Some famous personalities took to the felt in Poker After Dark this week, along with poker professionals who had given them advice on their games in the past. Actors Jason Alexander and Don Cheadle, along with former Dodgers’ pitcher Orel Hershiser, sat down for the winner-take-all tournament with pros Barry Greenstein, Phil Gordon, and Gavin Smith. Let’s see how the game played out.
Both Alexander and Hersheiser showed that they could handle playing an overpair during the very first blind level. Alexander raised the 200 chip big blind to 600 with pocket nines under the gun. Hershiser decided to just call the bet with a pair of tens, Smith called in the big blind with , and Greenstein stayed in as well with . The flop of 6-8-4 gave Smith top two pair, and he checked his big hand. Greenstein also checked, but Alexander bet 1,100, which Hershiser min-raised to 2,200. Smith then came over the top with a bet of 7,200, and both Alexander and Hershiser wisely decided to fold their hands.
Two hands later, however, Jason Alexander got into trouble when he found in the small blind. After Cheadle limped with , Smith raised to 1,100 with A-K. Alexander called the bet before Cheadle folded. The flop brought 5-A-2, with no spades. Alexander led out with a bet of 1,200, which Smith smooth-called. When a king came on the turn, Alexander fired a second bullet, this time 2,000, only to have Smith raise to 6,500. Alexander made the call, and when another deuce fell on the river, Alexander check-called Smith’s all-in bet, and was quickly eliminated in 6th place.
With the blinds at 300-600, Hershiser limped under the gun with , and Cheadle also limped with K-10. Smith then found and made it 3,000 to go. Hershiser, suspecting that Smith was looking to pick on the amateurs, then popped it again to 9,000, but after Cheadle folded, Smith, with the big stack, decided to put Hershiser all-in. Hershiser felt pot committed, and made the call. When Smith flopped a queen on a 4-Q-6 board, it was all but over, and the turn 7 and river K sealed Hershiser’s fate, and he was out in 5th place. As is his tradition, he presented Smith with a signed baseball for knocking him out.
With the blinds still at the same level, Phil Gordon, who never got anything going all week, was down to about 5,000 in chips, and he pushed with . Smith, in the big blind, made an easy call with pocket sevens, and after the board played out 5-Q-10-9-8, Gordon was gone in 4th place.
With three players left, Cheadle largely became a bystander in a power poker match between Smith and Greenstein. Despite Smith holding a big chip lead by having eliminated the first three players, Barry Greenstein refused to back down, raising almost every time he was on the button, and following through with continuation bets whether he hit the flop or not. On one of those hands, Greenstein raised to 1,800 with , and Smith called in the big blind with K-3 offsuit. Smith hit the jackpot with a flop of K-K-6, and knowing that Greenstein would bet, simply checked. Greenstein obliged by leading out for 2,500, which Smith called. When a queen came on the turn and Smith checked again, Greenstein decided to see the free card, hoping to hit his straight draw. Indeed, a nine hit the river, and when Smith bet 3,000, Greenstein decided to go all-in. Smith considered his options for quite awhile, but finally laid down his three kings, surmising properly that he was beaten.
At this point Smith had a dominant chip lead, holding about 80,000, as compared to Greenstein’s 25,000 and Cheadle’s 15,000. When Greenstein raised to 1,800 with , Smith called with . The flop walloped both players, as it was 6-3-J with two clubs! When Smith checked and Greenstein made his continuation bet of 2,500, Smith raised to 7,300 with his bottom two pair. Greenstein went all-in with his draw, and Smith naturally called. The came on the turn, giving Greenstein many more outs, and he hit his flush when the was the river card, bringing the two players about even!
However, Greenstein’s run was to be short-lived. After another Greenstein button raise to 1,700 with , Smith called once again in the big blind, this time with . The A-9-5 flop gave Smith top pair, and he checked. Greenstein bet 2,500, and Smith made the call. When the hit the turn, Smith checked once again. Greenstein thought Smith had either a weak ace or a 9 in his hand, and decided to keep the pressure on with a bet of 5,000, which Smith called again. When the came on the river, Smith checked a third time. Greenstein considered his options, and decided to fire the third bullet, this time 15,000. Smith thought for a while, and then made the call, winning the hand and re-establishing his huge lead.
Greenstein was now on the ropes, and, with about 10 big blinds left, he pushed all-in with pocket fives on the button. Smith had an easy call with A-J, and the board of Q-A-K-K-2 brought an end to Greenstein’s tournament in 3rd place, leaving Smith with a 5 to 1 chip lead going into heads-up play.
Smith had been getting hit over the head with the deck throughout the tourney, and the heads-up duel was no exception. Smith found pocket threes and smooth-called on the button. Cheadle checked his option with , and the two saw a flop of J-Q-3 with two spades. Cheadle led out for 2,000, which Smith raised to 5,500, and Cheadle called. The turn was the and Cheadle decided to try again with a bet of 5,000. Gavin Smith, with his set of threes, went all-in and Cheadle called, but didn’t hit his flush when the river brought the . Gavin Smith had eliminated all five players single-handedly, and emerged as the winner of this week’s Poker After Dark tournament.
Poker After Dark is now taking a two-week hiatus, due to the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics. See you in three weeks with reviews of their future games!
*Read Clearspine’s Blog*