• Big Hand in Atlantic City

    Date: 2004.04.15 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    I first heard about this hand from Scotty Nguyen in December (2002), and most recently from Layne now in April. Scotty was pretty upset, and so was Layne; Erik Seidel was the only happy camper to emerge from this hand, which he won, incredibly, with ace-high; this, despite the fact that Scotty would have made four tens with his pocket 10’s.

    By the way, I am writing this hand at Ted Forrest’s house in Vegas (I forgot my laptop!) with Layne at my side. I will let you know what Layne has to think of this hand as I write. Five minutes into day two of the Taj Mahal’s US Poker Championship $7,500 buy-in Championship no limit Hold’em tournament, with the blinds at $300-$600, and the antes at $100 a man, Layne opened for $1200 with 6-6, Tony Van called, and now Erik Seidel made it $5,200 to go on the button with As-Jd.

    Scotty (with $12,000 in chips) looked down at 10-10, and decided that folding was his best option. Scotty–who would have made four tens–folded because he felt it was the right play, especially five-minutes into the tournament. I agree with Scotty’s lay down here in general, but I wasn’t there to “study” Erik. If I studied Erik, and felt weakness, then I would have moved all-in.

    Interestingly, Layne did “study” Erik and smelled weakness (however, he didn’t have two players behind him, including the initial raiser, like Scotty did). Layne says that he factored Tony Van out of the equation immediately, because he didn’t think Tony could call the $4,000 raise–he read Tony for being relatively weak. Because of this, Layne re-raised Erik $8,000 with his 6-6, and Tony folded. By the way, Erik must have smelled weakness in Layne to make the original $4,000 raise–and he was right (more later on this). So, as Layne puts it, “Erik and I sniffed each other out.”

    Now Erik studied for awhile with $13,500 left, and decided to call the $8,000 and re-raise the $5,200. As Layne now says, “Why the push-in” Clearly I was pot stuck and was going to call $5,200 more, leaving me with $7,000 left.” Layne feels that Erik made a bad play here by moving all-in–“his best option was to fold here and save $13,200, and his second-best-option was to just call the $8,000 and look at the flop,” says Layne. Layne called the $5,200, and now Erik stood up, reached over and looked at Layne’s hand and said, “Argh, I thought you had ace-rag this hand.” The board came down 8-9-10-9-10, counterfeiting Flacks 6-6, and giving Seidel the winner with two pair, nines and tens with an ace.

    Did Erik play this hand “terribly” In my opinion, no he didn’t, but Erik is too good a player to look for even money (6-6 is actually a 13 to 10 favorite to win over As-Jd) for all of his chips. Although I say that Erik didn’t play his hand terribly, I would say that Erik didn’t play it well–Layne feels that Erik played it badly. The reason that this hand sticks in Layne’s mind is that; he feels that Erik is a great player, and he can’t understand how Erik could over commit with As-Jd. Layne says that he has asked Erik about this hand many times, and that Erik won’t respond with anything more than a chuckle (Layne says he and Erik are good friends). Layne wants an explanation! He has asked many other top players for an explanation.

    Let me take a crack Layne: Erik smelled weakness in you, and you smelled weakness in Erik, therefore the money went all-in. Layne responds thus: Phil, why didn’t he save the $5,200 to bet on the flop no matter what came or consider folding after the flop or save the $13,200 knowing that I am over committed and will call anyway” Good point Layne, putting all that money in with A-J in this tournament with these blinds isn’t the Phil Hellmuth way, but I still give Erik credit for smelling your weakness–you did only have 6-6. Layne responds thus: Phil, facts are facts, you cannot give him credit for smelling my weakness–I effectively made Erik a caller with the worst hand for all of his chips. That is not a position you want to be in in no limit Hold’em, period. No hard feelings Erik, but don’t let it happen again! (ha-ha!)

    OK Layne, but I wonder what Erik would say if he had the pen in his hand like you do now! Flack says that he would like to know as well–Layne always gets in the last word when I’m around! Layne really is a funny and good hearted person. Congrats to Erik who ended up finishing second to John “World” Hennigan; and I can tell you that they both played great.

    One last comment from me: if you told someone that all of these raises and re-raises happened before the flop, with these blinds, in this tournament, between Seidel and Flack, would anyone believe that they had only 6-6 and A-J’!”(Wouldn’t they guess Q-Q vs. K-K or A-K vs. Q-Q or something similar’) Further, does this make them both great players or what’!” I’m not sure you could conclude that they are both great players from this hand, however they are both great players’

    I hope that everyone enjoyed this weeks Hand of the Week”. Good luck playing your hands this week.