The return of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO is a source of huge excitement. As we told you last week, cash bricks are back in the game and millions of dollars on the felt, who would get off to the best start?

With Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Patrik Antonius, Daniel Negreanu and the current WSOP Main Event world champion Koray Aldemir all at the felt as the action got underway, what went down? Legendary poker commentators AJ Benza and Gabe Kaplan were back behind the mic for all of the action… and there was plenty of it.

Early Loss Sees Dwan Rebuy

“I liked the winning better than I liked the game.”

With other players in the game such as slot king Kim Hultman, long-term poker legend Tom Dwan and James Bord also at the felt playing $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em, many of the initial pots went the way of the biggest names.

Both Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson and Daniel ‘Kid Poker’ Negreanu both won early pots with aces pairing up, and Tom Dwan hoped he might do the same with ace-king, raising it up to $5,500 to go. James Bord was going nowhere with pocket queens, however, boosting it to $21,000 to play. The players started the day with $100,000, so Dwan shoved and Bord made the call.

Running it twice, the first board saw a queen on the river give it to Bord, and when a queen and two tens found the flop, that saw Dwan skittled for his first stack. British player Bord added up his stack but asked the dealer to recount.

“What does he think this is, Arizona?” quipped Kaplan on the mic.

Doyle Brunson took time out from the felt to speak to PokerGO in one of the handful of ‘Vox Pop’ interviews that make High Stakes Poker so special. In it he revealed that he learned poker while trying out at high school basketball, winning a few dollars doing so. “I like the winning better than I liked the game,” Doyle laughed.

Negreanu Bluffs the Slots King

“I would hear the phone ring and I would answer it ‘I call’.”

Doyle Brunson was nearly drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers, a fact that AJ Benza read out to viewers during play. Kaplan was quick to reply: “Did you know that I nearly had the part of Jack in Titanic? It was between me and Leo and James Cameron couldn’t decide.”

Daniel Negreanu, who won a PokerGO Cup event last week for $350,000, took a small pot against Doyle when he checked the river despite flopping top pair of an ace. Negreanu spoke on screen shortly afterwards, talking about his obsession with the game of poker, even as a teenager.

“I would hear the phone ring and I would answer it ‘I call’,” he said. “I was so entrenched in dreams about poker and playing it non-stop. When I was 22, I thought ‘Maybe this is what I do for a living, this is my job.’”

Another big pot saw Kid Poker bet $36,000 on the board showing 6-9-T-A-6 with just six-four and no spades, with the first four cards on the board being spades. Kim Hultman had queen-jack with the jack of spades, but the slot king folded the best hand to Negreanu as the Canadian got away with the biggest bluff of the first episode.

One hand where no-one was bluffing saw Antonius win with king-queen on a board showing an ace, jack and a ten, Koray Aldemir the loser with ace-jack that made two-pair on the river. Hultman and Aldemir were the only players below $80,000 at that stage, but Dwan had rebought.

Who Was the Biggest Winner in Episode One?

Kim Hultman’s stack see-sawed more than most in Episode one, but perhaps never more so than in a couple of big hands against Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey. First, Hultman bluffed the river with six-high to push Antonius into a fold, but soon after, Phil Ivey turned a set of deuces against Hultman’s flopped pair of kings. Ivey’s bet of $30,000 soon the river got paid, bumping Ivey’s stack to over $130,000 on the night.  

Kim Hultman
Kim Hultman felt the pain of defeat during Episode 1 of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO.

Another big hand saw Doyle Brunson get the better of Tom Dwan. Texas Dolly had been winning most of the night but playing a lot of pots. His stack was therefore around even when he hit Broadway and bet the river, but although Dwan folded, it still saw Brunson rise to third in the chipcounts with little time to play.

Tom Dwan saw a chance for recovery when his ace-queen hit an ace on the flop, but James Bord hit two pair on the flop with ace-four. That all changed as a second six landed on 5th street and Dwan’s river bet of $17,000 was called by Bord seeing him drop a little back to his regular opponent during the session.

With $156,000 at the end of the first episode, British player James Bord was the biggest winner, while Tom Dwan’s $133,000 stack included a rebuy, meaning he ended the night $67,000 down.

Images courtesy of PokerGO, home of High Stakes Poker, the World Series of Poker and many other major poker events. 

Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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