Monday night marked the first episode of Big Heat Week on NBC’s “Poker After Dark.” The series, which airs in late night, features six players buying in for $100,000 each this time around. The winner-take-all freezeout will award a colossal $600,000 to its eventual champion and, accordingly, the lineup was extremely fierce. The six entrants had nearly $42 million in combined live tournament earnings to go with 18 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. Each person received a starting stack of 100,000 and the blinds began at 500/1,000. Full Tilt Poker sponsors the show.
2008 WSOP Europe Main Event winner John Juanda set the tone for the show by calling a pre-flop raise with 5-3 of diamonds and proceeding to take down a pot at the expense of Tom “durrrr” Dwan. Juanda admitted, “I said I was going to play tight to start with, but I just can’t help myself.”
Then, former Main Event champ Huck Seed flopped trip nines against Dwan and checked. Dwan checked behind and the turn was a four. Seed bet 17,000 and Dwan called with a flush draw, which didn’t come through on the river. Seed put out a healthy bet of 45,000 and Dwan got out of the way to give the heads-up specialist the early chip lead.
2009 WSOP November Niner Phil Ivey checked aces-up on the river in a hand against Juanda, who bet 24,500 with just king-high. Ivey looked him up and scooped a pot worth 94,000 in chips. Ivey turned to Dwan, who was seated directly to his right, and explained, “If it were you, I would have just moved all-in and figured there was a chance you’d call me with king-high.”
Then, Dwan raised all-in over the top of a bet by Ivey with A-J on a flop of 2-4-8. Ivey, who held A-3, folded and “Poker After Dark” commentator Ali Nejad remarked, “Do not adjust your sets. Dwan does not have a pair and he’s moving all-in. Get used to it.”
Juanda was put to the test early and often. In one hand, Dwan made it 5,000 before the flop with A-J and Juanda 3bet to 15,000 with a wired pair of sevens. Dwan put in a 4bet to 45,000 and Juanda tanked before electing to muck his cards. The hand marked the third pocket pair for Juanda, who had also been dealt pocket nines twice.
Down the stretch, Erick Lindgren raised to 5,000 before the flop with A-10 and Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond made the call with 7-6 suited to diamonds. The flop came 10-9-8, giving Galfond a straight and Lindgren top pair, top kicker. Galfond check-called a bet of 8,000 and the turn was a six. Galfond once again checked, Lindgren bet 17,000, and Galfond came over the top all-in for 60,500. Lindgren quickly got out of the way for a well-timed laydown.
Then, Galfond, who had been largely quiet throughout the beginning of Monday’s hour-long episode, raised to 5,000 with 7-4 and Seed made the call with A-Q of spades. Dwan came along with 10-2 of diamonds and the flop was 2-3-Q with two hearts, missing Galfond entirely and giving Dwan and Seed a pair. The latter two checked and Galfond fired out a continuation bet of 8,000. Seed and Dwan called and the turn was the jack of hearts.
Dwan and Seed both checked the turn and Galfond, holding seven-high and no heart, put out a bet of 19,000. Seed and Dwan both mucked their pairs, perhaps fearing that Galfond’s flush draw had hit, and “OMGClayAiken” scooped a pot worth 58,000.
You can catch the conclusion to Big Heat Week on “Poker After Dark” all this week on NBC at 2:05am ET nightly.