After a brief break, the PokerStars.net The Big Game returned last week. The lineup for week 10 included Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, William Perkins, Joe Cada, Phil Hellmuth, and David Williams. Joining the pros was this week’s Loose Cannon, a college math teacher from Tempe, Arizona, by the name of David Fishman. "The money would be nice, I have two kids I want to support," the 35-year-old father of twins admitted in his pregame interview, although he was content with the opportunity to play with some of poker's biggest names.
Format Refresher Course: The Big Game, which is played with $200/$400 blinds and a $100 ante paid by the player on the button, is a cash game played for 150 hands. The contestant of the week, called the "Loose Cannon," is given $100,000 by PokerStars to play in the game and any profit earned over the initial stake is his or hers to keep. Trying to stop the Loose Cannon, and turn a profit of their own, are five pros, who may rebuy at any time for up to $500,000. At the end of the season, the most profitable Loose Cannon will be awarded a $50,000 North American Poker Tour Passport, in addition to any winnings he or she may have amassed.
Hellmuth Starts Strong: On just Hand #8, Phil Hellmuth was in early position and raised to $2,000 with . Action folded to William Perkins on the button and he made the call with his . Phil Laak came along from the big blind with and the three players watched the flop fall . Laak checked and Hellmuth continuation-bet $5,000. Perkins then raised to $15,000 with his flush draw, and Hellmuth called after Laak got out of the way. Hellmuth proceeded to check-call a bet of $20,000 on the turn and checked the on the river. Perkins gave up on the hand and checked behind, giving Hellmuth the $76,800 pot and an early lead.
Couch Cannon Fires: On the very next hand, the “Couch Cannon” was in effect, so only David Fishman's hole cards were revealed — the . He called Phil Hellmuth’s initial raise to $2,000 from under the gun and both Phil Laak and David Williams tagged along. Action checked to Fishman when the flop came and he bet $5,000. Williams folded, Laak raised to $15,000, Hellmuth folded, and Fishman called.
Both players checked the turn, and the hit the river. Laak posed as if he were going to fire but announced a check instead. Fishman checked behind and easily defeated Laak’s . The loose cannon took down the $39,000 pot and jumped out to an early profit.
Cada Runs Straight Into Hellmuth: In hand #43, Joe Cada raised to $1,200 under the gun with and received calls from everyone except William Perkins. He then continuation-bet $4,200 on the flop and only Hellmuth called. The turn was the , giving Cada a straight but putting three diamonds on the board.
Cada didn’t slow down — he bet $10,300. Hellmuth smooth-called as the river came the . Cada bet another $18,500, which Hellmuth also called. Cada showed his straight but discovered he was behind Hellmuth's flush. The $54,300 pot was pushed Hellmuth’s way and it looked like it could be a good day for the "Poker Brat."
Loose Cannon Cripples a Pro: Phil Hellmuth raised to $1,000 from the cutoff in Hand #97 with and received a call from the loose cannon, David Fishman, on the button, as well as David Williams in the big blind. The flop came and Williams and Hellmuth checked to Fishman who bet $3,000 with his flush and straight draws. Williams folded and Hellmuth chose to min-raise to $6,000.
Fishman made the call and the dealer burned and turned the , giving Hellmuth two pair. He fired out $15,000 and Fishman called. The river was disaster for Hellmuth because it gave Fishman a well-disguised nut straight. Hellmuth bet $23,600, Fishman moved all-in, and Hellmuth called to create a pot worth $240,200. The loose cannon took down the massive pot while Hellmuth dropped to $15,300. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the “Poker Brat” who was eliminated a few hands later.
Mercier Gets Una-Bombed: Toward the end of the night, on hand #142, four players saw a flop of . Jason Mercier, who had replaced Hellmuth in the game, bet $1,300. Both Williams and Laak called while Cada got out of the way. When the appeared on the turn Mercier bet $4,300, Williams and Laak called, and the dealer put out the on the river. Mercier continued his aggression with a bet of $12,500, and only Laak looked him up.
Mercier flipped over for a pair of threes with a missed flush draw while Laak showed his two pair. The $44,000 pot allowed Laak to finish the night in the black while Mercier ended up on the red as a result of the hand.
Stats: Here are some statistics that have been compiled throughout the match. Note the following abbreviations: VPIP (Voluntary $ Put In Pot), Raise (Preflop Raise), BR (Button Raise), and FTSA (Fold To Steal Attempt).
For a complete list of stats, visit the Big Game's official site.
Final profit/loss: David Fishman (+$129,600), William Perkins (+$45,500), Phil Laak (+$31,000), Joe Cada (-$12,200), Jason Mercier (-$34,000), David Williams (-$59,900), Phil Hellmuth (-$100,000)
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