Laak hits Premier League hat-trick - 16/02/2010
Phil Laak’s incredible run in the PartyPoker.com Premier League Poker IV continued after he beat David Benyamine heads-up in heat four of the tournament at the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas.
Laak sits on the top of the league with 48 points thanks to winning all three heats he’s played in so far, 13 points clear of Benyamine in second place.
Benyamine held a significant advantage going heads-up, 1,880k to Laak’s 520k, but Laak doubled up early in their tussle, moving with KQ and getting called by Benyamine’s A9 and hitting a king. Just after the blinds hit their maximum 30/60k limit, when Laak flopped big once more in the Premier League to deny Benyamine back-to-back wins. David raised to 170k with AK and Laak called with K10 – the flop came down A1010 with Laak checking and Benyamine fired 160k, Phil moved all-in and Benyamine made the call. A queen on the turn gave David some outs but the river came the seven of diamonds and gave Phil another win.
Phil Laak made it three from three in Vegas - Photo by Mickey May
“How the hell did I do that!? These flops just keep coming,” said Laak. “I don’t even know what the odds of winning three heats in a row are, I just wanted a top three finish today and as each player was going out I was more and more pleased with how I was doing. My strategy from the get go is to just survive, like any good poker player. It’s not about winning it’s about not dying, and if you manage not to die you’ve won – that’s my mantra.”
Benyamine was pleased with a second spot finish that will see him join Laak at the final table: “I tried as hard as I could today but Phil played well and made some good decisions. I had a lot of chips going heads-up but he’s running pretty good at the moment.”
Defending champion JC Tran suffered a blow with an early knock out in heat four. Tran had some tough spots in quick succession and eventually bit the dust for no points hitting bottom set with pocket fours on a 974 flop, with Benyamine holding pocket nines for top set. The action was checked to Tran who bet 21k and everyone folded round to who called. A jack on the turn was checked by Benyamine and JC fired 42k – David check raised all-in and Tran called all-in for 133k and had to go when he failed to hit on the river.
Ian Frazer was the second player to perish, with two points taking his total tally to ten. Tony G limped with AJ and Frazer raised with pocket fives – Benyamine picked up 87 and called, as did G. The flop came 763 and Frazer moved all-in for 108k and Benyamine called, with Tony getting out of the way. The turn was a deuce and the river through down a jack and Ian had to go.
Just after the blinds hit 5/10k we lost our third player in Tony G. Schwartz raised the button to 22k with Q5 and Benyamine called in the small blind with KQ, as did Tony in the big blind with J9. The flop was a massive one – J109 giving Benyamine the straight and Tony two pair. David checked, Tony fired 30k and Schwartz called before Benyamine raised to 105k and Tony moved all-in for 400k. David called and Luke folded – the turn and river came 65 and G hit the rail with three points.
The Aussie was soon joined by Vanessa Rousso in fifth spot after running her pocket eights into Giovanni Safina’s aces – “can I hit a set one time?!” Rousso begged, but it was not to be as the bullets held and left Rousso with four points. The blinds soon hit 7/15k and that proved to be too rich for Italian qualifier Safina as he raised all in with pocket fours and Benyamine called with AK, hitting a king on the flop to eliminate Giovanni with six points.
With the way the draw fell, birthday boy Schwartz came into the heat with just four points on the board from his one appearance so far and he certainly fought for every point available in this one, eventually busting out with eight points in third place. Benyamine picked up aces on the button and raised, Laak folded in the small blind and Schwartz slung in two-thirds of his stack, Benyamine moved all-in and called, looking sick when David showed aces as he revealed A6. The flop came down 943 and Luke was drawing dead after the four of clubs came on the turn, leaving Schwartz with a healthy return on his 26th birthday.
Schwartz gets the chance to climb further up the table in heat five on Tuesday when he takes on Phil Hellmuth, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Daniel Negreanu, Tony G, JC Tran, Ian Frazer and Giovanni Safina – live reporting is available at PokerNews.com.
Heat Four result
1 Phil Laak – 16 points
2 David Benyamine– 11 points
3 Luke Schwartz– 8 points
4 Giovanni Safina – 6 points
5 Vanessa Rousso – 4 points
6 Tony G – 3 points
7 Ian Frazer – 2 points
8 JC Tran – 0 points
League Table after Heat Four
Phil Laak Pld 3 Pts 48
David Benyamine Pld 3 Pts 35
Giovanni Safina Pld 3 Pts 21
JC Tran Pld 3 Pts 17
Yevgeniy Timoshenko Pld 3 Pts 16
Roland De Wolfe Pld 3 Pts 14
Luke Schwartz Pld 2 Pts 12
Vanessa Rousso Pld 3 Pts 12
Ian Frazer Pld 3 Pts 10
Phil Hellmuth Pld 2 Pts 6
Tony G Pld 2 Pts 5
Daniel Negreanu Pld 2 Pts 4