High Stakes Poker continued their $500,000 minimum buy-in with episode 12 on their 4th season. This show featured the same players at the start of the $500k; Antonio Esfandiari, Sammy Farha, David Benyamine, Patrik Antonius, Guy Laliberte (amateur poker player, he is a billionaire that is a co-founder of Cirque du Soleil), Jamie Gold, Doyle Brunson, and Barry Greenstein.

The sight is still incredible seeing all that cash on the table and so far the biggest pot hasn’t been over $300,000. It is bound to be much better than that, perhaps over $1,000,000! It’s amazing to see how the money effects the players too. Sammy isn’t gambling nearly as much with $500,000 in front of him and normally very aggressive players like Benyamine and Antonius seem to be much more timid, waiting for their spots. I think once the start of the show wears off we should see some amazing hands. Let’s get to the action and see if the Guy show continues.

The blinds are still $300/$600/$1200 with a $100 ante, and the show starts off with Mr. Play Every Hand Jamie Gold limping in MP with 86. Gold likes to play almost any two cards that connect somehow or are suited, and in my opinion that is the complete wrong strategy in a game with players of this caliber. It could work against weaker players, but here it probably isn’t optimal. Let’s see if Gold can prove me wrong. Doyle limps behind with 22, and it folds to Benyamine in the bb who checks his J4. The flop comes 3KT and it checks around to bring the J on the turn. Benyamine fires out $2000, and Gold calls with absolutely nothing. Doyle folds and the river is the 5. Benyamine fires out a small $2000 bet again, more or less a defensive or thin value bet and Gold promptly makes it $12,000. This is the only reason he called on the turn, to bluff on the river. “You know I’m bluffing, just call. What hand could I have that wouldn’t have raised on the turn.” Gold continues to talk giving Benyamine all the information he needs, eventually making the call. Gold says “thank you” as he turns up his 8 high and Benyamine wins the small $33,300 pot. (It’s pretty humorous calling $33k small).

The very next hand, Guy limps utg with T9 and it folds to Barry Greenstein who raises to $6,000 with KT from the co. Sammy Farha calls in the sb with J7 and it folds back to Guy who calls. The flop comes 98K, giving everyone a small piece. Sammy, Guy checks, and Barry bets $10,000 with his top pair into a $20,600 pot. Sammy instantly calls and Guy calls. It seems Guy can’t do anything wrong as the 9 drops on the turn. Sammy and Guy check again, and Barry fires again, this time $25,000 into a $50,600 pot. Sammy starts staring Barry down thinking he can’t stand a raise and eventually makes it $75,000 to go. This might have worked had Guy not hit trips on the turn, as Barry would probably have to fold. When it gets back to Guy he decides to re-raise Sammy, $150,000 more, making it $225,000 to go. I didn’t really like this raise as the only way Barry or Sammy would call is if they have him beat. While Sammy is thinking Antonio starts talking about how much he loves America again, and Sammy lays it down. The Guy show continues as he scoops up $225,000.

Later in the show after Guy winning a few more pots, some more interesting hands hit the felt. It starts with Antonio Esfandiari limping in with AK utg, going for his usual limp re-raise. However it won’t work as Guy calls on the button with 87, Gold with 95, Doyle Brunson with A3, and Barry checks his 85 in the bb. The flop comes down TA6 and it checks to Antonio who bets $4200. Guy thinks for a moment and decides to call with his gssd since he is on a serious heater. Everyone else folds and it’s heads up Antonio vs the foundation. The dealer burns and turns the 6 on the turn, and Antonio checks not liking the diamonds. Guy immediately bets $11,000 into $15,200 and Antonio asks to see a card. Guy semi-jokingly says he has to pay $1,000 per card which Antonio instantly says “you got it” and tosses him a $1k chip. Guy then obliges and shows Antonio the 7. Definitely a mistake on Guy’s part and it gives Antonio all the information he needed to call. The river comes the 4 and Antonio bet out $23,000 into $37,200. Guy just folds his hand instead of getting crazy and Antonio wins the $37k pot.

Let’s switch gears a bit and sway away from Guy to Sammy. Guy has been just tearing it up, and I estimate he is up somewhere around $400,000 at this point. A lot of this came from Sammy, now Sammy wants to go on his own heater. It starts with Barry Greenstein opening with 87 on the button, and Sammy just flat calls with JJ out of the blind. The flop comes 656 and Sammy check raises Barry’s $6,000 bet up to $20,000. Barry calls with his oesd, and the turn bricks with the 2. Sammy fires out $40,000 into $50,300 and Barry has to lay it down. And so begins the Sammy show.

Later, it folded to Antonio who makes it $4,000 with JT and Sammy calls with QJ in the co. Patrik Antonius senses something and makes it $21,000 with 44. Antonio looks like he wants to call, but lays it down. Sammy instantly calls and it is heads up with a $48,900 pot. Sammy declares that he is going to check in the dark, and the flop is gin for him, 98J. It shows Antonio who looks sick for folding JT, but he would have been crushed. Antonius fires $35,000 and Sammy goes all-in for $277,000 total. Patrik throws his hand away and Sammy wins the $83,900 pot. It looks like Sammy slightly offended Patrik by calling him his customer after the hand. Sammy then wins a few smaller pots and starts to climb back up.

Later on in the show, it folded to Patrik who makes it $4,000 with AJ and hello Jamie Gold wakes up with KK in the co. He says “it feels like aces, I wish it was aces, but it feels like it,” and re-raises to $14,000. Antonius calls with some massive implied odds and the flop comes 3QT. Patrik checks and Jamie bets a small $15,000 into $30,800. Antonius quickly calls and the dream card falls on the turn, the K. This is an amazing card as it gives Patrik the ultimate nuts and Jamie top set. This is a cooler at its best, and when both players have over $400,000 in front of them, it makes for a sick sick hand.  Patrik decides to lead out for $45,000 and Jamie goes into the tank.  One thing I noticed about this hand is Gold did not talk the entire hand which is usually an indication of a big hand.  After Patrik leads out, Jamie starts counting all of his money and announces he is going to raise.  He starts piling all the bills in front of him (which is for $340,000) and eventually declares he is all-in.  Patrik instacalls and the “beeps” start flying as Gold says “wow you have AJ don’t you?”  After the all-in and call, this was officially the biggest pot in High Stakes Poker history at an astounding $743,800.  Gold and Antonius then start discussing what to do, and it seems that they agreed on running it twice.  However, after some deliberation they decide to run it three times, so they will see the river card 3 times each of them being worth $247,900.  (For those unfamiliar, running it more than once is a practice that high stakes players use to reduce variance.)  The first river card is a huge one for Gold, the Q.  The next river card is great again, the 3.  Could he go for the hat trick?  Alas, the last river card finally held up for Patrik, the 8.

Re-looking at that hand, Gold was only a 23% favorite to win it once.  It was highly unlucky for Antonius to end up losing 2/3, but that’s poker.  These stakes are extremely high (as high as it gets!) and all of these players have to be use to swings like this.  Just how mild mannered Patrik acted after the hand shows you that is hasn’t been the first time this has happened.  Gold ended up winning $495,800 and Antonius $247,900.  Running it three times was a last minute decision that Antonius decided on, and I bet he was happy with it afterwards.

That pretty much wrapped up the second show of the $500,000 buyin!  We saw the biggest pot in the history of HSP, and Antonius got very unlucky.  The next weeks previews show Jamie Gold and Sammy Farha involved in a pot where they are talking back and forth.  Gold says he calls in advance to whatever Sammy does and I can’t wait to see what they are holding here!

High Stakes Poker runs every Monday at 9:00 PM EST on GSN.