An explosive battle-of-the-sexes was anticipated with this week’s lineup for Poker After Dark’s “He Said, She Said” telecasts. The game featured Erica Schoenberg, Jean-Robert Bellande, David Grey, Karina Jett, Mike Matusow and Annie Duke, and while the producers anticipated table discussion about the roles of men and women at the poker table, they simply got a week of hard-fought poker for the winner-take-all $120,000.
Host Ali Nejad labeled Jean-Robert Bellande as the unluckiest player in the history of Poker After Dark, as he had been brutally taken out in past appearances by a series of one and two-outers. The first big hand of the week continued Bellande’s misfortunes. He raised to 900 with pocket eights, and Matusow re-raised in the big blind to 2,300 with 6-3 off suit! However, the poker gods were with Matusow, who benefited big time from the 6-3-2 flop. He bet out 2,300 and got a call from Bellande’s over pair. When a 4 came on the turn, both players checked, but Matusow bet another 2,700 on the rivered queen, and Bellande folded.
Erica Schoenberg had not been playing any hands, when she woke up with pocket kings in early position, and with the blinds at 200-400, she raised to 1,100. Karina Jett, who had noticed just how tightly Schoenberg had been playing, then found a pair of aces in her hand, and decided to make a relatively small raise to 2,500, hoping to induce yet another raise from Schoenberg. She got her wish when Schoenberg popped it again to 7,500, and Jett then went all-in, since she felt that Schoenberg was already all but pot committed. Sure enough, Schoenberg made the call, and although she got a few more outs when the flop brought a 9-10-J, she didn’t connect with either the turn or the river, and she was eliminated in 6th place. Although it is obviously very difficult to get away from pocket kings pre-flop, Jett commented after the hand that there are times when it is just a black and white situation where the only hand your opponent could possibly hold is a pair of aces.
The Bellande nightmare continued next, as, after he raised to 1,000 with A-Q, David Grey, whose stack was beginning to dwindle, made it 2,800 with pocket threes. Bellande put him to the test by moving all-in, and Grey, somewhat surprisingly, snap-called. Both players acknowledged the challenge of playing a winner-take-all format, and that you need to be able to accept coin flips when they come, because winning them is really the only way to take down this type of tournament. Bellande moved way ahead when not one, but two aces fell on the flop of A-5-A. While the turn brought a harmless 10, the river was a crusher for Bellande, as Grey hit his 3 to double up. To make matters worse, Duke had folded a three pre-flop, so Grey was drawing to one out! Bellande could only throw up his hands and say “Poker After Dark is so brutal to me!” It was clear that Bellande simply expects the worst to happen to him at the table, and whether it is just luck or if you believe he attracts those outcomes with his negative attitude, clearly it keeps happening to him.
Just to put the cherry on the sundae, Bellande went all-in with his remaining 4,600 chips with K-Q and was called by Matusow’s pocket tens. The flop of Q-9-3 put Bellande in good shape, and the deuce on the turn made him a huge favorite to double up. But, to no one’s surprise, another ten came on the river, and Bellande was gone in fifth place. Matusow, of course, had to comment on his own traditional bad luck, saying, “You just lost to a guy who hasn’t won a coin flip in 30 coin flips!”
Since the remaining players all play fairly tight styles, it was inevitable that the luck of the cards would play a huge role in the outcome. On the first such hand, Duke raised on the button to 1,600 with pocket fours, and Grey three-bet to 3,800 with pocket aces. At the time, both had about 20,000 chips behind, so Duke called, hoping to hit her set, which she proceeded to do on a flop of 4-7-K. Grey bet 5,300 and Duke took a long time thinking about her move, based on all the times she has played with Grey. She decided that a push from her would force Grey to fold most of his hands, and so she just called, hoping to represent a draw on a board with two diamonds. Her plan was endangered when the showed up on the turn, but Grey decided to push all-in with his aces and the nut flush draw. Duke happily called, and dodged a diamond on the river of the to double up to 45,250, while Grey was crippled.
Grey went out soon after when Annie Duke put him all-in with A-9 and Grey called with 5-5. Duke flopped a nine and rivered another, and Grey was gone in 4th.
With the blinds up to 400-800, Matusow was the short stack with 16,000. He raised on the button to 1,800 with A-10, and Jett, who had been a comfortable chip leader ever since she busted Schoenberg, called with J-10. The flop was a cooler for Jett, with 6-10-10! She checked, Matusow bet 1,800, she raised and Matusow went all-in and Jett called. The ace on the turn sealed the deal, and Matusow doubled up, leaving Duke the chip leader with 45,000, Jett in second with 40,000 and Matusow with 35,000.
The crucial hand of the week took place between Jett and Duke. Jett raised to 2,300 on the button with Q-10 and Duke called in the big blind with . The flop was a dynamic . Duke knew she was a favorite against anything but a set with her huge draw, and she decided to go for a check-raise. Jett bet 3,400 and Duke raised to 10,000. Jett then had a decision to make, and felt that she was most likely ahead, since if Duke had a bigger queen, she probably would have re-raised pre-flop. She decided to push all-in, and Duke, knowing she was likely the favorite, called. Jett then dodged all of Duke’s outs, as the and the finished off the board, and she was left with more than 2/3 of all the chips in play.
Duke went out soon after. Jett raised to 2,300 with A-2, and Duke intended to push all-in with her A-10, but first said “I call,” and that was the bet that stood. The flop brought , with neither player holding a diamond. Duke put all her chips in the middle and Jett decided to call the extra 3,900. She then rivered the winning hand when she paired her deuce, putting Duke out in 3rd place, and leaving Jett with a 3 to 1 chip advantage going into heads-up.
Although Matusow said he felt comfortable and confident despite being far behind, Jett whittled down his stack further, as Matusow searched for a hand with which to double up. Finally, with Matusow down to his last 20,000, Jett raised to 2,400 with A-5 and Matusow called with 9-7. When the flop brought 7-5-5, Matusow checked and Jett bet 3,500. Matusow check-raised all-in and Jett naturally called with her three-of-a-kind. The turned ace and rivered jack finished the match, and Jett completed a nearly wire-to-wire win.
See you next week for more Poker After Dark!
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