Jennifer Tilly on High Stakes Poker

Can’t blame her, but still hurts

With all the different streaming services we feel obligated to subscribe to nowadays, it can be tough to commit to another, especially if it’s for such niche programming like poker. So as good as PokerGO’s content has gotten, it is understandable if fans of shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark can’t stomach another charge to their credit cards, especially when those shows used to be on network and cable television. But it’s a different era and them’s the breaks.

But of course, the problem with not subscribing is that you miss out on some fun hands. On Tuesday night’s episode of High Stakes Poker (Season 10, Episode 7), actor and poker enthusiast Jennifer Tilly was the unfortunate victim of a cooler. Coolers make for great TV, but they can also make for bad days for the person who gets the short end of the stick.

In pre-flop action (there was a straddle on), Tilly had 2-2 and raised to $3,000 on the dealer button. Robert Sanchez called with K♣-9♣ and Antonio Esfandiari took it up to $11,000 with a pair of his own: J-J.

The flop was an action-packed J♣-9♠-2♣. Esfandiari had top set, Tilly had bottom set, and Sanchez had middle pair with the second-nut flush draw. Esfandiari bet $14,000 to open things up and both of his opponents called. The T gave Sanchez even more outs, as he now had a gut-shot straight draw, but now Esfandiari bet for $43,000 and Tilly shoved all-in for $115,000. He had a decent chance at a huge pot, but Sanchez decided he was better safe than sorry and folded.

Esfandiari quickly called and Tilly saw the bad news. In a three-way hand (or any hand, really), bottom set is a monster, so even with Esfandiari’s aggression, is was hard to see his top set coming. The river was the T, giving both players a full house, but Esfandiari’s was still better than Tilly’s.

The total pot was $305,800 and a reminder to everyone that the poker god’s don’t always care if you make the right decision.

Still not close to the show’s biggest pot

As big as that pot was, it was only a quarter of the size of the largest pot in High Stakes Poker history. That one, for $1,227,900, came in Season 4. It had an interesting twist, though. Holding K-5 on a flop of K♣-3-5♣, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, called David Benyamine’s all-in after a series of raises (Sammy Farha was also involved, but ended up folding). Benyamine had A♣-8♣ and needed to hit his flush draw or something runner-runner to win.

Laliberté offered to run it twice, but after some discussion, the two men came to an interesting deal: Laliberté proposed that he automatically win a total of $238,900, the size of the pot before the massive all-in raises. Benyamine agreed and that was that.

The other players at the table, eager for entertainment, wanted to rabbit hunt the turn and river, but both Laliberté and Benyamine declined to indulge them.

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