A video of Rick Salomon got people talking, but this time it wasn’t a sex tape involving Paris Hilton. The Hollywood producer and part-time poker player appeared on “Poker After Dark” Tuesday night, and the fireworks that ensued included a pot of nearly $1 million against relatively unknown high-stakes player Aaron Zang.
Over at Poker Central, they’re calling this week “Perks of the Trade.” The game was no-limit hold’em, with a $300,000 initial buy-in, the biggest yet for the rebooted “Poker After Dark.” Not surprisingly, this episode generated one of the biggest pots in the show’s history.
The game was playing with $300/$600 blinds, with a lot of straddles and double-straddles to $2,400.
The lineup for the week consisted of Bill Perkins, Brian Rast, Haralabos Voulgaris, Phil Galfond, Salomon, and Zang. The label Poker Central is giving the week is a nod to Perkins, who was seated front and center, with Salomon to his right, and Zang off to the side.
Big Hand Cash Game
In the hand everyone’s talking about, the pre-flop action isn’t exactly clear. But Perkins apparently blind-raised under the gun. Zang held 8♠8♥ and three-bet an unknown amount, as Salomon and Perkins called.
The flop came 3♥6♠8♦. Yahtzee. With top set, Zang bet $15k, and this time only Salomon called, with not much of anything. The former Mr. Pam Anderson was holding the 5♥9♥, which didn’t look too pretty until the 7♣ fell on the turn, giving him a well-disguised straight.
Zang fired a bet of $50,000 into a $60,000 pot. Salomon came to life and raised to $175,000.
Salomon had shown himself earlier in the session to be highly aggressive, capable of three-barrel bluffing with a wide range of hands. After a minute or so of running calculations or possibly trying to feign weakness or both, Zang moved all-in with his opponent covered.
Salomon had $257,000 behind and quickly called. He said he had a straight, and asked Zang if he wanted to run it twice, which they did, but the board failed to pair both times, giving the former amateur porn entrepreneur the entire $928,200 pot.
The video clip Poker Central put up on YouTube cuts out just as Zang starts stacking chips to ship across the table to Salomon, but in that fraction of a second you get a glimpse of a man’s face who briefly believed he was about to win a million dollars, only to have the harsh reality of poker reveal things are actually going the other way.
Five Hours in Vegas
Salomon may have hit a dream turn card to profit more than $450k in a single hand, but that sort of luck can only hold out for so long.
At the end of the five-hour session, “Poker After Dark” commentator Ali Nejad announced that Salomon was cashing out for $955,000, but there was some dispute about how much he was into the game for, and thus where his fortunes ultimately landed.
“If he’s in for the $1 million that we think he is, he’s down $50k,” Nejad said. “But he claims to be ahead so, perhaps, he’s in for just $900,000.”
Nejad’s math seems to be a little out of whack. Zang was reportedly into the game for $700k, and left with $321k. But the totals seem to add up more logically (in a game billed as one that cost $300,000 to play in) if Zang was only in to the game for $600k, and Salomon was not lying about finishing up not down.
But either way, a five-figure win or loss almost seems inconsequential after a pot like that.
Four of the same players will return Wednesday night at 5 pm PT for another round of $300,000 buy-in cash games for “Poker After Dark on the subscription-based PokerGO app. Doug Polk and Matt Berkey will replace Rast and Galfond.
$300,000 Poker After Dark Cash Game Profits/Losses
*Approximate figures according to Ali Nejad
Bill Perkins +$270,000
Brian Rast +$145,000
Haralabos Voulgaris +$130,000
Rick Salomon -$45,000 or +$55,000*
Phil Galfond -$300,000
Aaron Zang -$280,000 or -$380,000