High Stakes Poker is nearing the end of its sixth season, and this has been a very memorable one from the beginning. With Tom Dwan, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey sitting during each of the three sessions, and a dynamic mixture of High Stakes Poker veterans and newcomers, the show has featured aggressive pre-flop play and lots of huge pots. The expectation for tonight was that fireworks were likely to erupt. Let’s see if they did.
Coming into this session, Eli Elezra was the big winner at the table, being up almost $300,000. Bertrand Grospellier raised the first hand to $3,000 with pocket aces, Phil Galfond called with A-9, and Daniel Negreanu tried to execute a squeeze play, and raised to $15,000 with K-2. Unfortunately for him, Grospellier four bet to $44,000 with his monster and the other two folded.
David Benyamine raised the next hand to $3,500 with A-K. Grospelier called with , and so did Negreanu with pocket eights and Brunson with 6-5 unsuited. The flop brought 10-6-7 rainbow. Brunson checked, Benyamine checked, and Grospellier bet $9,500. Negreanu raised to $31,500 and all the others folded.
Galfond next raised to $3,200 with . Negreanu, continuing his hyper-aggressive play, made it $15,000 with A-8. Elezra called with and Galfond folded. Elezra flopped the nut flush draw when the flop came 3-J-5 with two hearts. Negreanu checked, and then folded when Elezra bet $35,000.
Negreanu continued his assault by raising to $4,200 with A-K, and Galfond called with 9-8, and then flopped the absolute nuts on the 6-7-10 board. He checked, and Negreanu bet $8,500, which Galfond smooth-called. The was the turn card, and Galfond checked again, and so did Negreanu. The river brought a third heart, the 5, and Galfond bet $32,000, to which Negreanu quickly folded.
Elezra limped into the next pot with , and was followed into the pot by Brunson (K-Q), Benyamine (7-5), Galfond (7-4) and Negreanu (9-8). The flop brought 5-Q-9, with two spades. Galfond checked, and Negreanu bet $4,200 with middle pair, which only Brunson called. Negreanu checked the turn of the , but Brunson bet $8,000 and Negreanu correctly folded.
Dwan, who had been silent up until now, raised to $3,200 with . Elezra called in the small blind with A-J. J-2-9, with two spades, was the flop, and both players checked. A third spade, the eight, came on the turn, and Elezra bet $5,000 into the $8,400 pot, and Dwan called. When the river brought yet a fourth spade, the three, both players checked, and Elezra took down the small pot.
Brunson put on a live straddle in the next hand and Mike Matusow made it $6,000 with A-Q. He attracted a lot of company as Grospellier (), Galfond (pocket deuces), Negreanu (), Elezra () and Brunson (Q-9 offsuit) all called. Galfond hit the jackpot on a flop of 6-2-6, and his $17,000 bet caused everyone else to lay down their hands.
Matusow limped with pocket kings, and Negreanu followed suit with . Elezra then raised to $5,000 with A-7, which the other two both called. The flop promised fireworks, as the three players were greeted with 9-K-9. Matusow and Negreanu checked, and Elezra made the continuation bet of $8,800. Matusow just called, but Negreanu, confident that his hand was best, raised to $28,800. Elezra folded, but now Matusow showed his strength with a further raise to $68,800. Negreanu miscalculated and went all-in, and Matusow called. They ran the hand twice, and Negreanu never caught the fourth nine, as Matusow doubled up.
Negreanu re-bought for another $200,000. Grospellier raised to $3,000 with Q-J, Elezra called with pocket eights, and so did Benyamine with . The flop brought A-4-6, with two spades. Elezra bet $9,000 and only Benyamine called. The put a flush draw on the board, and both players checked. When Benyamine caught his queen on the river for two pair, and Elezra folded to his bet of $20,000.
Dwan straddled the next hand, and Benyamine raised to $5,800 with . Grospellier called with pocket sixes, but Negreanu raised to $24,300 with a pair of kings. Benyamine folded, but Grospellier called. With Negreanu’s luck being what it usually is on High Stakes Poker, you expected a six to flop, but instead they got . Negreanu, who had the in his hand, bet $35,000 and Grospellier folded.
With Brunson straddling once again, Matusow decided to limp in with a big hand once more, this time . Benyamine (), Grospellier () and Galfond () all called, but Negreanu made it $16,000 with pocket tens, which only Matusow called. Negreanu checked the flop of 6-4-7 with two clubs, but Matusow went all-in. Negreanu agonized over the decision, saying, “It feels like A-K.” He finally made the call, and once again, the two players ran it twice. Each time, the turn card put Negreanu close to victory, but Matusow hit clubs on BOTH rivers and took down the whole pot of almost $500,000! Matusow was now up $400,000 just playing incredibly tight poker.
Galfond straddled on the next hand, and Negreanu limped with Q-J. Dwan raised to $8,000 with and Negreanu called. The flop brought 7-A-10, with two hearts, and both players checked. The was the turn card, and Negreanu, with the queen of hearts in his hand, bet $14,000 and Dwan, who hit a pair on the turn, called. The on the river made Negreanu a straight, and Dwan folded to his bet of $42,000.
In the final hand of the night, Elezra raised to $5,600 with pocket nines, and was called by Benyamine with . Galfond then three-bet to $21,400 with pocket queens, and the other two called him. The flop was 6-A-J!! Galfond bet $32,200 into the pot of $67,800. Elezra folded, but Benyamine raised to $92,200, making a pot of $192,200, and Galfond smartly folded.
As has been the tradition in High Stakes Poker, Daniel Negreanu hit a couple of big hands only to lose to better ones. He has been a loser in every season of the show, and that trend will certainly continue this year, unless a miracle takes place in the last week or two. Matusow, who seems to have gotten on the other player’s nerves with his constant whining, has been the beneficiary of Negreanu’s bad fortune. We will see how things play out as the season draws to a close. See you next week!
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