For the second week in a row on NBC’s “Poker After Dark” a first-time winner was crowned. This week Phil Gordon outlasted an interesting group of talkative players including Phil Hellmuth, Cory Zeidman, David Grey, Gabe Kaplan, and Todd Brunson. The show got off to a “roaring” start as almost immediately Hellmuth and Zeidman embarked on a war or words that would last the entirety of the episode. As always, Hellmuth held nothing back as he insulted his opponent’s abilities at the poker table. However, perhaps for the first time in a televised form, Hellmuth’s opponents didn’t just sit back and take it. Zeidman started needling Hellmuth for the remainder of the time on the show and it seemed to have an effect on the WSOP bracelet record holder.
The first player to go, was in fact, Phil Hellmuth. After blinding himself down playing his typical “small-ball” style of poker he would make an incorrect read against Kaplan. Kaplan would raise from MP with Ad9c and Phil would defend in the SB with KhJh and about a $10,000 chip stack. The flop fell Jd6c9h and Hellmuth check-called a $2,400 bet from Kaplan. The turn came the As, giving Kaplan Aces-up. Phil checked and Gabe bet $4,300 sending Hellmuth into the tank. With only about $8000 behind it seemed he could only raise all-in or fold. However, Phil decided to just call the bet and then immediately checked the 5d river. Kaplan took little time to but Phil all-in and Hellmuth once again took some time before finally deciding to call it off. Hellmuth looked disgusted and spouted off his normal obscenities. In his post-play interview he stated he felt this was “one of the easier lineups I’ve played against”.
Next to go was Todd Brunson, son of legendary poker-pro Doyle Brunson. Cory Zeidman made it $3600 from the CO and David Grey woke up with JsJh on the button. He would ship it all-in for $20,250 and Todd Brunson found AsKs in the SB with 19,400 chips. Todd would think for a few seconds before making the call and the two were off to the races. The board ran out 2cJc4dQh8s and Grey’s set of jacks would fade Brunson’s gutshot on the turn to take down a big pot and leave Todd out in 5th place. Brunson said in his interview “he thought for sure David could have re-raised with AQ” because Cory had been stealing their blinds a lot.
Finishing in fourth place was two-time Poker After Dark winner Gabe Kaplan. Phil Gordon would limp the SB with AhKd and Kaplan would find 7s7c in the BB. Kaplan moved all-in for just under $15,000 and Gordon snap-called. The flop fell AcQd9d and Kaplan was in bad shape. The turn came the Td leaving Kaplan one clean out. The river brought no such luck as the Ad rolled off and Kaplan was eliminated in 4th place.
Once Kaplan was eliminated it became a three horse race for the $120,000 first place check. Cory Zeidman had the chip lead but Phil Gordon would erase it by constantly stealing blinds and defending well against blind-steals, especially from David Grey. Grey finally made a stand against Gordon when he opened the button to 6500 and Gordon made it 20,000 from the SB with 5d5s. Grey made the call with Ad9d; however, he was unable to improve on a board of Kc8dTcJhJs. Grey could not hit any of his 14 outs on the turn and was eliminated in 3rd place. Grey now has a second and third place finish to his name on PAD, stating he just hasn’t won a big flip late in the tournament.
Heads-up play came down to Gordon and Zeidman, with Phil holding a 2:1 chip advantage. Heads-up play would not take long as Gordon eliminated Zeidman on the second hand of heads-up play. Gordon limped the button with Jh9s and Zeidman checked his option with Jd4s. The flop fell 3s5dJs and Zeidman check-raised Gordon’s 3,000 flop bet to 9,000. Gordon would almost immediately set Zeidman all-in, sending Cory into the tank. He was certainly not pleased when the cards were turned over. The turn fell the Qs, giving Cory a few chop outs and 3 fours for the win. The river fell the 8s and Gordon took down the pot and his first Poker After Dark title.
Gordon would say he felt vindicated after playing so poorly in his previous P.A.D appearances. Be sure to tune in late night on NBC each week night for Poker After Dark and on Saturday’s for the special “director’s-cut” version with additional commentary from the professionals.