Fedor and Yoh Viral
Fedor Holz, Nikita Luther and Yoh Viral celebrate the insane drama of Game of Gold on GGPoker.

GGPoker and Poker After Dark have come together to create the world’s first reality TV and poker hybrid show. Game of Gold is into episode two of a dozen coming at poker fans over the next month. In 10 episodes time, we’ll find out which one of the 16 superstars on this season’s cast list win the only prize on offer for the eventual sole survivor – $456,000.

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. If you haven’t read about Episode 1, check it out here.

Now… let’s get to the GOLD in this week’s episode.

Early Eliminations in Opening Match

“If you folded ace-queen, I was robbed!”

In Episode 1, the cliffhanger of Kyna England’s possible elimination was dangled in front of viewers. Dominated by Olga Iermolcheva’s ace-king, England only held ace-eight.

Nikita Luther told her opponents that she folded ace-queen… and she was telling the truth.

“If you folded ace-queen, I was robbed!” said Michael Soyza.

Celebrations among Team Spade were understandably huge.

Game of Gold Celebrations
Game of Gold celebrations don’t get much bigger than in Team Spade… for now.

England was robbed of all of her chips, cashing for no coins at all when Iermolcheva survived the all-in runout. Soon, Soyza was unable to prevent himself from being eliminated too.

All-in with Jh5h against the chip leader, Olga Iermolcheva, who held 8s3c, the flop of Qs8c6h set Soyza behind. He asked for the seven of hearts, but instead, the 3s landed on the turn to end his chances of victory, sending him out in third place, for 13 coins. Due to the coin Lither had earlier spent on a timebank and the fact that Kyna England won zero coins after her elimination, Soyza moved into the first lead of the Game of Gold show, but he was going to be overtaken by both Luther and Iermolcheva, the only question was who would win their heads-up battle.

Iermolcheva raised to cover Luther’s stack with 9s7h and Luther called it off with Kc6h. The flop of JhTs4s kept Luther ahead, but an 8c on the turn gave Iermolcheva an unassailable straight and that ended Round 1 in her favor.

Here’s how each of the players did in Round 1 of the Team Sit & Go:

Match 1 Result
Olga Iermolcheva won the opening match of Game of Gold.

And here’s how the teams stacked up after that round:

End of Match 1 Team Scores
The End of Match #1 saw players finally separated from their starting stacks of coins.

Round 2 Begins with Pocket Pairs

“That means I’m chopping or winning, if you call straight away you have a nine.”

Round 2 kicked off with a brand-new dynamic, as four completely different players took the felt to do battle for their teams. Charlie Carrel, Andy ‘Stacks’ Tsai, Josh Arieh and Kevin Martin were the players about to fight for gold for their teams and from the first hand, things got dramatic. Charlie Carrel raised it up with 5h5d, and Andy Stacks re-raised to 110,000 chips with QhQd. Each player only started with two million chips, and with levels fast and furious, no-one wanted to lose a big pot too soon, Arieh neatly folding KhQc. Martin got out of the way too.

The flop of 7h6s4h was a big one and Charlie c-bet for 30,000, getting only a call from the slow-playing Andy. A 8h turn was a fascinating card. Charlie had made his straight and bet 130,000 but Andy called with the queen-high flush draw. The river was a 5s and the green rooms couldn’t believe it. Carrel’s teammates were disconsolate, but David Williams was delighted for his teammate Andy.

“We tied! We f***ing tied!” he said, looking like a kid on Christmas morning.

Carrel bet 550,000 chips, half-pot. Andy weighed up what to do. Yohan Guilbert thought he’d call maximum, promising teammate Fedor Holz that if Andy shoved, he’d quit poker.

“Are you sure?” laughed Fedor.

“Are you raising?” Charlie asked Andy.

“I’m not raising.”

“That means I’m chopping or winning, if you call straight away you have a nine. If you raise, the have the flush. Stupid, stupid river.”

Incredibly, Andy made the fold, and Charlie raked in a massive pot, showing a five to tease the table.

Big Bother for Kevin Martin

Andy was short, but a fortunate hand gave him a lot more chips. Dealt Ah4s, he was dominated by Arieh’s AcQc but that didn’t last past the flop of As9d4c]. That’s where the money started piling in and by the river, with a 5d and 2d completing the board, Arieh was put to the test for a massive pot. With five seconds left of his time, the six-time WSOP winner made a superb lay-down, preserving his stack at 1.7 million.

Charlie was once again the aggressor with AcKs, Andy calling a chunky raise with 6s6d. A flop of Js9h9c helped neither man, Charlie’s bet of 130,000 called by Andy. An ace on the turn was perfect for Charlie, and he bet 300,000. Andy made the call.

“Unconventional call.” Said Guilbert with a smile.

“Give us a six!” said Williams. But the river was a Kc and Charlie’s bet of 450,000 was sized to look like a bluff. Would Andy buy it? He didn’t, making the fold, but Charlie had won a big and was a defined chip leader.

In the next hand to be shown, Kevin Martin lost to a Josh Arieh straight when the latter “levelled” his opponent on the river, with Martin holding only queen-high. The former Big Brother Canada winner made the call and Arieh chipped up again. Martin was short and needed to double up, so – as if he could hear teammate Jason Koon in the green room yelling ‘Don’t raise-fold, Kevin. Put it in, baby!’ – did indeed shove with QdTd. Charlie Carrell reshoved with AsQc and the board of Ad6c3c6h by the turn ended Martin’s chances of an elimination, with Charlie Carrel getting nearly all of his chips.

