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Daniel Negreanu Dodges Bullets in High Stakes Poker Season 1

You should never underestimate the value of making a good fold in No-Limit Hold’em.

While throwing your hand into the muck isn’t generally as exciting as making a triple-barrel bluff or doubling up with aces, it can often make you just as much money.

Perhaps no player is more celebrated for his ability to sniff out strong hands than Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu. It’s an ability that set Negreanu apart from some of his peers and it’s been on display since the very dawn of poker on TV.

Now that the entirety of GSN’s classic High Stakes Poker has been uploaded to YouTube, we’ve been going through the first season of the show to unearth some unheralded plays that are worth another watch.

Today we’re taking a look at Daniel Negreanu dodging pocket aces in a huge hand against Sammy Farha.

We’ve embedded the entire episode above. The hand in question begins at the 13:10 mark.

The SetUp

It’s the fifth episode of the first season of GSN’s High Stakes Poker.

It appears the blinds are once again $300/$600 with a $100 ante. The game is of course No-Limit Hold’em and there are eight players in the game: Daniel Negreanu, Sammy Farha, Eli Elezra, Jennifer Harman, Shawn Sheikhan, Todd Brunson, Barry Greenstein and businessman Jerry Buss.

So far Sammy Farha has been the most successful player at the table and has been giving his opponents fits by playing a loose but aggressive style while talking non-stop.

Meanwhile, Negreanu has been playing well, making some solid reads, but got unlucky in a big hand against Greenstein. Farha is by far the most active player at the table and has been playing a wide range of hands.

The Action

Sammy Farha looks down to find pocket aces and makes it $2,500 to play.

Shawn Sheikhan has ace-five suited and decides to come along for the ride. Everyone else folds to Negreanu, who picks up pocket tens. Negreanu isn’t going anywhere and he pops it up to $14,200. The players in the blinds fold but Farha takes a second to consider his options.

“Cheap, cheap, cheap,” utters Negreanu, trying to elicit a call.

“It is cheap,” says Farha. “I’m gonna raise you.”

Farha throws $22,000 more into the middle and the pot balloons to $41,700. That’s more than enough for Sheikhan and he tosses his weak ace into the muck.

Negreanu calls the re-raise and the pot is now up to $63,200. The flop comes 6c-3c-2s. It’s a great flop for Farha because his pocket aces are good and Negreanu still has an overpair to the board.

Farha counts his chips and decides to make a bet of $40,000, which brings the pot up to just over $100,000. Negreanu thinks carefully about his decision but at this point Farha goes completely silent.

“Wow,” exclaims Negreanu. “Sorry, guys, I need a second here.”

Eventually, Negreanu makes a painful fold and watches the pot get shipped to Farha. Farha doesn’t say a word as he rakes in the pot.

Summary

Daniel Negreanu escapes with only about $30,000 in damage. It could have been much worse because, as commentator Gabe Kaplan observed, Negreanu seemed to be considering a shove on Sammy Farha.

It would have been a disastrous play as Negreanu would have committed over a hundred thousand dollars to the pot and been dead to a ten.

It’s not the best fold that Negreanu’s ever made (this recent one is more impressive) but loose players like Farha are particularly dangerous when they get a hand like pocket aces.

Farha has been playing hands like 6-4 and 9-2 all day so it’s very hard to give him very much credit for the pre-flop aggression.

The big difference is that Farha re-raised in this one, which does seem slightly unusual. Farha loves to see cheap flops with his mediocre hands so that he has a chance to hit the flop and improve or just outplay his opponent on the turn or the river.

The other big difference is that Farha got surprisingly quiet once he bet the flop. Shutting up isn’t necessarily a tell but it’s worth noting considering how loud Farha has been in this game.

It’s hard to fold big pocket pairs but it’s important to remember that tens are at the bottom of the premium pairs. You’re crushed by aces, kings, queens and jacks. You’ve got to give Farha at least some credit for having one of those hands in this spot.

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