Last week Hustler Casino Live brought us an amazing 5-day cash game action called SUPER HIGH STAKES WEEK with blinds of $200/$400/$800 and a minimum of $100,000 buy-in. Tables were filled with interesting characters ranging from investors, entrepreneurs, crypto fanatics, poker pros, all-around gamblers, and "broke" Jean-Robert Bellande, who is now little less broke with $804k winning session.
Week concluded on Friday (better to say Saturday morning) with a nearly 16-hour marathon session that broke many HCL records, including the biggest ever pot played on stream. The $749,000 pot was played between none other than fan favorite Alan Keating and J.R., who called 3x bet pot on the river against Keating, who at some point had 95% VPIP during the week.
Even the last hand of the night was nothing to sneeze at with three players getting all-in preflop. Mikki had QJo, Keating pocket Aces and Wesley pocket Tens. A ten opened on the flop, giving Wesley a set that wasn’t beat by two remaining cards and $650,000 went his way.
But honestly these two hands were just the tip of an iceberg. To truly appreciate the week, you need to watch the streams yourself. Just the Friday’s game has over 330,000 views already and there were more than 17,000 concurrent viewers on YouTube at some point.
An amazing work by executive producers Nick Vertucci and Ryan Feldman, who couldn’t believe what happened: "Huge thank you to everyone involved – the players, production staff, etc. What an epic night of poker we had!! What an epic week we had!!" After 16 hours of stream Ryan said: "Not sure if I should celebrate, laugh, or cry, but first I’m going to try to sleep. I just can’t believe what just happened."
Sounds like it’s been a sick game. Congrats @HCLPokerShow https://t.co/jMULYzpBAn— Tom Dwan (@TomDwan) August 27, 2022
Livestreams got rave reviews by nearly everyone, including fans, high stakes poker players, industry people, and other players who showed interesting in joining the games and burning some tens of thousands of dollars along the way.
It really reminded us of old High Stakes Poker hype that unfortunately couldn’t be replicated by PokerGO, but fortunately for us we’ve got a new contender now in form of Hustler Casino Live. Poker is definitely live and kicking.
Live at the Bike’s Hellmuth Week a major flop
If Super High Stakes Week at Hustler’s was a big success, then Hellmuth’s Week at Live at the Bike is totally different story. The biggest culprit of that was the man himself, who was short-stacking all three days of play, buying into the games with $5,000. Yes, that is correct, we didn’t forget a zero there.
Ironically, the three days of promo streams were called "Phil Hellmut’s Fearless Week" and his play was heavily criticized on twitter. They were playing $100/$200 and he was sitting at a table with hardly enough to even put a (small) 3-bet in. The situation became so embarrassing, that Hellmuth had to promise on Twitter that next time when he plays high stakes cash games, he will buy-in big. Well, we’ll have to see it to believe it.
The next time I play poker on a stream, or on a @PokerGO show like “High Stakes Poker,” I will buy in for $300,000 (up to $1M) of my own money. Today is my last day of playing short stacks in a cash game! pic.twitter.com/0TGhLKernA— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) August 26, 2022
Eric Persson even offered Phil Hellmuth a million dollars to play the game against him, in which Eric would be a huge dog, but Phil wanted none of that.
Persson just offered to get @phil_hellmuth a million dollars to play in the game! pic.twitter.com/eEt9Ij73qN— Live at the Bike (@LIVEattheBike) August 26, 2022
What was supposed to be a rival to Hustler’s livestream, it was nothing like that at all. It hardly broke few thousands concurrent viewers between YouTube and Twitch even though LATB channel has 200k subscribers, and the viewership immediately fell when HCL stream began an hour later.
Even the action wasn't comparable at all. There were only few players who didn’t buy-in the minimum at Live at the Bike, max profit and/or loss was in the range of $50,000, while Hustler Casino Live had $4 million at the table at some point, biggest stack over a million of dollars and many six-figure pots.