After two weeks of fairly lackluster play combined with loud talk and proposition bets, the preview of this week’s episode promised the replacement of Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, and a player who had entered almost no pots during the first two shows, with Tom “Durrrr” Dwan, who electrified the first six weeks of the season with daring, aggressive play that set the tone for the most interesting block of High Stakes Poker shows to date. It remained to be seen if his presence could have a similar effect on this group of players.
The beginning of the show saw no change in players at the table, and Simon woke up to pocket aces. He just called with them, and picked up three other players, as Daniel Negreanu , Antonio Esfandiari (8-5 offsuit) and Patrik Antonius (A-9 offsuit) came along for the ride. The flop brought K-K-3. Esfandiari bet $4,100 into the $4,800 pot, and Simon raised to $16,000, causing everyone else to fold.
Simon simply called with a strong hand once again on the very next deal, this time A-Q offsuit. He was followed into the pot by a barrage of limpers, as everyone but Cassavetes also called. The hands were: Joe Hachem - pocket sevens, Negreanu with 5-4 offsuit, Esfandiari with 9-8 unsuited), Phil Laak , Howard Lederer () and Antonius - unsuited A-2. The flop brought an A-2-8. It was checked around to Negreanu, who bet $3,600 with the inside straight draw. Antonius and Simon called, and everyone else got out of the way.
The turn was the , putting two diamonds on the board, and making Negreanu’s draw a double belly-buster. Simon and Negreanu checked, and Antonius put $12,000 into the $18,000 already in the middle. Both players called, and the pot stood at $54,000. The river was the . Simon and Negreanu checked once again, and Antonius bet $37,000. Commentator Gabe Kaplan noted that amateur players have a hard time getting away from aces with a big kicker, and Simon did wind up making the call. Antonius took down the $128,000 pot.
Before the next hand, Simon left the table, and Lederer took a break, temporarily leaving just six players to continue. Antonius raised to $3,500 with pocket deuces and Laak re-raised to $12,500 with a pair of nines. Antonius called. The flop was 5-5-Q, and both players checked, with the pot now at $27,400. The turn brought a second diamond, the 4, and Antonius led out with $18,000, which Laak called. The third diamond, the 3, came on the river, and Antonius checked. Laak announced that he expects to be abused for not value betting in this situation, and checked the hand down. Indeed, it was unlikely that Antonius was trapping in that situation, and all agreed that Laak should have made a river bet.
After Laak won another pot where he slow played pocket aces all the way to the river, winning the minimum when he wound up hitting a flush, to which Esfandiari folded his pocket sevens, Tom “durrr” Dwan sat down at the table and immediately put on the first live straddle of the game. Hachem raised to $4,800 with and Cassavetes called with A-Q offsuit. To everyone’s surprise, Dwan laid his hand down, leaving two to see the flop, which came K-J-A rainbow, giving Hachem two pair, and Cassavetes top pair- second kicker. Hachem bet $8,000 and Cassavetes called, leaving the pot at $30,000. The turn was the , filling Cassavetes’ straight. Hachem checked, and Cassavetes bet $25,000. Hachem thought for a while, but made the smart laydown, continuing his sharp play from the previous two weeks.
On the next hand, Esfandiari called with pocket nines, leading to Antonius , Lederer and Dwan all calling as well, and Hachem checking his big blind option with 8-3 offsuit. The flop was a 10-2-5, with two diamonds. Dwan, with absolutely nothing, bet $3,400 into the $5,600 pot, which Esfandiari called, leaving two players to the turn. That card was the and Dwan, having become the aggressor on the flop, fired out $9,700 into the $12,400 pot. Esfandiari folded the best hand.
Next, Lederer called with pocket fives, Cassavetes raised to $3,000 with Q-J offsuit and Lederer called. The flop was 7-7-9 with two diamonds, which both players checked. The turn was the , and Lederer bet $3,000 into the $8,800 on the table. Cassavetes raised to $8,500 and Lederer folded the hand that was ahead.
Antonius straddled on the next hand. Laak raised to $6,000 with A-J offsuit, which Lederer (pocket eights) and Antonius called. The flop of 3-2-4, with two hearts, left Antonius with the best hand (a pair of fours), albeit a very shaky one. He checked, Laak bet $16,000 into $20,800, Lederer folded and Antonius called. The turn was the , adding a flush draw to Antonius’ pair. He checked, and Laak fired another bullet, this time $37,300. Antonius called once again, and the pot rose to $127,400. The river was the , and Antonius checked once more. Laak tried once more to push Antonius off the hand with a bet of $80,000. Antonius, very cognizant of the fact that Laak had been slow playing his strong hands to this point, and hadn’t been value betting the river at all, made the winning call with just a pair of fours!!! He was rewarded with a pot of $287,400.
Negreanu straddled the next hand, and Antonius raised to $6,000 with . Lederer called with pocket fives, Dwan followed suit with K-10 offsuit and Negreanu called as well with an unsuited 10-7. The flop came 7-5-9, and after two checks, Lederer bet $20,000 with his set of fives. Everyone else folded.
The final hand of the night featured a duel between the tightest player at the table (Lederer) and the most unpredictable (Dwan). “The Professor” (Lederer) raised to $3,500 with , and “durrrr” (Dwan) re-raised to $11,300 with an unsuited 8-6!!! After some thought, Lederer put in the third bet, raising to $36,300. Dwan, completely unfazed, then made it $65,600!!! Lederer called the bet, despite Kaplan suggesting that he needed either to fold or move all-in, as he only had about $130,000 left.
The flop was 3-2-Q, and both players checked. The turn was an 8, putting both two hearts and two spades on the board, and giving Dwan the lead with a pair of eights. Both players checked once again, and the river was the . They checked it down, and Lederer fully expected to chop the pot, anticipating Dwan to also have A-K. Dwan, however, announced that he had a pair, and when Lederer saw the hand he played, the expression of shock on his face was priceless, as Dwan raked in the $134,000 pot. Negreanu simply stated, “You just got durrrred!”
And fortunately for the interest in this installment of High Stakes Poker, the whole table got “durrrred”. See you next week for more fun!
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