The Big Bluff

One of the best ever examples of an all-in move happened at the 2005 Monte Carlo Millions in a hand between the last two players standing: UK pro Paul Jackson and Phil Ivey.

Jackson called a pre-flop raise with 6? 5? against Ivey’s Q? 8?. Both players completely missed the board, which came down J? J? 7?, but it didn’t stop the action. Ivey bet out, Jackson raised, only to see Ivey come back over the top. Jackson, sure Ivey was bluffing, fired again, but Ivey calmly announced he was all-in.

It’s one of the most incredible hands of poker you’ll see. Both players had nothing and from the action it seems that both players knew that the other didn’t have a hand. But, when Ivey moved all of his chips into the middle, it left Jackson with nowhere to go. If Jackson had moved all-in first, the result would have been entirely different.

It doesn’t always work out that well. The Ivey/Jackson example is one of two players at the top of their game and it shows that, when used wisely, moving all-in is the most powerful and the best possible move you can make. Get it wrong, though, and it can be disastrous. If Ivey’s read had been wrong and Jackson had a hand, his all-in would have doubled Jackson up. If you move all-in and get called by someone with a better hand and a bigger chip stack then you’ve just committed tournament suicide.