We've seen a ton of eliminations today and more than the usual number of suck-outs and bad beats. The action got underway right off the bat with Isabelle Mercier busting before she had even taken her chips out of the bag. Isabelle's big slick, known to many as the hand with which you will lose the most money, was unable to improve against her opponent's lowly pair and she was sent to the rails.
Alex Jacob, this year's U.S. Poker Championship winner, also kicked the bucket in the first level of today's action. He got his chips in the middle with, you guessed it, Ace-King and was in a coin flip against an opponent holding pocket fives. An ace on the flop gave Alex command but the turn brought one of the two remaining fives and eliminated him from the event.
Also eliminated early in today's action was Jeff Madsen, this year's World Series of Poker player of the year. This may seem a bit repetitive, but Madsen was also holding that deceptively weak hand, a big slick, as he was busted out. This time it wasn't a coin flip that he lost however; he was actually in a dominating position against Hoyt Corkins' A-Q. All it took was a queen on the flop to turn the tables on him though and our friend J-Mad was sent packing.
In what was perhaps the most bizarre turn of the cards seen today, and what Allen Kessler referred to as "The worst play I've ever seen," one player's pocket queens cracked both pocket kings and bullets in a three way all-in-fest. The way it went down, and the reason for Kessler's scathing comment was thus: two players had moved all-in in front of Chris Boyadjian and he was the one to make the call with pocket queens. Wired ladies is certainly a reasonable hand to make an all-in move with but to call? Add to this the fact that Chris was calling not one but two all-ins and it's clear that it was more than just questionable.
Whatever his motivation for making the call though, he certainly picked the right hand to do it. A queen on the flop put him in the driver's seat and the case queen on the river, however redundant, gave him quads and nearly tripled him up. The unfortunate players who moved in with aces and kings were penalized for the folly of pushing all-in with the two best starting hands (sarcasm) and Boyadjian, making what can only be classified as a suicide call, was greatly rewarded for his spectacular decision (more sarcasm).
Sometimes the way the cards fall is enough to make you want to give up the whole idea of trying to get your money in with the best hand. The example above certainly qualifies as one of those situations but we saw another hand today which was even worse. Erik Cajelais, one of the players currently vying for the chip lead, was involved in a pot with two other players and after the flop all three got the rest of their chips in the middle.
Erik was holding the worst starting hand of the group, pocket treys, but hit his set on the flop. Another player had slightly better holdings, pocket nines, but had also flopped three-of-a-kind and the third player, who had started the hand with the best two cards you can be dealt in Texas Hold'em, bullets, was a serious dog to take down the pot. It looked like the man with the pocket nines was going to triple-up unless one of the two aces hit the board but certainly no one expected the river to bring the card that it did, the case three. This was one of the only one-outers I've seen on the World Poker Tour and a devastating card for the two other players who it eliminated from the event.
In "Confessions of a Winning Poker Player," Jack King said, "Few players recall the big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career." This is a quote that rings true with everyone who takes poker even semi-seriously, and I'm sure that years down the road the players who took the beats mentioned above will not only remember them, they'll still be complaining about them as well.