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Daniel - Poker Journal

High Stakes Poker: Final Day

05 Nov 2005

It's not like it was a lot of hours really, 24 hours of play in three days, but with the filming, lights, make up, interviews and such, it makes the days seem longer.

I came into the final day just hoping to put in a good showing, not too worried about my results. In the early going, my day started as each of the first two days did, with me getting out in front about $50,000 without playing a big pot.

Then I played one against Doyle. The flop was A-A-5 with two spades and he check-raised me on the flop. I took a card off with my flush draw and hit the 3 of spades on the turn. Doyle bet his last $56,000 with A-5 and I called.

Despite Doyle doubling up, I was able to bust him a little while later when I called his $3000 raise with 8-8. The flop came Kc 8s 3c and I checked to Doyle who bet $9000. I raised $20,000 more, and Doyle went all in for another $146,000.

I called obviously, and finally won my first big pot in three days when my set held up against Doyle's AA.

There were a couple of new players in the game today, including Antonio Esfandiari who was really playing his A game. He'd never played that high before, but he didn't play "scared" at all.

The first hand he played he got all in BEFORE the flop with AA against JJ for $100,000. A jack on the turn crushed him, but he handled it like a champion.

Speaking of "champion," I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that Phil Hellmuth jumped into the game! My first words were, "Yum-Yum, and just when I thought I couldn't get even. Sweet!"

Phil sat down with $100,000 and dusted it off within the first hour. He was obviously steaming and the rest of the table was ready to "get em."

Every time he raised I'd re-raise him and show him 10-5 when he folded. Then Antonio, did the same thing when I didn't. If it got by me and Antonio, Freddie would pound him. It was pretty ugly.

Phil rebought a few times and I knew he was on stone cold tilt when he made the following play:

Six players to the flop in a straddled pot, and Phil bet out $3500 from the small blind with 6-6 on an 8-5-2 flop. Everyone folded around to Barry Greenstein on the button who put Phil all in for another $20,000 or so.

Phil whined for a moment or two about his bad luck, and then finally made the call. Barry turned over 2-2 and Phil moaned about losing to "these small fricken' pairs!"

As for me, things were really looking up. Coming into the day I was stuck $63,000 in props, but hit my big boy for doubles and a few other big props and ended up winning $113,000 in props ($50,000 profit.)

As for the poker, that went extremely well today too. I had my best day at the table, but I still feel like I played my best poker when I lost on the first day. I played "ok" today, but I let Jennifer bluff me out of one pot and then made a "play" against Antonio that went like this:

Phil raised to $3200 and I called from the cut off seat with K-10 of diamonds. Antonio made it $12,000 on the button and Phil folded. I didn't think Antonio had to be all that strong before the flop, so I decided to take a flop with him and called.

The flop came Qs 10c 6s. I checked to Antonio who considered betting. I started yapping at him, 'You are betting $15,000 right? I know that's what you are betting. I don't know what I'm doing yet, I've got a little of this and a little of that."

Antonio replied, "So what are you gonna do if I bet?"

"I dunno, first thing I'll do is ask you how much you have left. Then I'll think for a minute, hum and haw, and maybe call, fold, or who knows I might even stick the whole shebang in there!" I said.

Finally, Antonio said, "All right," and threw $15,000 in cash into the pot.

I sensed fear in his bet. I didn't think he could beat a Q. He might have A-K, JJ, or even a hand like 88 or 99. I counted him down and he had close to $60,000 left.

After some hesitation, I threw out two bundles of $50,000 bricks to the center and heard Antonio gasp. Well, that was a good sign.

I pumped my fist a little bit and wiped my brow with a "phew." Then Antonio started talking, "Whaddya got there kid, A-10? Either that or K-Q, it would be sick if you have that K-Q."

From his dialogue it became obvious that he must have had JJ, "Jacks kiddo? I get it, you must have JJ right?" I said.

Antonio thought, and thought, and finally looked like he was about to fold. Then I blew it, I blew it big time. For some silly reason I said, "When you fold I'll show you a card," or some nonsense like that.

Antonio looked right at me and knew right away, "I call it," he said.

"Doh! I gave that one away. I had you folding too, man that was dumb," I said.

It was a great call. I felt like since Antonio lost the first big pot and was feeling the heat that I could push him around a little bit. It might have worked if I didn't stick my foot in my mouth!

That's not the end of the tale, however. The turn came a 2 and I said to Antonio, "You wanna run the river twice?"

"No man, just once, let's do it." he replied.

The river, was a... King! Yikes, I actually felt bad for him. He played the hand so well and really didn't deserve that at all. He played two monster pots perfectly and was stuck pretty good after both went down. I empathized with him, because that's a lot like how my first day went.

Other "fun" hands included:

Hellmuth raised to $3500 under the gun and I re-raised to $7000 with Ac-10s just to be "goofy." Also, because he would never expect it.

He called, and checked in the dark. I followed suit, and bet $10,000 in the dark! To my delight, the flop was As-10c-3d. I was now hoping Phil had a big ace, but when he flat called my bet I didn't think so.

The turn was a 7c and Phil checked again. This time I fired out $25,000 and Phil said this, "I know you've got two QQ Danny," and called.

The river came the 2c and Phil checked again. I wanted to get paid off, so I didn't want to bet ALL of Phil's stack. It looked to me like he had about $56,000 in front of him at the time, so I bet $40,000.

He paid it off, and I don't think he had aces at all. Based on what he said later I'm pretty sure he thought I was trying to run him over and he had a hand like KK maybe, who knows.

Near the end of the night, I bluffed Johnny Chan out of a $100,000 pot witch is no easy task to say the least, and also beat Jerry Buss out of $100,000 when my A-Q beat his K-Q on a Q-10-2 flop.

When time ran out, I'd won more than anyone else had in one session. Of course, I also LOST the most in one session the day before! Not surprising really, as my style dictates that I will have very high fluctuations. When I'm hitting some hands and they hold up, I'll bust a lot of people. Conversely, when either I'm not hitting any flops or my hands aren't holding up, I'll take some big losses.

The final tally was a $347,400 win. Add that to the $50,000 I won playing props over three days, and the whole show cost me $264 100. While that's a lot of money, it felt like a win since I was losing about $750,000 at one point.

The players were also paid an hourly rate to be part of the show that ended up being about $1250 per hour. So with that bonus, I ended up losing less than a quarter million. Not great, but not all that horrible either.

After the show was over, the game continued. To accommodate a certain player, the rest of the gang played $2000-$4000 limit hold’em at the Nugget. As for me, I was way too tired and have to get up at 8:00am tomorrow morning for the “Gamer’s Ball” at Sam Boyd Stadium. STACKED will be featured there and I’m going to MC a little college tourney on the practice field… should be fun.

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You guys are going to love High Stakes Poker on GSN. The poker is awesome since so much of it happens after the flop. I've been told that the show will begin airing on January 16th at 9:00pm and will continue to air every Monday at 9:00pm.

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