For anyone who likes to see high-wire poker without a net, this week’s episode of High Stakes Poker figured to fulfill your wildest dreams. With a high-action table in its last week of play before a new set of players replaced them, the betting was likely to be fast and furious, and it was. Let’s see how it all played out:
Eli Elezra limped into the first pot with , and Daniel Negreanu decided just to follow suit with pocket queens, hoping to set a trap. However, Negreanu’s big hand was compromised when three other players saw the flop without raising, as Tom Dwan (9-7), Antonio Esfandiari (8-6) and Dario Minieri (9-5) all came along for the ride. When the flop brought J-A-6, Elezra led out with a bet of $4,400, and Negreanu and all the rest of the players mucked their hands!
Next, Negreanu, who had less than $50,000 left of his original $200,000, limped with 9-8. Gus Hansen also called with A-4, as did Dwan with the same hand as Hansen. Esfandiari came along with , but Minieri then raised to $7,000 with . However, Elezra looked down to find pocket jacks, and re-raised to $22,400. All the other players folded except Minieri, who made the call. The flop was 7-9-6, with two spades. Elezra bet $16,900, which Minieri raised to $66,500! Elezra made the call, and the turn card was the . Both players checked, and saw a river of the . They both checked again, and Elezra took down the $183,400 pot. After the hand, Elezra said that he would have folded if Minieri had pushed all-in.
Minieri came right back out firing, raising to $3,500 with . Elezra, who was in rhythm now, made it $11,000 to go with , and Negreanu pushed all-in for his last $46,900 with . Elezra got Negreanu to agree to show one of his cards, tried to negotiate the hand to call for $10,000 less, hemmed and hawed, and finally called. With Negreanu a 62% favorite, they decided to run it twice. However, typical of Negreanu’s consistent bad luck on High Stakes Poker, the first flop was 5-6-9!!!!! The turn 4 and river 2 gave Elezra the first hand. The 2nd flop was 6-10-Q, giving Negreanu top pair, but Elezra an inside straight draw, which he immediately hit when the came on the turn. When the river brought a harmless king, elezra had scooped the pot, and Negreanu was felted, Unlike other players who had gone bust this season, he bought back in for an additional $200,000.
Dwan now raised the next hand to $3,200 with K-10, only to have Minieri make it $11,600 from the button with , which Dwan called. The flop brought 2-10-3, with one heart. When Dwan checked, Minieri bet $13,700. Dwan then check-raised to $32,900, whereupon Minieri went all-in! Dwan insta-called, and they decided to run it four times. When none of the turns or rivers gave Minieri either a third three or a flush, he, too, was busted, and decided to leave the game, as his very loose style finally caught up with him.
Negreanu, trying to get something going, raised to $3,000 with , and Hansen just called with pocket queens, as did Jason Mercier with J-10. The flop was 7-2-5, with two spades. Mercier checked, and Negreanu bet $6,500. Hansen then raised to $21,000, and Mercier folded. Negreanu made it $71,000, and Hansen went all-in, only to see the bad news when Negreanu called. They ran the rest of the board twice, and for once, Negreanu’s hand held up, as the and the changed nothing. In the blink of an eye, Negreanu was back to even, and Hansen was bemoaning his own foolishness for getting all his money in with just an overpair. Hansen, who had been up for much of the game, was down to his last $17,000.
Esfandiari raised the next hand to $3,000 with , and was called by Elezra with , Negreanu and Hansen with A-9 each, and Dwan with a pair of deuces. The flop was 9-5-4 with two hearts, and Hansen immediately put the rest of his money into the middle. Elezra called, but Negreanu raised to $39,300, which Elezra decided just to call. Elezra then hit a second pair on the turn when the showed up, and he checked. Negreanu, with the side pot at $50,000, bet $42,000. However, Elezra came right back with a raise to $100,000, and Negreanu wisely got out of the way. Elezra and Hansen ran the river twice, but the and were no help to Hansen, who became the third player felted tonight! Hansen bought back in for another $200,000, and Phil Laak showed up to take the empty seat at the table, remarking in a pre-play interview with Kara Scott, “Why would I rush into a genius game? Because I’m an addict!”
With just a few hands left until the end of the night, Hansen opened for $4,200 with Q-6. Elezra called with , as did Ivey with pocket nines. Mercier then raised to $22,100 with , causing Hansen and Elezra to fold. However, Ivey called, and the two players saw a rainbow flop of 2-3-7. Mercier led with a bet of $28,700 into the $55,000 already in the pot, and Ivey raised to $78,700. Mercier then went all-in for $185,100. With $318,800 in the middle, Ivey finally made the call for an additional $106,400. When the turn and river brought the and the , Mercier found himself busted, causing Elezra to remark, “Welcome to the Ivey world, Jason.” Both Mercier and Hansen decided to make their exits, leaving just six players to finish out the night.
The last hand of the night brought a long-awaited duel between the two big stacks at the table, Ivey, with over 1 million dollars, and Dwan, who had about $800,000. The hand started with a raise to $3,900 by Laak with A-9. Elezra called with , as did Ivey with and Negreanu with . Dwan then re-raised to $28,900 with ! Everyone folded except Ivey, and the two players were greeted by a flop of 10-Q-K, with two diamonds. With $70,700 in the pot, Dwan made the continuation bet of $45,800, which Ivey decided just to call. When the turn brought the , Dwan, not slowing down at all, put another $123,200 into the middle, and Ivey called once more. The was the river card, and with $408,700 in the pot, and the table completely silent for the first time all season, Dwan fired the third bullet, this time $268,200! Ivey seemed to sense something was up, and spent a very long time thinking about making what he said would be “the sickest call of all time.” However, he finally laid the hand down, and Dwan, making a play that few others would have the guts to pull off, got the better of the player that everyone at the table agrees is “the best all-around player in the world.”
Next week will usher in a new set of players, with Ivey, Dwan and Negreanu remaining behind to compete with the new group. Thus far, this has been a highly entertaining season of High Stakes Poker, although I have to say that AJ Benza is sorely missed, as Gabe Kaplan works better in the back-and-forth repartee that the two had developed over the years than he does as a solo act. However, that minor complaint aside, I’ve loved these telecasts! See you next week!
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