During heads-up play of the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Galen Hall made a huge lay-down that might have been what made it possible for him to go on and win the $2.3 million first-place prize and title against hyper-aggressive and bluff-happy Chris Oliver.
Blinds: 100,000-200,000 with a 20,000 ante
Chris Oliver - approximately 35 million
Galen Hall - approximately 11 million
Here is a hand written for the Live Reporting page by Donnie Peters:
From the button, Galen Hall raised to 450,000 holding the . Chris Oliver defended from the big blind with the and the two were off to the flop. The first three community cards came down . Oliver took the lead with the best hand, having flopped a pair of deuces. Hall added an open-ended straight draw. Oliver checked and Hall fired 575,000. Oliver made the call.
The turn brought the and paired the board. It also gave Oliver trips and took away the bottom end of the straight draw for Hall. Oliver checked his trips and Hall checked behind.
Jaws dropped and eyes popped from everyone watching the feed as the river hit with the . Hall had made his straight, but Oliver had him notched with a full house. Oliver got sneaky with his full house and checked. Hall fired out a bet of 2 million and had walked right into Oliver's trap. Oliver thought for a little bit and started to cut out some chips. Then, he moved all-in to go for max value and try and end this thing right here. Hall didn't snap-call. He tanked for a few minutes holding the wheel. Eventually, Hall gave it up and made one the best folds we've ever witnessed. Oliver scooped the pot, but little did he know how very close he was to winning this thing right here.
In a winner interview with Gloria Balding, Hall analyzes his fold on the river. Here's what he had to say:
"This is a spot where people [in my position] would value bet like 1.1 million or something, but I bombed it to 2 [million]. I bet almost full pot. There's a couple reasons.... He can have a lot of value. If he has an ace, he's going to call no matter what my size is. He might even look me up with lower pairs and stuff like that, or two pairs or something, so betting big for value is a really good move there. Also, it makes it almost impossible for him to check-raise me or check-jam on me with anything other than a full house or maybe a six-four straight for value. Against most opponents is a pretty easy fold. 'Alright you have a boat. Good game. I fold.'"
"But Chris is a very tricky opponent. We've played a lot online. I know he's fully capable of bluffing these types of boards. But, it's a 2 million, and I have 10 [million] behind. If I'm polarized to straights or better or air, he doesn't need to bet 10 million to find out if I have air. If he wanted to bluff me, he'd probably come back over with like 6.3 million or something like that. I've seen him make some pretty big folds if I could jam there. So when just jams the 10 million, I know almost instantly that it's basically got to be for value. It's a little irritating because he could maybe have a four and we're chopping, but I'm just so far behind his range. Really, the only reason it's a difficult hand to fold is because the absolute strength of my hand, but compared to his range there that's going to bomb on me, I'm pretty crushed. It took me a while to make, but I think it's a pretty clear fold."