luda’s decision to go for a squeeze with a hand like 104 is very ambitious, to say the least. This hand has very poor playability after the flop, and people in live games aren’t known for folding that easily after they have committed some money to the pot without at least seeing the flop.

When the action gets back to Nick, he goes for a 3-bet, and that was clearly his plan all along. He makes it $2,600, which is a perfectly reasonable sizing, although there is an argument to be made for going even bigger, like $3,000, to pick up the pot or at least try to get the action heads up.

Even with this sizing, given his opponent’s holdings, both David and Luda have easy folds. David has virtually no money invested and he has Luda still to act behind him. He is not even guaranteed to see the flop, as Chris can still raise and force him to fold.

Once David calls, Luda Chris is getting decent immediate odds, and he is closing the action, so folding doesn’t seem very attractive. Still, with a hand as weak as 104, it is the best option, as there are very few flops that will be truly favorable.

Flop Action

The flop comes 1062 with $7,925 in the middle. It is a definition of an action flop, as Nick still has an overpair; Luda is in there with a weak top pair and a backdoor flush draw, while David is drawing to the spade flush.

Vertucci is first to act, and he goes for an overbet, betting $10,000 even with his JJ, which is about half of his stack.

David makes it $26,000 with his Q8, and, after a short deliberation, Luda decides to call. Nick puts his remaining $10,825 in the middle, creating a pot of $80,750.

Flop Analysis

With the flop coming 1062, it is clear that the pot will balloon before anyone does anything.

Nick does the right thing and goes for a big bet, committing himself to this hand. He’s got as good of a flop as he could hope for with pocket Jacks, short of flopping a set, so there is no reason to slow down now. By overbetting, he is giving his opponents a bad price to try and out-draw him.

David is now in a weird spot, which happens often when you are a player in the middle in a big pot. He’s got a pretty favorable flop for his hand, so if he decided not to fold before the flop, it would make little sense to give up now.

He still wants to get rid of Luda, though, so David goes for a raise of $26,000. I think the better play here is to just move all in and put the maximum pressure.

If Chris calls, they’ll only have around $14,000 behind, so it is maybe not that important. Still, there is no reason to give the opponent any breaks or discounts, especially when you don’t have a made hand.

With all the action in front of him, it’s really hard to find a justification for Luda’s call. He knows that, at best, he’ll have five direct outs and a little bit of backdoor equity. At worst, he could be drawing virtually dead, as David could easily have a set here, and 4 might be a “dirty” out.

Nick doesn’t really have anything to think about. He is committed to this pot, so he has to put the last of his chips in the middle.

Turn Action

The turn card is the Q, making the board 1062Q. There is $80,725 in the main pot and about $10,000 in the side pot between Luda and David.

Both players have very little left behind (relative to the pot), so David, who is now upgraded to the top pair to go with his flush draw, moves all in for his last $13,900, and Luda calls.

Turn Analysis

There isn’t much in terms of strategy to talk about on the turn, as all important decisions were made on the flop. David picks up additional equity, which encourages him to move all in, but it is hard to see the chips not going into the middle regardless.

Luda put himself in a spot where he’s getting such good odds now that there is no way to fold. The Q doesn’t change that much as far as giving either player two pair. So, his direct outs should still be good, if they were good on the flop.

Potentially, his pair could still be good against David if he only has a flush draw, so he could still win a side pot even when he loses to Nick, so with all these factors and almost $110,000 in the middle altogether, there is no backing out now.

River Action

The river brings the miracle 10, completing the runout of 1062Q10. This card improves Luda Chris and his 104 to trips and that hand is good enough for him to scoop the entire pot of $108,550.

Luda manages to defy the odds in this one and drags in the six-figure pot, much to the dismay of his opponents, proving that stubbornness pays off sometimes. That said, do so at your own peril, as math tends to be pretty ruthless over the long run.

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