On Monday, the first PokerStars sponsored “Big Game” episode of the week aired on Fox and featured site pro Vanessa Rousso going broke before Hand #30. The cash game table was stacked with $600,000 to start.
Boston resident Bob Ferdinand served as the last “Loose Cannon” qualifier of the season. PokerStars stacked him with $100,000 and Ferdinand could keep any profits he made. The blinds on the “Big Game” are $200/$400 with a $100 ante paid entirely by the player on the button. The action is Pot Limit before the flop and No Limit thereafter. The “Loose Cannon” with the highest earnings at the end of the season wins a PokerStars North American Poker Tour passport worth $50,000.
UB.com pro Phil Hellmuth got off to a rocky start, raising to $2,000 pre-flop with Q-6 and receiving a call from Ferdinand, who held A-J. The action flop came Q-Q-A and Ferdinand check-called a bet of $4,000. The turn gave Hellmuth a flush draw in addition to the best hand and, once again, Ferdinand check-called a bet, this time totaling $12,000.
Ferdinand hit lightning in a bottle when an ace hit to give him a higher boat than Hellmuth, who muttered, “Is this even possible?” Ferdinand bet out $18,500 and Hellmuth called, shipping the $73,800 pot across the table to the amateur, who was quickly up $40,000.
Then, Rousso came over the top of a bet by Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier for $8,000 on a flop of 7-7-K with two clubs holding a red A-5. Grospellier called with pocket nines, including the nine of clubs, and a turn six gave him a flush draw. The action went check-check to a fourth club on the river. Rousso bet $16,000 and Grospellier called, scooping the $53,000 pot with a flush. Rousso was down $55,000, or a little more than half of her stack, through just a dozen hands.
In the largest pot of the night, Hellmuth held A-9 and hit trips on the river to draw out on the A-K of Ferdinand, who had top pair, top kicker. The pot, played as a “Couch Cannon” hand where only the hole cards of the challenger are shown, was worth $113,000. Ferdinand dropped $56,000 in real money and was down $21,000 overall.
Then, Rousso met her maker. With Q-J of clubs, the GoDaddy Girl raised to $1,000 before the flop and DoylesRoom pro Amit “amak316” Makhija 3bet to $3,500 with pocket jacks. Rousso came along and the flop fell 10-4-J, giving Rousso top pair and Makhija top set. Rousso check-called a bet of $4,000 and the turn was a queen, giving her two pair.
Rousso checked queens-up and Makhija fired out a bet of $10,000. Rousso check-raised all-in for her last $35,800 and Makhija called, telling Rousso that she could run the river as many times as she wanted. Rousso opted to run the final card four times, but a three, nine, king, and deuce failed to improve her holdings. Makhija raked in the entire $87,000 pot, the second largest of the night, and Rousso exited stage right.
After Monday’s kickoff one-hour episode, Makhija was up $37,600, Hellmuth was up $33,400, Grospellier was up $26,700, and Ferdinand had earned $5,400. Abe Mosseri was out $3,100, while Rousso’s seat remained empty. Each “Loose Cannon” plays 150 hands.
You can catch the PokerStars-backed “Big Game” nightly on Fox. Check your local listings for station information. Visit PokerStars.