In the immortal words of Sammy Farha – Raisy Daisy! We begin the last episode of this season’s High Stakes Poker by raising the stakes to $500-$1,000 blinds with a 300 ante.

Sammy FarhaIn the first hand, right off the bat, Daniel Negreanu takes down a nice $92k pot from Tom Dwan who called down a river with just 9 high! Can any one of you out there imagine risking $45,000 with a 9 high? Clearly Dwan picked the wrong opponent to do that against, but, as Gabe Kaplan says, if Dwan had ended up making the right call, people would be talking about the call of the century! Oh well, he just ends up looking stupid. 🙂

The next hand I want to talk about was deceivingly very good – it took place between Phil Galfond and Lex Veldhuis. 3 spades come out on the flop with neither played holding a spade. Lex makes a good continuation bet of $13k by Lex, but Galfond counters with a great read and re-raise to $39k to take down the $72k pot. Just think about that for a second – you’d have to ABSOLUTELY KNOW that someone had no pair or spade to put $40k in a pot with absolutely nothing yourself. For the first time this season, Phil Galfond has impressed me.

Oh wait… Then came this debacle of a hand from Galfond against Eli Elezra:

Galfond, sitting with K5, starts out aggressive, raising to get David Benyamine off the supposed “limp” (Benyamine had 10-10). Unfortunately for Mr. Galfond, Eli Elezra wakes up with KK and re-raises. Benyamine folds, but for some ridiculous reason, Galfond calls another $40k….with JUST K5. Boy does he pay… They see the worst possible flop for Galfond (K99) and turn 9, to Make Galfond a boat. Somehow, Galfond made a “good” fold of his full house to Eli’s $110k bet. The strategy doesn’t add up – why put all of that mone into a hand to begin with if you;’re essentially going to “make your hand” and then end up folding A BOAT! In any case, Eli takes another chunk out of yet another player – he officially gets my vote for best player on High Stakes Poker this season

Then came this gem between Lex and Doyle Brunson:

Lex pairs his 2 and it ends up being the best hand. What’s amazing about that is that Doyle bet the turn $20k and then another $60k on the river. Clearly Lex had a great read on Brunson (who admittedly looked shocked at the call), especially, as Gabe Kaplan says, because Doyle does not usually bluff with absolutely nothing. Later interviewed by Kara Scott, Lex says it’s the biggest call he’s ever made (moneywise) – kudos Lex!

On to the biggest pot (moneywise) of the episode, when Eli Elezra’s pocket QQ get in deep trouble against Tom Dwan. Eli’s mistake was not raising enough pre-flop (to “just” $7.2k, but remember we’re dealing with bigger blinds at the end of a session where many players are eager to get some action). Anyhow, 4 players chase the flop and Dwan luckily flops top 2 pair. Eli leads out for $23k just to get reraised by Dwan to $71k. Eli re-pops it another $100k on top…only to get 4-bet all-in by Dwan. While Eli made an excellent and very tough laydown, it still cost him a lot of money ($150k).

At this point in the episode, Dwan is clearly on fire; as the straddle, he gets dealt AA and expertly parlays that into gold against ElKY, who unluckily hit just enough of the flop (paired his 6). Combined with ElKY’s putting Dwan on nothing, he proceeds to lose his whole stack. Dwan clearly knows how to work his image, cards, and position to perfection. Doyle sums it up saying “you’re like a vacuum cleaner”.

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Galfond tangles in 2 more hands after this, but the star of the show was clear – Tom Dwan is the man to beat on HSP.

Can’t wait until next season!

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