April 16, 2023 Featured Articles, Live Poker News, Poker News Lars Liedtke

Poker Hand of the Week – The Biggest Pot of the Heads-Up Grudge Match Nik Airball vs. Matt Berkey

In our Poker Hand of the Week we analyze the biggest pot from the Heads-Up Grudge Match between Nik Airball and Matt Berkey worth a whopping $550,000!

Poker Hand of the Week Setup

The Heads-Up Grudge Match between Nik Airball and Matt Berkey is the hot topic in the poker world, so we figured it does make sense to analyze the biggest pot of the match so far.

Nik Airball Accepts Matt Berkey's $200$400 Heads-Up Grudge Match Challenge

They are playing $200/$400 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em with a minimum buy-in of $100,000. Both are very deep at this point with effective stacks being 688 big blinds.

Poker Hand of the Week Action


Matt Berkey raises from the button to $1,000 with 6♥6♦ and Nik Airball 3-bets to $5,000 with Q♥J♥. Berkey calls. Pot Size: $10,000


The flop comes K♥6♣3♣, which strongly favours the range of the preflop raiser. Consequently, Nik Airball makes a continuation bet of $3,300 and Matt Berkey calls. Pot Size: $16,600


The A♦ on the turn is another great card for Airball’s range and he overbets the pot with $18,000 into $16,600. Berkey calls again. Pot Size: $52,200


Nik Airball binks the Nuts on the 10♠ river and he goes for a massive overbet shove of 4.7x pot by betting $248,700 into $52,200.

Matt Berkey still has a set and ends up making the call just to get shown that he got rivered by Airball, who wins the biggest pot of the Heads-Up Grudge Match worth a whopping $550,000.

Poker Hand of the Week Analysis

Very interesting hand! Let’s dive deep into it.

Preflop is pretty standard. Berkey raises with Pocket Sixes from the button and Airball 3-bets with QhJh from the big blind. Some might think that a 5x 3-bet is too large, but given that they play heads-up and are very deep this is actually a nice sizing.

The flop comes Kh6c3c, which is an absolute dream for Berkey. Not only because he flops middle set against and aggressive opponent, who 3-bet pre, but also because the flop is King-high and perfectly suited for a continuation bet.

Nik Airball chooses a small cbet sizing of 1/3 pot, which I like. There is no need to go big here as he has Queen-high and a small cbet is often  enough in this spot to win the hand. Berkey however calls.

The Ad on the turn hits the preflop raiser’s range very hard and it also gives Nik a gutshot to the Nuts making this the perfect candidate for a second barrel. This is what he does and he goes big by overbetting the pot. Matt just calls again with his set.

The Ts on the river does give Nik Airball the Runner-Runner straight. Now the big question is how much to bet? Airball says “All of it” and shoves for almost 5x pot. This is a very polarizing play as he says I have the Nuts or a Stone Cold Bluff.

The bottom line is: Is Nik Airball capable of bluffing here? And the answer is yes, since he is known for making huge river bluffs.

In addition, he can have Ace-King or Ace-Ten here, which Matt beats so a flopped middle set is too strong of a hand heads-up to fold in this spot and Berkey has to call it off here.

Poker Hand of the Week Conclusion

This hand is not only well played by both players, it is also a perfect example how to use your image and frame your opponent.

A very important background information is that Nik Airball actually did get caught bluffing by Berkey after overbet shoving the river in the same session.

Nik Airball uses the history and his image to perfection and manages to get paid on an almost 5x overbet shove to get the absolute maximum with the Nuts.

Watch the Poker Hand of the Week here:

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