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Poker After Dark: Mission Impossible Week Recap

Poker After Dark: "Mission Impossible Week" Recap
by Chad Holloway of

"Mission Impossible Week" on NBC's Poker After Dark was designed to give Mike "The Mouth" Matusow a chance to win his first P.A.D. title in nine tries; however, there were five former P.A.D. winners standing in his way including Clonie Gowen (seat 5), Gavin Smith (seat 6), Phil Laak (seat 2), David Williams (seat 4), and Phil Hellmuth Jr. (seat 3). Each player started with $20,000 and action got underway when Matusow's pocket sixes saw a flop against Laak's pocket queens. After a seemingly harmless board of 3d 10c 4h 3s 9d, Laak bet 1,850, and despite good pot odds (from the action preflop and on the flop), Matusow smartly mucked. Known for the "Mike Matusow Blow-up," Matusow came dangerously close a little later on when he raised to 1,800 preflop and was reraised to 4,500 by Laak's 8s 8h. Matusow pushed all-in and after much deliberation Laak decided to lay it down. Matusow showed the 7s 4s as the table began criticizing him unmercifully.

The first elimination came when Williams raised to $2,400 under-the-gun (UTG) with the Ad Ks, Laak called with the Js Jh, and Hellmuth reraised to $8,900 with the Kh Kc. Williams then moved all-in for $16,025, Laak mucked, and Hellmuth called. The board came out 8d 7s 2h 9d 3c and Williams was eliminated in sixth place.

Action continued when Smith shoved his short stack of $10,875 in with Ad 2h. Matusow called with 8s 8d and the board ran out the 10h 3h Qh 3s 10s, sending Smith home in fifth place. A big hand developed when Hellmuth raised to $3,600 UTG with Ah Ks and Laak came over the top all-in for $21,500 with Ad Jc. Hellmuth insta-called as the flop came 3d 2c 3c. The turn gave Laak more outs when the 5c hit and the Jh on the river gave him the win. Soon thereafter, Matusow shoved all-in for $7,200 with the 9s 7s and was called by Gowen's Ac 10h. The Kd Ks 7h gave Matusow the lead, but the running 8d on the turn and 8h on the river counterfeited Matusow's two-pair and sent him home in fourth place, thus ending his attempt at "Mission Impossible Week."

The next big hand came when Hellmuth raised to $3,600 with Ac Jd, Gowen reraised to $10,100, and Hellmuth raised enough to put her all-in. Gowen called and the board came 10c 9c 6s 8d 4c, giving her the $77,600 pot. The next elimination came when Hellmuth raised all-in for $10,700 from the button with the Ks 6h and was called by Laak's Ah Qh from the big blind. The Ad 10c 9c Jh 3d board eliminated Hellmuth in third place.

Heads-up play began with Gowen in the chip lead and the final hand didn't take long to develop. Laak limped with the Ad 3s and Gowen raised to $12,000. Laak pushed all-in and was called as the 8s Kc Jc flop gave Gowen two-pair. The 7s hit the turn, which had Laak drawing dead. The inconsequential Qc on the river sealed the deal and gave Gowen her third P.A.D. title along with the $120,000 first-place prize.

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