Blog – High Stakes Poker Season 6
Monday, 15 February 2010
Needless to say – this post contains spoilers. You can watch the episode on YouTube under GSN’s official channel. Anyway, on with the bloggin’…
High Stakes Poker began its sixth season last night on GSN, with more changes to the format of the show than any other series. Gabe Kaplan’s co-host, AJ Benza, is out and replaced by Kara Scott on the floor, leaving Kaplan alone in the booth while Scott observes and interviews from the side of the table.
Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari, Dario Minieri, Tom Dwan, Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen and Norwegian player Andreas Hoivold – who looks a little like a melted waxwork – all took to the felt with $200,000 in front of them – except for Ivey and Dwan, who each bought in for half a million. With blinds of $400/$800/$200 we were off to the races, as Kaplan’s extended metaphor for the first ten minutes of the show kept stating.
So, first things first – how does the new commentary format work? Well, it has its pros and cons. Kaplan is obviously a very capable TV personality, so it’s not like he can’t hold his own up there. However, you notice the fact that Benza isn’t there. The two were without a shadow of a doubt the best commentary duo on televised poker, though of course there are arguments for stating that any commentary team not including Jesse May is a blessing.
Kaplan works as a solo commentator but it’s not better than Kaplan-Benza. That’s all there is to it. Kara Scott’s tableside, post-hand interviews are a really nice touch, though, as you get to hear the players’ thoughts after big hands. Also, Scott is a very good presenter, which helps a lot. Not bad to look at, either. Hopefully Brian Townsend won’t come looking for me now.
Oh, and the “30 Seconds with Kara Scott” saw some great laughs as the other players took turns describing Phil Hellmuth. Dario and Andreas had praise for him, leading for Gabe to conclude that he’s more popular with European players – the David Hasselhoff of poker.
The actual play itself? Excellent, as always. Didn’t seem to be able to make a correct play all day until he managed to resist a value raise with the second nut flush against Antonio’s nuts. Giggity. However, he then wound up – totally legitimately – stacking off with an open-ended straight draw/flush draw combo against Ivey’s top pair and second nut flush draw for a $226,200 pot. Hellmuth was left drawing incredibly thin, with the GSN graphics listing Hellmuth’s outs – 8s 8d 8c 3s 3d 3c – alongside his name. The Th river saw Hellmuth leave having lost $200,000.
In other news – Negreanu seems to have learned how to 3-bet light, Dwan seems to have learned how to fold, Hoivold hasn’t learned when to bluff (hint: it’s not when you’re bluffing Phil Ivey and he has a set) and Ivey won’t stop being so damn cool, having won over $330,000 in the one episode. Oh, and Gus Hansen was brilliant throughout the episode – not so much in his play, he was quite uninvolved. He was just taking the Michael out of everyone constantly. It was pretty amusing.