Hand of the Week: ‘Fish’ Lives Out $888k WSOP Poker Fairy Tale

WSOP Event #54 was won by someone playing his first major live poker event ever.

His name is Hung Le. He's a self-professed "fish" and father of five who runs a nail salon in Dayton, Ohio. When time allows, he plays a little $1/$2 on the side.

His cash payout for winning the first-ever 888poker Crazy Eights event: $888,888. It’s a poker fairy tale, and the final hand was the climax of the story.

Flop to River

It’s the heads-up of the brand new 888poker “Crazy Eights” event, an eight-handed No-Limit Hold'em tournament with an $888 buy-in.

6,761 players registered for the tournament and now just two of them are left – Hung Le and Michael Lech.

The prize money for first place is $888,888 but the runner-up doesn’t even get half of that. The blinds have reached 150k/300k/50k.

Le has around 24 million chips (81bb) in front of him while Lech has around 9 million (30bb) In the small blind Le finds  2 spades 2 2 clubs 2

He limps in. Lech raises from the big blind to 800,000. Le calls and the pot is up to 1.7 million. Effective stacks are at 8.4 million.

The flop is   A diamonds A 10 clubs 10 4 diamonds 4 . Lech bets 900,000 and gets a call. There's now 3.5 million chips in the pot and effective stacks are 7.5 million.

The turn is the  8 diamonds 8 . Lech checks, Le bets out 1.5 million and Lech, after a couple of seconds of consideration, moves all-in. Le thinks about it and then calls with his pocket deuces.

Lech shows  Q clubs Q J clubs J . The river is the  6 diamonds 6  and Lech loses. Hung Le takes down the $888,888 main prize.


It’s an amazing hand in several respects and we’re going to look at the key situations.

Pre-flop, Le limps in with his pocket pair and Lech raises with

. In heads-up play, this is a very strong hand, so there’s nothing wrong with the call. But a check would have been fine, too.

The flop hits Lech’s range more than Le’s. His pre-flop raising range has plenty of aces and high cards so a c-bet is correct here, although he’s only found a gutshot.

Le isn’t easy to get rid of, though. He might only have a pair of deuces but he has position and the far bigger stack. 

He knows he could still have the best hand, and he might even be able to steal the pot if Lech shows weakness later on.

Things Escalate

Things escalate on the turn. Lech has found a second gutshot draw and decides to get creative.

He checks and Le takes over the lead. Le makes an interesting bet. His hand has showdown value but he can also represent a flush or an ace to make Lech fold pairs like tens, eights or fours.

But his plan doesn’t work as Lech moves all-in, which is not what Le wanted to see.

I really like Lech’s push because he realizes that Le’s range on this board is rather weak and has only a few flushes and other strong hands in it.

Don't try this move. (Photo: Drew Amato)

The move should earn him a five-million-chip pot and build his stack up to over 35 million.

Don't Try This at Home

But Lech didn’t know who he was up against. The board is pretty wet, and Le only has a meagre pair of deuces, but he only needs a couple of seconds to announce call.

Let’s look at some numbers here. After Lech’s all-in Le gets 2-1 pot odds and if he loses the hand he also loses the chiplead.

If he folds, however, he keeps the lead and 20 million chips. All these factors ask for a fold. But there’s more.

Le might be drawing dead already. He could have no outs left, or maybe just one or two. But apparently he either read Lech for trying to exploit the draw-heavy board with a bluff, or he just felt this would be the last hand of the tournament.

How else can we explain Le’s decision to call? Particularly as Lech still has 32% equity, which makes his all-in move against Le’s hand mathematically correct as well.


Hung Le wins a WSOP bracelet with an inconceivable call. But please don’t try this at home. Lech performed an elegant bluff but he was up against the wrong guy. Le was going to end the tournament there and then no matter how.

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