On Monday night, the kickoff episode of Big Heat Week on “Poker After Dark” aired. The $100,000 buy-in freezeout was filmed at Aria and marked the start of a brand new season for the NBC poker franchise. The six competitors had a combined live tournament earnings of nearly $42 million along with 18 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. Full Tilt Poker sponsors “Poker After Dark,” which features a brand new intro.
Every player began with 100,000 in chips and the blinds kicked off at 500/1,000. At the end of the week, the winner will take home a profit of $500,000 for their efforts. Former WSOP Europe Main Event champ John Juanda tangled with Tom “durrrr” Dwan early on with just 5-3 of diamonds and told the table, “I said I was going to play tight to start with, but I just can’t help myself.”
1996 WSOP Main Event winner Huck Seed flopped trip nines in a hand against an active Dwan to move to 128,000 in chips for an early lead. Then, eight-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey hit aces-up on the river and checked. Juanda, holding just king-high, bet 24,000 and Ivey made the call to scoop a pot worth 94,000.
The declaration of “King-high” from Juanda elicited a laugh from Dwan. Ivey then told “durrrr” that if he were involved in the pot, Ivey would not have checked the river: “If it were you, I would have just moved all-in and figured there was a chance you’d call me with king-high. That’s the difference.”
On a flop of 2-4-8, Ivey bet 14,000 with A-3 for a wheel draw after 3betting before the flop and Dwan raised all-in for 58,000 with A-J. Ivey folded and, in the process, “Poker After Dark” commentator Ali Nejad commented, “Do not adjust your sets. Dwan does not have a pair and he’s moving all-in. Get used to it.”
Juanda was put to several tough decisions throughout Monday’s hour-long kickoff episode. In one hand, Dwan raised to 5,000 pre-flop with A-J and Juanda picked up his third pocket pair of the show, this time pocket sevens, and 3bet to 15,000. Dwan put in a 4bet to 45,000 and Juanda tanked, looked at his hand several times, and elected to fold.
Erick Lindgren raised to 5,000 before the flop with A-10 and Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond came along with 7-6 of diamonds. The action flop came 8-9-10, giving Galfond a 10-high straight and Lindgren top pair, top kicker. Galfond checked, Lindgren bet 8,000, and Galfond called to see a six on the turn. Galfond once again checked his straight and Lindgren bet 17,000. Galfond moved all-in over the top for 60,500 and Lindgren mucked his cards.
In the final hand of the night, Galfond showed why he’s one of the game’s elite. He raised to 5,000 before the flop with a meager 7-4 and Seed came along with A-Q of spades. Dwan called with 10-2 of diamonds and the flop came 2-3-Q with two hearts. Seed and Dwan checked their pairs, leaving Galfond to try to bluff at the pot by putting out a continuation bet of 8,000. Both of his opponents called and the jack of hearts hit on the turn, putting three of the suit onboard.
Seed checked, Dwan checked, and Galfond bet 19,000 with just seven-high and no heart in his hand. Seed and Dwan got out of the way and Galfond scooped a pot worth 58,000 in chips. He told his tablemates, “I’m going to have to go to the booth for that one.”
You can catch Big Heat Week on “Poker After Dark” all this week at 2:05am ET on NBC.