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25/02/2008 No. 61
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Feb 25, 2008

More name-dropping from me this week! Here's another hand from PartyPoker Premier League Poker, which will be on Channel 4 in a few weeks' time. The fact is, my starry opponents in the Premier League think I'm an idiot. I'm happy to be the British underdog - a sort of mascot in this TV series, really - but I am not actually a moron. So I can't resist a quiet pleasure in seeing Phil Hellmuth (who has 11 World Series bracelets) play a hand worse than I'd have done. I say "quiet"; let me tell you all about it.


Hellmuth raises to 6,000 with A5 off-suit, a questionable move in early position. Andy Black calls, and Hellmuth's brave raise is rewarded with a flop of A55. Both players check, and the turn is a 9. Hellmuth bets 10,000 and Black calls. The river is a 6. Hellmuth checks and Black bets 14,000. Hellmuth raises to 40,000. Black reraises another 55,000, putting Hellmuth all-in. Hellmuth calls.

Now, a recreational poker player with other priorities in his life is not going to pass a full house on the river. It's a full house! But a professional player, a world champion, is supposed to consider his opponent's cards more carefully than his own. What can Andy Black have for this action? He doesn't shovel in 110,000 on level one with no hand. With AK, he bets the river but passes for the 40,000. With a 5 (or 56) he bets and calls the 40,000. But an all-in reraise of a check-raise? He can only have AA or 99.

It's 99. Phil stomps away, and I feel sympathy because he's a great player who got unlucky. But he knows he should have passed, and I'm glad to know that I would have done.
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