The biggest online no-limit hold 'em hand of 2013 was worth $498,028 and was won by a mystery man who plays under the screen name "Denoking." The hand played out at a five-handed $400/$800 Full Tilt Poker table on June 22.
A player using the handle "Samrostan," who began the hand with a little more than $350,000, was first to act and raised to $2,160. Denoking, who had a stack of nearly $265,000, reraised to $8,400 from the button.
Sitting on a little more than $245,000, a player with the screen name “MalACEsia”— we'll call him “Mal” — put in a raise to $22,000 from the small blind. The big blind folded, and the original raiser, Samrostan, did the same.
Denoking proceeded to five-bet to $45,600, which inspired Mal to put in a six-bet.
Denoking then went all in, and Mal called off his remaining chips. Just like that, there was $498,028 in the pot before a single card had been put out on the board.
Typically, the only way so much money goes into a preflop in no-limit hold 'em is if two players hold big hands, and as you can imagine, that was the case in this pot. Mal revealed Ah Kc, the hand nicknamed
“Big Slick,” but it was no good, as Denoking tabled Ad Ac.
According to a poker odds calculator, Denoking was a massive 92.80 percent favorite, Mal would win just 5.86 percent of the time, and there was a miniscule chance of a chopped pot.
The 10h 4s Ks flop paired Mal's king, but that still only improved his chances of winning the hand to 8.59 percent.
The 5h turn meant he would need another king on the river to prevail — something that would happen just 4.55 percent of the time — but it wasn't in the cards, as the 9d blanked on the river.
And with that, Denoking took down the biggest online the biggest online no-limit hold ’em pot of 2013.
While the hand was entertaining, it shouldn't have played out the way it did. When Denoking five-bet to $45,600, which was a strong move, Mal should have known his ace-king was no good.
Had he just called instead of reraising, Mal would have no doubt gotten his money in on the king-high flop, and the result would have been the same (though he could have folded later and preserved some of his stack).
Instead, he opted to six-bet.
When Denoking seven-bet all in — a rare move in any poker game — it was obvious he held either a pair of aces or a pair of kings.
At that point, Mal had $58,400 invested in the pot, and instead of surrendering it, he put in his remaining stack knowing full well he was behind in the hand. (At best he would have been in a coin-flip situation against a hand like pocket queens).
It's one thing to move all in with ace-king; it's another to call off your stack with it. Mal learned that lesson and paid the maximum price for it.