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Full Tilt Poker's Doubles Poker Championship

A Look at Episode Five's Matchup


Phil IveyGSN’s broadcast of the Full Tilt Poker’s Doubles Poker Championship continued this week. The show features two-person teams trying to win one of two final matches in the third round of action and earn a spot at the coveted final table in this $50,000 buy-in event series and a shot at collecting a cool $500,000 each.

In case you missed previous episodes, the Doubles Poker Championship pits 16 randomly selected two-player teams against one another in a unique format that features one team member playing preflop and the turn, and the other seeing action postflop and the river. To make play even more challenging, team members can’t share information during a hand unless they call a 30-second time-out and switch roles after each hand.

Saturday, September 12, 2010 (Episode 5) – The lineup for the first match featured Phil “Pokerbrat” Hellmuth and Toto Leonidas, lady aces Annette Obrestad and Jennifer Harman, the always animated Phil Laak, Phil Ivey, arguably the best poker on the planet, Annie Duke and former Celebrity Poker commentator Phil Gordon.

Obrestad and Duke came out firing early but their aggression backfired when they ran into trouble in a hand that saw Laak limp in preflop for 1,000 with QClub Suit JClub Suit only to be raised by Harman to 3,000. Both Laak and Obrestad called the raise. The flop came 10Club Suit 8Club Suit 7Club Suit giving Obrestad and Duke a straight and Harman and Gordon a king-high flush. Duke and Ivey both checked Gordon’s hand but she refused to follow suit, betting 4,500. Instead of putting her opponent on a flush, Duke re-raised to 12,000, forcing Ivey out of the hand but doing little to deter Gordon who made the smooth call. The turn brought the KSpade Suit, causing Obrestad to bet enough to put Harman’s team all-in and eliciting an insta-call by Harman, leaving Obrestad and Duke on life support. Unfortunately, the paired women were eliminated on the next hand.

Having said in an interview during the show that he was going to be hyper aggressive because he needed the individual points to make one of two semifinal tables, Laak unleashed his fury on Hellmuth and Leonidas in the hand after the interview when Laak woke up with ADiamond Suit QClub Suit. Unfortunately for Hellmuth who held A-K, after raising Laak’s preflop bet of 4,500 to 16,000, Laak moved all-in, making Hellmuth rush to get his chips in the middle so he could make the call. The board came AHeart Suit QHeart Suit 6Heart Suit, leaving Hellmuth’s team with only three outs that didn’t materialize.

The battle between the two remaining teams didn’t last long after Ivey found a pair of threes when he looked at his hole cards preflop. He calmly moved all in and was called by Gordon who leapt at the opportunity to make the call. The board bricked for the two Phils, giving Gordon and Harman the victory in the episode’s first match.

The episode’s second match featured another diverse collection of talent as Huck Seed and Carlos Mortenson, Mike Matusow ― possibly the most talkative player in the game ― and the silent-but-deadly Allen Cunningham, the uber-aggressive Tony G and 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet-winner Johnny Chan, and cash-game whiz Tom “Durrr” Dwan and Antonio Esfandiari. Action moved quickly with blinds increasing at a pace that sparked the first elimination. A short-stacked Mortenson moved all-in with KDiamond Suit 3Spade Suit and was called by Cunningham who held 8Heart Suit 8Diamond Suit. The flop came 8Club Suit 3Diamond Suit 3Heart Suit, giving Mortenson and Seed a set and Cunningham–Matusow the boat, thus ending Mortenson and Seed’s match.

The next elimination saw Dwan and Esfandiari hit the rail. The action saw Chan raise to 8,500 preflop getting a call from Esfandiari. The flop came 8Spade Suit 8Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit, giving Tony G and Chan two pair and Dwan’s team a flush draw. The G bet out 8,000 and Dwan moved all in. The turn brought a nine, giving the G and Chan a full house that eliminated Dwan and Esfandiari.

The show’s final elimination took place as though it was scripted, despite being a real hand featuring real players competing for serious money. After playing the previous hand to perfection when Matusow made a near-perfect read on Chan’s team’s rivered flush despite flopping top set, the G got into Matusow’s head by saying he should get out of line during the next hand because he had played the previous one too well. True to Matusow’s unpredictable playing style and his aggressive nature, he did exactly that by moving all-in preflop with KClub Suit 2Heart Suit. Unfortunately for Matusow, the perfection he had displayed in the previous hand turned into a bad bluff after the G’s needling that got a quick call from the G and Chan who held pocket sixes. The board eventually gave the victory to the G and Chan after they spiked a straight on the turn. With the win, Chan became the first Doubles Poker player to win all three matches in which he played.

Look for Episode #2, airing Sunday, September 13 on GSN. Recaps will appear on