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Busted With the A♣ A♠

World Series of Poker main event

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Sep 04, 2009


In the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event this year, there were 6,494 entrants, and 648 made the money. In order to make the money, you had to make it to late in the day on day three. In order to make the final table, or the “November Nine” (the final nine players who will play it out in November), you had to play eight full days of poker. I want to congratulate the November Nine, as outlasting more than 6,400 players is quite a feat: Phil Ivey, Jeff Shulman, Eric Buchman, Darvin Moon, Joseph Cada, Kevin Schaffel, James Akenhead, Antoine Saout, and Steven Begleiter. By the way, the winner will bank $8.5 million, and even ninth place pays $1.2 million!
Hellmuth's Hand of the Week
I was still in the hunt late on day three — with about 450 players left in the tournament — when the following hand came up. With the blinds at 3,000-6,000, and a 1,000 ante, I peered down at the AClub Suit ASpade Suit. An aggressive player with almost 1 million in chips opened for 22,000. I was sitting two to the right of the button with 135,000 in chips. There was some history here: The aggressive player who had just opened for 22,000 had beat me out of around 200,000 in chips only one round earlier, when he opened for 18,000 and I made it 40,000 to go (a minimum-raise) with 9-9. In that hand, he held A-J, and the board came J-J-5-7-3. Now, assessing my current situation, a few thoughts popped into my head. First, why not make the same min-raise that I had made only one round earlier? Second, he had raised so much that I didn’t even need to reraise to eliminate the players behind me. Third, I was a short stack, and I needed to gamble by just calling with my aces in order to win the greatest amount of chips possible.

Thus, I just called. Then, I cringed as the player behind me in the cutoff called, the player behind him on the button called, and the player in the big blind called. Three out of four possible players behind me called the relatively big-sized raise! I was now ready to fold if certain flops came down. The flop was JClub Suit 10Heart Suit 5Club Suit, and the player in the big blind moved all in for 87,000. The original raiser folded, and I was happy, because I thought that I had the best hand. So, I moved all in for 113,000, and the player behind me folded. The guy on the button started muttering, “I know you have three fives.

I can’t beat a set.” By his tone and comments, I assumed that he had top two pair, and now I thought I was in trouble. He finally called the 113,000, flipping up J-10 offsuit (by the way, he made a horrible preflop call!). The player in the big blind showed the 9Heart Suit 8Heart Suit, and I was in trouble. Still, I could win with club, club; a 5; a running pair; a running K-Q; or an ace. Alas, the turn was a 7, making a straight for the player with 9-8. Now I could win only the 52,000 side pot, and only with a 7, a 5, or an ace. Sadly, I missed, and went broke.

Although I was certainly unlucky to lose this hand, could I have played it any differently? I mean, a min-raise here almost certainly would have won the hand for me, and may have doubled me up. And there was some great logic for me to make a min-raise, as I had min-raised the same guy one round earlier, and he beat me out of a big pot; but, I do not regret for a second my smooth-call, no matter how many times I run the scenario in my mind. I do, however, regret the fact that I lost so much in the previous round with 9-9. I should not have min-raised to 40,000 in that spot, and then lost 160,000 more. Spade Suit

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