Excitement abounds as we find ourselves inching closer to the heads up confrontation between the abrasive duo of Cate Hall and Mike Dentale. The drama began back in December when Dentale attempted to Tweet some good natured fatherly advice to Hall, whose relative inexperience with poker caused her to overvalue play money premium hand ATo when calling off nearly her entire stack to a 4-bet jam by Barry Hutter in the WPT Five Diamond Classic. Hall found the advice offensive and responded to Dentale’s kindness with a heads up challenge. Thus began a lengthy bout of verbal violence that echoes the sentiments of the 2016 election, as liberal feminist takes on brutish conservative.
The match will take place at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia next month. It will be televised on Poker Night in America and will be a best-of-three $10,000 freezeout with $25/$50 blinds. Popular poker pros Doug Polk and Shaun Deeb will be lending their talents to provide color commentary.
Mike Dentale and Cate Hall have never rubbed each other the right way, which comes as a disappointment to the apparent many who secretly believed there was a mutual crush. Hall recently put that idea to rest on the Joe Ingram podcast, finding his preposterously over the top alpha persona to be only slightly more desirable than cutting out parts of her own body. In the same vein, to Dentale, Hall is like the bratty kid next door he watches out the window only in the hopes that she falls her off her bicycle while riding too close to the street.
All seriousness aside, the whole concept behind the match comes across as quite bizarre. Both have boasted openly of their perceived dominance in the area of skill, yet have also been quite clear in their understanding of how the format draws enough variance that it could easily go in either direction. Yet therein lies an inconsistency, as both also claim that the money at stake is insignificant, a fact we can confirm by Hall’s recent cashes as well as by the success of Dentale’s business.
That being established, for the pros facing off it would seem that the match will be nothing more than a negative freeroll for their reputations, a term that Hall herself has used to describe it. The only real winners here will be the railbirds craving the inevitable brutal table talk as the egos clash. PokerShares is taking action on the bout and has listed Hall as the favorite. To the best of my knowledge, Dentale is unconcerned with popular opinion, believing that his barrage of insults will be enough to pull Hall off balance, who is not allowed to wear headphones during play.
The real question is: what will the aftermath bring? Both Hall and Dentale express that no matter the result, anything that brings attention to poker is good for the game. The feud will almost certainly continue once the match has concluded. I predict that this will grow more even more intense as accusations of luck are tossed freely about, reminding the public yet again that poker is, in fact, a game of skill.