Episode one of the PokerStars.net “Big Game” saw Texas Dolly go belly-up.
In addition to Doyle Brunson, the show featured poker legends Daniel Negreanu and 11 time bracelet winner Phill Hellmuth. Don’t worry about remembering how many bracelets Hellmuth has won, he will be happy to let you know, frequently. Filling out the rest of the six-handed table were Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, big mouth Tony G, and the amateur Loose Cannon, Ernest Wiggins.
The Loose Cannon is an amateur player who has qualified for the “Big Game” via PokerStars satellites. He has been staked $100,000 by PokerStars and gets to keep any profit he accrues. If the Loose Cannon does profit, he or she will be invited back to take another shot at the pros. The Loose Cannon who wins the most money will be given a NAPT Passport on top of their winnings. The NAPT Passport is a free pass to all the events on the NAPT circuit next year.
The Loose Cannon started out red hot in regards to hole cards. Wiggins was dealt AA, KK, and AK within a span of 30 hands. Wiggins played smart and avoided disaster versus Negreanu at the beginning of the episode. Negreanu made it $1200 with pocket kings ($200/$400 blinds). Tony G called on the button with A9 of diamonds and Wiggins raised to $3700 total. Negreanu 4-bet to $9400, Tony G folded quickly, and Wiggins made the call. Wiggins checked in the dark and Negreanu fired close to 2/3 of the pot. Wiggins contemplated for a short time, but wisely threw his big slick into the muck.
The next big hand put the spotlight on the two Phils. Laak had fired all three streets with KT on a board of 8-9-T-5-K. Hellmuth held KQ and was deliberating whether or not to call the river. Hellmuth verbalized that the only hand he beat was KJ. Eventually, Hellmuth made a solid fold.
Nearly midway through the show Brunson made it a cool $1500 before the flop holding pocket tens. Tony G made the call in the SB with JT and Hellmuth decided to squeeze in the big blind with A5 of spades. Brunson called $6500 more and Tony G decided to speculate with his JT. The flop of J-2-J was a monster for Tony G who checked. Hellmuth checked and Doyle bet $18000. Tony G called relatively quickly with trips and Hellmuth folded. Tony G announced he was all-in in the dark. This may have confused Brunson who eventually called the $67,600 bet when the King of Spades fell on the turn. Tony G flipped his hand and Brunson saw he was drawing dead to the tune of $100,000. Brunson quickly reloaded for another one hundred grand.
After Doyle was stacked, Wiggins had a chance to take bite out of Tony G. The Australian raised to $1000 with AJ of diamonds and Wiggins called on the button with KQ. Tony G bet $2000 in the dark. Wiggins flopped top two pair on a board of K-Q-5 and pushed his entire stack in over the Tony G’s dark bet. After a bit of table banter, Tony G eventually mucked his hand. Perhaps the Loose Cannon was a bit aggressive, but Tony G would have been hard pressed to lay down a flush draw or a hand like AQ to the amateur.
At the end of the episode, Tony G was the big winner. Brunson was in the hole over a $100,000. The Loose Cannon, Wiggins, was down $13,000 and needs to step up his game if wants an invitation back to the “Big Game”. The PokerStars.net “Big Game” airs every weeknight on Fox. Episodes can also be watched online at PokerStars.tv.