On Day 3 of the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event, Cate Hall and Barry Hutter played a rather big pot with Hall calling all in before the flop with ace-ten. Hutter had jacks and left Hall short, only to bust her not much later. The hand was a bit controversial and you can read all about it over on the WPT live update page.
Before the update had even been posted, Hall took to twitter to spoil what was about to come, regretting the way she played the hand.
Brian Reinert asked Hall on Twitter if "calling off 80 BB's w/A10 is ever right?", insisting it wasn't a needle. Hall replied, "Getting 2.3:1 yes depending on range assumptions."
So far, a player had played a controversial hand and talked about it a little on Twitter. Nothing special so far. But things were about to heat up, as Mike Dentale took to Twitter to give his take on things:
Hall replied, challenging Dentale for a heads-up match.
Over the back and forth that followed, with location, buy-in and format changing, the hostility grew. Dentale used several swear words to describe his feelings towards Hall. On top of that, he found time to pick Twitter fights with Lance Bradley, Alex Weldon and Liv Boeree.
Hall used some swear words in return and left mediator Matt Glantz to handle logistics from there on out.
While the exact dates didn't get agreed upon, Glantz did get both parties involved to agree on the format and location. As it now stands, the two will participate in best-of-three $10,000 freezeout matches played at $25/$50 blinds, taking place at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia this coming March. The confrontation will be taped by Poker Night in America and, according to Glantz, at least one episode of the show will be made out of it.
Will it happen? Will people, by the time it's March, still be interested? If nothing else, at least the confrontation gave us this video - shared by Chris Tryba and Allen Kessler:
Mike Dentale vs Cate Hall (Ato) https://t.co/DtQ2KOB79M #bahahahahahahhahaaa #wishiwererelevantenuffforsomebodytotaketimetomakethisofme— christopher tryba (@christryba)
Update December 15:
I'll be there with @DougPolkPoker to commentate https://t.co/uSRAl1upoe— David Tuchman (@TuckonSports)
A Short History on Grudge Matches
What do you do when someone calls you bad at poker? You can either get into a brawl — and that's sometimes the smarter thing to do — or challenge your critic to a heads-up match. If they think you're so bad, they can't really object to playing you heads up, right? Hall did exactly that, but sure wasn't the first one to do so.
Johnny Moss versus Nick the Greek
The first ever heads-up match reported on was between Johnny Moss and Nick "the Greek" Dandolos, according to Wikipedia:
In 1949, Moss played with Nick the Greek in a five-month-long "heads-up" poker marathon set up by Benny Binion, winning between $2 and $4 million. At the conclusion of the game, Nick the Greek uttered what has become one of the most famous poker quotes ever, "Mr. Moss, I have to let you go."
The game has been widely credited as the inspiration for the World Series of Poker:
Twenty-one years later, Benny decided to do it again, but this time he wanted to make it an annual event and he wanted to include many more rounders and (eventually) many more regular players. His inspiration was the 1949 matchup and a 1969 Reno tournament called the Gaming Fraternity Convention. Benny and his son Jack put it all together and called it the World Series of Poker.
Ever since, it has become pretty clear that this match probably never really happened (the Horseshoe Casino didn't exist at the time this should've taken place and there are no news reports in any local or national sources that confirm this ever took place), but the story lives on.
Daniel Negreanu versus Barry Greenstein
A match that did happen, and got quite a bit of coverage, was Daniel Negreanu heads up against Barry Greenstein. Greenstein, after dissing Negreanu a bit on the TwoPlusTwo poker forum, was one of many that took up Negreanu's open invitation for freezeout matches after becoming the poker ambassador in the newly opened Wynn poker room back in 2005:
Negreanu, as part of his new 'job' as a host at the new Wynn Casino's poker room has issued a challenge. Daniel will play anyone, at almost any game...heads up for anywhere between $100,000-$500,000. This from Daniel's blog...
You can read all about Negreanu's match against Greenstein (and Joe Cassidy and others) on PokerNews (parts 1, 2, 3 and 4). While the agreement between Negreanu and the Wynn was over after only six months (Negreanu wanted to play in the Bellagio as well, so the two parted ways), the match did what it needed to: draw attention to Negreanu and the Wynn.
Erik "Erik123" Sagström versus Liz Lieu
A year later, Vegas would again hot a grudge match that, like the Negreanu-Greenstein and Hall-Dentale feuds, had originated online. In 2006, none other than Erik "Erik123" Sagström and Liz Lieu squared off in the The Venetian.
The two met at the WPT Five-Diamond Classic in the Bellagio and set the terms: three matches worth $200,000 each and limit hold'em $2,000/$4,000 with no blind increase. Lieu pitched the idea to the Venetian Poker Room and they happily agreed to facilitate the match to get some good publicity for their poker room.
Curious who won? Read all about in last September's Railbird Report.
Jon Aguiar versus Brandon Cantu
Back in 2012, Jon Aguiar and Brandon Cantu were playing heads up for the bracelet in the $10,000 Mix-Max event at the World Series of Poker Europe in Cannes. As the casino closed at 5 a.m., the match was postponed for some days because Aguiar wanted to play the Main Event. Cantu wasn't too happy about that, as he wanted to play the next day, and felt robbed — as explained in a video interview with PokerNews:
Some months later, the two played their grudge match at ARIA in Las Vegas with $130,000 on the line, the difference between first and second place back in Cannes. The bracelet wasn't in the middle, but Cantu still felt "so much better" after winning the match, getting it in with sixes against fives and holding. Also, it taught him a lesson:
A lot of the online heads-up matches were a lot friendlier than the ones we've discussed so far. Doug Polk beat Ben Sulsky, Dong Kim beat Nick Frame, Viktor Blom won against Isaac Haxton in the SuperStar Showdown and Dan Cates beat Ben Sulsky in the PokerStars All-Star Showdown. Also, we all know about the Durrrr challenge and how that worked out for the parties involved.
Also, there was this challenge. Not a poker game itself, but poker related. Starts about 18 minutes in:
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