Tonight is about verbal conflict. Non-professional Curtis Rystadt is what is commonly called a “troll.” His strategy is to constantly irritate more skilled players verbally in the hopes they will make more mistakes. Rystadt repeatedly calls Kyle Keranen “Clyde,” and ESPN edits their footage to milk the tension and trash talk for as much television drama as they can.
Episode 3: Begin Day 5
First hand, Kyle Keranen starts out aggressively with A-T, only Margolin stays in with J-8.
J49 flops, giving Margolin the advantage, but even after the King on the turn and the 3 on the river, he consistently checks and calls Keranen’s determined raises, finally backing off at the last increase. It was not so much a specific bluff for Keranen as a commitment to his posture, which is why it’s still effective against a player like Margolin.
This hand was mostly shown to give Lon and Norman a chance to show Rystadt telling a golf story. Not sure if filler or foreshadowing.
Rystadt then opens a hand for 35K with J-5 suited against Stewart’s A-K. Pot grows to 212K before the 5TK flop. Rystadt, currently being portrayed by ESPN as a talkative and social newcomer, catches a Jack on the turn, giving him his second pair and bumping the pot another hundred thousand. River: 9, giving Rystadt a satisfying minor increase to his stack.
Minimal love for Newhouse
A brief profile of Mark Newhouse, which has a weird double-edged vibe. ESPN seems to really like him based on the focus they give him and his growing fan following, but the commentators (Norman in particular) act a bit more dismissive than I think they really feel. Catty, even.
Newhouse takes a risk with a K-4, both clubs, pitted against Gabe Paul’s 7-7.
84658 means two pair for Newhouse but a straight for Paul. Paul manages to eke an extra 127K from Newhouse on the last bet, not making a huge dent in his stack and justifiable considering the odds from Newhouse’s perspective. He’s playing confidently, but not quite recklessly.
Keranen is still getting some deserved focus. Adam Coats opens with K-Q (both diamonds), but only Keranen (big blind) will call with 5-4 (both hearts). Rystadt again chats across the table, debating British and American comedians with Stuart Rutter and the spelling of Stuart with Casey Stewart, while Norman continues to call Rystadt rude.
2 of hearts, 9 of spades, and King of spades flop, Coats has the high pair and bets 42K. Keranen has a whole lot of nothing but raises an extra fifty grand setting up a more traditional bluff.
A 6 of hearts results in Keranen betting bigger, Coats is (rightly) skeptical. But when Keranen unexpectedly catches his flush with the 7 of hearts on the river and is prepared to push Coats all-in Coats finally folds, another successful increase for Keranen (who is now up to 3.8 million, 2.5 million more than the next highest player at the featured table.)
Not many ladies
There are apparently only four women players still left in the main event on Day 5, which is an opportunity for us to show Maria Ho eliminate Sean Kelly beating his wired Jacks with her Aces and Kings and pushing Ho’s stack to over a million. 227 players to go.
Rystadt continues to troll Keranen. Norman continues to be angry at Ivey for getting eliminated in the last episode.
A major shift
There’s a big hand where Margolin puts his pair of nines against Casey Stewart’s suited J-T and Rystadt’s suited Q-J.
5Q8Q9, resulting in Rystadt betting big on the river with his three Queens, and Stewart calmly calling with his straight. Margolin, who only had a 2% before the river card, goes all-in with his full house. Rystadt nearly goes for it but ultimately backs off, then more verbal tension Rystadt and Keranen while Stewart takes an extremely long time to decide to finally call.
Stewart has lost 82% of his stack, leaving him with only 129K. Margolin has almost tripled his to over 1.5 million.
198 players are left with an average stack of just over a million chips. The chip leader is Canadian Griffin Benger with 3.9 million, but Kyle Keranen is close behind with 3.72.
That is of course until Bruno Politano puts three Kings against Zack Jiganti’s three Jacks in a 4.8 million chip pot. Politano from Brazil rockets to the top spot at the tournament.
Jiganti, who had started today in 2nd place, now has a stack of 358 thousand and has to grasp to stay in. He’ll soon be eliminated in 185th place, taking home almost forty-five thousand dollars.
Marcia Koontz, one of the last women standing and one of the last first-timers standing, takes three hundred thousand chips off Nguyen with four-of-a-kind (bringing her stack to seven figures).
Casey Stewart all-in with A-9, Keranen calls with A-5. 727K6, Stewart doubles to 278K and stays alive a little longer.
Coming to a close
Rystadt takes a hundred thousand from Keranen (this time Keranen has A-9 against Rystadt’s A-Q). Shortly after Rystadt decides he should go after Keranen’s stack again, this time with a Q-4.
Kyle has A-A.
KK449. With the pot over 1.3 million the wired bullets lose to Rystadt’s full house..
Curtis Rystadt begins to further intensify his trash talk up to seriously dangerous levels of dramatic irony.
Draftkings.com decides that’s a reason to make him this episode’s King of the Night, instead of the more deserving chip leader Bruno Politano who is the first player to crack the five million chip barrier.
Episode 4: Less interesting than 3
This time Norman’s irrational dismissal of Newhouse results in his promising to climb the Sears Tower in flip-flops.
We are told that none of the top ten players right now is over the age of 33, and then not-too-subtly cut back to Rystadt, who is 44. Well played, ESPN.
The few remaining women are still leaning in, Mikiyo Aoki increases her stack to 2.6 million.
Keranen continues to laconically grow his lead, taking a small pot from Rutter and Paul.
What has Dan Smith been up to?
Dan Smith puts A-A against a J-T of clubs from Andrew Liporace. The flop is 2KK. Liporace is one card from a flush.
Smith tests with a small bet, Liporace calls. After the 9 on the turn Smith checks and Liporace goes all-in, hoping to back Smith off. Smith calls, odds of Liporace’s flush are now 25%.
7 of hearts. Liporace leaves in 159th place with $52,141. Smith is almost up to 3M chips.
Smith now has K-9 suited against Jeffrey Chang’s K-T.
76TJ5. Advantage Chang, but Smith is able to bluff him with an all-in. Smith reaches 3.2M.
Not the Side Action Championship again
After a round of speed-dealing, Hellmuth and Matusow are tied for first place and I can’t pretend this is actually worth our time.
More worth our time, Margolin’s suited 7-6 and Keranen’s wired Jacks.
624Q8. Keranen hooks Margolin in by pretending to be passive and then intimidates him on the river. Keranen continues his growth with a focus that subverts the idea that Rystadt is succeeding with his campaign of annoyance.
Pocket tens for Rystadt versus Joseph Lacarrubba’s Q-T of clubs. Cowbow Joe goes all-in, the pot is 541K. KA989.
Lacarrubba is out, he’ll be donating part of his winnings to charity (Imus Ranch).
Nguyen has 9-8 suited. Newhouse has mismatched 6-3, but decides to play anyway. 5A46 and somehow the pot has reached 884,000. Newhouse presses for Nguyen to all-in, so Nguyen has to be the one to return to sanity and folds. Newhouse 2.2 million and Norman continues to scoff at him.
The night is almost over. Leif Force and Griffin Benger are both over 4M.
Maria Ho (using a dead-eye stare to bluff Jack Schanbacker) reaches 1.6M.
One wonders how else ESPN would have edited these episodes without all the lucky conflict that arose. Draftkings.com awards their second King of the Night honor to Kyle Keranen for not stabbing Curtis Rystadt in the face.
We’re done for the night, see you next week when we continue Day 5.