This is it: The final episode of what has been a very memorable season of High Stakes Poker. Going into the last show, Doyle Brunson’s streak of 15 straight televised cash game wins was on the line, as was Tom Dwan’s streak of five straight winning sessions on High Stakes Poker, as both were down for the session. Replacing Mike Matusow, who literally took the money and ran during the last show, was Lex Veldhuis, who also was looking to make a comeback, having dropped over $100,000 earlier in the season. Veldhuis shook things up right at the beginning by convincing the table to raise the stakes to $500-$1000 blinds, with a $300 ante.
Veldhuis went right after the first pot, raising to $4,000 with A-9. Daniel Negreanu called with in the small blind, as did Dwan in the big blind with . The flop brought 3-7-7, and with $14,200 in the pot, Negreanu checked, but Dwan, sensing that the pot was there for the taking, bet $10,700. Veldhuis folded, but Negreanu decided to call, and was rewarded by turning the . Negreanu checked again, and Dwan checked behind. When the river card came , Negreanu bet $28,200. Dwan somehow found a call with his 9-high, and laughed at himself for suspecting that Negreanu had an even worse hand.
Veldhuis straddled the next hand for $2,000. David Benyamine called with , Phil Galfond raised to $10,500 with K-J, and Dwan called with . Brunson, however, looked down at A-K, and re-raised to $55,500. All three of his opponents folded, and Brunson took down the pot.
With Galfond on the straddle, Veldhuis raised to $8,200 with 7-6 and Galfond called with Q-10. The flop was . Galfond checked, and Veldhuis bet $13,300 into the $20,300 pot. Galfond, sensing something was amiss, raised to $39,000, and Veldhuis folded.
Dwan straddled next, and Veldhuis continued his aggression, raising to $7,500 with 10-9. Benyamine called with , as did Eli Elezra (3-3), who to this point was the big winner with a profit of about $400,000. The flop was 7-4-7 rainbow. Elezra checked and Veldhuis made a continuation bet of $14,500. Benyamine folded, but Elezra called. Veldhuis made a better pair when the fell on the turn, and both players checked. The river card was the , and after Elezra checked, Veldhuis bet $37,000 into the pot of $56,400. Elezra wound up paying him off.
With no straddle on, Benyamine raised to $4,200 with pocket tens. Galfond then raised to $16,000 with K-5, but Elezra then four-bet to $40,500 with pocket kings. Benyamine folded his tens, but Galfond, obviously intending to make a play later on in the hand, decided to call. Galfond found nothing but trouble on the flop, which came 9-9-K. Elezra led out with a bet of $33,000, and Galfond called. With $154,600 in the pot, another 9 came on the turn. Elezra checked, hoping to induce a bluff, but Galfond checked behind. When the showed up on the river, Elezra bet out $110,000. Galfond thought for a long time, and even announced that he had a full house, but finally made the correct fold.
With Veldhuis straddling, Brunson called in the big blind with . Veldhuis then made it $11,000 with , and Brunson called. The flop brought 6-2-3, with one spade, and both players checked. When the hit the turn, Brunson bet $20,500 and Veldhuis called. The river card was the , and Brunson tried to make off with the pot with a huge bet of $60,000 into the $65,900 in the middle. Veldhuis made the call, and explained to Kara Scott in an interview that he hasn’t seen Brunson make such big value bets on the river, and so he suspected his pair of deuces was good.
Galfond straddled the next hand. Benyamine called with , as did Bertrand Grospellier with and Galfond with 3-2. The flop of A-3-Q caused Galfond to bet $3,500, which Grospellier called, with Benyamine folding. Galfond then made two pair on the turn when the fell. Grospellier checked, and Galfond bet $9,200. Grospellier, incorrectly reading the situation, raised to $27,500 and Galfond called. When the came on the river, Grospellier checked, and folded to Galfond’s bet of $34,200.
Negreanu’s turn to straddle came next, and Elezra raised to $7,200 with pocket queens. Dwan called with , as did Benyamine (K-J), Galfond (9-8) and Negreanu (). Dwan hit the jackpot on a flop of 3-7-9 rainbow, and with $38,900 in the pot, Elezra bet $23,300, which Dwan raised to $71,000. Benyamine, Galfond and Negreanu all folded, but Elezra raised once more, this time to $173,000, whereupon Dwan went all-in for $426,300! With $638,500 in the pot, Elezra thought long and hard, before finally folding, suspecting Dwan held exactly the hand he, in fact, had. The hand reduced Elezra’s profit in the game to $250,000, and put Dwan in positive territory for the session.
On Dwan’s straddle, Grospellier raised to $7,000 with . Dwan then woke up with pocket aces, and re-raised to $20,800, which Grospellier called. The flop was troublesome for Grospellier, as it came 4-6-8, with no diamonds. Dwan bet $26,400, and Grospellier called. The turn card was the , and Dwan put Grospellier all-in for another $78,500, and Grospellier wound up making the call, and saw just how thin he was drawing. They ran it just once, and the busted Grospellier, and handed Dwan another $255,300 pot. Brunson commented about Dwan, “You’re like a vacuum cleaner.”
Galfond straddled, and Negreanu raised to $8,000 with . Veldhuis called with , and so did Galfond with 8-7. The flop of K-8-3 gave Negreanu top pair, and he bet $26,000, which Galfond called. Galfond hit his trips when the came on the turn, and he checked, but Negreanu foiled him by simply checking behind, and then the river brought the ! Galfond checked once again, and Negreanu bet $25,000, prompting Galfond to say, “I have a full house again!” before he folded once more.
In the last hand of the season, Elezra straddled, Galfond raised to $8,000 with 10-2, Negreanu called with and so did Elezra with . The flop was Q-4-J, with two diamonds. Galfond made a continuation bet of $14,000, Negreanu called, and Elezra, content to take his big profit, folded. The turn was the , putting two clubs on the board as well. Galfond checked, and Negreanu bet $30,000 into the $54,400 pot. Galfond, however, decided to raise to $94,000! Unfortunately, with the best hand, as well as a big draw, Negreanu then went all-in, and Galfond folded, saying, “I was trying to impress Doyle.” *by playing the 10-2, known as the Brunson, because of the two Main Event WSOP championships Doyle won with that hand*
And so ends perhaps the most entertaining and creative season of High Stakes Poker. While Doyle Brunson’s extraordinary string of successes came to an end, Dwan won for the sixth straight session, spanning two years of shows. One can only hope that Game Show Network will renew their contract with the show for a seventh season. When they do, we’ll be there to fill you in on all the action. See you then!
*Read Clearspine’s Blog*