This week, the playoffs will begin in the Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship. The poker television series, which airs every Saturday at 9:00pm ET on GSN, featured 32 players coughing up $50,000 each to enter. Now, half of the field will make the playoffs.
Players alternate action by street and cannot discuss strategy at the table while they have cards. In an interesting dynamic this week, players jockeyed to get to 35 regular season points after four preliminary matches. The total would likely be needed to advance to the postseason and consequently a wealth of passive play occurred pre-flop. The first match of the show featured a variety of lively pairings: PartyPoker pro Tony G and Phil Gordon, Vivek “Psyduck” Rajkumar and UB.com pro Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen and 10-time bracelet winner Johnny Chan, and Carlos Mortensen and Erik Seidel.
After folding pocket jacks pre-flop in an attempt to ascend the leaderboard and earn valuable regular season points, Seidel and Mortensen were ousted in fourth place after running top pair into Tony G and Gordon’s overpair. They received zero points towards the regular season, a harsh penalty for exiting the four-way match first.
Chan and Hansen departed in third place after playing aggressively throughout. Hansen had no shot of making the playoffs, while Chan sat atop the overall standings with 60 points after winning all three of his previous regular season tournaments. Then, Hellmuth and Rajkumar took down match #1 after the latter called Gordon’s all-in with pocket sevens on a 3-J-4 flop. Gordon tabled 5-4 for middle pair and a running A-10 gave Rajkumar a postseason birth. “Psyduck” will team with Greg Mueller when the playoffs begin this weekend.
The final qualifying match of the regular season featured Andy Bloch teaming with Nick Schulman, David Chiu teaming with Phil Laak, Howard Lederer teaming with Mueller, and Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond pairing with Antonio Esfandiari. Laak and Chiu departed on the second hand of play after getting their A-K cracked by Bloch and Schulman’s A-Q. Bloch and Schulman called time to discuss the hand in private and came back saying that they were ready to gamble. The pair flopped a queen and never looked back, sending Laak and Chiu out quickly.
Third place went to Esfandiari and Galfond, who collected four regular season points apiece for their troubles. Esfandiari and Galfond committed their chips with 9-7 for a straight draw on a flop of 10-10-8. Bloch and Schulman called with J-9 for a higher straight draw and both teams blanked out on the turn and river.
In the end, Schulman and Bloch were all-in with pocket queens against Mueller and Lederer’s K-3 of diamonds. The flop came 3-K-A, giving Mueller and Lederer bottom two pair, and a running 6-3 resulted in the win with a boat. Lederer advanced to the playoffs, while Mueller ultimately came up short in securing a postseason appearance.
This Saturday, catch the playoffs of the Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship on GSN. The action will kick off at 9:00pm ET and here are the pairings:
- Johnny Chan and Erick Lindgren
- Howard Lederer and Phil Gordon
- Phil Galfond and Annette Obrestad
- Greg Mueller and Vivek Rajkumar
- Nick Schulman and Andrew Lichtenberger
- Tony G and David Benyamine
- Huck Seed and Allen Cunningham
There is a three-way tie at 35 points among Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, and Toto Leonidas. Consequently, the trio will play a match to break the deadlock, with the top two moving on to form the final team for the playoffs. Each player will have the same partner throughout the postseason, with Chan and Lindgren receiving the largest stack of anyone at the table.
The remaining 17 players include three former World Series of Poker Main Event champions (Chan, Seed, and Ferguson). Internet poker players will likely be rooting for the younger squad that features Galfond and Obrestad, who are a combined 47 years of age. Stay tuned to MacPoker.com for the latest.