The first week of High Stakes Poker turned into the Phil Ivey show, with the largely acknowledged “best player in the world” turning a profit of more than $300,000. With this week’s game starting with just seven players, after last week’s felting of Phil Hellmuth, viewers were looking forward to another week of intense action. Let’s see how it unfolded.
Ivey picked up right where he left off last week. After Tom Dwan limped in with , Ivey completed in the small blind with K-2 and Andreas Hoivold checked his option with . The flop was a big one for Dwan, as a J-4-A with two spades fell. After two checks, Dwan bet $2,700 into the $3,800 pot. Ivey called with nothing and Hoivold followed suit with his straight draw. When another 4 came on the turn, Ivey took the initiative, betting $8,000. Hoivold folded, but Dwan called. Ivey’s king-high turned out to be best when the came on the river, and Dwan folded to his $25,000 bet.
On the very next hand, Dwan raised to $3,300 with K-J, only to have Ivey re-raise to 15,000 with 5-2 offsuit! Gus Hansen folded a pair of sevens, and Dwan mucked his hand as well.
Next Andreas Hoivold, whose wild blond hair caused commentator Gabe Kaplan to mention that he hadn’t seen that hair style since Dennis the Menace took mushrooms, opened for $2,600 with A-Q, which Daniel Negreanu called with pocket fours. Dwan then three-bet to $13,700 with A-K. Both the others called, and saw a flop of 7-K-3. After two checks, Dwan’s bet of $16,800 took down the pot.
Dario Minieri raised a hand to $3,000 with , which Ivey called with his own suited . Hoivold also called with pocket sevens. The flop hit Minieri over the head, as the 6-Q-A with two clubs gave the Italian pro a flush draw to go with his pair. After Hoivold checked, Minieri bet $6,000. Ivey raised to $20,000, but after Hoivold folded, Minieri re-raised to $60,000, and Ivey folded.
Dwan and Hoivold clashed next, as Dwan raised to $3,200 with pocket kings and Hoivold called with a pair of fours. Both checked the flop of A-9-5, and then Dwan caught his third king on the turn, and checked once again. Hoivold checked right back, and the river brought the , putting three clubs on the board. Now, Dwan bet $5,700, and Hoivold, perhaps to get information about Dwan’s range, called, and saw the bad news.
Gus Hansen, who had been playing very tightly since last week, limped with pocket fours. Dwan also called with 8-5, as did Antonio Esfandiari with pocket deuces. Ivey then raised to $7,000 with A-J, which Hansen and Esfandiari called. The flop came 10-7-5 rainbow, and after Ivey checked, Hansen’s bet of $16,600 into the $23,800 pot caused the other two to fold.
In the next hand, Dwan raised to $3,200 with 6-3 offsuit, and Eli Elezra smooth-called with pocket aces, allowing Ivey to come in from the big blind with J-8. Elezra hit his set when K-A-6 came on the flop, and all three players checked. The came on the turn, and all three checked again. When a third spade, the 5, appeared on the river. Elezra finally bet his set, but the others quickly folded.
Next, Minieri raised to $3,000 with pocket eights, and Elezra called with Q-10. Elezra took over the lead when 7-7-Q came on the flop. Minieri followed through with a bet of $4,500, which Elezra called. The on the turn brought another bullet from Minieri, this time $11,500. Elezra called again. Minieri hit his miracle two-outer on the river, when the hit the table. Minieri checked, trying to induce a bet from Elezra, but Elezra simply checked behind, and was angry when Minieri suggested that he thought he was ahead the entire hand.
Hansen raised the next-to-last hand of the night to $3,500 with pocket deuces. Dwan then re-raised it to $12,200 with A-K, which Elezra with , and Hansen both called. All three checked the flop of , leaving Hansen, the only one of the three with a diamond, as a huge favorite in the hand with his deuces. When the , came on the turn, Hansen seemed to sense exactly where he was and led out with a bet, taking the pot.
The final hand saw a return to the high stakes fireworks that had been largely missing from the telecast tonight. Dwan started it off by raising to $3,300 with . Elezra called with , Hoivold followed suit with A-Q, Negreanu also played with , and Hansen called with 6-3 offsuit in the big blind, and then hit the jackpot when he flopped two pair on a board of 3-10-6. All the players checked, and then everyone wound up with a piece of the board when the came on the turn. Negreanu checked his second pair, and Hansen now bet his two pair, leading out with $11,100. Dwan called with top pair, but Hoivold re-raised to $50,000, much of his remaining stack, with top pair, top kicker. Hansen then went all-in, and Hoivold called after Dwan folded. They decided to deal it twice, but the the first time and the the second gave Hoivold no help, and he joined Hellmuth in losing his entire buy-in. Just like the Poker Brat, but much more politely, Hoivold also decided to leave the game.
Despite some very aggressive pre-flop play by a number of the players, this week’s show didn’t have nearly as much drama as the first installment. With Negreanu, Hansen and Esfandiari playing very tightly, only a few of the players were driving the action, which, while interesting, didn’t quite provide as many dynamic hands. The teaser for next week suggests that there will be more large pots, as Jason Mercier will be joining the table. See you then!
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