Analyzing heads up poker without access to hole cards is even more pointless than analyzing full ring poker without access to any poker knowledge whatsoever. But as we have done that for getting on six years now, we’ll give this other game a stab.
It was plain in the pre-match interviews that John Racener’s plan was to double up quickly and Jonathan Duhamel’s was to stop him doing just that. Racener hadn’t revealed, however, that he had clearly decided to see as many flops as he could for a cheaply as possible, hoping to pick up a concealed two pair or, better probably, trapping Duhamel with a big starting hand.
In carrying out that plan, Racener set about flat-calling from the small blind when he was first to speak pre-flop, and Duhamel obliged by checking his option to take them to the community cards. The strategy was only a partial success, however, because although Racener was able to see those flops, he clearly didn’t connect, at least not as emphatically as Duhamel.
The first time they both seemed to like a board – see hand ten in our previous post – Duhamel had flopped top pair, turned two pair, and was able to call a river raise from Racener.
That meant that on hand 11, when Racener did pick up a big hand, pocket queens, and got all his chips in the middle, called by Duhamel, his double up only took him back to something close to his starting stack.
We then went through a short period of stasis. Hands 11 through about 25 were entirely devoid of three bets, meaning that after Racener’s notable double up, it became a small-ball battle. Racener re-raised all in only once pre-flop, and Duhamel folded instantly. The stacks showed no significant fluctuation.
Duhamel clearly noticed the passivity on display, and decided to ramp it up a notch. He suddenly decided to put Racener to the test for his tournament life more frequently, and as a result picked up a few million chips here and there. When tournament director Jack Effel called an unscheduled break at around 9.30pm – about an hour after this battle began – Duhamel was closing in again on 200,000.
The precise counts at the break were:
Jonathan Duhamel: 196,050,000
John Racener: 23,550,000