I went to the tournament area today well rested, ready for action, but a little behind schedule. I arrived around 11:30 and found myself at the end of a huge line of people waiting to enter into today's event. The amateurs only want to play no limit hold 'em so those events are the most popular and we started with over 1700 players, well over the 1400 hundred entrants this event has last year. I found myself at a table with a guy I recognized from the Oaks Club (where I used to work as a dealer and then as a prop player) and Johnny "World" Hennigan (a player with 2 WSOP bracelets). Right away it looked like Hennigan was going to run over the table. He was in lots of pots and was slowly building a decent sized stack when the following hand came up. With the blinds at 25/25 the first player to act made it 75 to go and Hennigan just called. The player on the button made it 325, the original raiser just called, Hennigan moved all in and was quickly called by BOTH players. When the cards were turned face up Hennigan had two black aces and BOTH of his opponents had KK! This is the absolute best possible situation you can have against two other players. The player with the black kings can't win the whole pot and has only a 1.34% chance of getting half the pot. The player with red kings has a 2.33% chance of winning the pot and a 1.34% chance of getting half. When the cards were turned over, Hennigan said "I've dreamed about this hand, only it was at the final table of the main event." I've played about 500,000 hand of poker in the past 6 years and I can't remember ever seeing this situation arise before. In fact the chances of it occuring are about 1 in 1,047,000. What's even more amazing was the flop came down Jh 8h 5s the turn was the 7h and the river was the 9h giving the red kings the pot! The guy that won the pot used up about a years worth of good luck on that one hand. He'll probably have a safe fall on his head the next time he walks by a tall building.
We sure love to hear about people we don't know getting smashed by safes (who doesn't?), but what happened to you Dave? Well once again I got eliminated on a hand that I couldn't have played any differently. I had about 2100 chips after starting with 2000 and we were in the final minutes of round 1. I picked up Ah Jh two off the button and raised to 75. To my surprise I was called by the cutoff (the player one to the right of the button), the button and both blinds. We took the flop 5 way and it came down Ac 7h 4h. I had top pair and a flush draw and after the blinds checked I bet 275 into the 375 chip pot. The player to my left thought for about 5 seconds and then called. The player behind him grabbed all his chips and confidently put them into the pot. As soon as I saw that flop I knew I was calling all action. I thought it unlikely that anyone had AK because they almost certainly would have reraised preflop. I thought maybe he had AQ or maybe 77 or 44, but even in the worst case scenario I would win the pot 30% of the time. I was hoping that he had either a smaller flush draw or a smaller A in which case I'd have him in really bad shape. He turned over Ac 7d for two pair. He had me beat but I still had a 45% chance to win the pot and I had 400 more chips than him so even if he won I wouldn't be completely eliminated. What's interesting to note here is even if he turned over his cards and showed me that I was beaten I still would have called his all in bet. There was already 2600 in the pot and I only had to put in another 1400 to win it. I would only need to win the pot 36% of the time to make this call mathmatically correct (often times in tournaments good strategy dictates that you pass on small edges when your tournament life is at stake, but this was not one of those times). Unfortunately the turn was a black 5 and the river was a black 9 and I was crippled.
A few hands later I picked up pocket 9's on the button. One player raised to 75 another called and I moved in for 350. The first player thought for about 30 seconds and folded, but the other player called and showed me AA. Nothing dramatic happened and I found myself headed back to the room an hour after the tournament started. Event #7 preview coming later.