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  • After-Hours Poker

    Date: 2006.11.06 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    Poker will run six days a week on NBC in 2007 at 2 am. The show, “Poker after Dark,” features a format with six known players vying in a $20,000 buy-in winner-take-all sit-and-go. Each hour-long show will run every day but Sunday. It will be a great show to learn from, with no commentary whatsoever. Obviously some will be better to watch than others, like the one that I played in recently featuring Mike “the mouth” Matusow, Tony G, Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, and Sammy Farha.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t play my best in any of the three that I played in. In fact, Doyle Brunson and I talked about the fact that it was tough to get up for these things, without history or a ton of money at stake, although there certainly was pride on the line. Early on, Matusow was down to $6,000 and feeling a bit down.

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  • Key Hand at European Poker Championships

    Date: 2006.10.30 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    I’m rolling it back to the year 2000, when I went to Vienna to compete in the European Poker Championships — or Poker EM. The Casino Austria-Baden is a beautiful setting for the Poker EM. The marble interior is nothing short of amazing. The prestige associated with the Poker EM is second only to the World Series of Poker. Winning the three-day-long Poker EM would be a nice feather in anyone’s cap. By the way, I finished ninth in the Poker EM in Vienna in October 1999, and blew it down the stretch.

    In 2000 at the Poker EM, I vowed that, if I was in position to win it again, not to blow it again! If I was unlucky down the stretch, then so be it. But, please oh please, just don’t let me give away my chance to win another title!
    I was enormously relieved when I did make it to the final table, even though I was now fourth place in chips. I had the low card three of the first five hands at the final table, but I refused to let the fact that I had gone from $33,000 to about $23,000 by “low carding” bother me.

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  • Make the Most of It!

    Date: 2006.10.23 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    As I write this, the World Poker Tour (WPT) rolled on through the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The $10,000 buy-in poker tournament began on Monday and ended on Friday. With more than 600 players and a first place prize of more than $1 million, winning it will be pretty sweet for someone (I wrote this article on Wednesday).

    Day 1 things didn’t go very well for me, although I did make it to Day 2. I didn’t pick up very many strong hands and my bluffs didn’t seem to work out very well. When you have a day like this, then you need to make the most of the strong hands that you do hold. One hand, with the blinds at $200-$400 I had A-A in the big blind. With one caller, Player A made it $2,000 to go and everyone else folded to me. What to do? Should I move Player A all-in for his last $12,000 and thus make it look like I have A-K? Or should I just call the $2,000 raise and trap Player A and the other caller? Or should I raise an amount somewhere in between $2,000-$12,000?

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  • One Tough Poker Game

    Date: 2006.10.16 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    A few weeks back, I was in Aruba in a $5,000 buy-in no-limit Hold ’em side game with $20-$40 blinds. As I was leaving the game I witnessed the following hand. This hand involved poker pro Eugene Todd, “Masters of Poker” DVD producer and UBT (“Ultimate Blackjack Tour”) producer Houston Curtis, and 1992 World Champion of Poker Russ Hamilton. I happened to be standing behind Todd (who was in the nine seat) and Hamilton (in the one seat) and saw both of their hands. With a flop of 5s-6s-8s, Curtis checked, Todd bet out $400, Hamilton made it $1,000 to go, and Curtis then made it $4,000 to go, after having checked to both players.

    Now Todd gave his hole cards a long, careful look, showed them to me (he had As-Kc), and then folded. He had the nut flush draw, and simply folded his hand without incident. This is a rare case indeed, where someone actually folds the nut flush draw, especially on the flop! Hamilton then called the raise, the Qc hit the board, and Curtis bet $8,000. Hamilton now closely examined his hole cards, showed them to me (he held 8h-8c), and then folded his hand. This lay down, too, was rare, since Hamilton had top set, although I can see him folding here in this situation. By the way, Hamilton had ten wins (three fives, three sixes, three queens, and one eight) vs. 34 losing cards (assuming that we have not seen Todd’s hand), making Hamilton a 3.4-to-1 underdog to win the pot with one card to come.

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  • My Big ‘Over Bet’

    Date: 2006.10.09 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    In order to write this, I will have to admit what I had in a hand versus one of my business partner’s who also happens to be the 1992 World Champion of poker, Russ Hamilton. I did not want to tell him what I had in this hand, as he is already too perceptive! It will also confirm to him that he played a hand really well against me last week in Aruba (I do not want to give him that much credit at the poker table!).

    The game was no limit Hold ’em, with $10-$20 blinds, and the buy-in was $5,000. In the game that night we had Antonio “the magician” Esfandiari, Hamilton, businessman Greg Pierson, Aviation Club (Paris) manager Bruno Fitoussi, and blackjack champion Ken Einiger.

    Four of us called a $20 bet, including me one off of the button, when Einiger raised it up to $240 to go. Hamilton called from the small blind as did the rest of us, so that six people took the flop. I had 10-9, the flop was 7c-6s-2h, and everyone checked. Of course I thought that a great card for me would be an eight, which would make me the best possible hand, and lo and behold an eight came off and Hamilton bet out $1,500. Fold, fold, fold to me, and I thought, “OK, I have the best possible hand here and I’m going to raise it up, but how much? A $3,000 raise may induce Russ to move all-in or at least call the $3,000 bet. Since the eight was a club, Russ could have a flush draw. He could also have trips, two pair, or a straight. I’m sick of raising it up $2,000 or $3,000 and having a bad card (that beats me) come off on the end. Thus I will move all-in to protect my hand, which may fool Russ into thinking that I have a club draw or a straight draw.”

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  • The Ultimate Bet in Aruba

    Date: 2006.10.02 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    The UltimateBet.com poker championship tour was recently in Aruba, as was the Ultimate Blackjack Tour. So coming down to Aruba for the week would allow a person to play in both the UBT tournaments and the UltimateBet.com poker tournaments. Unfortunately, I didn’t last very long in any of the main tournaments that I played in!

    Of course, there is always the beach.

    On the poker side, the buy-in was $5,000. With over 500 players, we had $2.5 million in the prize pool; with a first-place prize a little north of $750,000. Early on, with the blinds at $50-$100, I made it $450 to go with As-5c after two other players called $50. I was trying to win the pot right then and there with my raise. By the way, I was thinking that my A-5 was the best starting hand. However, Player A, who was behind me on the button, called $450 cold (cold — meaning that he had no other money in the pot), and I immediately knew that he had me beat. I surmised that he had pocket jacks, or perhaps A-Q.

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