The sixth season of poker after dark
Gabe Kaplan’s win in Commentators III week marked the greatest comeback in Poker After Dark history. Phil Laak’s win in Nicknames week marked the first time a single player has won two Poker After Dark titles against the same opponent heads-up (he won both of his titles against Antonio Esfandiari, the first being in Phil Phil week from Season 1).
Season 6 of the popular NBC poker program “Poker After Dark” kicked off this week with “Commentators III.” In a somewhat surreal scene, announcers from popular poker programs took to the felts at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.
Each player started with 20,000 in chips and blinds at 100-200. Dan Gati replaced Full Tilt Poker’s Ali Nejad in the booth, as Nejad took to the felts as part of the kickoff week. He raised with A-J in the first hand shown and received no action, turning over his two cards to prove that he always has a hand. Also appearing as part of “Commentators III” this week are Howard Lederer, “High Stakes Poker” hosts Gabe Kaplan and Kara Scott, “Poker2Nite” anchor and UB.com pro Joe Sebok, and Mark Gregorich.
In one hand, Nejad raised to 650 pre-flop with K-J and Lederer made the call with 10-J. The flop came 8-9-6, giving Lederer an open-ended straight draw, and the action went check-check to a four on the turn. Lederer led out for 875 and Nejad quickly mucked, prompting a flurry of references to a set of fours. During the last “Commentators” week, Nejad busted with a set of fours against Kaplan’s set of tens.
Nejad then ramped up his charm, telling the assembled panel of announcers, “I had something special to do today in honor of Joe [Sebok] finally making a TV table.” He produced a tray of champagne classes and gave one to each competitor. Sebok has a bevy of televised final table bubbles in his career, including a ninth place finish in the 2008 World Poker Tour (WPT) Festa al Lago, a seventh place finish at the 2007 Legends of Poker, and a seventh place finish at the 2007 Bay 101 Shooting Star; WPT final tables are played six-handed. He finished fifth in the 2006 Ultimate Bet Aruba Poker Classic for $99,000.
On his tendency to bubble, Sebok told “Poker After Dark” host Leeann Tweeden, “Unfortunately in poker, I became more famous for missteps than good steps.” It was later revealed that Sebok and Nejad attended the University of California, Berkley at the same time, leading to a discussion as to whether the two had ever met. Kaplan then flopped the nuts with K-J on a board of 10-Q-A. Nejad, who held Q-J for middle pair and a gutshot straight draw, bet 850 after Kaplan checked. Kaplan raised to 2,100 and Nejad folded.
Twenty-five minutes into the kickoff episode of “Poker After Dark” Season 6, the first river card was dealt. Sebok led out for 550 with Q-3 on a board of 4-8-Q with two spades. Kaplan put in a raise to 2,150 with 3-4 of spades and Sebok called. The turn was another queen, giving Sebok trips, and the action went check-check. The river was a four, giving both players full houses. Sebok bet 2,700 and Kaplan wisely folded. Sebok became the new chip leader after scooping the pot of 7,900.
Scott, who was largely quiet throughout the episode, donned a CardRunners logo for her first “Poker After Dark” appearance. She exclaimed, “I’m playing with Gabe Kaplan! It’s really exciting!” Amid discussion of the upcoming Heath Ledger movie, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” Sebok raised to 1,100 with A-K and Gregorich called with pocket nines. The flop fell 7-3-10 and Sebok made a continuation bet of 1,600. Gregorich called and a six came on the turn. The action went check-check as Sebok let his foot off the gas and a four came on the river. Both players again checked and Gregorich scooped the 6,000-chip pot.
In one of the final hands shown on Monday night’s episode, Gregorich held pocket rockets and raised to 1,200 pre-flop. Sebok came along with 5-6 of clubs from the big blind and the flop came Q-6-8. Sebok checked, Gregorich fired out a bet of 3,000, and Sebok folded.
“Commentators III” continues all week on “Poker After Dark.” The franchise airs late nights at 2:05am ET on NBC and is sponsored by Full Tilt Poker, whose logo appears in the center of the felt.