Josh and Fedor
Josh and Fedor celebrate a monumental win in the Team Heads-Up Match.

We’ve moved into the second half of Game of Gold, the best new blend of poker and reality TV the world has ever seen. With the Team Heads-Up battles entering a pivotal phase, which nine players survive from the 12 remaining contestants at this stage could have a huge influence on the eventual winner of the show, the only person to make money… and $456,000 at that.

Game of Gold has pitched the poker action like a MVP in Major League Baseball. From the opening Episode 1 to the dramatic Episode 2 and Episode 3, the producers of the newest and biggest poker hit of the year were on point. When Round 1 concluded in Episode 4 the poker world stood still as Team Club, featuring Daniel Negreanu, and Jason Koon, crashed out of the competition. In Episode 5, there was ‘No Turning Back’ as one-on-one clashes began with the excitement at fever pitch levels back in each new team’s green room.

Last time out, Team Nikita was shot down in flames during Episode 6 as Jungleman lost the plot and Johan ‘YoH Viral’ Guilbert swept the opening Heads-Up Match. Fedor Holz lost his stack in the second Heads-Up Match, but Maria Ho and Andy Stacks were battling hard with the female player ahead.

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

Ho Makes the Most of It

“I thought you played much better than him.”

With Charlie Carrel and David Williams cheering him on from the safety of their green room, Andy made some big folds when he had the best hand. Maria dropped behind despite some terrific plays and got it all-in for 1.6 million chips with [Ah][Qs] for what would be a huge double-up to 3.2 million out of the 4 million in play. Andy called with [As][Jc] and got lucky as the board ran out [Jd][8s][6h][5s][8d] to eliminate Maria.

With Team Fedor down to just one player, Josh Arieh had it all to do, needing to beat both Andy and David Williams if he wanted Team Fedor to avoid the dreaded losers bracket.

“30 coins each is the prophecy!” Charlie said in the Team Charlie green room.

“The most important thing to me is making the right decision,” said the defeated Maria Ho. “I have every faith in Josh.”

Back in the green room, both Josh and Fedor complimented Maria.

“I thought you played much better than him.” Said Fedor as the trio debriefed.

“I got pretty lucky on Maria at the end,” said Andy after greeting Josh as his new opponent. “Hopefully I can do it again!”

“I don’t know. I’m pretty lucky.” Quipped Josh in return.

Josh and Andy Go to War

“That’s why I didn’t pick him. I like people who can hold their chill.”

The opening levels saw some big action. Josh made the right folds and the right bets time and time again throughout the match. Before Andy had time to collect his thoughts, Josh had 2.6 million and Andy had only 1.4m. On a flop of [Qs][9c][4s], Josh bet 80,000 with [Ks][Jc] and Andy raised to 270,000 with [4h][4c]. Josh made the call with only a gutshot draw.

“There’s not feeling like a set on the flop.” Said Charlie. Except perhaps the gutshot straight on the turn? The [Td] on the turn gave Josh that straight and Fedor was beside himself with happiness.

“Ding, ding, ding!” he cried. Andy bet 420,000 and Josh just called. Maria thought he should have shoved and a painful [Qh] on the river saw Charlie and David celebrate wildly. It was the exact opposite reaction in Team Fedor’s room.

“Do you think there’s any chance he finds a fold?” said Maria.

“No, he snaps it.” Fedor rightly predicted to the river bet from Andy.

Josh indeed made the call and gave Andy the full double-up. Suddenly Andy had 2.7m and a big lead of 2:1.

“He flops quads and then gets boat on the river two hands in a row?” said Charlie of Andy.

Josh was distraught, most of all for his teammates.

“They just went from a joyous celebration to flopping on the couch. Maria probably threw up her burrito bowl.”

“He’s a steamer,” said David. Charlie added his two cents. “That’s why I didn’t pick him. I like people who can hold their chill.”

Back at the felt, Josh was 2:1 down with Team Fedor going into the losers play off unless he could pull it back. That fightback began when he overbet with just a middle pair of eights on a flop that came all diamonds. Andy had flopped a pair of aces but folded the best hand on the river when Josh bet 300,000 and instead of having an almost 3:1 chip lead, Andy saw his stack level with Josh as the game turned.

Josh had got into Andy’s head, and it was to get even worse for the less-experienced player. Josh had [Kc][7h] on a board of [Kh][Qd][5c][4h][Qs] and bet 550,000 into a pot of 1.2 million. Andy had the better hand with [Ks][9s] but could he make the call?

