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PokerStars Invitational 2
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Big buy-ins and bigger stars highlight this poker tourney.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Airs: on Fox Sports Net


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Call me a poker junkie. I love watching poker, so when I heard about the Poker Superstars Invitational, I figured it was natural to cover this very long series. Unfortunately, I missed the first 3 episodes, so I will hope I can pick this up on the reruns. This is the first 1 of all of the players (out of 6) - and this is the 4th round. The players are...

Doyle Brunson - The man, the myth, the legend.

Todd Brunson - The son of the man, the myth the legend.

Scotty Nguyen - One of the most popular Vietnamese Players and World Series Of Poker winner.

Ted Forrest - You've seen him in the World Poker Tour a few times.

Mike Caro - Very aggressive and he likes to chat it up.

Chau Giang - Never heard of him, but I guess he's good.

Here's the format -

24 pros, who each put up $40,000, play 6 times in 4 qualifying matches. The top 16 people with the most amount of points move on to the next round. The points are distributed as follows - 1st - 10, 2nd - 7, 3rd - 5, 4th - 3, 5th - 1, 6th - 0. In the round of 16, the top 2 each advance, and the same holds true in the quarterfinals. Both the semifinals and the finals are heads-up play, and the winner receives $400,000.

We start this off with Forrest having a K ?J ?. He raises his hand and everyone else folds. On the next hand, Nguyen has a A ? 10 ? and raises to Doyle, who folds with an A ?J ? . Todd has a 10 ? 10 ?and calls. The Flop is 3 ? 3 ?and 5 ? . Todd raises and Scotty calls. The turn is a 7 ? and that doesn't help Nguyen. Todd throws up another 50,000 for a bet and Nguyen folds.

Caro, who is very entertaining, raises the blind with a J ?8 ? . Todd, with a K ? 8 ? , calls. The flop is 6 ?4 ? 2 ?, and that helps no one. Todd bets and Caro folds, giving Todd his second straight pot. With that, Todd takes the early lead.

Hand 4 - Nguyen tells Caro that he will give him chips if he plays. With a Q ?and J ?, Caro does go all in. Nguyen has a A ? and 6 ?, and he can go after Caro if he wants. Nguyen...chickens out and folds, and indeed, Caro gets Nguyens chips. What a nice guy Scotty is.

Hand 5 - Caro goes all in again - this time with a 8 ?and 8 ?. Nguyen folds (again), but T. Brunson not only calls, he raises - and he should, with a Q ?Q ?. Caro needs an 8. The flop is a A ? A ?9 ? , so that's no good. Neither is a 4 ? on the turn and a 10 ?on the river, so Caro leaves in 6th with no points. Nguyen smiles as Caro leaves.

Spotlight on Todd Brunson, who sees chips more as units than as money. He says that the secret is to not look at it as money - and it's just a game. Very wise words from Todd, though nothing on him having to play daddy. Speaking of which, Daddy Doyle has a K ? and a 4 ?, and with them all folding, he picks up some blinds.

Todd is still in the lead by many, and Giang, who only had 80,000 (the next lowest is 250,000), has to make a move rather quickly. Giang does so with a Q ? 8 ? , and Forrest calls with a A ? 7 ? . Todd, with a 7 ? 6 ? , calls. We see the flop - 7 ?, 9 ? , K ? . Todd and Ted both have 7's, but Ted has the better kicked and he bets. Todd gets out, which leaves Ted and Giang, who needs 8's. He gets instead 4's (4 ?4 ?) as Ted eliminates Giang.

Fast forward a few hands and it's now Nguyen who is low on chips. He goes in on a K ?6 ? , but Todd has an 8 ? 8 ? and he calls. We get a flop of 6 ?4 ?A ?. Neither of them have diamonds, so that is not a factor. Also not a factor - Nguyen's K or 6, as the 10 ? on the turn and the 7 ?as Nguyen leaves in 4th place.

What's the strategy between the Brunsons? Apparently, if one of them bets, the other one will drop out. Can Ted use that to his advantage? Maybe, with a K ?J s, as he calls to a Q ? 4 ? . Todd, with a Q ? 4 ?calls and we see a flop - 5 ?2 ? 8 ?. We all check to see a 9 ?on the turn and a 3 ? on the river, where Doyle bets 100,000. Todd bails out. and although Ted has the best hand, he also folds, and Daddy wins the pot.

We have a spotlight on Todd and Doyle. The strategy is to not bang up on each other at the beginning, but when it's down to 3, anything goes. It's Forrest though who starts with a J ?10 ?and Doyle, with an A ? 7 ? , raises. Todd bows out and Ted folds, as dad picks up another quick pot. despite that, he's still the short stack with 216,000 and Ted is the leader with 821,000 (Todd, with 400,000 in change, is in third).

Chip leader with a big slick A ?K ?, bets 80,000. Todd goes all in with a A ?10 ? - and then he realizes his folly once he sees Forrest's hand. Or is it a folly? The Flop is...10 ?9 ? 6 ? . The flop is a 2 ?and the river is a 7 ?, which means that Todd doubles up and is the new chip leader, while Ted now drops to second.

We spotlight Ted, who is called the chameleon. He talks about his switching gears when he plays, but one more bad hand from him and he will be extinct. Speaking of which, Ted goes all in with a K ?6 ? . Both Brunsons go all out and Ted wins the pot. He wins 2 more straight blinds, which is better than nothing, but Todd is still over a million, with both Ted and Doyle having less than a quarter of what he has.

Doyle and / or Ted have to make a move. Doyle does that with a A ? 8 ?, while Ted calls with a A ?2 ?. Doyle has the edge, as long as no deuces show up. The flop is... 7 ? 5 ?2 ? . There's that deuce, and Doyle needs a 2. Turn... Q ? . River... 7 ?. That knocks out Doyle, but he still finishes in third place - good for 5 points.

It's heads-up between Todd Brunson and Ted Forrest. Forrest has a A ?9 ?and goes all in. Ted has a 7 ? 6 ? and folds. Ted picks up the blinds, up Todd is still up by 200,000.

Next hand - Forrest has a Q ?4 ?, Brunson has a 8 ?9 ? . The flop is a 8 ?10 ?A ? . Brunson leads the hand, but Forrest is on a flush draw and goes all in. Brunson calls and wants to avoid a club. The turn is... 3 ?. The river is... 9 ?!!! Forrest doubles up and now it's Brunson in the whole in a big way - Forrest has 1,218,000, while Brunson only has 282,000.

Can Brunson come back? Not with an A ? J ? from Forrest, who goes all-in. Todd hits a 9 ?8 ? and calls. Wha? The flop is 2 ? , 10 ? , and 8 ? , and that gives Forrest the nut flush. Nothing else is going to help after the 7 ? on the turn and Forrest wins the elimination match and $10,000. Brunson wanted to be in third or better, and he got it, so he's happy on his conservative style. Forrest says that being aggressive later helps him out.

So as we finish the first round of play, here are the standings -

10 points - Freddy Deeb, Ted Forrest, Kathy Liebert, David Slansky
7 points - Todd Brunson, Johnny Chan, David Grey, Cyndy Violette
5 points - Doyle Brunson, Mike Sexton, Dewey Tomko, Tommy Wang
3 points - Antonio Esfandari, Barry Greenstein, John Myung, Scotty Nguyen
1 point - Chau Giang, Bobby Hoff, Chris Moneymaker, Mimi Tran
0 points - Mike Caro, Eli Elezra, Carlos Mortenson, Huck Seed

Next week - We get the first game in round 2. Join us in 7 days to see who gets to add more points to their docket.

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