Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy


The Big Game

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Mar 26, '07


On Weds march 21, I sat down at the $2,000-$4,000 game (The big game) at the Bellagio in "Bobby's room." I took the 1 seat, David Benjamine was in the 2 seat, Eli Elezra was in the 3 seat, David Oppenheim was in the 5 seat, Patrick Antonius was in the 7 seat, and Chiu Giang was in the 9 seat. The game wasn't all that good really, I mean it was filled with great "known" players, all of which had a winning history. Nonetheless, I sat down in the game with $40,000, ready to play. We were playing 20 different games or so, all of which I have played in the past.

I was surprised to see that Antonius played so well. Usually, the young guys play at least a few of the games poorly, but he seemed to play them all well. He did go crazy one hand vs. Elezra in seven card stud, but he was playing a lot of big pots vs. Elezra, so this hand kinda fit in with that trend. Antonius had (A-K) Q, vs. Elezra's (Q-Q) 6, and they put in five bets right away. Antonius then lead every street, as his board came down Q-8-3-3, and Elezra made a nice call on the end with only Queens, but Antonius won the pot when he made two pair: eights and threes. Giving Antonius the benefit of doubt, he started with (A-K) Q, not (A-8) Q or (K-8) Q. However, to just mention one overplayed hand is not being fair to Antonius, as he really played well all night long.

I seemed to run bad in seven card stud high low, no qualifier. I seemed to be a big favorite in most of those hands, usually having the best low, oftentimes with an ace in the hole (I hate catching a blank queen on the river, as seemed to happen more than couple times). Pretty soon, I lost my first capped pot (the cap was $60,000 a hand you could win or lose) of my life, when I had the worst of it. Antonius had K-J, and I had Jd-9d, with a board of Jc-8d-7s-3d, when we put in $50,000 apiece. I needed a nine, a ten, or a diamond, OR Antonius to fold his hand when I check raised him $32,000 more on the turn. We ran it twice, and both times a blank hit. I won the first capped pot of my life as well, when I raised it up with A-A, and the flop was 10-9-4. I bet out $6,000, and Benyamine moved me all-in ($51,000 total) with J-10. We ran it once, but I took insurance from Elezra. Everytime I insured a capped pot all night long, I won it. Eventually, I paid Elezra $70,000 plus in insurance. I bought in twice more, for $40,000 apiece. The last buy-in, I was down to $11,000 or so, when I finally started moving in a positive direction. When the smoke cleared at 2:00 pm, I was up over $170,000; so that I haven't lost in the big game in my last 4 appearances.

I had a flight to Stockholm at 4:30, and suddenly I realized that I had an article due!! I hustled back to my "King suite" at Caesars Palace (the king suite is where I stayed last year for the whole WSOP), and wrote up a quick article, emailed it off, then hopped on my international flight. Rush, rush, rush!

We did a media tour in Stockholm, but no one told me that the biggest tournament in Sweden, was in Stockholm, and started at noon! You're kidding me, my flight arrived Friday at 5:00 pm, and there was a $3,700 buy-in tournament at noon!!! Why was I over there, if not to play in the big event, sigh. Strangely, Martin Dekniff also arrived that day, and also missed the main event by a few hours. At least he knew that he had the option of playing. After a few days in Stockholm, I was off to Monte Carlo.

By the way, thank you Daniel Negreanu, for making fun of my 2007 BLOG, on your recent BLOG entry ("Learning to use all my powers!"): I have to admit, it was pretty clever. You'll love this Daniel, I have another new product out there to hype! "Texas Hold'em Starting Hands + Guidelines" strategy cards are now hitting stores across the nation. They are simply white plastic strategy cards the size of a playing card, with hand groupings, tips on what hands to play in what position, and a list of guidelines. They are packaged with my picture and logo. These cards will be awesome for beginning players as they play Hold'em in tournaments worldwide. They are ideal for someone playing in a poker tournament for the first time, or even for an experienced played that needs help remembering to play tight poker. Call RAO Inc. at (702) 897-1008 for more information, or to purchase in bulk.

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, and visit his Web store at

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
Newsletterbanner Twitterbanner Fbbanner

Most Viewed Blogs