High Stakes Poker Snapshot: Phil Galfond's HSP Gaffe

Published On: 3 May 2010 / Modified: 12 February 2019
Created By: Daniel Skolovy
phil galfond 2

If it weren't for a questionable call by Phil Galfond, Daniel Negreanu would have booked yet another losing session on episode 12 of High Stakes Poker Season 6.

Sub-plots included Negreanu happily paying off Doyle Brunson's flopped straight like it was his job and Mike Matusow continuing to nit it up, inexplicably folding KdQd to a single raise. Matusow plays so tight he makes Phil Laak look like Tom Dwan.

Another hand of note saw Elky and durrrr both holding TT and durrrr partially berating Elky for tanking on the river.

durrrr seemed a little out of line with his comments but when you remember that Season 6 was taped during the infamous isildur1 matches where durrrr lost like $5 million we can understand why he's a little cranky.

But that's beside the point. The hand we're going to look at today is a failed hero call by Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond vs Daniel Negreanu.

Galfond Tanks, Negreanu Shows

With the blinds $400/$800 and a $200 ante Daniel Negreanu puts the $1,600 straddle on. It's folded to Doyle Brunson who raises to $4,600.

Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier makes the call in the small blind, Phil Galfond calls in the big and Daniel Negreanu makes the call from the straddle.

Daniel Negreanu 2015 WSOP Main Event Busting Hellmuth

The flop comes 7 T T and the action is checked through.

The turn comes the 6 and Elky leads for $11,000. Galfond makes the call. Negreanu thinks for a moment before making it $41,000.

Doyle folds and Elky gets out of the way but Galfond eventually makes the call. The river comes K. Galfond checks and Negreanu fires $80,200.

Galfond tanks and eventually makes the call. Negreanu shows T 7 for the flopped full house which is good for the $192,600 pot.

The Breakdown:

When it's folded to Doyle he raises to $4,600 after looking at just the A. With the blinds, antes and the straddle there's a ton of dead money in the pot. Doyle's raising as a steal regardless of his other card.

By not looking at the second card he gives himself a sweat once he knows whether he'll be playing a pot or not. It's just a way to keep the game fun.

Elky makes the call in the small blind with the A 3 because he knows Doyle is going to be raising a wide range with all of the dead money in the middle.

Galfond makes the call with the 9 7 in the big blind. With a decent one-gap he knows he can win a big pot with the right flop.

Negreanu is next to climb aboard the calling train with his T 7. He calls because he was the straddle and there's a decent pot already building with two callers in front of him.

The flop comes 7 T T. Elky checks and everyone else checks through. Everyone checks to the preflop raiser and Doyle declines the c-bet into three players. The more players in the flop the more likely someone (or everyone) has a piece of it so he checks.

The turn comes the 6. Once the flop is checked through Elky figures with the nut flush draw he may as well semi-bluff at the pot and bets $11,000.

Galfond makes the call with his second pair on a paired board. He realizes that since nobody took a stab on the flop theres a very real chance that his sevens are good.

Negreanu Comes Alive

Negreanu all of a sudden comes alive and makes it $41,000 with his flopped full house. He has the stone-cold nuts and raises because he knows his image isn't great this season. Also, he knows this line isn't the most believable.

phil galfond 2

Furthermore he wants to build the pot in case someone else has a worse ten. If he just calls it will be hard to get stacks in on the river.

Doyle now realizes he has ace-deuce and folds. Elky mucks the nut-flush draw as well. He correctly recognizes he could be drawing dead even with the nut-flush draw.

Galfond thinks and makes the call with his sevens. He thinks that because the flop was checked through Negreanu can pick up on the fact that Elky could lead any two cards and thus Galfond could call with a wider range.

Because of that Galfond thinks Negreanu could be post-flop squeezing the bettor and the caller and thus he chooses to call with his pair of sevens. The river comes K and Galfond immediately checks. Negreanu fires $80,200 with the now-second nuts.

Galfond eventually levels himself into a call based on his read on the turn. He feels the K doesn't change anything and that if he had the best hand on the turn he probably still has the best hand.

A decent thought, but the problem is that though Negreanu is definitely capable of making moves he often pulls the trigger on one street only to shut down on the next.

Hero Calls are Tricky Business

You saw it with the hand earlier in the season when durrrr had flopped a full house. Negreanu bluffed at the turn and gave up on the river. When Negreanu bets big again on the river and goes completely silent there's a good chance you're beat.

Galfond, however, didn't get out of the way and ended up calling the $80,200, only to find out his hand is nowhere near good. Hero calls are tricky business. When you're right, you look like a genius. And when you're wrong, you look like an idiot.

It's a tough, double-edged sword and this time Galfond found himself looking like the latter. But don't feel too bad for him; he's made more than his share of money online. 

More Strategy Snapshots from High Stakes Poker Season 6:


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acesacesaces 2010-05-04 18:55:58

Yet another example of a so-called pro leveling himself into making abominable calls. A beginner would just fold, ah but there's the rub!



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