Last week saw the end of a four-week series of shows where the poker playing, for the most part, left a lot to be desired, particularly as it followed upon the heels of probably the best six weeks of play that High Stakes Poker has seen in its first five seasons. This week brought a new cast of characters to the table, including High Stakes veterans Doyle Brunson, Phil Laak, Eli Elezra, Tom “durrr” Dwan, and amateur “Silent” Mike Baxter, along with newcomers Dario Minieri, David “Viffer” Peat and record executive Alan Meltzer.
Dwan raised the first hand to $3,000 with an unsuited 8-6. Both Elezra, with , and Meltzer, with , called. The flop came 10-5-4 with two diamonds. Elezra, with the nut flush draw, bet $16,000, an over bet for the $11,400 pot. Dwan raised to $46,200, and Elezra, looking to make an early statement, went all-in! Dwan was forced to lay down his hand.
In the next hand, everyone folded to Brunson in the small blind, who completed the blind with . Dario Minieri then raised to $3,600 with K-4 offsuit, and Brunson chose to call and test the young player. However, the flop of 2-3-10 caused Brunson to check, and Minieri took it down with a continuation bet of $5,600.
Dwan was right back in the next hand, raising to $3,000 with pocket fives. Doyle Brunson, who didn’t hear the raise being made, wanted to put in a raise with an unsuited 7-6, then wound up just calling with it, which commentator Gabe Kaplan said was a violation of the High Stakes Poker rules, but as no one complained, it was allowed to stand. The flop was 6-3-2, with two spades. Dwan bet out $6,200 and Brunson called. The turn brought the (a second diamond), and Dwan fired another bullet, this time $16,400 into the $21,200 pot. Brunson called once again, making the pot $54,000. The river brought a third diamond, the eight, and after both players checked, Brunson took the pot.
In the break before the next hand, Kaplan noted that the mixture of three hyper-aggressive players like Elezra, Dwan and Minieri should guarantee plenty of action in this next set of episodes. Elezra started off the next hand by calling with an unsuited K-10. Brunson followed suit with a suited K-10 (diamonds), Peat also called with , but Dwan raised to $6,200 with . Only Brunson called the raise. After the flop brought 6-A-9 with one heart and no diamonds, Dwan made a continuation bet of $12,200 into the $16,800 already in the middle, and took it down when Brunson folded.
Phil Laak, after being kidded for not playing any hands, raised to $2,300 with . However, after Dwan re-raised to $9,300 with an unsuited 10-5 (!), Laak meekly laid his hand down.
Peat started the action on the next hand by calling with . Brunson completed the bet in the small blind with and Minieri checked his . The flop brought Q-3-9, with two hearts. Brunson checked, and Minieri bet $2,600 into the $4,000 pot. Peat, with top two pair, raised to $9,000, Brunson folded and Minieri re-raised to $23,500 with his middle pair and flush draw. Although Kaplan complimented Minieri for a creative and unusual play, Peat’s subsequent 4-bet of $105,000 forced Minieri to fold.
On the next hand, Peat simply called with , as did Meltzer (), Elezra (), Minieri (small blind with 7-3) and Laak (checked big blind with 7-4). The flop brought K-9-Q, with two clubs. With a pot of $7,600, Peat bet $2,000 with top pair-top kicker. Meltzer, with the huge draw, raised to $10,000 and Peat called, while the others got out of the way. The turn of the was no help to Meltzer, but after Peat checked, he bet $25,000 into the $25,600 pot. Peat called again, and after the fell on the river, both players checked, and Peat won the $75,600 in the middle.
Next, Elezra raised to $4,000 with pocket kings after Meltzer had called with an unsuited 9-7. Minieri re-raised to $13,000 with , and as Elezra went to examine his cards, he casually mentioned that he hadn’t looked at them before his original bet. Elezra then simply called Minieri’s raise, leaving the pot at $29,600. The flop was 8-8-K, and Elezra checked, hoping to induce a bluff from Minieri. However, Minieri checked behind him. The turn card of the didn’t change anything, and after Elezra once again checked, Minieri took a stab at the pot with a bet of $14,500. Eli Elezra smooth called, and the river brought the . Elezra now bet $35,000, but Minieri, despite hitting his ace on the river, made the good laydown.
Laak made the next hand $2,200 to go with , which Peat (K-10), Dwan (A-2 of diamonds) and Meltzer (J-2) all called. The flop was A-3-10, with two hearts. With the pot at $10,400, Peat bet $5,500, which Dwan and Laak called. The turn brought the , filling Laak’s flush, and giving Peat the nut draw with the . Laak made an almost pot-sized bet of $25,900 after Dwan checked, and the two other players chose to fold.
Elezra put on the live straddle for the next hand, and Minieri raised to $5,500 with pocket tens. Peat re-raised to $16,500 with , Mike Baxter chose to fold his pair of sevens, Elezra folded his straddle and Minieri flat-called. The flop brought J-A-2, and both players checked. The fell on the turn, and Minieri refused to take the bait left out by Peat’s post-flop check. Peat checked behind him again. The river was the , and Minieri checked again, and then made another good laydown when Peat made the value bet of $25,000.
After Meltzer won a small pot with an aggressive post-flop bet, Dwan raised the next hand to $3,000 with A-10. Meltzer called with as did Baxter with Q-J offsuit. The flop was 9-3-6, with two hearts. Meltzer, having taken down the previous hand with post-flop aggression, bet $6,000 into the $11,600 in the pot. Baxter raised to $16,000 and Meltzer called. After the turn brought the , Meltzer checked, and Baxter continued his play with a $25,000 bet into the $43,600 pot. Meltzer folded his hand, and Baxter took it down.
The final hand of the night saw Peat put on the straddle. Dwan raised to $6,000 with , Meltzer called with , and so did Elezra with . The flop was 8-4-A, with two diamonds. Dwan, with the flush draw and $22,400 in the pot, bet $14,600. Meltzer called, and then Elezra raised to $45,000 (!). Dwan called, and Meltzer, with the small kicker, was forced to muck his hand. The turn of the didn’t change anything, and both players checked, leaving the $127,000 pot up for grabs on the river, which brought the . Dwan, having missed his draw, bet $57,300, but Elezra, once again showing that he intends to stand up to Dwan’s aggression during this set of shows, called, and won the $241,600 pot.
Overall, this episode featured quite a lot of aggressive play from many of the participants, including the two amateurs, who showed they weren’t afraid to get in and mix it up with the pros. Elezra quickly proved that he is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Dwan, who has been the dominant player of the season up to now. If this was a taste of what we can expect for the rest of the season, it should be very entertaining viewing from now on. See you next week!
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