In the next hand, Martin’s single big blinds was snuffed out and he left in fourth place, one place worse than teammate Michael Soyza, meaning Daniel Negreanu and Jason Koon would need to perform to their very best standard to save Team Clubs in Rounds 3 and 4.

Round 2 Ends with Drama

“You see how good I’m playing, guys? I’m putting on a clinic here.”

Three-handed, the action was barely started before a huge all-in and call shaped the conclusion of the round. A raise from Andy with QhQc led to Charlie Carrel shoving with Ah9s. A quick call from Andy, and he pressed his fingers together in prayer while to his left, Josh Arieh hoped for a knockout to make the top two. A flop of Tc9h2h saw Andy’s teammate Lukas Robinson on the edge of his seat, saying ‘there’s always a sweat’, as Charlie whispered into his mic, ‘Are we cheering for a heart or an ace?’.

Incredibly, playing for Team Spade, an As landed on the turn and Charlie’s team went wild in their room as the river of a 9d ended the hand with a full house for the shirtless but super-cool Charlie Carrel. Andy was out, leaping to the top of the leaderboard but disappointed, admitting in his post-match interview that his comfort zone is cash games rather than sit ‘n’ go’s.

“You see how good I’m playing, guys?” said Arieh into his own jacket-mic. “I’m putting on a clinic here.”

Joyous laughter in the Team Diamond green room, but as play went heads-up, Charlie was holding a 4:1 chip lead.

Josh Gets the Jump

Action in the next hand immediately went about correcting that, though. On a flop of 9c6d4s, Josh bet 160,000 into a pot of 400,000 holding Tc7s. Charlie made the call with 9h8d.

“That’s OK, we could just spike an eight, give him two pair, give us a straight.” Said Maria Ho, cheering on Josh.

And just like that? An 8c on the turn.

“You’re like a magician, Maria.” Quipped Kyna England as that card landed and Josh became a 91% favorite to win the hand. Josh, bet, Charlie shoved, and Josh called with the nuts.

“Not as dead as I could be.” Smiled Charlie.

“Nope… I’m very lucky.” Said Josh, with a smile. A 4c on the river gave Josh the pot and bumped him up over 2 million chips. The next hand was even better for him, as his Js4d flopped gold on the JcJd3h that the dealer spread. Charlie had QsTd but smelled something funny about the action. Both men checked the 2s turn but on the Ac river, Josh shoved! Charlie folded, but that meant the stacks were now much closer, Josh on 3 million, Charlie on less than 5 million.

Charlie shoved with Js9s and put Josh to the test with Kd9c, the latter making the right call. It was only 53% to 47% but Josh was right and the board of KcJd4cAc6h gave Josh the lead.

“Playing a dangerous game there, my friend.” Said Charlie. “I thought you were going to fold.”

“I thought I was too.” Quipped Josh in return.

“Beat those young’uns,” said Maria Ho. “He was six when you won a bracelet, Josh.”

Charlie shoved Qs9c Josh called KcJc, board Ad7c2s3h6h saw Josh take a superb heads-up civtory.

“I told you all I was gonna win.” Josh spoke into his mic.

“Who wants to interview me? I’m the champ!” Arieh said to the room,  spreading his arms wide a la Jude Bellingham.

“In the midst of it, it dawned on me, what was his shoving range here? It didn’t make sense. I thought it was a good time to take a gamble and I won a coinflip.” Arieh told teh vox pop after the coins were counted. “Today, I look like a genius. Let’s go with that, I’m a genius.”

Here’s how each player looked after that heat in terms of gold coins.

Match 2 result
Josh Arieh is now the coin leader in Game of Gold.

After 40 points for Arieh in the heat, 25 for Charlie Carrel, 17 for Andy Stacks and just 8 for Kevin Martin, here’s how the newly updated team table looked:

End of Match 2 Team Scores
Match 2 changed the scores, with Team Clubs in massive trouble of elimination.

The Third Match Kicks Off

“I’m ready for it, I like the pressure, so I’m ready to go.”

Heading into the third match of four, Daniel Negreanu admitted that his team had gone into the first two matches with too much confidence.

“I feel like we were a bit too cocky,” said Kid Poker. “We got a third, boom, we got a fourth. All of a sudden, we’re out of the race. I’m ready for it, I like the pressure, so I’m ready to go.”

We only saw one meaningful hand from Match #3 as Negreanu took on Maria Ho, Lukas Robinson and Johan Guilbert at the felt but it was a big one.

Lukas Robinson made an attempted hero-call with a weak pair of eights on the river after Guilbert bet big with pocket queens. That call gone wrong immediately sent Robinson, known as ‘Robin’ to short stack and Guilbert to chip leader.

“Jeez, Robin got one leg chopped off right at the start.” Said Josh Arieh.

“He crushed him.” Said Jason Koon.

With Koon’s teammate Kid Poker and his team desperately needing at least first or second, how will this late drama effect the next episode? We can’t wait to find out.

You can watch Episode 2 play out in full here: