Archive forJuly, 2008

A Heads-Up Cash Game Battle For The Ages

Online poker pro Brian “sbrugby” Townsend is currently involved in a huge heads-up match with high stakes specialist Sammy Farha (2nd place runner-up in the 2003 WSOP Main Event) over at the Bellagio, the official site of the “Big Game” itself.

It was a little over a year and a half ago when Brian Townsend, nicknamed ’sbrugby’ or ‘aba20? online, got his official start playing poker. Townsend, who started out playing at $.50/$1 NL, has since progressed into a cash game phenom. The young 20-something has ridden his small-stakes glory all the way to the biggest games on Full Tilt Poker.

Playing $200/$400 NL, $200/$400 PLO, and $500/$1000 NL Cap on a daily basis. More importantly, he was (and still is) crushing the greatest names in poker regularly. Last month in May, ’sbrugby’ managed to win almost $2 million alone from cash games — consistently beating out other big names like Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, Doyle Brunson, and Patrik Antonius!

His most recent transition has been live poker. Townsend’s appearances on GSN’s ‘High Stakes Poker’ solidified what most online and live players already had pretty much known — that this kid from Santa Barbara was the real deal, and ready for action.

With this year’s World Series of Poker now underway, Brian isn’t the only one looking for action, and definitely not the only one looking for a big game. Enter Sammy Farha, who’s trademark style and unlit cigarette has been a staple of poker notoriety ever since his heads up battle with Chris Moneymaker at the 2003 WSOP Main Event.

Farha, who is also known for being ultra-aggressive in the biggest games in the world, is probably one of the biggest action junkies Las Vegas [and maybe the world] has ever seen. It was only a matter of time that Sammy and Townsend would meet for one of the largest HU games to ever take place. Even internet speculation said this match was inevitable after Townsend reportedly had been staring down Farha and his stack on a number of occasions when they both were playing on the television show ‘High Stakes Poker.’

Well, after all the speculation and rumors, the match a lot of people expected has been going on all this week in Las Vegas. And let’s just say from Card Runners (where BT’s daily blog is housed), the match hasn’t been pretty. The first night they played was $500/$1000 PLO, where most pros will tell you Farha has a distinct advantage in, mainly because it’s his best game and he’s very intimidating with his ultra-aggressive nature and endless bankroll.

The young phenom, who is up over several million in the $200/$400 PLO shorthanded games on Full Tilt, confirmed what most already knew — that Farha was a beast heads-up, and that playing him over a long period of time was very exhausting to say the least.

The 1st session between these two netted Sammy a profit of over $500k, with Townsend noting there were 4 to 5 pots in the half-million dollar range alone during the game.

The next session [reportedly lasting 12 hours], which Brian updated the community on over at his CR Blog, fared much better for him. The young pro actually ended up reversing his huge loss from the first session, turning it into a $50,000 profit overall during the several marathon sessions he and Farha had this week.

Townsend said his “comeback was…quite satisfying,” especially considering he was down $800k at one point during the last match, and $1.2 million overall! So, to end up $50k against a player of Sammy’s caliber is still a nice accomplishment, even given the stakes that were being played out. The favorite part of the story thus far was the last hand they played, where Sammy asked Townsend straight up if he wanted to just flip for the $450k he had just won from him the pot before — Townsend kindly declined, however, stating his unsuredness of being able to get more money in play if he had lost. All in all, just another day for the high stakes pros, right?

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