Last night two relevant television programs aired. The first was Canada losing to the USA in preliminary Olympic hockey. The second was Episode 2 of High Stakes Poker Season 6.
The first one is too painful to talk about so let's cut straight to the second.
We've now had two episodes to see how cutting AJ Benza from the booth and adding Kara Scott on the floor has worked out.
I think I can now officially say I miss AJ Benza and that somehow, despite knowing very little about poker, he made the show better.
He and Gabe Kaplan were like to friends watching tv, ribbing each other. It was entertaining.
Without AJ, it's just Kaplan rambling to himself. And when the action's slow, there are very noticeable, long silences.
And there were plenty of long silences in last night's show. Episode two had to be one of the most boring in recent memory.
On the bright side, it did bring us a couple interesting hands. The hand under the microscope this week sees Andreas Hoivold sent to the exit.
The hand starts out with Tom Dwan raising to $3,300 from under the gun. Eli Elezra makes the call directly on his left and Andreas Hoivold is next to call on the button.
Both Daniel Negeranu and Gus Hansen call in the blinds and the flop comes 3♥ T♠ 6♣.
The flop is checked through and the turn comes Q♥.
Hansen bets $11,100 into $18,100 and Dwan calls. Elezra folds and Hoivold makes it $50,000 on the button.
Negreanu folds and Gus goes into the tank before moving all-in.
Dwan folds and Hoivold calls off his last $30,400.
Gus turns over 6♥ 3♠ for two pair and Andreas Hoivold shows A♥ Q♣.
They elect to run the river twice and Gus wins both when the rivers brick out 9♠ and 8♠.
Dwan kicks the hand off with a suspect raise UTG with Q♠ 4♠. Obviously by now this is what we've come to expect from durrrr so we'll just move on. But kids please don't try this at home.
Elezra, directly on Dwan's left, makes the call with the 5♥ 8♥.
A suited two-gap probably shouldn't be played vs. an UTG raise while still being in early position, but Eli likes to gamble and he knows Dwan's range is still wide.
It's then folded around to Hoivold who makes the call on the button with A♥ Q♣.
Calling with AQ is fine in this spot. He will play a pot in position vs two loose-aggressive opponents. Three-betting would also be fine if you could guarantee one or both of your opponents would call with a worse hand.
Negreanu chooses to call in the small blind with another suited two-gapper, the T♣ 7♣.
Gus, having to call $2,500 to win $16,000, is happy to see a flop with the 6♥ 3♠.
The flop comes 3♥ T♠ 6♣ and Daniel checks, having missed completely.
Gus checks, slow playing his two two pair. With two aggressive opponents left to act, Gus chooses to let someone else bet for him.
A lead in this spot would also be good because it's a small card, dry board - one that is unlikely to be c-bet multiway. But he checks. Dwan checks as well, not wanting to c-bet air into four other players.
Elezra checks with 8 high and finally Hoivold checks.
The turn comes the Q♥ and Negreanu checks. Gus bets $11,100 with his bottom two.
Dwan makes the call with his top pair, no kicker and Elezra folds his 8-high flush draw.
Eli thinks in a multi-way pot it's possible that someone else has a larger draw than his and drawing to a weak flush deep in a multi-way pot with one card to come is a losing proposition. So the 8♥ 5♥ hits the muck.
Hoivold makes it $50,000 on the button. He has top pair with the best kicker and there is already $40,000 in the pot. He doesn't want to just call because there are quite a few bad cards that can come on the river.
He makes it $50,000 with only around $30,000 behind.
Negreanu insta-mucks and Gus goes into the tank.
Eventually he figures his two pair is best and he shoves all-in.
He likely believes Hoivold either has a turned combo draw or hit the queen hard. He knows his image and knows he probably isn't getting credit for how strong he is. So he shoves in hopes of getting heads-up vs. Hoivold.
Dwan folds his top pair and Hoivold calls off his last $30,000.
They choose to run the river twice and they both brick. Hoivold busts his one HSP bullet and Gus wins the $190,000 pot.
The last hand of a boring Episode 2 was interesting enough though.
Stay tuned for next week when PokerListings blogger Jason Mercier gets into the ring for a couple rounds with the big boys.
More Strategy Snapshots from High Stakes Poker Season 6
- Episode 1: Hellmuth Felted
- High Stakes Poker Season 6 Set To Kick Off