• Spiderman Strikes

    Date: 2004.11.01 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    OK, so I’m minding my own business one day a few weeks back when CAA’s Uber-agent Nick Styne, who represents Cameron Diaz, Luke Wilson, and many other top stars, emails me to ask about a hand that Tobey McGuire played vs. me. The email reads, “Was it a jackpot hand'” I wonder, “How is it possible that Nick knows details about this hand'”

    It turns out that I have finally arrived . . . . Yeah right! You see, I made page six of the New York Post-which I had never even heard of, but it is supposed to be a big deal-where it was written, “A spy told me that Tobey crippled cantankerous poker pro Phil Hellmuth jr. when his four of a kind beat Hellmuth’s full house at the WPT’s (World Poker Tour) Mirage championship no limit Hold’em tournament. Hellmuth responded by throwing a tirade.”

    Well… Not exactly. I mean, Tobey did beat my full house with four of a kind: and yes Nick, it was a jackpot hand. [And my wife and I agree that cantankerous is a good word to describe me!] However, as far as throwing a tirade goes, I didn’t mind them writing that I did throw a tirade (given that I have thrown way too many in my poker life), but in this case, I didn’t throw a tirade. Instead I said, “Nice hand Tobey.” You see, I didn’t feel like Tobey did anything wrong, and I happen to like Tobey as well-by all accounts he is a good guy.

    With the blinds at $100-$200, and a $25 a man ante, Tobey opened for $600 with As-Qh, a few players passed, and then I made it $1,500 to go with Ks-Kh. Tobey called, the flop came down Ad-Ac-4d, and then he bet out $3,000. These days it seems like no one ever actually plays a hand straight up, especially by making a big pot sized bet when they hit a monster hand. Thus I didn’t think that Tobey would bet $3,000 into a $3,000 pot with an ace in his hand. So I called the bet, with plans of who knows what on fourth street.

    On fourth street the 8c came off, and now Tobey bet out $4,000. I called one more time, but began to strongly suspect that he had an ace. I was thinking that I would dump my hand on the river for a big bet, or less likely call him down, depending on my read. The last card sealed my fate when the “case” ace hit the board (A-A-4-8-A). Now I had an unbeatable hand, unless of course Tobey had the last ace in his hand. Now Tobey bet out $5,000-I would have probably called a lot more with the second-nuts-and I studied briefly and decided that I couldn’t fold my hand at this point.

    Afterwards, Tobey berated himself saying, “I should have bet more on the end, there’s no way you could have folded, and you only had $5,000 left. I really should have busted you.” True, he should have busted me, but it is possible (but not likely!) that I would have folded on the end for a $10,000 bet. For $5,000 I didn’t even study him, which was a mistake, even though I don’t think I could have folded my hand.

    In my next book, “Bad Beats and Lucky Draws” I write that I believe that Tobey, Leonardo, and Ben Affleck are three of the stars to look out for in the future. Add new player James Woods, and veterans Jerry Buss, Frank Mariani, and Gabe Kaplan to that list.