The Hustler Casino Live YouTube channel upped its stakes yesterday with the first of two high-stakes episodes. The stream was due to star Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan. Though only one of the headline stars showed up.
The game was played at the old High Stakes Poker stakes of $200/$400 with the minimum buy-in set for $100,000. It also had a big blind ante of $200. Since the show kicked off for the first time back in August, the usual stakes on Hustler Casino live streams have ranged from $5/$5/$10 to $50/$100. So this edition of the show marks a considerable jump in stakes.
There have been some big celebrities on in that time, including the NBA’s Paul Pierce. But last night’s show was by far the biggest deal in terms of lineup.
When the news broke that Ivey would be showing up for his first on-screen cash game appearance since before the pandemic (unless you count his brief appearance on HSP), the stream was already guaranteed to be a big deal. It makes sense that this would be one of Phil’s triumphant returns. This is his home turf, he used to play in the big $4k-$8k game with Larry Flynt at the Hustler.
When it also turned out — right at the last minute — that the Hustler team had managed to bag Tom Dwan for the stream too, the hype-train nearly blew its boiler.
Hustler even went so far as to call it “The GREATEST show in the history of poker live streams!!”
Evening of action
In the end, the hype train threw a piston and had to coast into the station when Tom Dwan failed to show and Phil Ivey was card dead.
Mind you, the stream was worth a watch even without its two headliners. Garrett Adelstein, Matt Berkey, and Gal Yifrach — hot off the heels of his WSOP High Roller cash — were all in play. They were joined by Hustler regulars Mikki, Krish, and Lenard. In the end, it was Mikki who turned out to be the star of the show.
The first pot ended up being about $35k, and things only got bigger after that.
Yifrach lost a $310k pot to Mikki early on in a hand where Mikki miscalled how large his stack was right before Yifrach shoved. Then Mikki was called out for hiding his big chips behind the $100s just a few minutes after piling up his huge new stack of purple/brown $25,000 chips.
Mikki then slow-rolled another player, announcing he had the nuts when he didn’t in a split pot. He vaped non-stop under the table. He also played the majority of the pots, making moves and gambling it up. Plus he has a definite look. Just about everything you want from a TV player.
Through all this, Ivey was an astonishingly low-key presence. He folded a lot. Played some small pots. His stack dropped about $20k. Then won it back. He certainly wasn’t making any special moves for the first few hours. At one point he even left the table and no one noticed for several hands.
Ivey (who has no tattoos) finally came to life in a discussion about ink with Mikki (who has many, despite having been “removing them for three years”). While Mikki talked on, Ivey played his first real hand of the night and lost $80k to Yifrach.
Then he triple-barrelled with 4h3s against Yifrach for another $40k pot, and all was well in the world. It didn’t get through, but it felt a little more like the Ivey of old.
Phil ended the game down by $147k after leaving early. Mikki was up $250k at one point. He finished break even and furious.
Both Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey are expected to return for Saturday’s continuation of the game.
You can watch the full stream of the game below.
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