Inside the Poker Tour - 28
November is here and the Game Show Network is going to produce 13 one hour shows out of the work we are doing here at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and it is interesting for sure as the show takes place as an eight handed money game for high stakes in Las Vegas, 300-600 blinds and 100 ante no-limit holdem, 100,000 in real dollars as the minimum buy-in. The players were selected from a large list of applicants with agreements to play for blocks of four hours at a time with a minimum re-buy of 50,000 dollars unless you chose to just give up your chair. Some of the participants we all know as great and successful poker players, such as Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, Sammy Farha, Johnny Chan, Ted Forrest, and Freddy Deeb. Others are from a list of the rich and famous, such as Jerry Buss and others that I had not heard of before. Some others are from what I call the B list; very good, but not as well known poker players such as Antonio Esfandiari, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harman, Mimi Tran, Daniel Alaei, and Eli Elezra.
I will talk about a few of the hands that were played out here but mostly you will have to tune the show in if you wish to see what happened. You can expect to see AA go down in flames many times to the tune of a lot more money than any other hand!
Some general observations I will make, however. Doyle, get a nutritionist and listen to him! If warm Dr. Pepper and hot dogs are on his okay list, fire him! I enjoyed Doyle's droll humor on too many occasions to recount here, but maybe in the future we will revisit some of his witty remarks.
The 'big' game is usually 2,000-4,000, or even higher, and a mix of limit games which would be difficult for most viewers to comprehend, such as Holdem, Omaha, Stud, Eight-or-better, and Triple Draw deuce to seven (lowball). The exact games vary with who is willing to play what, and how desirable it is to get them into the game. This sideshow of no-limit was talked about at length with many players complaining that they did not get the action they might in the "usual" game. Further one heard an interesting and common complaint that the World Series of Poker continues to drift toward specializing in no-limit holdem and thereby while playing to the huge turnouts in such events, sacrifices other events, not only the mixed events of years past, but cheapening even the no-limit victories.
It should be obvious that cash games are played very differently from tournaments. In both formats there seems to be a place for every type of personality, the egos just tend to come out and play a bit more quickly in the cash format, although perhaps in this case that is because you had to have a big bankroll just to sit down.
The professionals tended to raise more and find ways to define their situations clearly at an early moment in the hands. Of course two of the professionals here are what I call "Foremost amongst our backward players!" which is a quote from New York City games-players of long ago and it aptly applies to Johnny Chan and to Freddy Deeb who are both masters of checking and calling, although Freddy takes way more flops than Chan. This works for both of them only because they are uncanny in knowing where they are after the flop.
If there was not enough action for you in the game then you could play the propositions with the big boys. This was very complicated as you had to choose a key suit and key cards and key flops and you were additionally won, or lost, multiple units of 2,000 each depending on where in the flop your card[s] were located. This depended on you being in the room and protecting your own pay and was not for the faint of heart as hundreds of thousands of dollars routinely were exchanged at the end of the day.
Daniel Negreanu went through a remarkable stretch of winning key hands a few years ago, but in this "money" event he doubled up a number of stacks which made flushes with one to come whilst he failed to complete his own draws. In one ugly loss to Freddy Deeb he ran down through the possible hands that could beat him and then paid off Deeb's raise of 50,000 dollars on the river when he could only find 4 such hands. He won several key pots on day three and may have saved his event result thereby.
In another pot he puts the live 1200 straddle on it and Mimi Tran calls, only two players take the flop which comes 9c7d10h and Dan checks, Mimi bets 6000 and Dan raises it to 21,000, Mimi calls. The turn is the Q of diamonds and Daniel checks again, Mimi bets 30,000 and Daniel thinks for a very long time and raises it 100,000 more. Mimi moves all-in and Daniel calls disgustedly. The hands are 6-8 for Dan and KJ for Mimi. Wow. "What a cooler!" as several at the table remarked.
My favorite hand of the second day came up when Freddy Deeb posted behind the button and Johnny Chan raised it to 4000 from the little blind with Daniel in the big blind and Freddy on the posted big blind calling. The flop came Qs9c6d, all checked, and after a 10s came on the turn Daniel bet 8000 with Freddy calling and Chan mucking. The river was the 5s and now Daniel bet a "brick", 50,000 in cash, 50,000 in a big bundle of one hundred dollar bills and Freddy went into a long think, at one point asking, "the spade flush doesn't concern you a bit? I couldn't have spades?" and finally Freddy called! And won! I did not see Daniel's hand (it will surely be on television show) but I did see Freddy'sthe red 10-8.
Doyle had a bad result in trying to bully Ted Forrest, with four to act behind him he raised a big blind of 600 to 4500 and Ted called on the button with the flop coming Qh9d7d in front of a check, check. The turn was the 3 of spades and Doyle bet out with Ted calling. The river was a 6 of diamonds and Doyle made yet another large bet with Ted calling. "I should know better than to try and bluff you!" Doyle said as he turned over Ad5s. Ted had 6-6 and spiked a no brainer on the river which led to a brief discussion of other possible cards. According to Ted the only river card he feared was a king.
The game was a lot larger when the live straddle to 1200 was put in front of the big blind, that is for sure. One might expect that, but my experience has been that the live straddle often kills the action in a game.
Until next time try to play good...and never forget to get lucky!