WSOP Photo By Numbers: Controversial $50k Hand

Published On: 29 June 2012 / Modified: 22 June 2018
Created By: BJ Nemeth
50k Crazy Hand

It takes more than a couple of raises to get deep stacks all in preflop in Pot-Limit Omaha. But that was briefly overlooked late on Day 2 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, and the resulting chaos is the subject of today’s Photo By the Numbers.

Check out the full reporting of the hand, or keep reading for the bare bones version.

With about 65 players remaining, there were five preflop limpers in front of Nikolai Yakovenko, who raised from the big blind. The first three limpers called, and then Shaun Deeb moved all in from the button with a short stack.

The small blind folded, and Yakovenko reraised the pot -- but much less than his entire stack. The next two players folded, and Abe Mosseri -- who also had a bigger stack than the raise -- tanked for at least five minutes before he called and turned over his hand.

Deeb and Yakovenko revealed their hands too, and since the players were clearly treating it like an all-in situation, the dealer treated it that way too -- and ran the board.

Deeb flopped a set of jacks and rivered a spade flush to win the main pot and triple up, while Mosseri's pocket aces held up against Yakovenko's pocket kings to win the larger side pot.

$50k Poker Player's Championship Chaos

That's when Yakovenko pointed out that he technically wasn't all in, because it had only been a pot-size raise before the flop.


Match up the numbers on the photo and the descriptions below to get the whole story.

1.  Ali Eslami wasn't involved in the hand, but was leading the efforts to sort out what happened, even using his iPad to calculate the size of the disputed pot-raise.

2.  Shaun Deeb held J J 10 7, and was happy with the board the way it was -- Q J 2 10 8. Deeb flopped a set of jacks and rivered a spade flush, which was good for a triple up rather than an elimination.

3.  Floorperson Troy listened to the different sides of the story and initially ruled that the turn and river need to be brought back, because the players weren't all in. The flop would stay, but action would resume there, and both players would have chips left behind after the preflop pot-raise.

4.  Patrick the Dealer was put in a bad spot. Technically, he made a mistake by treating the situation like it was all in. But in his defense, the players treated it like an all-in first. There was a lot going on in a high-pressure pot, and the time that Mosseri spent in the tank clouded the situation.

5.  John D'Agostino was the short stack at the table with just 61,300 in chips, and definitely annoyed that this entire situation -- between the hand and the multiple rulings -- took about half an hour.

6.  Nikolai Yakovenko reminded everyone more than once that his preflop pot-raise did not put him all in, but when Mosseri wanted a count of his entire stack, Yakovenko pushed his entire stack forward -- which may have added to the confusion that he was all in.

7.  David Baker watches the controversy from the next table. The situation was so intriguing that play slowed down at the other tables around the room, as players were more interested in this table than their own.

8.  Viktor Blom is sitting in seat 5, and he limped and called a preflop raise before folding. You can't see him in this photo because the player known as "Isildur1" is an enigma.

9.  Abe Mosseri seems to have been the source of most of the confusion, both by asking for a full count of Yakovenko's stack (rather than the pot-sized raise), and because he turned over his cards after he called. But in the end, Mosseri got the best of it, winning the huge side pot to become one of the chipleaders.

Eventually, a senior floorperson was called to assess the situation, and he ruled that since the players all treated it like an all-in situation, and nobody objected as the flop, turn, and river were dealt, that the action would be binding -- it was an all-in situation.

So Nikolai Yakovenko was crippled, and eliminated a few minutes later. Shaun Deeb more than tripled up to 234,000, and Abe Mosseri won the massive side pot to skyrocket to second on the leaderboard with 645,000.

For all the action from the WSOP in Las Vegas click through to our 2012 World Series of Poker Live Coverage section, brought to you by


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