The action ramped up in the latest episode of Game of Gold as the addictive blend of poker and reality TV that will award only one player the sole prize of $456,000 moved into top gear. There were 12 players still remaining at the start of the episode as Johan ‘YoH Viral’ Guilbert bid to prevent his team losing the winner’s bracket Heads-Up Match that would award everyone on the winning team 100 gold coins each.
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, the Team Heads-Up Matches began in dramatic style, which featured a superb ‘clutch’ win from Josh Arieh who took down both Andy Stacks and David Williams for Team Fedor. Last time out in Episode 8, Maria Ho won two heads-up matches for Team Fedor… but can she win the third and final one?
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.
Going for the Scoop
“Just throw one chip, throw it in there.”
Before the next match began, there was a timely reminder for viewers about the state of play and exactly how many gold coins the players each had.
Starting off against Johan, Maria was in great form after two big wins, and it didn’t take her long to win a big pot. Just calling from the big blind seat with looked risky to her teammate Fedor but it worked beautifully against Johan’s when the flop came . Each player started the heads-up bout with 2 million chips and their stack of gold coins which they could use two for a 30-second timebank. Johan led for 80,000 chips, Maria called and a landed on the turn. Both players checked to a river.
“She has to bomb it here. Only one way.” Said Fedor and Maria was on the same page, betting 220,000. Johan threw it away and Fedor was disappointed with how it went.
“It wasn’t insanely terrible, but I thought you have to check-raise 100% on the flop.” He said.
In the other green room, Jungleman was snoring away, as Kyna England faced the trickier decision about whether to poke the lion or not.
It was Johan faced with a tough decision in the next hand, as he had to Maria’s . On a flop of , Johan led for 120,000 and got a call. A king on the turn was a nightmare for Johan.
“Let’s not jinx it.” Said Fedor.
“He might find a way to check-fold.” Joked Josh next to him. Fedor picked his exact bet, of 350,000.
Maria called. On the river, Johan bet it all.
“Just throw one chip, throw it in there.” Said Josh, and sure enough and Maria found the call to end it all, claiming the scalp of all three members of Team Johan.
“I guess Maria was the secret weapon.” Jungle admitted.
After the event, Maria said that it was nice to be recognised for being a very strong poker player, not just a great female poker player.
The Team Fedor members loved playing with each other and having made it directly through to the final, said they would always value the time they shared.
“Fedor, I’m gonna take the knowledge you gave me and make a lot of money with it,” said Josh. “Maria, I really appreciate getting close with you.”
“I want to tell Fedor and Josh they will always be teammates in my heart.” Said Maria as Team Fedor marched on after a 3-0 victory in the winners bracket for the Taiwanese-American poker heroine.
Charlie and David Clash Pre-Match
“Who do you think you’re speaking to right now?”
As the losers’ bracket teams prepared to play, Lukas ‘Robin’ Robinson went through his preparations, doing some push-ups, breathing exercises and positivity mantras. He argued for positivity to such an extent that Ukrainian teammate Olga Iermolcheva had to reign him in.
“I’m trying to be optimistic, but we are in a really tough spot,” she said. “I believe in myself… but I just don’t believe in our team!”
“In a movie, the underdog always wins.” Robin declared.
Team Nikita’s leader did her best to pick Olga up, as the Ukrainian went into the first battle against Charlie Carrel with a ‘play and pray’ mentality.
In the Team Charlie green room, there were no jokes or positive meditations. In fact, the air was blue in minutes, as Andy, David and Charlie tried to decide who should go first, second or last. Charlie was determined to play first and got his wish.
“I think you’re being selfish and short-sighted.” Said David to Charlie.
“The EV of me going first is so much higher than you going last or second. If you go out there and put all your chips in with ace-four…”
“Charlie, you already won [the draw] so just shut up and f**king go first.”
“David, who do you think you’re speaking to right now?”
“I don’t give a f***. Shut the f** up talking right now.”
“You know what is selfish? Making other people feel bad before they go out and play. That’s a very selfish attitude to have. You’re sitting there being an absolute baby.” Said Charlie, clearly livid with his teammate.
As the match got underway, Olga broached the subject on both players’ minds.
“One of us will go home today.” She said, an ironic grin on her face.
“I like my home.” Charlie smiled.
Tears Before Bedtime
“Just finish it right here.”
Early action saw a lot of table talk, but when it came down to the actual action, Olga had the better of it, pushing Charlie to an early fold with top pair on the flop when all the Ukrainian had was a deuce. Charlie was still down in the counts on 1.8m when he raised to 100,000 with
“Every time we have a hand the opponent always has something better. It’s just not fair. This is such a massive cooler.” Nikita said in the green room.
Olga raised to 350,000 with but Charlie re-raised to 680,000.
“Come on, Olga. Find that hero-fold.” Said Robin, but Nikita was full of doubt and Olga’s shove was met by a quick call from Charlie.
“If she hits a ten, one of us is up!” laughed David.
The flop of was followed by a meaning there were only two outs in the deck for Olga to the river and an saw her slide down to just 340,000 chips, with Charlie on 3.6 million.
Dealt , Olga shoved, and Charlie called with after weighing up the marginal call for nine big blinds.
“Just finish it right here.”
The board of did indeed finish it as Charlie hit from being a 40% underdog and Robin was up next.
“I’m super-confident in both of us. We just need to get through Charlie.” Said Robin.
“I’m so miserable and I would cry all day.” Said Olga after the event, but she rejoined her team and told them that she had a good feeling. Team Nikita would need it.
Batman and Robin
“I can’t breathe.”
Charlie and Robin began very friendly, but after Robin three-bet with , Charlie’s silent call with set the tone for a steely set-up between the pair as they battled for supremacy… and survival. On the flop of , Robin bet 80,000 and Charlie called. The turn of a was a very interesting card, as Robin bet the gutshot for 300,000 and Charlie – who had hit top pair with top kicker – called again. Team Nikita cheered for a ten, but a landed on the river.
Robin, knowing he had the weakest hand, folded to the river bet from Charlie, meaning Charlie had 2.5 million chips to Robin’s 1.5 million. Robin three-bet gain with , Charlie three-bet to 350,000 with just king-four and got the fold again. Now up to 3.1 million, Charlie called with and was dominating Robin’s The flop of saw both players check as did the turn, but on the river, Robin bet 100,000. Charlie
“He can’t call her,” said Andy in the Team Charlie green room. “He literally beats no hands.”
But Charlie did call and when Robin announced queen-high, Charlie asked ‘Which one?’, getting shown the good news.
On a flop of , Robin bet 40,000 with and got a call from Charlie with . The same bet came on the turn from Robin and Charlie raised to 150,000. Robin had hoped for a raise and again just called with position. A five of hearts on the river saw Charlie move all-in, putting Robin to the test. He called and scooped a full double-up.
“Yes, good boy! Yes!” yelled Olga in the green room as Robin vaulted his stack up to 1.4m. With the blinds escalating that only meant 12 big blinds and he shoved with . Charlie called with and the flop of put Robin in the lead. A turn of maintained Robin’s lead and a deuce on the river sent Robin into the lead for the first time in the match.
Charlie adopted a praying stance and, down to 1.1 million in chips, he moved all-in with . Robin called with the better hand of
“I can’t breathe.” Said Nikita.
“We need to win it.” Olga said.
The board of paired three of the four hole cards held by both players, but Charlie made two pair and Robin only top pair. Two more cards were to come, however, but the turn of was no help to Robin in his bid to end the match right there. A on the river changed everything as Robin hit a better two pair and in the green room both Olga and Nikita celebrated wildly.
“It’s the first thing I won this competition!” Robin eulogised.
“I feel disappointed; I probably cared too much.” Charlie admitted after the game. “Maybe it’s the team element coming in. We had quite a big argument coming in and I saw how much David cares about this. I meditated and breathed through it, but I didn’t have a lot of time between being in that negative space and playing.”
Next up, it was David Williams to face Robin and the teammates from the first round had a huge amount of respect for each other.
“He’s so excited about it. I do think he’s a little in awe of it all, and that could be his downfall.” David said about Robin.
“David’s quite old school,” said Robin. “His bust-out in the last round wasn’t GTO.”
Who will win their match? We’ll have to wait until Episode 10 to find out!
Watch Episode #9, The Final Prayer, in full right here: