GSN Pulls High Stakes Poker
By James Spillane, Rakeback.com Staff Writer
High Stakes Poker went on the air in 2006 and attracted a cult following from hardcore poker fans. The deep stacked, high buy-in action was sophisticated and exciting, a unique insight into the glamorous world of high-limit cash games.
Elite cash game players like Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius were pitted against old-school legends of the game such as Doyle Brunson and Sammy Farha, as well as tournament poker icons Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu.
Also in the mix were rich amateurs including Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and Hollywood screenwriter Nick Cassavetes. The show played host to some of the biggest pots in televised poker history, including a $919k pot won by Tom Dwan versus Barry Greenstein, and intricate bluffs such as the one below, which inspired heated forum debate between many professional players.
High Stakes Poker began to lose some popularity when AJ Benza, the popular second commentator alongside Gabe Kaplan, was let go in favour of Kara Scott before the debut of season six. The second hit to the show was the announcement that Full Tilt Poker would be removing it’s stable of sponsored pros from the line-up, since PokerStars had become HSP’s official sponsors.
Online poker’s Black Friday was the third setback, as GSN made the decision to scale back it’s poker programming schedule. The final nail in the coffin was the replacement of Gabe Kaplan with Norm MacDonald in the commentary booth.
As an homage to the show, our statistics nerds here at Rakeback.com put together the images on this page, showing many of the players’ voluntarily put money into the pot (VPIP) and pre-flop raise (PFR) percentages, as well as the sample size of hands they played.
While these ‘HUD stats’ may be slightly skewed as they only count the most exciting ‘action hands’ that made it on to the air, they do allow for some fun observations. For example, the loosest players were Tom Dwan and Eli Elezra – no big surprises there, however Dwan played much more aggressively, raising preflop more than any other player.
Howard Lederer lived up to his nitty reputation amongst the online generation, playing 23/9. The younger, online generation of pros tended to have stats much closer together. Ivey and Antonius played remarkably similarly. Our vote for the most ‘solid’ TAG goes to Barry Greenstein, playing 28/18 over one of the largest samples of hands.
Credit for compiling these statistics belongs to poster ‘whosnext’ on the 2+2 forums. In a popular HSP database thread, fans put together a goldmine of HSP information, including win/loss figures for all televised hands. Here’s how the top 10 winners and losers across all seven seasons shaped up:
Tom Dwan +$1,756,500
David Benyamine +$904,150
Johnny Chan +$616,600
Mike Matusow +$609,350
Doyle Brunson +$538,150
Patrik Antonius +$418,490
Phil Ruffin +$396,700
Phil Ivey +$332,400
Eli Elezra +$312,650
Erick Lindgren +$273,550
Jamie Gold -$217,140
Daniel Alaei -$222,300
Erik Boneta -$233,400
Shawn Sheikhan -$243,900
Dario Minieri -$328,400
Ilari (Ziigmund) Sahamies -$362,150
Robert Croak -$372,500
Bill Klein -$430,700
Phil Galfond -$431,500
Daniel Negreanu -$2,000,150
Fans of High Stakes Poker can watch all of the old episodes free online on GSN’s website. RIP HSP!