World Series of Poker Europe

The Big Game: Negreanu and Brunson Highlight Week 11

Daniel Negreanu

Last week,’s The Big Game continued with Week 11 and a lineup that included Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Doyle Brunson, Scott Seiver, and Phil Galfond. Joining the pros was this week’s Loose Cannon, 27-year-old Canadian Bill Given. “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m getting to play with legends. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and it’s gonna be fun,” Givens said. In regard to what he would do with the money, he said: "I would pay off all my debts. I would splurge, spend a lot of money and hopefully start up a business.”

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.

Loose Cannon Runs into Negreanu’s Trips: On Hand #40, the "Couch Cannon" was in effect, which revealed only the Loose Cannon’s hole cards to the viewers. In the hand, action folded to Daniel Negreanu and he raised to $1,200, Phil Galfond limped from the small blind, and Bill Given called from the big with {Q-Hearts}{9-Spades}. Both blinds proceeded to check the {3-Spades}{3-Hearts}{4-Spades} flop and Negreanu bet $2,500. Both Galfond and Given made the call as the dealer burned and turned the {8-Clubs}.

Once again, both blinds checked to Negreanu who bet $7,200. Galfond got out of the way folding {A-Diamonds}{K-Hearts} while the Loose Cannon opted for a check-raise to $24,700. “Wow, so I guess you do have a three, huh?” Negreanu said before calling the additional $17,500 as the {6-Spades} hit the river. “If you bet too much I’m not gonna call,” Negreanu said as his opponent contemplated a bet. Given didn’t back down, instead firing a bluff bet of $28,000. Negreanu talked out the hand as he is prone to do and eventually made the call, showed {10-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} for trips, and took down the $117,100 pot, leaving the Loose Cannon with just $37,500.

Brunson Shoots Down Given: A short time later, on Hand #65, Scott Seiver was under the gun and raised to $1,200 with {A-Hearts}{7-Clubs}. Phil Galfond called from the button with {5-Spades}{5-Diamonds}, Bill Given limped from the small blind with {J-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}, and Doyle Brunson tagged along from the big with {A-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}. All four players watched the flop fall {9-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}, giving Brunson the nut flush!

Everyone checked to Galfond on the button, who put out a feeler bet of $2,600. Given, who had an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw, raised to $10,000 only to have Brunson smooth-call behind. Seiver and Galfond got out of the way and the {K-Hearts} hit the turn, giving Given a straight. He immediately moved all-in for his last $24,900 and Brunson called with the nuts. Given was drawing dead and made his exit from The Big Game after the {4-Clubs} was run out on the river for good measure. Aaron Jones then replaced Given in the game.

Galfond Claws His Way Back: Action folded to Phil Galfond in the cutoff and he raised to $1,400 with {A-Hearts}{10-Clubs}. Aaron Jones looked down at {J-Spades}{7-Diamonds} on the button and decided to reraise to $4,200. The action drove both blinds out of the hand and Galfond called. The duo watched the flop fall {A-Spades}{7-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}, giving each a pair. Galfond quickly checked and Jones bet $6,600.

After a Galfond call, the {2-Clubs} appeared on the turn. Both players checked as the {2-Spades} hit the river. Galfond bet $9,300 and Jones called only to muck after seeing his opponent’s cards. “Yeah, that’s what I figured,” Jones explained.

“That’s what I usually have but you got pot odds,” Galfond offered as he took down the $41,400 pot and put a dent in his losses.

Hachem Borrows Brunson’s Hand: Joe Hachem was under the gun and decided to get a little frisky with his {10-Spades}{2-Hearts}, also known as the “Doyle Brunson,” by raising to $1,200. Phil Galfond looked down at {5-Spades}{4-Spades} and called, as did Scott Seiver in the big blind with {9-Clubs}{8-Spades}. Seiver checked the {2-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} flop and Hachem continuation-bet $3,100 with bottom pair. Galfond made the call with middle pair while Seiver dropped out of the hand.

Hachem hit his gin card when the {10-Clubs} peeled off on the turn. With all the draws out there, Hachem decided to bet $8,500. Galfond wasted little time in calling to see the {6-Hearts} hit the river. Hachem bet a modest $12,500 and Galfond, getting 4-1 on his money, called after thinking about it for a couple of minutes. Hachem pointed at Brunson and the table laughed as he flipped over his hand. “That’s the hand we all wait for,” Hachem joked as he pulled in the $52,600 pot.

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: Daniel Negreanu (+$65,200), Doyle Brunson (+$31,700), Joe Hachem (+$13,400), Scott Seiver (+$1,600), Phil Galfond (-$1,800), Aaron Jones (-$10,100), Bill Given (-$100,000)

Think you'd make a great loose cannon? Qualifiers for the Big Game are running daily on PokerStars. Also you still time to play in our final $15,000 Sunday Million Freeroll in the current series, but hurry because you have to qualify this month.

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