During the first week of the Poker After Dark cash game, both Phil Hellmuth and Phil Laak mixed it up more than their usually tight styles allow them to, and they had healthy profits to show for it. Now, with the players having re-drawn for seats, could they continue their nice run? This week’s lineup, in seat order, continued to feature Tom Dwan, Phil Laak, Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen, Eli Elezra and Phil Hellmuth. Let’s see how it played out.
In the first big pot of the week, Hansen raised to $1,400 with A-9, and was called by Elezra on the button with . Dwan, in the big blind, also came along with 6-4. The flop of Q-6-4, with two hearts, hit Dwan squarely between the eyes, and he led out for $3,600. Hansen folded, but Elezra called. The , a scare card for both players, came on the turn, but Dwan still fired out $9,300 and Elezra called again. The on the river gave Elezra a better two pair, and he called Dwan’s $22,800 bet to take down the $76,100 pot.
With Hansen straddling for $800, Hellmuth made it $2,400 to go with . Laak called with , as did Hansen with A-7 unsuited. The flop of 9-9-J was a bonanza for Laak, and he disguised his strength by checking. When Hansen also checked, Hellmuth made a continuation bet of $7,000. Laak just called, while Hansen folded. When the fell on the turn, Laak bet out $4,700 and Hellmuth called. The came on the river, and Laak made a big river bet of $22,200. Hellmuth made the call and Laak took down the $75,700. Hellmuth admitted that his call was simply a bad play.
The next big hand was another classic new school-old school confrontation between Dwan and Brunson. After Laak called with , Brunson also limped with , as did Elezra (the button) with Q-J, and Hellmuth with Q-3. Dwan then raised to $3,600 with . Anyone else would have knocked out most of the other players, but with Dwan’s reputation being what it is, only Hellmuth folded. The flop of Q-3-A rainbow brought out a bet of $10,400 from Dwan, which only Brunson called. A second diamond, the nine, came on the turn, giving Dwan a flush draw, and he bet $27,600. Brunson, knowing Dwan’s proclivity for large bets with weak hands, considered his options, but, realizing that Dwan was almost certain to fire out an even larger bet on the river regardless of what came, decided to wait to make a stand with a stronger hand, and folded.
A number of the biggest hands this week were contested between Hansen and Dwan. In the first one, Hansen was straddling, and Elezra raised to $3,300 with . Hellmuth called with , but Dwan made it $12,700 with pocket jacks. Hansen then looked down to see a pair of tens, and knowing that Dwan would make his re-raise with a wide variety of hands, four-bet to $33,800! The other two folded and Dwan then put Hansen all in for $92,100. Hansen reluctantly called, and they decided to run it twice. The first time through, Hansen won when four clubs came on the board, matching his , but Dwan got the chop when five harmless cards fell the second time around.
Next, Elezra raised to $1,400 with K-9. Hellmuth re-raised to $5,400 with 9-7 on the button, and Dwan made it $16,100 in the small blind with . Elezra folded, but Hellmuth called, and the two players saw a flop of 10-Q-7, with two diamonds and one heart. Both players checked. The turn was the , and Dwan bet $27,600, which Hellmuth called. When the harmless came on the river, Dwan put Hellmuth all-in for $119,975. Hellmuth agonized for many long minutes and, always hating to be bluffed, wound up making the call, handing Dwan the $329,450 pot. Hellmuth had gone from a nice profit to being completely felted, and he decided to quit the game, admitting that he was tired and playing very badly.
In a hand between admitted best friends, Brunson and Elezra tangled next. With Elezra straddling, Laak raised to $2,400 on the button with , which Brunson called with pocket fives and Elezra also called with Q-2. The flop was 3-5-Q, with two spades. Brunson checked his set, and Elezra bet $4,500. Laak folded, but Brunson check-raised to $16,500, which Elezra called. Unfortunately for Elezra, another queen (clubs) came on the turn. Brunson cagily checked again, and Elezra checked behind him. At this point, each player suspected the other had a flush draw, and when the came on the river, Brunson checked yet again. Elezra, assuming his three queens was good, bet $15,000, only to have Brunson raise to $70,000. Knowing that Brunson would probably make the same bet with a busted draw, Elezra decided to call, and Brunson took down the big pot.
In the next encounter between Dwan and Hansen, Hansen raised on the button to $1,200 with A-K. Elezra called with , as did Dwan with . When the flop brought J-7-A with two spades, the fireworks were sure to erupt, and after Dwan led out for $3,400 and Hansen raised to $11,100 (Elezra got out of the way), Dwan put Hansen all-in for the rest of his stack. Hansen called, and they ran it twice yet again. This time, the and the the first time, and the second pushed the entire pot of $183,500 to Hansen.
Despite having gone into negative territory for the session, Dwan kept up the relentless aggression that has made him one of the most feared cash game players in the world, both live and online. In one example of his fearlessness, he called an under-the gun raise to $1,400 by David “Viffer” Peat (who had joined the game towards the very end to replace Hellmuth and had raised with 6-5 offsuit) with . Hansen also called with , and so did Elezra with an unsuited 7-6. The flop brought K-K-4 with two clubs. Three players checked, but Dwan bet $4,300. Hansen, with the flush draw, raised to $11,200, but Dwan RE-RAISED to $27,500! Hansen called that bet, but when he missed his draw when the turn brought the , he folded to Dwan’s further bet of $42,800.
In the final tally, the big winner was Brunson, up almost $200,000, followed by Laak with a profit of $150,000. In addition to Hellmuth being felted, Elezra lost $160,000, and Dwan, largely due to the big hand he lost against Hansen, dropped $100,000, while Hansen was just slightly in the red. All in all, it was a highly entertaining two weeks of action, filled with huge pots, interesting (and sometimes terrible) plays and enjoyable table talk. See you next time with PokerWorks’ recap of Poker After Dark action!