BLOG – the coolest hands in TV poker history

BLOG – the coolest hands in TV poker history

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

I was watching Season 5 of High Stakes Poker last night and I accidentally happened upon a hand I’d clean forgotten existed but that most of the poker world probably hasn’t. It involves Tom “durrrr” Dwan betting Peter Eastgate and Barry Greenstein off the best hands.

High Stakes Poker
Season 5, Episode 2
$400/$800 $100 ante; 9 players; $200,000 - $500,000 buy-in
How it went down...

Peter Eastgate is in the small blind and Doyle Brunson is the big blind. Barry Greenstein picks up Ac-Ah under the gun and raises to $2,500. Tom “durrrr” Dwan calls from the next position with Qc-Tc and amazingly everyone else at the table finds a hand and calls, including Peter Eastgate with 4h-2d. The nine-way hand builds a $21,600 pot.

The flop comes 2c-Td-2s and Peter Eastgate checks his trips. Doyle Brunson checks behind and Greenstein fires $10,000 with his overpair. Dwan ponders for several seconds before raising to $37,300. The table quickly folds back to Peter Eastgate who is now stuck facing a raise and a call out of position – doubtless lamenting his four kicker. He decides to cold call and Greenstein quickly makes up the extra $27,300 for a pot of $133,500 when the 7d arrives on the turn.

Eastgate and Greenstein both check to ‘durrrr’ who decides on a bet of $104,200 into the pot with the weakest hand of the three players. Eastgate eventually lets go of his trips to conserve the remainder of his $480,000 stack and Greenstein ponders his action for some time before mucking the aces. After the hand the table bursts into discussion: “I had it,” Dwan says unconvincingly before firming up his voice. “I had it.”

“Barry folded the best hand,” Eli Elezra opines from across the table and there is some agreement before Dwan points out – correctly – that “[Eastgate] had the best hand” and later wins a $5,000 prop bet with Doyle Brunson over that fact when the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event winner admits he folded trip deuces.

What durrrr was thinking...

This hand is a great example of high level thinking on the part of Dwan. He calls Greenstein’s raise with Q-T because he’s durrrr and that’s just how he rolls. The unique situation unfolds when David Benyamine calls with 3-3 and Eli Elezra overcalls a suited ace that prices in every other player at the table for a nine-handed flop. On the flop Dwan’s raise seems crazy but he knows exactly what to do in the hand. He realises that because his hand contains a ten it will be very hard for anyone at the table to have flopped a full house with T-T; it takes the possible combinations of pocket tens from six down to just one. He puts Greenstein correctly on an overpair and realises that, in position, he can represent a full house to make him fold.

Now, it gets interesting when Peter Eastgate calls out of the small blind. He is clearly advertising that he has a weak three of a kind. His play isn’t bad – he’s trapped between Barry (who could easily have T-T) and Dwan who, let’s face it, could turn over a stronger deuce.

Raising and putting in his near half-million stack would probably be spew against such good opponents. Greenstein’s call is interesting and debatable given that Eastgate seems so strong, cold-calling a raise out of position, but he said after the fact that given the suits of his aces Dwan or Eastgate could only have one combination of A-2 suited, the only hand besides T-T he could put them on.

Now on the turn, a total blank, both players check to Dwan and he follows up his story with a six-figure bet. He bluffs into two players when he knows he is up against an overpair and three of a kind! He can do this because it is so transparent what Greenstein and Eastgate have that they can’t possibly conceive that Dwan would be bluffing here. It takes a great understanding of the game, a showcasing of how position can win you pots and a gigantic set of brass balls that must barely fit under the table for Dwan to do what he did. His reward is a $113,500 pot, the prop bet from Brunson and one of the most incredible televised hands ever played.

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