Episode 5: Going the distance
This week’s narrative coasts on the inertia of last week. There are 139 players left, but we’ll be down to 79 at the end of the day so we still have almost half the pool to drain.
Griffin Benger leads the new featured table with 4.16 million. Dan Smith is also present with just shy of three million. Tony Ruberto has him beat by only forty thousand.
At least until he goes up against Benger with A-Q to Benger’s J-T.
894K, Ruberto has the better flush draw but Benger has a couple of straight possibilities and no one yet has a pair. Benger nurtures the pot, only to be re-raised by Roberto, followed by another raise from Benger and we suddenly have a two million chip pot with no pairs.
River: 4. Two men betting over a million chips with nothing.
Ruberto and Benger have essentially just traded stacks.
Meanwhile, Maria Ho is calling with Q-Q against Vincent Maglio’s all-in A-T .
KJ885. Maglio had a short enough stack that he really had no choice. Ho is a hair under 2 million chips, putting her more than half a million above the average stack.
Over at another table, Andrey Zaichenko has K-3, but gets raised by Kyle Keranen who has a pair of sixes. I hadn’t realized he was still next to Curtis Rystadt, who of course has to re-raise Keranen with J-T just because. Casey Stewart has a small stack but a suited A-K so goes all-in for 339K. Zaichenko and Keranen drop out, but Rystadt only needs to call 14K of that so it would be stupid not to. 57AQ3, letting Stewart almost triple his money.
Rystadt still has 1.3 million, about the average, but the vibe is that his strategic antics are starting to fail. I predict he’s not reaching the next payout level.
Maria Ho is a threat to Norman
Norman tries to deny that he is afraid of Ho and her superior color commentary skills. She’s also again up against another player with a weak stack going all-in, this time Michael Palo with A-6. Ho’s K-K become three-of-a-kind on the flop, and she has eliminated two of the last six players to walk away from the tournament. Her stack is up to 2.7M.
Meanwhile, Mark Newhouse is up to 5.3 million. This time the bet is that if Newhouse gets back to the final table Norman will zip-line across the Grand Canyon carrying Mike Matusow. I idly wonder if anyone else is keeping track of these wagers and how he would ever settle up. Doesn’t Matusow get a say in this?
Brian Roberts has Q-T, while Martin Jacobson holds A-T. The pot is small. JA757. Roberts has nothing so he’s going to bluff all-in. Jacobson seems to suspect but chooses to be cautious and folds, preferring to keep a sizable stack to taking the risk.
Five pocket pairs
Roberts bets another hand with J-J.
Greg Himmelbrand calls him with 6-6.
Robert Park on the button decides 4-4 is good enough to see where this goes.
Adam Lamphere is also in with T-T.
Jack Shanbacher has the other T-T.
Schanbacher pushes all in for 764K. Only Roberts calls. Schanbacher doesn’t know there is no chance for him to catch another 10, his weaker pair has 3% odds here. 5K9A3, no improvement for anyone but it’s been a good run this year for Jack Schanbacher and a great two hands for Brian Roberts (stack up to 2.35 million).
Tony Ruberto entices Tom Midena to go all-in and defeats his two pair with three Tens. Roberto rises to fifth place with 4.7M.
I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about the Side Action Championship this week, so I’ll just say Phil Laak has a narrow lead after he riffles some chips.
Dan Smith has a suited A-Q to Benger’s unsuited A-Q. Ben Gold has A-J.
We saw Ryan Fair fold the final Ace before the flop: 26T. Gold folds before his Jack arrives on the turn. Smith is a diamond away from a flush, otherwise he and Benger will push. That’s enough for Smith to bet three hundred thousand.
Though the flush never arrives, Smith bets another seven hundred thousand. Benger can’t justify the risk and backs at, only taking a minor hit to his stack. Kane Kalas joins the table.
Nathan Fletcher raises with pocket eights, Mark Tschirch raises bigger with 6-6. Rystadt calls on the bubble with a pair of Kings.
QTJ flop. Rystadt has a chance for a straight here, but both his competitors need one club for a flush. Fletcher, smelling the off chance for a straight flush, goes all in and scares Tschirch away. Rystadt calls.
Neither the turn Ace or the river Queen are a club, and Fletcher is out in 116th place. Rystadt is going to be even harder to live with.
Forget what I said about Kana Kalas joining the featured table, Dan Smith has already knocked him out with a superior full house, Queens over Nines beating Nines over Queens.
That will make Dan Smith the DraftKings.com “King of the Night.”
Episode Six: Revenge of the Keranen
Mark Newhouse has nearly caught up to Bruno Politano, a stack of 5.9M to Politano’s 6.1M. Let’s see how ESPN’s favorite subplot is building.
Kyle Keranen has A-4 against Rystadt’s J-9 with a 942 showing. Keranen gets his second pair on the turn, but checks. A modest bet of 180K when nothing happens with the river means this a fair pot but not as significant as television wants us to believe.
Norman promises to walk the Las Vegas strip barefoot while singing Twinkle Twinkle as part of his continued bad-mouthing of Newhouse.
Newhouse at that moment takes a half million chips from Chris Johnson, now chip leader for the tournament with 6.6 million.
Make that 7.7 million after he beats Jason Leifer’s pair of Queens with three sixes. Norman doesn’t know what dramatic irony is
Triple All-in hand
This one gets big quickly. Billy Pappas goes all-in with 4-4. Darlene Lee follows with A-J.
Nicholas Nardello calls with J-J. Justin Swilling decides to also go in with a suited A-K.
Nardello again calls, the only player not all-in has the strongest hand.
T4989: Main Event first-timer Pappas quadruples his money, Nardello is not phased much due to his side pot, but Swilling and Lee are going home. With Lee’s exit there are only three female players remaining.
Newhouse hits Leifer again, his stack is now 8.3 million.
Keranen has A-T suited. Rystadt again can’t resist calling against him, with K-4 suited.
Keranen flops an Ace-high flush. Rystadt can’t resist the temptation to bet with two pair. Keranen knows he has Rystadt hooked and entices him to lose his entire stack.
Curtis Rystadt is out in 100th place. Keranen is in third place with 6.1 million. Kyle has done his entire table a service as it will be a lot quieter from here on in.
Once again with their focus eliminated ESPN must overanalyze the next few hands before they find their footing again.
Another Double Full House
The next hand that is actually interesting is Vladimir Bozinovic going all-in with K-K against the A-J of Mark Newhouse. KJAJ8 – one full house beats another for the second time tonight. Bozinovic doubles his stack to 3.5 million, Newhouse is down to 6.575 and no longer tournament leader.
Benger goes all-in with J-J. Chad Eveslage has been quiet tonight but he calls with Q-Q.
KQ5K9. Griffin played well tonight but he’s gone in 90th place.
Maria Ho has had some trouble and her stack is down to less than a half million.
Pappas earns another million chips by not falling for a bluff from Chris Shaw.
Mikiyo Aoki is eliminated when her all-in with two Tens fails against Eddie Sabat’s wired Kings.
End of the Night
Maria Ho is now the last woman playing in the tournament and she joins the table where Mark Newhouse is again facing Bozinovic, this time A-K to K-Q.
87K6T. Newhouse gets Bozinovic to call an extra 325K on the river, putting Newhouse back into the lead with 7.4 million chips. He is the DraftKings.com King of the Night part 2.
Kyle Keranen is in second place with 6.67M. Politano is sticking around in 4th, Dan Smith is 7th.
Day 5 is finally over. Bring on Day 6.