With a greater emphasis on cash games this season on NBC's Poker After Dark, the third game of the new season will see an interesting lineup of pros compete over the next two weeks in a no-limit hold'em game that requires a minimum buy in of $100,000. Those participating are Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, Peter Jetten, Brandon Adams, Chris Ferguson, and Michael Mizrachi. Phil Hellmuth will also join the action later in the first week. The blinds are $200/$400 with a $50 ante.
This will be the 2nd appearance in a PAD cash game for both Matusow and Ferguson, who faced off against one another in a cash game last season where Ferguson bluffed Matusow out of a pot holding seven/deuce in one of PAD's more memorable hands. Extracting a little revenge certainly has to be in the back of Matusow's mind going into this game.
Adams, who is making his 3rd PAD cash game appearance, also appeared in that same game with Ferguson and Matusow as did Hellmuth, and in that game he absolutely tormented Hellmuth with his aggressive play, leading to more than one Hellmuth outburst. A compelling storyline in this game is whether Adams still has Hellmuth's number, or whether Hellmuth can even the score.
Speaking of Hellmuth, this is his 6th appearance in a PAD cash game and his record-setting 22nd appearance overall. He has not fared well in PAD cash games recently, however, busting out in the last two games he played in. Will he make it three in a row in this game? It's definitely worth tuning in to find out.
Mizrachi is making only his second appearance on Poker After Dark, and his first in a cash game. Coming off a fabulous year in 2010 which saw him finish 5th in the WSOP Main Event, win the WSOP Poker Players Championship, and pocket more than $4 million from live tournaments, he is brimming with confidence and on top of his game. Watch for him to display some rather unorthodox moves which are fun to watch.
This is Bellande's 1st appearance in a PAD cash game and his 4th appearance overall. Bellande has suffered some of the worst beats ever seen on the show in his previous appearances, so he will be anxious to put the past behind him and try to add to his self-proclaimed ailing bankroll in this game. It will be interesting to see if he can do it.
Canada's Jetten is making his Poker After Dark debut. He is primarily a high-stakes cash game player, but also has some impressive recent live tournament scores. He is good friends with Tom Dwan, so perhaps it's no coincidence that both he and Dwan share many of the same mannerisms at the table.
Brief profiles of all seven players follow. The match will begin airing on NBC late night Monday at 2:05 a.m., August 1, and will continue for five consecutive nights in the same time slot. A special program called the "Director's Cut" will air late night Saturday, August 6, at 1:00 a.m., right after Saturday Night Live. This show will feature Leeann Tweeden with a behind-the-scenes look at the week with highlights and insightful player interviews and analyses. The game will resume the following week in the same time slots. Check your local listings for the exact times in your area. Viewers can also watch the game at http://www.nbcsports.com/poker.
As previously mentioned, this game has lots of interesting storylines, and it is fun just watching them all play out. When the dust settles, the biggest winner in the game will come as a surprise to many. There is a hand played in this game between Matusow and Hellmuth that is rather unusual to say the least. Whatever you do, you won't want to miss it.
Matusow, Mike: (Seat 1)
ú Known as "The Mouth" for trash talking at the tables, and one of poker's most recognizable players
ú Winner of three WSOP bracelets, his latest in the prestigious 2008 $5000 no-limit 2-7 draw event w/rebuys
ú Lifetime live tournament winnings in excess of $7.82 million, and ranks 26th on the all-time money list
ú Won a $100,000 prop bet with Ted Forrest at the beginning of the 2008 WSOP by losing more than 50 pounds since the 2007 WSOP, weighing in at a svelte 179
ú Released his autobiography entitled Check-Raising the Devil in May 2009, a candid and revealing look at his life and the battles he's faced with demons over the years
Bellande, Jean-Robert: (Seat 2)
ú Born in New York City to Creole parents in 1971, but grew up in Taiwan before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 17
ú Holds a degree in marketing from Azusa Pacific University and is a former L.A. nightclub owner now living in Las Vegas
ú Career live tournament winnings in excess of $1.30 million
ú Went deep in the 2011 WSOP, finishing 65th for $108,412
ú Was a contestant on the 15th season of CBS' hit show Survivor: China, making it halfway through the season before being voted out 8th by his peers
Jetten, Peter: (Seat 3)
ú Nicknamed "Apathy" and is a professional poker player from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ú Went deep in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, finishing 54th, and narrowly missed winning his first bracelet when he finished 2nd in the 2008 $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship
ú Lifetime live tournament winnings in excess of $2.02 million
ú Known to often engage in prop bets with good friend Tom Dwan, one of which resulted in Dwan having to wear a button with Peter's face on it at the 2010 WSOP
ú Is a host of a new radio show called RootBone Radio, a poker podcast
Adams, Brandon: (Seat 4)
ú Born in New Orleans in 1978, and now resides in Miami, FL
ú Professional player specializing in cash games, playing NLHE and PLO as high as $1000/$2000, and appeared on the 4th season of GSN's High Stakes Poker
ú Career live tournament winnings in excess of $949,000
ú A college graduate at the age of 19, holds two Master's degrees in Real Estate and Finance, one from the University of Florida and the other from the London School of Economics
ú Has taught many courses at Harvard over 8 years on three different subjects; The US and the World Economy, Behavioral Finance, and Fun and Games
Ferguson, Chris: (Seat 5)
ú Nicknamed "Jesus" and one of poker's most recognizable players
ú World Series of Poker Champion in 2000 and owner of five WSOP bracelets, and ranks 3rd on the WSOP all-time cashes list with 64, trailing only Phil Hellmuth and Men Nguyen
ú Career live tournament winnings in excess of $8.28 million, and ranks 21st on the all-time money list
ú Runner-up in both the 2005 and 2006 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and the winner of the event in 2008
ú Earned a Ph.D. in computer science from UCLA in 1999, and is a former ballroom and swing dance instructor
Mizrachi, Michael: (Seat 6)
ú Known as "The Grinder," is a professional poker player from Miramar, FL
ú Owns two WPT titles, the 2005 L.A. Poker Championship and the 2006 Borgata Winter Open, and won his first WSOP bracelet in the 2010 $50,000 Poker Players Championship, good for $1.5 million
ú Career live tournament winnings in excess of $11.38 million, and ranks 8th on the all-time money list
ú Finished 5th in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, good for $2.33 million, and with that finish becomes the first player in history to have four seven-figure paydays
ú Has three brothers; older brother Robert, twin brother Eric, and younger brother Danny, and all four outlasted 6572 players to make it into the money on Day 4 of the 2010 WSOP Main Event, a remarkable family achievement
ú Known as the "Poker Brat," a name he now embraces, and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in July 2007
ú 1989 World Champion, and won his 11th World Series bracelet in 2007, making him the first and only person in history to do so
ú Career live tournament winnings in excess of $13.04 million, and ranks 4th on the all-time money list
ú Has more World Series cashes (84) and has made more WSOP final tables (44) than any other player in history
ú Narrowly missed winning his 12th bracelet and his first bracelet in a game other than a variation of hold'em when he finished second to John Juanda in the 2011 $10,000 2-7 Lowball Championship, again when he finished second to Eric Rodawig in the 2011 $10,000 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo Championship, and one more time when he finished 2nd to Brian Rast in the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship
Dennis Oehring serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the firm POKER PROductions. Statistics courtesy of The Hendon Mob database. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Moore.