Phil Ivey’s Quad Aces Cause Short Deck Cooler Confusion

The vagaries of Short Deck Holdem rules had Rob Yong, and quite a few others, scratching their heads as one of the biggest hands of the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS SHR series in Sochi unfolded…

By: Andrew Burnett

Phil Ivey and Sam Greenwood were battling it out in the last three for the $50,000 Short Deck title, Malaysia’s eventual winner Wai Kin Yong watching on in interest as a brutal hand developed.

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦

Ivey picked up the red aces and elected to just call Greenwood’s open from the button…

Ivey: A♥ A♦
Greenwood: K♣ 8♣

…and the flop almost ensured there would be fireworks, Ivey hitting an ace and Greenwood the nut flush draw…

Flop: A♣ 8♠ Q♣

The turn is where the peculiarities of Short Deck’s rules start to play a huge part in the player’s thinking, so let’s just a have a quick look at the hand rankings used.

Triton Poker, who popularised the 36-card game, have set the standard rankings used by almost every operator both live and online.



What Yong and others were forgetting is that a flush beats a full house in Short Deck, so when the turn card gave Ivey quads…

Turn: A♠

The scene was set for a huge cooler if the river brought a club for Greenwood.

River: J♣

…and there you have it, Ivey losing to only one hand, and Greenwood likewise.

Not that viewers were the only ones confused by the hand, the commentators getting the ‘cooler’ part right, but making their own mistakes

So, Greenwood puts Ivey on a couple of possible full houses in his range, Ivey certainly puts Greenwood on flushes other than the straight, and that’s how Greenwood exited, the chips flying in quickly and only Ivey emerging unscathed.

Despite its popularity, Short Deck still isn’t an everyday game, so the rules will continue to catch out the unwary… it’s sort of the same game, but very different!

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