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High-Stakes No-Limit Hold'em

Poker After Dark

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Dec 31, 2008

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OK, out of respect to those who do not want to know what's coming on PAD (Poker After Dark), I will not mention what episode this hand came from, other than to say that it is a PAD high-stakes cash game to be aired in 2009. Furthermore, I will not reveal the names of the players in the episode. I will reveal that PAD cash games are now two weeks long, with a redraw (repositioning of the players) after week one ends. Although there is a redraw, no chips are taken off the table, so the second week has the potential to have some enormous pots. PAD is televised six days a week on NBC at 2 a.m., and it is one of my favorite poker shows. I love PAD because of the banter, and because of the fact that a majority of the hands are shown. However, if you're into "highlight poker," in which only the biggest and most interesting hands are shown, you can always watch the Director's Cut on Saturday night on NBC. The PAD cash game features blinds of $200-$400 and an ante of $100 a man.

This hand was raised to $1,200 to go by Player A, and called by Player B. I called $1,000 more from the small blind with the 8 7. The flop was 6 6 4. I checked, Player A checked, and Player B bet $2,200. I called, and Player A folded. I then announced, "I check," before the next card was turned up. Player B then announced, "I bet $6,400," before the next card was turned up. This was an uncommon sequence of events, as I have rarely seen someone check and then his opponent bet before the next card was even turned up! In any case, the next card was the 5, and I now was sitting on a straight. I decided to just call the $6,400 bet, and then if the last card was innocuous, I would make a bet. The last card was the 2 and I bet out $15,000. Player B immediately said, "I'll make it $38,400 to go." Uh-oh. I had really stepped into it this time! I knew that my opponent was a great player, and that he would never raise it on the end with a mere 3 in his hand (a 6-high straight), or with only trip sixes. Player B had a full house, or nothing. The one exception was that he may have raised it with a 7-3 in his hand. I studied for a minute, and by now the other players had left the table to go make their predictions on camera about what was happening. I knew that at least a few of them were predicting that Player B had a full house. Finally, I decided that I had to make the call, and I threw $23,400 into the pot. Player B, who was now lying on the couch of the set of PAD, was told that I had called, and he shouted, "Full house." Then he asked, "Did he really call?" As Player B walked back to the table, he could see that I had called, and he said, "Good call, you win." Phew!

One player then asked Player B, "Why did you lie?" Player B said, "Well, you could have been lying when you told me that Phil called; for example, if Phil actually folds his hand, you say he called so that you can get a free read from me." Good point …

Another hand came down after Player B had made it a habit of raising it when I called (limped) before the flop. I limped from under the gun with A-7 offsuit, as did another player, and Player B made it $2,800 to go. Amazingly, two other players called, and I thought that enough was enough. I decided that it was time to make my move, reraise it, and try to pick up the $10,000 that was already in the pot. So, I called the $2,400 raise, and then I raised it $15,000 more. Player B folded, but Player D called immediately. The flop was J-4-3, and I riffled my chips, but ultimately checked. I put Player D on a pair like pocket fives, and I didn't think that I could bluff him. The turn card was a 6, and now I bet $7,000. Player D called, and I prayed for a 5 on the end to complete my straight. Alas, the last card was a 9, and I gave up on the pot. I felt like I couldn't bluff Player D, so I checked. Player D then said, "I'll check because I think that you're ready to call me down." Of course, I wasn't ready to call one red cent! I said, "I think you win." Player D said, "No, I think you win." This was music to my ears, and I flipped up my A-7 to claim the pot. All of the other players at the table stared in amazement as I dragged in this pot with A-7 high! How could either Player D or I put in so much money without having a better hand than A-7? What did Player D have, anyway? He claimed to have queen high! How could he call a $15,000 reraise with queen high? You'll just have to watch the 2009 season of PAD!