Most Memorable Hands from High Stakes Poker, Part 1
The sixth season of Game Show Network’s (GSN) High Stakes Poker is right around the corner, beginning Sunday, Feb. 14. Former co-host AJ Benza is out of the picture, having been replaced by former European Poker Tour host Kara Scott. She’ll assume the new role alongside Gabe Kaplan. Scott can also be seen currently as the bright smile interviewing players at the WSOP Europe, which is airing now on ESPN2.
Scott won’t be the only new face on the scene. Some players making their first-ever HSP appearance will be Dennis Phillips, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Lex Veldhuis. Of course, all your old regulars like Doyle Brunson, Patrik Antonius, Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow will be back and ready to gamble it up. Phil Ivey has also planned a return to HSP, something many fans will be looking forward to.
PokerNews has put together a list of the most memorable hands from the past five seasons of action. We’ve come up with 12 that stick out the most and have ranked them accordingly. Here are the first six.
12. Greenstein’s Aces Cracked in Last Hand of the Night
It’s not everyday that you pick up aces and someone else picks up two kings. It’s even more rare when the situation occurs on an episode of HSP and a pot worth the price of a house comes up for grabs.
On the last hand of the session, Barry Greenstein raised to $2,500 holding pocket aces. Sammy Farha is well known for playing a myriad of starting hands ranging from good to bad, but this time he held a monster with two kings. He reraised to $12,500. When action fell back on Greenstein, he played his hand straightforward and raised again, making it $62,500 to go. Farha took his time and seemed to be in disbelief that Greenstein could hold two aces when he held two kings. Eventually, he moved all-in and Greenstein quickly made the call and Farha saw the bad news.
With the pot worth $361,800, Greenstein declined Farha’s offer to run the board twice. The flop may have made Greenstein second guess declining the offer when the fell and improved Farha to a set of kings and put him in the lead. The turn was no help to Greenstein with the . The river completed the board with the and it was all over. Farha was pushed the pot while Greenstein was left with nothing but some cracked bullets.
11. Set Over Set: Just What the Doctor Ordered
The players on High States Poker wasted little time in creating a pot worth more than what most people pull in with a year’s salary when the series began. On the first episode of the first season, it was Ted Forrest and Dr. Amir Nasseri who went to war on a ragged flop after both had flopped a set.
Nasseri raised up the action preflop to $2,500 with the . Daniel Negreanu called with the and Forrest called with the . After the flop of , Negreanu fired out $6,000 to try and steal the pot. Forrest made the call and the action went back over to the preflop aggressor Nasseri. He took his time before putting in a raise, making it an even $20,000 to go. Negreanu cut his losses and folded, but Forrest had other ideas in mind. After cold-calling the first bet, Forrest was now ready to pounce. He sprang into action with a reraise to $36,000. Nasseri went back into his act before eventually moving all in. Forrest made the call and when the cards were on their backs, Forrest knew what bad shape he was in.
After the turn added the and the river completed the board with the , Nasseri was pushed the pot worth $206,600 and the world got its first look at how easily one can dust off $100,000 in a high stakes cash game. The consummate professional, though, Forrest stood up, reached into his pocket and pulled out another $100,000 and then sat back down to get back to work.
10. Greenstein Gets There Against Dwan
Barry Greenstein likes to do things the old-fashioned way. Even when faced with the chance to lose a pot worth over $500,000, Greenstein opted to only run it once with young superstar Tom “durrrr” Dwan.
Peter Eastgate started things with a raise to $3,300 with the . Greenstein reraised to $12,000 with from the button. Dwan was in the small blind and woke up with two aces. He raised to $31,300. Eastgate folded and Greenstein made the call.
The flop came down and Greenstein added a pair of jacks. Dwan fired $46,200 and then Greenstein raised to $146,200, committing himself to the hand. Dwan reraised to $240,100 and put Greenstein all-in. He made the call and quickly, a pot worth $548,700 developed between the two players.
The players ran the turn and river only once. The hit the turn and Greenstein picked up two pair. He needed to dodge an ace, ten or three on the river to win the pot and did so after the fell.
