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Warriors win big!! Hellmuth loses on "High Stakes Poker," again…

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: May 14, '07


Friday night my son and I enjoyed watching the Golden State Warriors win big. Baron Davis was on fire, and what an awesome dunk he made, they showed it on ESPN's Sports Center as a top ten highlight, in fact the same dunk was highlight 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1 (out of ten). And the Sports Center guys said that if it was up to them they would have showed it as all ten highlights! The Warriors showed me on the "Jumbo tron" for about ten seconds, but I didn't hear very much applause (Do they like me?). I also heard that ESPN showed me during their coverage, but no one could confirm this for me (I only asked Mike Matusow and Mike Wattel).

With two minutes left, my son and I left, again stopping by the Warriors bench to say goodbye to assistant Russell Turner. Mark my words, Turner, who came over with Mike Montgomery (he had a choice to stay at Stanford or go to the Warriors), will be a very young head coach somewhere in the next three years. Not surprisingly, Nellie (Don Nelson) kept Turner onboard. Turner coached Tim Duncan at Wake Forest years ago, and is young, energetic, and seems to be going places. Did I mention that he beat me out of some small money at the golf course a few years back?

I took a limo to the game, and after the game the limo dropped me at the San Fran airport for the 10:30 pm United Flight to Vegas, before taking my son home. When I hit the Bellagio, I discovered that my $220,000 wire hadn't arrived, sigh. I needed that cash to play in "High Stakes Poker" at noon on Saturday. Now 2:00 am Saturday morning, I called Doyle Brunson, Russ Hamilton, and Eli Elezra, who all volunteered to loan me $220,000 for a few days. (Thanks guys, I appreciate the support.) Russ was at Augusta for the first time, but he still took the time to find a way to get me $220,000. By the way, I heard that Russ made a hole-in-one at number 12 at Augusta on Saturday, wow. Talk about a once in a lifetime thing to do!! Hamilton plays the course one time, and makes a hole in one at number 12, sick! Of course, that is the hole that has cost many players a Masters Championship.

At noon, I bought in for $100,000, and on the second hand I bluffed Matusow out of the pot with 7-2 off suit. I reraised him pre-flop, checked the flop, bet $16,500 on the turn, and, with the board of Q-J-8-6-6, I bet $40,000 on the river, and he folded K-K face up! Game on! I lost a huge pot with my 9-9 vs. the "Live ones" 7-6 off suit. We put in $25,000 apiece, and when the last card was a 7 (Q-J-7-3-7), we only put in $2,500. I felt like I played it like a genius, but what a beat. Then Matusow bet me $10,000 that the pot had under $52,000 in it; then $5,000 more on under $50,000. I won both bets as the pot had $56,000 in it. Phil "The Unabomber" Laak offered me thirty thousand to ten thousand that the pot was under $52,000, but I didn't figure it out until too late!! If I had been paying closer attention, then I would have won $30,000 from Laak!

After a bluff gone bad, I was around $30,000 loser and I left the table for an hour to get a quick workout. I ran 2 ½ miles, lifted weights and came back to the table feeling positive and pumped up. The second back, I reluctantly agreed to put the "Live strattle" on for $1,200. The blinds were $300-$600, and being on the right of the big blind, a strattle means that you add one more blind--double the big blind. I picked up 3d-2d, and Bob Sufari (seems like a nice guy) called in late position, and everyone else folded. The flop was Kd-9d-2c, and I checked. Bob checked, and the turn was the Ad. I checked, Bob bet $2,000 and I raised $10,000 more. Bob raised $30,000 more, and I moved all-in for about $68,000 total. Bob called and showed me the 6d-5d. The only reason I lost too much on this pot, was that I was warned that Bob was a reckless, crazy gambler. I had to lose it least $20,000 on this hand, but $68,000? I wouldn't have lost it to a pro, that's for sure. Later on, I would not have lost so much to Bob, as he played pretty well from then on. Matusow said it well when he said, "When you were gone, Bob was playing super tight, but you didn't see it. Maybe that workout cost you $68,000!" Maybe Matusow is right!

For the next 2 hours, I never won a big pot, in fact I never played a big pot. This was a great disappointment to me as I sat their treading water. I feel like too many people have criticized my side game play, simply because I lost in the last HSP ("High Stakes Poker" on (Game Show Network) over a mere eight hours of play. This time, I deserved to win (through great poker play) over $100,000, but when the smoke cleared I was down $105,500. Meaning that lifetime I was down around $254,000 at HSP. I felt like it was unfair to judge me because I had a bad result. I went to bed early, to get some good rest for Sunday's HSP session. Also, I made myself think about what I did right, and what I did wrong. I was doing a little soul searching, but I kept reaching the same conclusion: you played well enough to win big, but you didn't pick up enough cards to carry the day. No sets (which was too bad), no pair of aces, or even kings (I think), and I didn't seem to make many hands, period. Would I change anything for tomorrow, no! I just hoped that I picked up some hands!!

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
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