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Stoking Phil Hellmuth’s fire has always been fun for his many frenemies. But when the Poker Brat sets up his own punchline for someone else to deliver the killer blow, it’s one of the wonders of the modern poker world. Poker After Dark Season 4 delivered on many fronts, and a Hellmuth blow-up was chief among them.
The Poker Brat went into the hand heads-up with actor turned poker commentator Gabe Kaplan. Want to know what they’re holding and battling with? Check out the video right now.
Joining the action just as the dealer was readying a flop, there was $3,100 in the middle. We’d like to know the statistics on players who are eating at the time of losing massive hands because it happens way more often than not in our experience. Hellmuth was filling his face as the colorful flop showing jack-nine-six landed.
Between carbs, a plaintive call of “I check in the dark” from Hellmuth. So far, so 2008. But Kaplan made a c-bet of $2,400. A wrinkle. A twitch of Kaplan Machiavellian mustache. Hellmuth, casual as a king, tossed in a stack of hundred-dollar bills like it was a packet of crackers.
The turn-card was not a good one for Hellmuth. In fact, it was downright dirty. In the words of AC/DC, “the Ace of Spades”. Two-pair for Kaplan, and a potential disaster for Hellmuth. Kaplan bet $4,300.
“The hand against Phil Hellmuth I think I really played well,” said Kaplan after the dust had settled on the action, “I know that he thinks I bluff a lot and when the ace came on the turn, that I would try to buy the pot if I didn’t have an ace. I was aware of that and how I bet was good, it made him think that I was weak.”
Kaplan Jokes Around
Whatever Kaplan’s intentions, Hellmuth was concerned enough to start chatting. Kaplan, no slouch when it comes to table talk, was happy to fire right back. A smile from Hellmuth set the tongues wagging.
“Something’s pretty funny” Kaplan fired at his foe.
“Yeah, something’s kinda funny.” Hellmuth shot back.
As Ali Nejad commentated at the time, “If he called, nearly two-thirds of [Hellmuth’s] stack would be invested in the pot.”
“What you got? A pair of jacks?” jibed Kaplan
“If I had a jack, would that be good?”
“What’s your kicker? If you had a jack, you should have raised on the flop.”
A pretty perfect read on the situation from Kaplan, but the nature of the delivery was all it took to convince Hellmuth to drown himself on the river.
Leaving himself just $4,900 behind, Hellmuth was committed. In the words of Nejad:
“The river was a harmless 5d and now Gabe’s job was to get the rest of Hellmuth’s stack.”
Gabe set Hellmuth all-in and got a fairly quick call after Cory Zeidman commented, “It took longer to get that chicken sandwich.”
Hellmuth’s Not Happy!
“I made a bad read, I slow-played the hand and if someone does hit a miracle on you -I mean, he had five outs – it’s more difficult to fold, especially against Gabe, ‘cause I’ve played with Gabe and I’ve seen him bluff off all of his chips to me lots of times in the past. That’s what really hurt. It’s my fault, I made a bad read.”
Pretty humble for Hellmuth? That was post-game. As he got up from the table, we got the full brat.
“A joke this f**king place is, they both hit their f*ing ace as if it was nothing. They both f**king trap so beautifully and they both hit the f**king ace. The only thing I know is that Gabe will bluff off his money.”
Sunglasses hanging out of his mouth, Hellmuth met the rail again. Cory Zeldman was credited with getting to the poker brat by Todd Brunson.
“Cory started on Phil before we even started playing. It definitely got to Phil because Phil was definitely off his game. He’s usually pretty conservative in the beginning then loosens up at the end. He was ramming and jamming right from the beginning which is not his style at all. Cory definitely got under his skin and Phil paid the price for it.”
Kaplan would lose a coinflip to eventual winner Phil Gordon shortly after his hand with Hellmuth. But he owned Hellmuth in the best hand of the night and proved again that it’s always risky checking in the dark on Poker After Dark.