The Big Game entered its second week, with Will Davis taking over as the Loose Cannon, looking to exceed the $50,300 that Ernest Wiggins won last week, in an attempt to win an NAPT Passport, the season’s-end prize for the Cannon who earns the most money. Davis sat down with another top lineup of professionals, including holdovers Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson, and newcomers to the game Abe Mosseri and David Williams. The sixth player at the table was Internet mogul Jason Calacanis, who, for most of the week, seemed much more of an amateur poker player than Davis. Unlike the first Loose Cannon Wiggins, who was clearly a relative poker novice, Davis stated that he had already played over a million hands online THIS YEAR, and usually plays 20 tables at once. His play during the week was very solid, and he even made a point of saying right off the bat that his wife had sent him to bust Negreanu, whom she feels talks too much at the table.
Speaking of Negreanu, his stack during the week was all over the map. For those who have seen him play on High Stakes Poker, you will know that he has made a nasty habit of flopping or turning the nuts, only to be crushed later in a hand. In the middle of the week, at a point where he had been enjoying a healthy profit, he played the against Calacanis’ pocket sevens, and turned the nut straight with a flush redraw on a board of 3-4-5-7 with two diamonds. However, Calacanis rivered another 4 for a full house, raised Negreanu’s river bet, and then thoroughly confused Negreanu with a rambling dissertation, getting Negreanu to call off an additional $30,000 dollars. Soon after, Negreanu flopped a flush with . However, Williams was sitting with , and after calling Negreanu’s post-flop and turn bets, he raised on the river and took another huge chunk out of Negreanu’s stack. Negreanu got it all back and more in another hand against Williams, when he hit top pair playing J-4 unsuited against William’s pocket kings. When Negreanu’s 4 fell on the turn, the two wound up getting all the money in, and although they ran the river twice, Negreanu dodged all the outs and took down a pot of nearly $300,000 to get back into the black.
Meanwhile, the big winner going into the last episode of the week was Brunson, who was dealt a seemingly endless series of big pocket pairs, particularly kings and queens. Brunson put on a clinic of getting his money in only when he was way ahead, avoiding trouble spots and building up an ever-increasing profit. He was up over $120,000 when the last episode began. Davis, on the other hand, still had work to do. Despite solid play, he was down more than $20,000 with less than 30 hands remaining in the week, so the expectation was that he would be doing some serious gambling.
After Davis won a couple of small pots, the first substantial hand of the night found five players seeing a flop. Williams limped with , which Davis called with 9-7, as did Mosseri (10-8), Negreanu () and Brunson (8-5). The flop brought 8-5-3 with two diamonds. Everyone checked to Davis, knowing that he was likely to bet, which he did, putting $1,000 into the middle. Mosseri raised to $3,500 with top pair, but Brunson pushed all-in, trying to take it down right there. Everyone folded, and Brunson scooped in the pot.
With Davis still about $10,000 under water, it was only a matter of time before he tried to get all his money in to try and get into the black (remember that the Loose Cannon only walks away with PROFIT, not any of his original buy-in). Negreanu found pocket queens under the gun and raised to $1,500. Williams, nursing a very short stack, decided just to CALL with a pair of kings, looking to set a trap. Davis called with , as did Mosseri () and Calacanis (A-10). The flop of was as explosive as possible, and after Mosseri checked, Calacanis took a shot at the pot with just a gutshot, betting $4,000. Negreanu called, as did Williams, who had flopped top set. Davis now pushed all-in with his made flush, and after Calacanis folded, Negreanu was faced with a decision. Knowing that Davis could be making a move with just the ace of spades, or even bluffing at the pot, and also feeling that Williams probably had him beat, but was so short-stacked that the money he would win from Davis would more than make up for losing to Williams, Negreanu decided to call. Williams naturally also called, and Negreanu saw that he was beaten in two places. However, after the players decided to run it just once, Negreanu hit the on the turn to take out Davis, and when the board didn’t pair on the river, Negreanu took both the main pot of $98,200 and the side action of $100,200! Davis was eliminated from the game, and Williams, having been felted, decided to leave as well. It was an unfortunate end for the Loose Cannon, who played very well and got in his money with the best of it, but went home with nothing to show for his week.
With the table down to four players, Andrew Robl sat down in Williams’ seat to finish the remainder of the 150 hands. However, it was to be Brunson and Mosseri who tangled in the last really big hand of the week. The two had been needling one another throughout their time at the table, as they frequently play together in Bobby’s Room games at the Bellagio. In this hand, Brunson raised to $1,500 with pocket threes, and Mosseri called with . When the flop came 8-2-5 with two hearts, both players checked, but the turn brought the ultimate action card, the ! Brunson checked, Mosseri bet $4,500, and Brunson raised to $19,500. Mosseri then pushed all-in and Brunson made the call. They ran the river twice, but the and the didn’t bring Brunson the paired board he needed, and Mosseri took in a pot of $133,600.
With Brunson sitting next to him, Robl couldn’t resist playing Brunson’s signature hand, the 10-2, raising on the button with it to $1,500. Calacanis called with , and when the flop brought 10-K-8 with one club, Calacanis decided to lead out for $3,400. Robl called, and then called again when Calacanis put in another $6,000 on the turn. The rivered gave Robl two pair, but Calacanis still bet another $16,000, only to have Robl call and explain that he had to play the hand with Brunson at the table. Commentator Joe Stapleton, whose biting wit has been a real highlight of the first two weeks of action, said, “Someone’s still looking for approval from daddy!”
In the final analysis, Negreanu walked away the big winner, adding $134,800 to his bankroll. Brunson, who was dealt queens, kings or aces an amazing NINE times in the 150 hands, made $79,000. Mosseri, largely on the strength of the big pot he won from Brunson, earned $40,100, and Robl, in his limited action, made $11,300. Calacanis dropped $65,200, and of course Williams and Davis each lost their entire buy-in of $100,000. Once again, the show was a highly entertaining mix of solid poker, enjoyable table talk and statistical analysis. We’ll be back next week with a recap of the action. See you then!