The second lineup of the High Stakes Poker season finally broke out in the players' final episode together. They turned up the action with a mandatory straddle, and nearly every pot was raised and reraised before the flop. With their time together running out, everyone was determined to outplay everyone else, treating HSP viewers to an hour of interesting lines and outrageous bluffs. After running one too big to be topped, Phil Ivey collected his $120,000 profit and headed for Bobby's Room, leaving a spot open for Phil "The Unabomber" Laak. But we didn't see much of Laak, who had barely stacked his chips before the credits rolled. His cameo was overshadowed by the nonstop action on the felt - just as it should be on a show about a world-class cash game.
Cast: Ivey, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, Daniel Negreanu, Patrik Antonius, Barry Greenstein, Andrew "Good2cu" Robl, Lex "RaSZi" Veldhuis, Dennis Phillips, and a late appearance by Laak.
Bluff of the
episode season: Only a few hands after stealing a pot from Robl with complete air, Ivey was back at it, running what Gabe Kaplan called, "one of the greatest bluffs in the history of High Stakes Poker." With Veldhuis straddling, Greenstein raised to $5,500 with . Ivey reraised to $18,000 with a measly , sending the action back to Veldhuis. He looked down at and made it $51,600 total. Ivey studied Veldhuis, then asked for a count of his stack. "I think Phil Ivey is posturing here," said Kaplan. "He doesn't want Barry to know he raised him with air." Quite the opposite, actually. Ivey announced "all-in." "I don't believe it! I don't believe it!" Kaplan blustered. "Phil Ivey just went all-in with the five-duece offsuit. I don't believe it!" Veldhuis folded, and Ivey had to feel pretty good about himself as he raked in the pot.
Word of the day: It wasn't quite "LOLdocuments," but Kaplan came up with a pretty good one this week. We've heard of insta-calls and auto-calls, but Gabe took it to a new level when he said that Negreanu called "instamatically." We're certainly adding that to our vocabulary.
Negreanu slow roll?: Did he or didn't he? You decide. Negreanu raised to $6,000 with , and Veldhuis repopped to $20,000 with . Negreanu called "instamatically," and the flop couldn't have been any nicer to him. The dealer laid out , making Negreanu a straight and giving Veldhuis middle pair. Both players checked, and the turn was the harmless . Negreanu fired $20,000, and Veldhuis called. The river was the . Negreanu bet $50,000, and Veldhuis said "call." Then, Negreanu either said "Got a straight." or "Got a straight?" It sure sounded like a question to us. Veldhuis thought so too, answering Negreanu in the negative. "Well, I got a straight," Negreanu said. "Oh, OK. Well, I don't," Veldhuis said, a bit confused by the whole exchange.
Phillips gets a laydown: It was finally Dennis Phillips' turn to put one over on durrrr. He limped in with , and when Dwan raised to $8,300 with , Phillips just called. The flop came , giving Dwan the lead. Phillips check-called durrrr's bet of $15,600. The turn was the , a scare card for both, and they both checked. Phillips was done with the checking after the on the river. With a flush now possible, Phillips took a $33,000 stab at the pot. It was convincing enough for Dwan, who laid down the best hand.
Phillips makes a laydown: While Phillips hasn't picked up many pots during his first High Stakes Poker appearance, he's saved himself a lot of money by making some solid laydowns. A few hands after folding top pair on the turn when Patrik Antonius turned two pair, Phillips put on the straddle. Dwan raised to $6,200 with , and Greenstein just called with . Negreanu also flatted with . Action was back to Phillips, who picked up a deceptively attractive straddle hand - . Phillips raised to $30,500, the most actual cash he's ever bet preflop in his life. Dwan folded quickly, and Greenstein took a moment before popping it to $125,000. Negreanu mucked, and Phillips found another big fold.
Kaplan comment of the night: Veldhuis nodded along to Negreanu's standard monologue, and Gabe deadpanned, "Successful bluff by Lex - pretending he's interested in Daniel's story."
Laak-down: Like he did a few episodes ago, Phil Laak entered the game only one commercial break before the end of the session. And once again, we barely heard from him. The only entertaining thing he did was limp with pocket queens behind four other limpers and then check-fold the flop. His appearance was an awkward and unnecessary addendum that felt tacked on to the end of an episode that otherwise flowed well.
Bottom line: This week was loaded with interesting hands. Episode 8 is by far the most awake we've seen this group of players, and not a moment too soon. We'll see if next week's new lineup of HSP veterans can warm up a little faster.
Tune in next week to watch Mike "the Mouth" Matusow, Doyle Brunson, David Benyamine, Eli Elezra, and Bertrand "ElKY" Grospellier take over the HSP felt. High Stakes Poker airs on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. on GSN.
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