Poker Night in America provided viewers with many great moments during the first 29 episodes that were aired during Season 1, so picking up the best moments from hours of poker fun was not an easy task. Furthermore, a list of the top five moments is obviously subjective, as not everyone is moved by the same things. With that said, I picked out the five moments below. For full coverage of all the episodes aired thus far, you can always visit the 888poker blog, where you can find them all nicely arranged in one place.
1. Shaun Deeb Slowroll vs Mike Matusow (Episode 04)
Yes, slow-rolling is bad; it’s bad poker etiquette and should be discouraged. But this particular hand between Mike Matusow and Shaun Deeb was simply too funny. Mike was already stuck for the night so Shaun may have pushed it too far when he took forever to call on the river with flopped quad fives.
Matusow wasn’t happy, to say the least, but the rest of the table seemed entertained. What Deeb did may not have been in the best taste, but seeing how Mike is a long-time veteran of the game, he shouldn’t have taken it to heart so much.
2. Danielle Anderson Starts Off with a Bang (Episode 10)
Danielle Anderson was a newcomer to the show in Episode 10 and her presence did not go unnoticed by the fans. In fact, she was voted the best overall player at the Golden Ace Awards ceremony, and it all started with this pot against Tom Schneider.
With both holding pocket pairs, Anderson’s pocket queens vs Schneider’s deuces, when the board came Q-5-2, the writing was on the wall it would be a huge pot. Another queen on the turn pretty much sealed the deal, giving Schneider a full house, and after she led out on both flop and turn, Anderson proceeded to check the river with her quads.
The river was pretty inconsequential 9, and after Danielle checked, Schneider naturally bet for value, only to be faced with a check raise for the remainder of Anderson’s stack. There was no getting away at that point and after he matched her river bet, Schneider’s could only watch a $10k pot shipped ‘Dmoongirl’s’ way. That’s what you call a good start!
3. Tom Schneider Goes Runner-Runner (Episode 19)
Big pots are not easily created. It takes a player with a heart and commitment to try for a big bluff, or two big hands to collide. In the case of Tom Schneider and Al Adler, it was the latter, although Schneider had to catch a perfect runner-runner to get there.
On the flop, he had a measly top pair with mediocre kicker against Adler’s bottom set. However, the turn brought another 9, improving his hand to trips. A 10 on the river gave Schneider a better full house to take down Adler’s deuces full and win him a $15,000+ pot. Nothing else to say but “that’s poker”.
4. Elezra and Muller Tangle in a Big Pot (Episode 28)
Whenever there was more than $15k in the middle, the odds are that it was an interesting hand. When such a hand also involved Eli Elezra, it gets extra points for entertainment value, as of us who enjoyed High Stakes Poker back in the day love seeing Eli back in action.
Elezra looked down to see pocket queens. To make things even sweeter, it was on his straddle. Greg Mueller, who initially opened to $400, makes a mistake thinking that Eli’s big raise is just a bluff in an attempt to protect his straddle and calls $2,000 on top of the raise and they go to the flop, which comes 3-3-7.
If Eli continued betting, that would probably be the end of it right there. However, he recognized that he had the board crushed and proceeded to check. Mueller checked behind with his KJ and after turn brought a J, it was time for Queens to get paid. Elezra made the most out of this hand, as he got Mueller to call both turn and river, raking in more than $16,000!
5. Greg Raymer Puts the Table to the Test (Episode 23)
Having one Main Event champion at the table is great; having two of them at the same table at the same time is nothing short of awesome. Despite of what anyone may say (everybody’s a critic these days) both Greg Raymer and Joe Cada outlasted big fields to claim their WSOP Main Event titles.
In this particular hand, it was the two champs driving the action, but Raymer was the one raking in the chips in the end. It all started with ‘Fossilman’ limping in a straddled pot with pocket jacks and Cada making it $350 to go with Q9, both diamonds.
Three players in between made the calls and the action got back to Raymer who, it seems, wasn’t in a mood to take any flops. He put his entire stack of $4,250 in the middle. His opponents didn’t have good enough hands with which to make the call, with the second-best hand being pocket sixes. Greg raked in a nice pot uncontested, adding about 30% to his stack. Nice hand, sir!
What Do You Think?
Did any of the five moments I chose from season one of Poker Night in America make your list of favorites? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.