“Oh my God, get him to fold the best hand.” Said Maria

“No, no, no, this time it’s not happening.” Said Fedor.

Andy did indeed make an agonising fold to leave himself with just 1.4 million to Josh’s 2.6 million.

Fedor jumped out of his seat in sheer ecstasy…and now it was David Williams who was steaming.

“He keeps checking these turns!” said David, frustrated but knowing that if Andy was to lose, he would have to go into battle in a decider.

Andy got it all-in good with [Ac][7s] as Josh called with [Qc][9c] but a flop of [Qd][Td][5h] set Josh into the lead and after a [Kd] turn, the [7h] on the river meant it would go to a decider, Josh taking out Andy.

David and Goliath Goes Big Early

“Now I’m certain we’re winning.”

The final Heads-Up Match of the session would decide which players went into the winners bracket final where the winning team would take 100 coins each, and which players would enter the losers bracket playoff, where the eventual losing team would be eliminated entirely.

Josh Arieh took on David Williams and as the two men met before the action kicked off, David decided to reveal that Josh often had the worst hand against Andy.

It couldn’t have worked out worse, with Josh taking in all the information.

“Now I’m certain we’re winning,” said Fedor back in the green room. Sure enough, Josh got off to a great start, hitting an ace on his first meaningful board. Betting a miniscule 30,000 on the river, Josh masterfully induced a bluff of 130,000 from David with just king-high.

“David is not in a folding mood,” said Charlie of his teammate. “He needs to pick up some hands.”

Josh three-bet to 180,000 with [9h][9c] and Williams shoved for 77 big blinds! Astonished, Josh made the call and saw that he was way ahead of his opponent who had just [As][4s].

“Got an over.” Said David.

Josh nodded, silent, almost in disbelief at how easily he’d been presented with a 66% chance of ending it right there and then. The flop of [8d][7s][4c] was followed by a [7h].

“Bad turn.” Said Charlie .

A [6s] on the river ended it! Josh had done it.

“Quick and easy.” Said David.

“Wake up, Fedor.” Josh whispered into his mic with barely contained glee.

Josh Wins
Josh Arieh’s clutch victory changed everything for six of the remaining 12 Game of Gold players.

The Queen Rises

“I wish I could tell you that you have nothing to be afraid of, but you should be afraid.”

“That was f**king easy!” said Josh on his return to a joyful green room as he celebrated his victory with an ecstatic pair of Maria Ho and Fedor Holz.

Afterwards, Josh said how much it meant to him to share the winning experience with teammates, with poker usually being a solo game.

“It’s cool knowing there are teammates rooting for me,” the six-time WSOP bracelet winner said. “Today is a day that I will always remember.”

That victory sent David, Charlie and Andy into the losers bracket, where they will play Robin, Olga and Nikita to survive in the show. It was quite a different story for Josh, Maria and Fedor, who now took on Johan, Kyna and first Jungleman to decide which team would win a collective 100 gold coins each.

Maria spoke with Fedor while Josh was still busy with interview duties to say that she wanted to go first. Unlike in ‘Team Johan’, this was not an issue at all.

“I’ve had a little pep talk with myself and I do want to go first but only if it makes sense and is fair.”

“Then you’re first. I’m 100% super confident with you going first. I think you’ll win.”

“I appreciate your confidence in me.” Maria said.

“Certainly!” said Fedor. It was a heartwarming exchange, but in the other camp, Jungle was still annoyed about going second in the previous Team Heads-Up Match, Johan winning 90 gold coins as a result.

“I was just salty that I felt a little manipulated,” he said.

“If you win all three matches I will take you like this.” Said Johan imitating a hug, then pulling Jungle in for a genuine hug. Jungle leaned into it rather than out.

“All we need to do is do what we did yesterday,” said Maria in the Team Fedor green room. “It worked out well. None of us really felt that we made any mistakes. We did our best to navigate each hand and each opponent.

As Maria and Jungle arrived, the latter admitted some nerves.

“I couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I was nervous in case you showed up. I’m afraid of girls.”

“I wish I could tell you that you have nothing to be afraid of, but you should be afraid. You know why.”


“Because fear is healthy.”

“Maybe I should be happy that I’m afraid.” Smiled Jungleman. That’s where the action stopped ahead of Episode 8… amusingly titled ‘The Queen’. Will Maria get the win, or could Jungle entwine everyone in his spell?

Watch Episode 7, Quick and Easy in full here: