Thus far, this season of High Stakes Poker has probably seen the most entertaining card playing in the show’s history. Huge pots, outrageous bluffs and fascinating strategy have been the norm through the season’s first six weeks. With the new lineup of players entering its second week, would the trend continue? Let’s take a look:
Andrew Robl, who had entered almost no pots on last week’s show, raised to $4,000 with , which Daniel Negreanu called with pocket threes. The case three showed up on a flop of 3-Q-Q, and both players checked. When a harmless deuce fell on the turn, Negreanu bet $6,200 and Robl called. The river 6 caused Negreanu to check, hoping to induce a bluff from Robl. But the young pro didn’t fall for the bait, and he checked behind. Negreanu won the relatively meager pot.
Negreanu got right back into action by raising to $3,000 with . Dwan just called behind him with A-Q. The flop of 10-4-9 saw both players check. A three came on the turn, and after Dwan checked, Negreanu bet $5,200, and Dwan called. The eight on the river gave Negreanu his straight, but when he put out a bet of $10,800, Dwan insta-folded. Commentator Gabe Kaplan kept up his love affair with Dwan’s play by saying “That’s why Dwan is one of durrrr best!”
Phil Ivey, who had been away from the table for awhile, limped with A-7, and was followed into the pot by Patrik Antonius with pocket fours, Negreanu with A-J, Lex Veldhuis with J-9, and Dennis Phillips (small blind) with Q-2. Barry Greenstein then found A-K in the big blind, and raised to $10,800. Both Antonius and Negreanu called the bet, but when the flop brought 10-2-5 with two hearts, Greenstein continued with a bet of $20,000 and the others folded.
Veldhuis next raised to $3,200 with A-Q, and Greenstein re-raised to $12,000 with the same hand. Veldhuis, with less than $70,000 remaining, then pushed the rest of his stack into the middle, and Greenstein folded.
In the small blind, Ivey raised to $4,000 with A-3, and was called by Robl in the big blind with A-7. Ivey hit middle pair on a flop of 3-8-2 and bet $7,000, which Robl called. A six came on the turn, and both players checked. When another eight hit on the river, Ivey bet $17,000, and Robl made the good lay down. In an interview with Kara Scott, Robl explained that, given Ivey’s range in the small blind, it was likely that his ace was good after the flop, but that Ivey was unlikely to bet again on the river with absolutely nothing, hence the fold.
The players agreed to at least one round of $1,600 straddles, and Phillips was in that position when Greenstein raised to $5,500 with , and was re-raised to $16,500 by Andrew Robl with A-K. With the pot holding $37,400, the flop brought Q-7-J, with two spades. Greenstein checked, and Robl bet $20,500, which Greenstein called. The turn card of the changed nothing, and when Greenstein checked, Robl fired another bullet, this time $44,000 into the $78,400 in the middle. However, Greenstein then went all-in for his last $113,000, and Robl quickly folded.
With Dwan on the straddle, Ivey bet $6,000 with and Phillips called with pocket eights. Ivey caught top pair on a flop of 5-5-K. Phillips checked, and so did Ivey. The hit the turn and Phillips put out a bet of $12,000, which Ivey called. When Phillips checked the river deuce, Ivey made a value bet of $20,000, and Phillips paid him off.
Ivey limped for $1,600 into the next hand with , and was followed by Negreanu (A-3 offsuit), Velhuis (Q-10), Phillips (5-4), Dwan (Q-2) and the straddler, Greenstein (6-4). The flop of 2-3-Q, with two diamonds, was huge for Dwan, and he bet $5,400 after Phillips checked his straight draw. Negreanu tried to make a play at the pot by raising to $12,800, which Phillips called, but Dwan ended things with another raise to $48,400, causing the other two to fold.
On the next hand, Negrenau raised Robl’s straddle to $6,000 with A-Q and Dwan called with . Negreanu flopped the nuts on a board of K-10-J, with two clubs. He bet $8,000 and Dwan called. When another club, the eight, came on the turn, Negreanu, playing very cautiously, checked, as did Dwan. The came on the river, and both players checked again, with Negreanu once again barely getting paid at all for his big hand.
Veldhuis raised the next hand to $6,300 with Q-9, and Dwan called with , as did Antonius, the straddler, with . The flop was a bonanza for Dwan, with K-A-A, with two diamonds, hitting the felt. Veldhuis made the continuation bet of $12,000, which Dwan just called, with Antonius folding. Both players checked the turned 10, and then when a third diamond, the deuce, came on the river, both players checked again, with Dwan saying “I’m a nit” as he tabled his winning hand.
Phillips, who was down over $180,000 at this point, raised to $3,500 with . Dwan re-raised to $12,900 with , and Ivey called with pocket threes, as did Phillips. The flop came 4-5-7. Ivey and Phillips checked, and Dwan bet $26,200 into a pot of $40,900. Ivey folded, but Phillips pushed all-in, ending the hand, as Dwan folded his rags.
The final two hands of the night saw the biggest pots to date for this new group of players. With Veldhuis on the straddle, Ivey raised to $7,000 with . Robl called with A-Q, but Antonius, in the small blind, re-raised to $30,400 with pocket aces! Ivey folded, and Robl looked over at Antonius to see if he could pick up evidence that Antonius was attempting a squeeze play, which commentator Kaplan described as “like looking at Mt. Rushmore expecting Abraham Lincoln to blink.” Robl misread the situation and pushed all-in for $144,300, which Antonius gladly and instantly called. They ran the board twice, and neither set of cards helped Robl, as Antonius took down the huge pot.
Negreanu, the button for the final hand of the night, raised to $6,500 with J-8, only to have the straddler, Dwan, re-pop to $23,600 with A-K. Negreanu called, and the two players saw a flop of A-J-A. Dwan bet out $28,200, and Negreanu called. The turn brought more bad news for Negreanu, as the king that fell gave Dwan the nuts. He bet out $56,600, and Negreanu, betting mostly on Dwan’s reputation for relentless aggression, RAISED to $138,600! Dwan asked how much Negreanu had left, and made the call, hoping to get the rest of Negreanu’s stack on the river. However, after a harmless 10 came on the river, Negreanu checked behind Dwan’s check, and then saw that Dwan had the hand Negreanu was trying to represent. Dwan’s reputation netted him a $383,000 pot!
Although this week featured a bit more straightforward play, it continued the season-long trend for good action and fascinating hands. Who knows what next week will bring? See you then!
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