Nor-Easter Blows Through Connecticut
Many of the top poker players in the world arrived on the east coast in late November to a major Nor-Easter storm. What a shock for a California boy like me! Would the Nor-Easter prove to be an omen” With seven players left in Foxwood’s $10,000 buy-in no limit Hold’em World Poker Tour (WPT) event in Conn., it looked like a showdown between two of the year 2002’s hottest players. On the one hand you had Layne Flack, who won two World Series of Poker (WSOP) titles, both in the game du jour, no limit Hold’em; on the other hand, you had Phil Ivey, who won three WSOP titles (a feat only accomplished twice before): and both Phil and Layne had chips in excess of $250,000. With no one else at the table having $100,000 in chips, the tournament was looking like a two-man affair.
At this point we had to lose one more player before the long day-it was now 6:00 AM, with a start time of 4:00 PM-would finally be over. With seven player’s remaining, and only six returning for the WPT TV coverage, someone had to go. Did I mention that Phil Ivey is a Nor-Easter, but Layne Flack is from Montana” Do you see where I’m going with this”
With seven players left the following hand came up between Layne Flack and Howard Lederer. Layne opened for $6,000 in the first position, and after a moment of studying Layne, Howard announced, “I’m all-in for $26,000.” Layne said, “I call,” and flipped up his two hole cards, 8-8. Howard then flipped up his K-J, and the flop came down Q-J-8.
Howard put his jacket on and stood up to leave, because Layne had flopped trips, and Howard would need two perfect cards in a row to win the pot. Howard later told me, “In my mind, I was already at the airport in Providence leaving for Las Vegas.” But wait a minute Howard, the next card off was a J, for Howard to hit trip jacks; however, Layne still had the best hand with a full house, eights full of jacks. Howard would now need a jack, a queen, or a king. The last card was a miracle king for Howard, making his jacks full of kings beat Layne’s eights full of jacks. Howard had hit the perfect-perfect at exactly the right time!
With Howard surviving his all-in encounter, up and coming Kathy Liebert ended up finishing in seventh place, much to the disappointment of the WPT-they were hoping for a female in the final six for the cameras. The much anticipated battle between Phil Ivey and Layne Flack never materialized, when Phil finished in fourth place. In fact, Howard Lederer came all the way back from only $26,000 in chip–and a perfect-perfect hit–to take home the $360,000 first prize when his Ad-9d beat Layne Flack’s 3-3 on the final hand. (Did I mention that Howard Lederer is a Nor-Easter’)