Breaking Down the Action:
  • Background to the Beef
  • The Accusations Against the Villain
  • What Happened in the Hand?

The narrative of poker needing heroes and villains is something that transcends the rules of the game and adds lustre to the game we all love. It’s one of the reasons that the popularity of poker has endured over so many years and why televised poker continues to be such a huge draw.

A recent hand on PokerGO’s Poker After Dark provided exactly the kind of narrative that makes the best poker to watch.

Background to the Beef

In some ways, if you didn’t know the game of poker and were a television commissioner, it might be hard work to visualise exactly how popular watching other people play cards can be. But the devil is in the detail and in poker on TV, context is everything.

It’s fair to say that PokerGO know what they’re doing in this area of business and as well as having the Hellmuth vs. Negreanu High Stakes Duel starting its stream today, they also have a whole catalogue of classics on their site, with programmes such as High Stakes Poker and the World Series of Poker on their roster.

Poker After Dark is back every Monday night and the latest episode saw a great hand between Matt Berkey and Scott Ball. We’ll presume that you know Matt Berkey well, but if you don’t, then this episode of the award-winning show The Lock-In from The Chip Race hosts Dara O’Kearney and David Lappin.

Scott Ball is the former owner of Twitch Poker, and has been accused of scamming people as recently as the start of 2021 by Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow in his podcast.

The Accusations Against the Villain

Matusow claims in the podcast that Ball scammed a private online game run by Phil Hellmuth out of $800,000, which was then followed by another collusion led to $270,000 being extracted by America’s Cardroom boss Phil Nagy. Other players have come out in criticism of Ball, with Parker Talbot saying: “[I] struggle to find even a single positive thing to say about the guy. Used to regularly talk shit about people to me also, always knew to take everything he’d say with a grain of salt.”

Talbot is not alone in speaking out against Ball, with Daniel Negreanu’s recent conqueror Doug Polk wading in.

“Lots of talk from [Mike Matusow] about Scott Ball. I just want to say my experience is Scott Ball is a complete piece of shit. He would call me to talk shit about [Talbot] and Jaime Staples back in the day (he ran Twitch Poker). He would lie all the time about everything.”

With all that in mind, Ball took to the felt against Poker After Dark, having previously appeared on Poker Night in America alongside Daniel ‘Kid Poker’ Negreanu himself.

What Happened in the Hand?

In the last hand of the latest episode, Berkey was the initial aggressor, making it $600 to go from the hijack. Berkey held eight-six of hearts and was raised by Ball with ace-queen to $3,000. A quick call from Berkey saw a flop of 5-K-7 with just the king of hearts giving Berkey an open-ended straight draw, so called the $2,500 bet with ease. The turn of the ten of hearts gave Berkey both a straight and flush draw and another Ball bet, this time worth $6,500, again got a call. When the queen of hearts landed on the river, Ball moved all in for $14,800 and Berkey snapped him off to win a final pot worth over $53,000.

Was it the perfect poker hand narrative? It wasn’t far off, and many poker fans will have been delighted

Want more? Don’t miss out—stay up to date on the latest poker news.

PokerGO is the home of the Phil Hellmuth vs. Daniel Negreanu High Stakes Duel.

Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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