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Run it Twice -- TV Edition -- Daniel Alaei

Alaei Walks Us Through a Hand He Played on GSN's High Stakes Poker Season 2


Daniel AlaeiDaniel Alaei is primarily a high-stakes cash-game player, though he has more than $2.5 million in tournament winnings to show for his limited time on the circuit, including two World Series of Poker bracelets. While $25-$50 no-limit hold’em is his bread-and-butter game, he has played as high as $500-$1,000 no-limit, and has also played numerous sessions on GSN’s hit cash-game poker show, High Stakes Poker. Alaei sat down with Card Player to talk about an interesting hand he played on season two.

The Game

Stakes: $200-$400
Ante: $100
Game: No-limit hold’em

The Lineup

Daniel Negreanu
Michael Mizrachi
Shawn Sheikhan
Phil Laak
Antonio Esfandiari
Daniel Alaei
Sam Farha

Run It Twice — Review of the Hand

Preflop Action: Mizrachi calls the straddle with 9Heart Suit 7Heart Suit. Esfandiari calls with AClub Suit KSpade Suit from the small blind. Alaei calls with 8Heart Suit 4Diamond Suit from the big blind, and Farha checks his option from the straddle with 7Spade Suit 4Club Suit. The pot is now $5,300.

Daniel Alaei: Personally, I usually don’t like too get involved with trap hands like this in cash games. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes people make. They are in the blind with a hand like J-5 and flop a jack and get married to it. I just usually throw those hands away, because you’re playing a bad hand out of position, and it’s not worth it.

Kristy Arnett: So what would you have done if someone bet the flop?

DA: If, for instance, Grinder [Mizrachi] would have been the flop, I would have just folded, even if I thought I had the best hand. I don’t want to be taking the check-call, check-call route. I like to be the aggressor, and if I bet the flop, and someone calls me, I’m going to have to check the turn.

Flop Action: The flop comes 8Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit. All players check. The pot is still $5,300.

Turn Action: The turn is the 3Spade Suit. The board now reads 8Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit 3Spade Suit. Esfandiari checks, and Alaei bets $4,500. Farha raises to $19,500. Esfandiari folds, Alaei reraises to $100,000, covering Farha’s last $30,000.

DA: At this point, I figure I have the best hand. Everyone checked it around on the flop, so I’m planning on picking up the pot right here. When Sammy raised me, my first reaction was to fold, but I have quite a history with him, and something just told me that he had nothing and that I should put him all in. Well, not that he had absolutely nothing, but something told me not to fold.

Outcome: Farha folds. Alaei wins the pot of $48,800.

KA: What is your read on Sammy from your long history?

DA: Sammy is a really good, dangerous, aggressive player who will bust you if he ever catches a run of cards, because it’s so hard to fold to the guy, as you can see. I’m prepared to go broke with a pair of eights and a 4 kicker [laughs].

KA: Why did you ultimately decide to make this move?

DA: I had a gut feeling, and I went with it. I also knew that my hand looked strong to be able to put him all in for his last $30,000 when the pot was like $50,000. In high-stakes poker, you have to learn to go with your instincts.