Jason Koon
Jason Koon now needs to prove his greatness to save three of his fellow poker professionals... but can he do it?

Superstar poker players, an intoxicating mix of reality TV and high stakes poker, Game of Gold is the new hybrid poker sensation from GGPoker and Poker After Dark. Over the next month, we’ll find out which one of 16 incredible poker players will win the $456,000 top prize. Now into the third episode, who can battle it out to become the sole survivor of this exciting new poker format?

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 or Episode 2 then we’d recommend you do so before diving into the third in our series.

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

Robin Shot Down by Batman Negreanu

“You didn’t fancy that extra money, huh?”

To kick off the show, the third Match in round 1, a series of four Team Sit & Gos, took place. In fact, the episode centered almost exclusively on the third match, such was its importance to each team’s survival. After Olga Iermolcheva won Match #1, Josh Arieh won Match #2, ramping up the pressure on everyone in the third match, but in particular Daniel Negreanu for Team Clubs, or as Charlie Carrel liked to call them throughout, ‘Team Broccoli’.

British GG streamer Lukas Robinson – also known as Robin – made an incredible fold to Maria Ho when he had the best hand to open up the drama. Having paired his ace, he still folded on the river, a move that attracted some stunned feedback from Maria and Daniel Negreanu.

In the next screened hand, Negreanu got the better of Robin again when Kid Poker hit his flush. Robin had only a pair of sevens.

“You got that face like you’re going big!” said Negreanu, trying to elicit a bet on the river. He got a small bet too, identifying a middle pair for Robin, reading him perfectly. He had indeed only made a pair of eights.

“You didn’t fancy that extra money, huh?” joked Negreanu.

“Oh, I love him… but I hate him.” Laughed Josh Arieh about Kid Poker in the green room belonging to Maria Ho’s Team Diamond buddies.

If Robin was looking lightweight, Daniel Negreanu was looking like Batman in a room full of goons waiting to be knocked over. Nothing was settled, however.

Negreanu Chooses Violence

“Stop talking yourself into a fold!”

The tension was ramping up.

“I choose… violence.” Negreanu said in the next hand, raising it up with Qs7c. Maria Ho called in position with AhJd. The flop of Qd6h4c saw both players check as Negreanu hit his top pair but ignored it. That move paid off when Ho bet the Js turn for 130,000 and Negreanu called. The 8c river saw Negreanu check again. Ho took the bait, betting 210,000. Negreanu made the call and raked in a big one.

Robin was up against it and after missing combo draws in the next meaningful hand, bet huge on the river with a busted straight draw.

“Call, Maria, call!” said Kyna England on her team as Maria weighed up her options with the best hand. To Kyna and Josh’s disappointment, Maria folded and what made it even worse was Robin showing the bluff to the turn for maximum pain.

Robin couldn’t seem to avoid some huge hands. Next, he flopped a top set of sevens against Guilbert’s open-ended straight draw. A third spade on the turn came, and Guilbert bet big, trying to represent the spade flush draw. Robin made the call, and another spade on the river saw Guilbert represent the made flush. Robin had no spade and faced a bet of 240,000 on the river but made a great call.

“In those spots, people always used to fold and now they never fold,” said Charlie Carrel in the green room, commiserating for his teammate Guilbert.

“Times change.” Fedor Holz said with a smile, as their man licked his wounds.

Soon after, Negreanu decimated Robin’s stack, bluffing the river of a board when the British player was the only one of the two men who made the straight…. but the low straight. Negreanu had nothing but a pair but manipulated Robin with his speech to polarise his opponent’s thinking into believing that he either had a Broadway straight or nothing.

“Stop talking yourself into a fold!” Yelled David Williams at his teammate Robin on the screen.

Robin, however, tossed away the best hand.

“The speech play made me fold.”

Negreanu could only smile.

Maria Ho Ho Ho Takes a Present Away

“If I was Maria Ho for a day, I would bluff non-stop!”

As the next hand began, Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates quite literally woke up. Having been sound asleep on the sofa between Kyna England and Josh Arieh, the man who would be playing the pivotal Round 4 reanimated around the time his teammate Maria was put to a big test. Seeing that she folded to Robin’s bluff, Jungle had some advice for his buddy on Team Diamond.

“If I was Maria Ho for a day, I would bluff non-stop!”

Perhaps subconsciously hearing her teammate, Ho did indeed bluff in the next hand. The action was three-way, with a wet board letting all three remaining players down by the river. Daniel Negreanu and Johan Guilbert both held jack-ten. Only holding jack-eight, Maria elicited folds from Guilbert and Negreanu to take down a valuable pot.

Negreanu shoved, raised, three-bet and bullied his way back into contention but when Guilbert woke up with AdKd and called Negreanu’s shove with Ah2s and was snapped off.

The ace-high board was no good for Kid Poker, whose exit in third meant Jason Koon would need to win the fourth and final match.

“Oh it was [Negreanu’s] team, too! F**k you, Broccoli!” laughed Charlie Carrel.

“I was super confident going in,” said Negreanu after his elimination. “Koon can play to win. There are guys who don’t really care too, so it’s a top spot for him, but I feel like he can do it.”

Guilbert Gets the Win

“This is the stupidest hand I ever saw.”

Heads-up, Maria Ho limped with AhKs and somehow Guilbert checked with AdAc. The flop of QdJd7s saw Ho bet 300,000 and Guilbert call. The turn of Kh saw Ho bet 470,000 and Guilbert make the check-call. The 3c river saw Maria check behind and save herself a stack.

“This is the stupidest hand I ever saw.” Daniel Negreanu said from the comfort of the green room.

Soon after, however, Ho’s 7h6h lost to Guilbert’s Jc3h as what was almost a coinflip saw a board of AsAc4cTs8c proclaim Guilbert the winner. Ho took second place for a strong result in a tough Match 3 field.

“It feels so good to win,” said the French player upon victory. “I feel really good for my team and for me. To survive is the goal.”

Here’s how the third match ended up:

Match 3 result
The Match 3 result was a brutal one for Team Clubs.

Preparing for the final match of the round – one he must win for his team to survive – Jason Koon was in bullish mood when asked about his prospects.

“I’m really happy to be the anchor,” he said defiantly. “There’s nobody else I’d have in the chair. We’re not dead yet.”

Here’s how the overall scores look after three of the four matches in Round One.

Round 3 Team Scores
After a dramatic third Sit & Go match, the scores make for a thrilling final showdown.

Will Jason Koon save Team Clubs? What on Earth will Charlie Carrel say next? And can Daniel Cates prove himself the king of the Jungle? All will be revealed in Episode #4… Do or Die.