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Today in the 3-Bet we find Andras Koroknai fulfilling the poker fan's need for a blowup at the final table, Russell Thomas’s A9 call backed up by the numbers and former WSOP Main Event Peter Eastgate bored and lazy with his prize money in London.
1) Merson Pushes Koroknai to the Brink... And Then Over It
Poker fans love great play, for sure, but make no mistake about it -- they love a big Main Event meltdown even more.
Merson: Hungarian chip vacuum.
Phillip Hilm and Joe Cheong are just two names to supply past fodder and now Hungarian Andras Koroknai can add his to the WSOP meltdown list.
Averse to the media, stoic at the table and lucky to be there after a much-maligned ruling earlier in the tournament, Koroknai’s main event came to an ignominious end last night with one of the more questionable plays in WSOP final-table history.
Coming in to the final second in chips, Koroknai had played fairly standard for much of the final table until, it seems, Greg Merson started getting under his skin.
After a couple of earlier clashes, Koroknai got into a pre-flop raising war with Merson again that ultimately ended in a six-bet shove of his 40m stack.
Merson snap-called with A♠ K♠ and Koroknai had to sheepishly turn over K♥ Q♦. No miracle came from the board and Koroknai found himself walking briskly out the door.
No exit interview or, say, logic was available to explain Koroknai's move and the mysterious Hungarian exited back into the shadows he seems to prefer.
We guess the $1.6 million he took with him will ease the pain a bit. Or not. Read the full recap of Koroknai’s exit hand here.
2) Thomas’s A9 Call-Off Backed Up by Numbers
Speaking of exit hands, fourth-place finisher Russell Thomas hit the bricks on a marginal call-off with A9 against Jake Balsiger’s AK shove but upon further review it wasn’t as questionable as it seemed.
PokerVT short-stack coach Derek “Derk” Williams took Thomas’ bust-out hand and broke it down in more detail to reveal the call really was OK – at least by the numbers. Says Williams:
“There weren’t many spots where Russell was truly short or had to deal with short stack shoves, but I did want to break down the math of his A9 call, because at first glance a lot of people think it’s not a good call, but I immediately thought it was probably OK."
Check William's full breakdown of Thomas’ exit hand here. Here’s how Thomas explained his thinking on the 2+2 forums:
"The reason I called with A9 is with those stacks I was fairly confident he would just 3b to a normal size with AQ, 99+. Jamming is silly IMO with his image.
"That, and given his tendency to not want to play hands post flop, I thought I'd be up against suited broadway or a pair or something.
"Occasionally AT, AJ, but honestly I just couldn't see him piling AK pre rather than just 3b/calling."
As with Koroknai, the $2.85 million payday likely eased the pain but, based on his Final Table doc about his training, we get the sense Thomas was set on a win.
Still, Thomas was widely praised for his play at the table and in particular for an early call with QQ to knock out Steven Gee in ninth. His coach, Jason Somerville, certainly wasn't dissappointed:
3) Former Champ Eastgate Bored, Rich in London
If any of the six players who hit the rail last night are looking for some consolation we can at least offer them the case of former World Series of Poker champ Peter Eastgate.
The 2008 champ, who famously retired from poker only to return a short time later, appeared on a Danish podcast recently and, believe it or not, says the financial windfall from winning the Main Event hasn't necessarily been the best thing for him.
Now a full-time London resident with not much in the way of inspiration, Eastgate says the money he won has “become a false security” and made him a bit lazy.
Even more startling, Eastgate suggests he might even be better off if he somehow lost all the money or was no longer financially independent so he’d be more encouraged to do something for himself.
Eastgate did say he practices yoga every day and plans to start studying physiotherapy.
We should all be so lucky. But let that be a silver lining to you, WSOP bustees. Check the interview recap (in Danish) on our sister site PokerListings.dk.