9. Hellmuth Bluffs Matusow Off Kings
Mike Matusow showed the world that he is capable of folding pocket kings when he let them go against Phil Hellmuth. That wasn’t the only story behind this hand though, as Hellmuth showed the world he is capable of pulling off a crazy bluff holding the worst starting hand in poker.
Matusow was under the gun and raised to $1,800 with two black kings. Action moved all the way around the table to Hellmuth in the big blind. He looked down at the and reraised to $7,000. Why did Hellmuth decide to do this? Well, the players during this session opted to play the seven-deuce game. If you won a pot holding seven-deuce, everyone else at the table paid you an extra $500. Matusow flat-called the reraise and the two players went to the flop.
The flop came down and Matusow was still in front with an overpair of kings. Hellmuth checked and then Matusow checked behind. After the fell on the turn, Hellmuth stepped on the gas with a bet of $17,000. Matusow elected to take it slow and smooth called. The final card on the board was the and Hellmuth fired $40,000 into the pot of $49,100. It only took Matusow about half of a minute to toss his kings away. He did so face-up for the entire table to see and immediately, Hellmuth tabled his hand to show the bluff. Matusow shot out of his chair like a rocket when he saw Hellmuth’s hand, while everyone else at the table was equally astonished to see the move Hellmuth had just made.
8. Laliberte Lets Benyamine Off the Hook in $1.2 Million Pot
This next hand pitted high-stakes professional David Benyamine against the CEO of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberte. The two wound up building a pot that amounted to a staggering $1,227,900.
After Sammy Farha opened the action with a raise to $4,200 with the , both Benyamine and Laliberte called. Benyamine held and Laliberte held . The three players took a flop of . Laliberte picked up two pair to take the lead and Benyamine added the nut-flush draw. Farha was left with just bottom pair of threes.
Laliberte checked to Farha and he fired $13,000. Benyamine raised to $43,000 with his draw before action went back over to Laliberte. He reraised to $168,000 and Farha easily got out of the way. Benyamine then put the pressure back on Laliberte with another raise. He moved all in for $600,000 and committed his entire stack to the hand. After some time in the tank, Laliberte made the call and just like that, the largest pot in High Stakes Poker history was at hand.
Just as the fireworks shot off on the flop, there were nothing but duds in the air. After some deliberating back and forth, Laliberte and Benyamine decided to play for just the pot in the middle and end things right there. Benyamine surrended the hand and Laliberte scooped in the pot worth $238,900 without seeing a turn or river. Despite the other players at the table pleading to rabbit hunt the final two cards, Benyamine and Laliberte adamantly declined the option to see them.
7. Greenstein and Dwan Continue the War
Peter Eastgate raised to $3,500 with the and then Greenstein reraised to $15,000 from the button with two aces. Dwan was in the small blind and looked down to find the . He made the call and Eastgate came along to the flop as well, bringing the pot to $47,400.
The first three community cards off the deck were the . Dwan added a pair of queens and a spade flush draw while Greenstein still held the overpair with aces. Eastgate was left with jut ace high. Dwan led out with a bet of $28,700 and Eastgate got out of the way with his big slick. Greenstein wouldn’t go away so easily and raised to $100,000. Holding top pair along with a big draw, Dwan played right back at Greenstein, pumping the action to $244,600. It didn’t take long for Greenstein to move in for $436,100 and Dwan insta-called.
The two players turned up their hands and Dwan asked Greenstein if he wanted to run it more than once. Greenstein declined, but offered that the two take some money back. Dwan declined that offer right away and it was a flip for $919,600.
The dealer burned and turned, placing the on the felt and giving Dwan trip queens. Greenstein was now left needing the case ace to make a full house and win the pot. The river couldn’t find the miracle bullet left in the deck and the gave Dwan the pot worth nearly one million dollars.
That's all we have for now. You'll have to wait to see the remaining half of the list. Be sure to check back here at PokerNews in the upcoming days to find out what other hands made the list and which one is ultimately the most memorable hand from High Stakes Poker.