In case you missed it, the Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship premiered on Saturday night on GSN. The program, which supplants GSN’s less-than-stellar coverage of the Aussie Millions, featured commentary from David Tuchman and Brandon Adams. Thirty-two players bought in for $50,000 and $1 million will be given to the winning team. Two four-handed matches were played on Saturday as part of regular season play, with the semi-finals and finals also set to take place.
Match 1 teams that took to the felts during the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s one-hour program, included Toto Leonidas and Howard Lederer, Greg “FBT” Mueller and Phil Hellmuth, Vivek “Psyduck” Rajkumar and Johnny Chan, and Antonio Esfandiari and Allen Cunningham. Lacey Jones served as the show’s floor reporter and each team began with 50 big blinds. Partners alternated action by street.
Mueller and Hellmuth were the first casualties of the four-handed match, as the former committed his team’s chips pre-flop with A-7 and ran into Leonidas and Lederer’s wired pair of nines. The board improved neither holding and Mueller and Hellmuth received zero points toward the regular season standings. Mueller told Jones that his only regret was not using the team’s one 30-second timeout to consult with his partner before 3betting all-in with a weak ace.
Esfandiari and Cunningham were the next to depart, getting it in with pocket sixes against Rajkumar and Chan’s A-Q of diamonds. A queen hit on the flop and Rajkumar and Chan picked up a flush draw by the turn to stay out in front. Esfandiari and Cunningham earned four points each for the regular season standings and the stacks were nearly even entering heads-up play.
In the final hand of the first match, Chan and Rajkumar moved all-in with J-10 on a board of 10-10-A-9 with three diamonds. Lederer and Leonidas called all-in with K-4 of diamonds for the nut flush, but a river ace paired the board and shipped the title to Chan and Rajkumar, the oldest and youngest players at the table. They received 20 points toward the regular season standings and $10,000 in cash.
The second set of matches, which also received a half-hour of coverage, featured Gavin Smith teaming with Carlos Mortensen, Phil Laak teaming with Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey teaming with Nick Schulman, and David Benyamine teaming with Tom Dwan. The latter pair, two high-stakes cash game pros, busted first from the four-handed table, as their A-J could not outrace Ivey and Schulman’s pocket eights.
Ivey and Schulman doubled twice through Bloch and Laak, who were then ousted in third place at the hands of Smith and Mortensen. Laak and Bloch shoved pre-flop with J-6 and received a call from Mortensen and Smith, who held Q-7 and flopped two pair. Each received four points toward the regular season standings and will be randomly assigned a new partner in the next match.
Schulman and Ivey moved all-in pre-flop with 9-7 and Mortensen and Smith called all-in for their tournament lives with A-6. The board of 3-Q-10-4 was no help to either team, but a seven on the river gave Ivey and Schulman a pair and the win in the hand. Ivey told Jones following his team’s win that he enjoyed the unique structure of the Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship: “I thought it was a fun format, passing it back and forth. There are a lot of little things you can do and we got into a pretty good rhythm.”
If the watching the show sounds like a fun way to spend an hour, catch the Full Tilt Poker Doubles Poker Championship every Saturday at 9:00pm ET on GSN.