The penultimate episode of Game of Gold was named after the inspiration for the show that is a blend of poker and reality TV – Squid Game. With Round 2’s Heads-Up matches concluding and only six of the remaining nine players taking part in Round 3 – Indian Poker – Game of Gold continued to thrill over a quarter of a million viewers in the next thrilling episode of poker’s most popular broadcast content in decades.
If you’ve missed the drama so far in Game of Gold, then we’d recommend that you read our recaps of the Team Sit & Go action in Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, and Episode 4 as Team Club, featuring Daniel Negreanu, and Jason Koon, crashed out of the competition.
In Episode 5, Episode 6 and Episode 7, Josh Arieh clutched for a vital win for Team Fedor before Maria Ho won two matches in the winner bracket in Episode 8. Episode 9 saw Team Charlie and Team Nikita begin their battle, while in Episode 10, events got closer to a dramatic conclusion that would see one team devastated upon defeat. Episode 11 is upon us and we are about to go from 12 players… to just six!
In this and every article in this series, we’ll be discussing the episode of the title as well as any and all episodes leading up to it. We won’t be spoiling any further into the series, so if you’ve only made it this far, don’t worry, you won’t find out anything you don’t want to about the drama to come.
Now… let’s get to the GOLD in this week’s episode.
Heads-Up Heroes and Villains
“I had the feeling we could do it.”
Nikita Luther went into the penultimate episode on an absolute knife-edge, not only for herself but her team too. In the final heads-up, Nikita took on Andy ‘Stacks’ Tsai and at 3:1 down in chips, the pressure was on the Indian player Nikita, a hero to many poker players all over the world. Calling only with , she shoved over Andy’s bet of 200,000 with and Andy called it off.
In huge trouble, Nikita was dominated and needed a lot of help from the board. The flop of didn’t give her any help.
“It was a good run, guys.” Robin said, sinking into his chair.
A on the turn gave Nikita hope of a miracle. But it was not to be, as a on the river ended the hand and sent Andy, Charlie and David through to the third round of action. Robin, Olga and Nikita were out, and left with nothing. Nikita, unable to conceal her disappointment, was almost unable to leave the stage but managed to do so and as Team Charlie celebrated, Nikita returned to a disconsolate room, Olga and Robin telling her how well she played despite the team’s defeat.
“I felt the emotion of that last game. Playing against some of the best in the world, literally players I grew up watching on TV was amazing. I enjoyed every single second of it.”
“That was a perfect performance [by Nikita]. I had the feeling we could do it. Nikita was a warrior and fighting to the end. We were close.”
Indian Poker Provides Thrills
“Can’t play regular poker, but good at Indian Poker!”
As 12 became nine, Team Fedor’s Fedor Holz, Josh Arieh and Maria Ho all progressed directly to the fourth and final round, the Six-Max ‘End Game’ that would provide the Game of Gold winner. The other six players would now need to face off playing Indian Poker.
Here were the gold coins as the Indian Poker round began:
All six of the players were thankful for being in with a shot of victory and progression.
“I feel like this is a trap. But I feel like the system and you [Ali Nejad] are in on it.” Said Jungle to much laughter.
“I was up against it… and I rose above. I went out there and did what was necessary and brought it home.” said David Williams.
Indian Poker meant that the remaining six players needed to choose a partner. Little did they know at this stage what that would mean, and as it transpired whoever paired up would be playing against each other. Charlie Carrel had chosen Jungleman and rued his quick choice of partner. Kyna and David would battle and so would Yoh Viral and Andy.
Charlie and Jungle were chanting mantras sitting cross-legged on the floor when Ali Nejad went through the complex rules.
Kyna was the least experienced poker player of the nine remaining players in the show, but having played Indian Poker at college, had a little experience in the format and put that to good use against David.
Building a strong lead, Kyna had an when David shoved with the .
“You have a three?” asked David.
Kyna read the move.
“I have a three?” she asked, smiling. “Right back in it, huh?” she said and made the call, ecstatic to have made a superb read and in doing so send the former WSOP Main Event runner-up to the rail.
“Can’t play regular poker, but good at Indian Poker!” she laughed.
“I’m disappointed because of a misclick. I should have verbalized ‘call’ before I put the chips out but such is poker.” David lamented after Kyna had knocked him out of Game of Gold.
Charlie and Jungle Go Deep
“He usually makes less careless mistakes than this.”
‘I have the edge against Jungle’ Charlie declared before the match with Jungle, but it did not turn out that way.
Early in Charlie and Jungle’s battle, the American got the better of his British opponent… and moved ahead in the banter stakes too.
“Easy money, he thought it was a math play again! What a fish!” Jungle laughed.
Holding a Charlie raised to 450,000 and Jungleman thought for a while before making the call with .
“Energy that!” he laughed in what was a very friendly face-off.
Charlie won half of Jungle’s stack getting him to fold an ace but a couple of hands later, Charlie made the same fold and was visibly gutted to see what he threw away. A call would have won him the match, but he tossed away the ace and lost his new-found advantage in the process.
“How are we getting to have so many aces?” said Charlie.
Now firmly ahead, Jungle shoved with and got a quick call from Charlie… with the . The British player was out.
“He understood the game somewhat well and in the big pots had a good understanding of the maths.” Charlie conceded after the match.
“I think I actually got lucky,” said Jungle. “I think he usually makes less careless mistakes than this.”
In the final battle, both players were dealt an ace in the same hand, and it was devastating for Andy Stacks. He was out of position and YoH Viral’s raise to 1.2 million was folded by his Taiwanese opponent.
“You cannot do anything bro. It’s just a set-up.” Said YoH Viral but the sentiment was of no comfort to Andy. Soon after, he lost his last chips with a deuce against a six and trudged off.
“I just got the ultimate cooler you can have in this game,” he said afterwards. “He gets to act first with one ace out of the deck, and mine showing. That was the turning point of the match. If the roles were reversed and I had the button, half his stack would be mine.”
“I ran amazing,” admitted YoH Viral. “I had so much luck and he was so unlucky. It helped me a lot to win the match.”
With just six players remaining, who will win the final two-hour long finale of Game of Gold, entitled simply The End Game? We’ll find out on Friday.
Watch Episode 11 of Game of Gold, entitled Squid Game, in full right here: