GSN's sixth season of High Stakes Poker kicked off last night and a few things have changed since Season 5.
For one, AJ Benza was replaced by the much more attractive Kara Scott. Though it wasn't exactly a straight-up trade, in Season 6 Gabe Kaplan finds himself alone in the booth with Kara Scott on the floor for post-hand interviews.
The new format is decent enough. There's less pointless banter with only one play-by-play guy and you can hear the table talk better and get an overall better feel for the game.
After one episode it's difficult to say which format is better. For some reason I found myself missing AJ Benza though I never really liked him in the past.
Either way the poker action remains the same. Episode one picks up right where the previous seasons left off with a ton of big pots straight out the gate.
The "World's Best Poker Player" Phil Hellmuth was up to his old tricks and was involved in a few noteworthy pots.
He got it started right away with an atrocious out-of-position four-bet-fold vs Phil Ivey that was comical at very best.
He then played extremely scared and ended up saving money with the second nuts v.s Antonio Estfandiari and was clearly steaming when this hand came up.
The Set up
With the blinds $400/$800 it's folded around to Tom Dwan who limps in from late position.
Hellmuth makes it $2,000 to go off the button and Ivey calls in the small blind. Andreas Hoivold makes the call in the big blind and Dwan calls $1,200 more.
The flop comes 6♦ 4♥ 7♥ and Ivey leads for $6,000. Hoivold and Dwan both get out of the way and Hellmuth tanks before raising to $26,000.
Ivey just calls the $20,000 and the turn drops the K♦.
Ivey checks, and Hellmuth overbet shoves $82,300 into $61,600.
Ivey thinks briefly before making the call.
Hellmuth shows J♥ 5♥ for the open-ender plus a flush draw and Ivey turns over the K♥ 9♥ for the bigger flush draw plus top pair.
The river comes off T♥ and Ivey's king-high flush is good for the $226,200 pot.
Dwan limps in from late position with a total trash hand - 5♣ 2♠. I can't see how it's very +ev but hey, Dwan likes to turn water into wine so GL.
Hellmuth isolates Dwan's limp by raising to $2,000 - a very small raise off the button - with J♥ 5♥.
Hellmuth's ego obviously wants to outplay Dwan and everyone else to prove once and for all that he's the greatest player in the world. But honestly, raising here is better than limping behind so let's just move on.
Ivey calls in the big blind with K♥ 9♥ because he knows Hellmuth is going to be raising the button fairly liberally and the raise is absolutely tiny.
Hoivold makes the call in the big blind for $1,200 more with the suited two-gap J♠ 8♠ and Dwan calls getting like 100-1.
When the flop comes 6♦ 4♥ 7♥, Ivey leads for $6,000 first to act. Ivey recognizes that this is an extremely bad board for Hellmuth to c-bet and he doesn't want it getting checked through.
Hoivold insta-folds his weak one-card gutshot and Dwan folds his open ender.
Dwan realizes that his open-ender is in fact very weak. Ivey needs a pretty good hand to lead into three players and he knows that Ivey is seldom paying off a dollar if he makes his one-card straight. With no implied odds, a fold is very easy.
Hellmuth, as the preflop raiser, seemingly hits a very good flop for his hand. He has a flush draw as well as an open-ended straight draw. With 15 outs vs. an overpair Hellmuth chooses to raise it up to $26,000.
Hellmuth's hand is actually well disguised as it looks more like a large pocket pair than a combo draw.
Ivey makes the call with the second nut flush draw. When the turn comes K♦, Ivey checks his option over to Hellmuth.
Hellmuth has been taking the lead in this hand and Ivey wants him to continue betting now that he has top pair to go with his draw.
Hellmuth shoves all-in for $82,300.
With $61,600 in the pot Hellmuth can't bet the turn and the river so he just chooses to shove all-in and maximize his fold equity.
He knows that he'll more likely be given more credit for a real hand than a draw and should Ivey have been holding something like 6♣ 5♣ or 8♦ 8♠ he'd certainly have to fold.
Furthermore Hellmuth thinks that even if he is called he has 15 outs to improve.
Unfortunately as Hellmuth sees when Ivey calls and shows the K♥ 9♥ he's absolutely crushed and is drawing extremely slim.
The river T♥ makes Hellmuth the second-best jack-high flush and Ivey scoops the $226,200 pot with his king-high flush.
A hand that was actually fairly standard from both parties but the best part IMO was Hellmuth's exit interview with Kara Scott.
"I give him a lot of credit, but he's been extraordinarily lucky. And I do think that when I have my day against him I'll beat him for a million ... or two. Because I'm not afraid of him."
Just when are you going to beat him for two million Hellmuth? You don't play cash games live and you don't play on Full Tilt. Those are the only two places you can play high enough to even win two million.
It's just mind boggling how clueless Hellmuth is. If he sat down at any of the $500/$1,000 games on Tilt the waiting list would be longer than when Guy was playing.
I'm sure Ivey and everyone else at Full Tilt would welcome the chance.
Anyways, after Hellmuth bustoed he gathered his belongings and quit the game. GG Phil Hellmuth, GG.
More Strategy Snapshots from High Stakes Poker Season 6