Hand of the Week: Best Hand to Nuts to Second Nuts to Gone

When two world-class poker players clash, you have a recipe for excitement.

This battle between Dan Colman and Christoph Vogelsang at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas had a couple of twists and turns that made it one of the most spectacular of the year yet.

Who came out victorious? Let’s find out.

Flop to River

We’re close to the bubble of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas with 175 players left. Of the 738 originally registered, 143 make the money.

With the blinds at 1000/2000/300 Christoph Vogelsang has 145,000 chips, which is a pretty healthy stack. Things get even better when in second position he gets    

He raises to 4,500 and gets two calls. Aaron Paul (aka Jesse Pinkman) calls from the hijack with 45,000 chips behind. Dan Colman in the big blind also calls. His stack is 128,000 chips.

There’s 16,600 chips in the pot and effective stacks are 40,000 and 130,000, respectively. The flop is      

It’s checked around so the pot is still 16,600 chips on the turn  

Colman checks in first position. Vogelsang bets 7,000 and Paul folds. Colman now check-raises to 27,000. Vogelsang thinks about it and calls. The pot has grown to 70,600 and effective stacks are now 101,000.

The river is the   Colman bets 80,000 and Vogelsang moves all-in. Colman calls quickly and shows    

Colman’s quads win him a pot of 272,000. He went on to finish the tournament in 59th place. Vogelsang, however, was left with just 12,400 chips. He busted before the money. Watch this remarkable hand again in the video below.


At the end of this dramatic hand Christoph Vogelsang shows his cards very confidently. Imagine the shock when he realized Colman just hit his one out on the river.

Christoph Vogelsang

Imagine the shock.

Let’s take this hand step-by-step to try and follow the minds of these two great players.

Pre-flop, Vogelsang uses the best starting hand in poker to standard-raise to 2.25 bb. Paul and Colman, whose range is pretty wide in the big blind, both call.

Vogelsang hits the jackpot on the flop and his only concern is now how to win as many chips a possible. 

When Colman checks, he forgoes a bet and instead goes for the slow play where a lot of amateurs would bet because of the flush draw on the board.

Apart from the two spades on the flop, however, it’s a very dry one that has virtually no draws. So Vogelsang’s move is perfectly viable.

Spade flush draws and a 4-3 hand are just a very small part of his opponents’ ranges and thus not relevant enough. To put in a different way, a bet would make his opponents fold most of the time.

Colman Steps On the Gas

Things get really interesting on the turn. The 5 is one of the few cards that takes the nuts away from Vogelsang.

Still, the chances of his opponents holding 4-3 are rather remote. Vogelsang bets and Paul folds, but when Colman check-raises that chance suddenly feels a little more realistic.

Board am Ende


Colman’s range has a lot more hands in it, though, and we can put them in two main categories.

1) Strong hands like the nuts – 4-3 – sets with pocket nines, fives, or deuces, and more unlikely two pair with A-9, A-5, or A-2.

2) Semi-bluffs like 7 6 – flush draw and gutshot draw – or any two spades.

A complete bluff in Colman’s hand is rather unlikely.

Call or All-In?

The crucial question for Vogelsang is obviously whether he should call or raise. But as Colman will fold anything except sets, it’s the better option to call in position and wait for the river.

The river is a deuce giving Vogelsang the nut full house. Colman takes the lead but he still has a range of hands to do this with – 9-9, 5-5, even A-2, 4-3, 2-2 or a total bluff.


Too amazed to be angry.


Vogelsang thus has but one option – all-in! He wants to get all of Colman’s chips.

Colman can’t fold anymore and Vogelsang has the second nuts so he only loses to one single hand. And that is so unlikely he can’t possibly expect it.

In Colman’s defence, he played the hand very strongly. His overbet on the river makes his move look like a bluff and might have even triggered a call from a much weaker hand than the one Vogelsang really had.


Vogelsang starts with the best possible hand, flops the nuts and rivers the second nuts. Then it turns out to be the most nightmarish hand for him ever.

As happens often when two strong hands clash, the chips go in at some point. At least the loser of the hand didn’t lose his sense of humor – Vogelsang’s smile at the end might have been the ultimate move.

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