Australian Now the World Champion
Right now it’s 3:30 a.m. on July 16, during the 2005 World Series of Poker in Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas.
Phil Hellmuth (commenting live for CardPlayer.com and Real Networks): “With four players left in the championship, the blinds at $120,000-$240,000, and a $30,000-a-man ante, Joseph Hachem (pronounced “hash-im”) calls $240,000 on the button. Derrick “Tex” Barch calls in the small blind, and 27-year-old Aaron Kanter does what he’s been doing successfully for the last 12 hours, he raises it up $1 million more. Kanter has won a lot of money by making his opponents fold their hands before the flop. What’s this? Hachem has just announced that he’s all-in!”
(Loud-quick-rhythmic chanting from the crowd: “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!”)
PH: “Kanter looks interested and has asked for a chip count. The dealer counts down the chips and determines that the raise is roughly $5 million more. After a moment, Kanter calls and flips up his hole cards: 9c-9d. Now Hachem shows Qd-7d. What a great call Kanter has made here! He picked off the Hachem bluff and now Kanter is a two-and-a-half-to-one favorite to win the $13 million pot and eliminate the Australian Hachem. Hachem will need a queen, a diamond flush, trip sevens or a fluky straight of some kind to win this pot. Here comes the flop. Wow, the flop is Q-8-2, and Hachem has hit his miracle queen for the biggest pot of his life!”
PH: “Now Kanter needs some help. He will need a nine, or a running jack-10 to make a straight. With a turn-card ace and a river deuce, Hachem has doubled up. What a tough beat here for Kanter. He made the call of his life and still lost the pot. You have to feel for him here. I don’t blame Hachem for making the move, considering that Kanter has kept raising and reraising him for the last 12 hours of play. But give maximum credit to Kanter for making the tough call with pocket nines.”
Fast-forward to 6:30 a.m.:
PH: “With two players left, the blinds at $150,000-$300,000, and a $50,000 a man ante, Steven Dannenmann makes it $700,000 to go on the button. Of course Hachem will call with almost any two cards because the raise is so small relative to the size of the pot. Here comes the flop, 6h-5d-4d, and Hachem checks. Dannenmann bets out $700,000, and Hachem makes it $1.7 million to go. Dannenmann calls the $1 million raise, and the next card is the As. Hachem bets out $2 million, and Dannenmann starts talking to him. Hachem is silent for the moment. Dannenmann better be careful here. He has a ton of chips left, and there is no need to go crazy with a lone pair or a bluff when his opponent may have him in bad shape. But Dannenmann raises $3 million more; and now Hachem moves all-in! Hachem is talking with Dannenmann as Dannenmann contemplates calling his last $15 million off. Dannenmann calls!”
PH: “Now the hands are flipped up. There’s 7-3 for Hachem, which adds up to a made straight! And A-3 for Dannenmann, which adds up to one pair of aces, and a straight draw. Oh boy, I really hate the way Dannenmann played this hand. Why put all of your chips at risk with one pair? After all, he had $20 million left and the board looked really threatening. In my opinion Dannenmann shouldn’t have raised $3 million, and for sure should have folded for the $15 million reraise. After all, it is easy to give Hachem credit for two pair, a straight, or even a better ace (with a higher kicker) like A-7. The cold hard fact remains that Dannenmann put $20 million into the pot drawing dead to a tie!”
PH: “In any case, Dannenmann will need a seven on the last card to tie, or Hachem is your 2005 World Champion. The last card is a four! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!”
What are the odds on a pocket pair before the flop against a hand where one card is higher than the pair and one is lower?
a.) even money
b.) four-and-a-half-to-one favorite
c.) two-and-a-half-to-one favorite
d.) you’re an underdog