On the Edge
Lukas Robinson (right) and Olga Iermolcheva anxiously await a decision on their inclusion of Game of Gold Season 2 (possibly!)

The 10th episode of Game of Gold saw the tension ramped up as the Heads-Up Match – the longest stage of the entire season of action – drew to a close. With three players’ Game of Gold lives on the line, it was action all the way as it became clear that the triple elimination would go down to the wire.

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 1Episode 2Episode 3, and Episode 4 as Team Club, featuring Daniel Negreanu, and Jason Koon, crashed out of the competition.

In Episode 5Episode 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. Last time out in Episode 9, Charlie and David bickered as their team battled with Team Nikita to avoid the ignominy of elimination, but which team would miss out?

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.

Can the Dark Horses Win?

“I wouldn’t say it was an easy call.”

Coming into this episode, the title of the show had a late change. Initially entitled ‘Dark Horse’, the YouTube video which featured an image of David Williams in the thumbnail was changed as GGPoker looked to act sensitively in case anyone was offended by the original name of the episode. It’s another classy step in what has been a series that has certainly changed the landscape of poker on television.

From the production values to the players involved, the structure of the games and the editing and music involved in every hour-long adventure, the collaboration between GGPoker and Poker After Dark has been revolutionary. This has impacted with the figures we’ve seen on YouTube. For this episode alone, in just a couple of days viewing, there have been 184,000 plays of the show. That is phenomenal.

As the action kicked off in Life and Death, the re-titled Episode 10, David and Lukas ‘Robin’ Robinson were going at it with Robin having beaten Charlie Carrel in the previous round after his fellow Brit Charlie had taken out Olga Iermolcheva. A raising war between Robin and David Williams saw the latter make it 420,000 to go with 9d7c before Robin shoved with AcTd. That took the pot down and gave the Liverpudlian the lead for the first time in the match as he moved up to 2.2 million with David on 1.8m.

“Good boy! Yes!” shouted Olga in the Team Nikita war room. On a board of QsJhJdAdTh, Robin made a bold bluff with 5h3h, with David holding Qd6c. Robin’s bet of 400,000 into a pot of 520,000 was a brave one but ultimately, the former WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams made the call and vaulted into the lead.

“His body language just made it seemed like he was really uncomfortable.” David said after the hand on camera. “I wouldn’t say it was an easy call.”

With the big blind at 120,000m Robin had just under nine big blinds when he shoved with Qd7d and he was quickly called by David with AhJs. It was another ‘60/40’ in percentage terms and a flop of Td5s2h kep David ahead. A Qc on the turn changed all that, however. Only a king or ace would eliminate Robin and it came on the Kc river to mean Team Nikita was down to just one player, their team captain, Nikita Luther. Could the Dark Horses of the round win? They would need to get through both David Williams and Andy ‘Stacks’ Tsai.

Robin Beaten
Robin was beaten by David Williams, leaving only Nikita Luther between him and the team’s elimination from Game of Gold.

The Tension Escalates

“What a boss!”

Nikita took on David and she knew that if she was beaten, then Team Nikita was out. Playing under immense pressure, she got off to a good start when she had QhQc and on a board of AhAdTc8d was put to the test for 220,000 by David with just Kc6d. Nikita called to a Jd river and Team Charlie was split about what David should do.

“He gotta give it up now,” said Andy. But Charlie Carrel, team captain, disagreed.

“I think he’s got to go for it. Diamonds came in.”

Sure enough, David slid out a well-pitched bet of 400,000. If Nikita was wrong and lost, she’d have been down to 1.2 million chips, with David holding 2.8 million. That was weighing on her mind, so to make the call it was a brilliant hero-call. Tossing in a single chip, she sent her team into ecstasy and took a big lead with 2.6m to David’s stack of just 1.4m.

“That was a sick bluff and a sick call.” Said Charlie.

It was to get even better for Nikita, who was pulling out all the stops as she fought for herself and her team’s lives. On a board of Jd7d5s7h4d, she shoved with just 9h6d. David had the best hand with Js8h but couldn’t make the call and instead of taking the chip lead, slipped to a 3:1 underdog.

“What a boss!” Olga said of her teammate.

“She is a beast.” Robin agreed.

David had dropped to just 490,000 chips and was all-in with Ad5c and Nikita had Kh8d. Another 60/40, another shot at a double for David, or victory for Nikita. The flop of 8c5s4d kept Nikita head, but the Ah on the turn turned that around. Now David only had to fade an eight to survive and the Js confirmed his double-up to a million chips. Another double came soon after and David was almost level.

“Why do we keep getting coolered. Give him tens, give us jacks.” moaned Robin.

It would take a big pot to win it and with the stacks almost even, it happened. On a bord showing Ac9d2d6d, David shoved with just 9c8h. Nikita held AdQc and made the call. But could she see it out on the river?

On the Line

“Excuse me, dealer, could you turn that over one more time?”

“Oh my God, we have four outs.” Said Andy. A Jh on the river gave Nikita the pot and almost all of the chips. As Andy prepared to face Nikita in a final Heads-Up showdown, David was all-in with 9c5c and didn’t have the flush draw against Nikita’s Qc2c. A queen-high board ended it quickly and Nikita had done it, making the final battle in great shape.

Andy stacks em up
Andy ‘Stacks’ (right) stacks up chips in the final showdown with Nikita Luther.

In the last duel of the Heads-Up Match round, Nikita started badly, losing a sizeable pot to give Andy a big lead. A huge hand then took place where Nikita’s pair of 6h6d was ahead of Andy’s Kd5c all the way to the river of a board that came Jh4d3d7d6s. In fact, Nikita hit a set on that river, but Andy’s straight was perfectly disguised, and he bet 290,000, getting a call to leave Nikita down to just a million chips.

“She’s like’ ‘Excuse me, dealer, could you turn that over one more time?’” quipped Charlie as his team celebrated Andy’s dominant start to proceedings.

Outchipped by 3:1, can Nikita come back to win for her team, or will Team Charlie move on to Round 3? You can find out in the next episode of the action on Game of gold, entitled… wait for it… Squid Game.

Watch Episode 10, Life and Death, in full right here: