The PokerStars All Star Showdown has certainly produced some marathon matches, with two of them lasting 15 hours or more to complete already. Yet this semi-final clash between Daniel “w00ki3z” Cates and Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond in comparison would be considered a quick affair having lasted just 7 hours.
During that first hour it was Cates who took control having built up a profit of $45k, with half of that coming in a big pot. Galfond actually caught a good flop but is actually behind Cates on the turn. He doesn’t know that of course and tries to take down the pot with a big bet on the river, only for Cates to call and take the $51k pot.
During the next few hours there was a reversal in fortunes as Galfond started to win a fair amount of small to medium sized pots and found himself not only getting back on equal terms but actually pulling out a lead of his own.
By the time of the first break of the day, Galfond was up by $70k. After it, he pushed even further out in front after winning a big pot to the tune of $44k. Cates would have thought he was a sure winner after flopping a full house; he slow plays it and checks on the turn which gives Galfond a free river card. That proved to be a massive mistake as it gave Galfond the bigger full house.
That pushed Galfond up to over $100k now, meaning that Cates had lost half of his money.
The Match Swings Again!
The next few hours was the Cates show, he started to chip away at the Galfond lead to eventually swing the match into his favour three hours later to the tune of $70k. After taking the lead this time he seemed determined not to lose it again, which he didn’t.
Probably the key hand of the day was also in fact the biggest pot of the day, when Galfond tried to take advantage of a straight on the community cards and bluff. However, Cates really did have a better hand and made the call easy to take the pot of $80k.
That was the hand that crippled Galfond, who then had just $6k left which he lost quickly in a hand where Cates had the top pair and him the second pair.
He now goes in to tonight’s final against Ben ”Sauce123” Sulsky knowing that he has won a minimum of $250k for his original stake of $100k. If he wins of course, his prize will be $500k.