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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Behind the scenes: In the money at the WPT

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There is so much more that goes on at a poker table than betting and winning pots. Often the interaction between players can be entertaining and can lead to confrontations that make or break their tournament life. This article will be a collection of those interactions, as well as some random observations...

Erick Lindgren came in as the chip leader but Men Nguyen was not far behind him and was at his table. You always hear that you should avoid confrontations with other big stacks and perhaps this is advice that Lindgren should have heeded. Men opened the pot with a raise and Dutch Boyd (who had just moved to the table) and Lindgren both called. The flop came queen high with two hearts. Boyd checked and Lindgren led out with a good sized bet of 55K. Men raised him an additional 80K and Boyd quickly folded. Lindgren thought about it for 30 seconds and said “I'm all in.” Men quickly called and jumped out of his chair showing queens for flopped top set. Lindgren was on a draw with A-10 of hearts. The turn was a 10 and the river was a brick and Men took down the huge pot.

Men runs around the room screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs. “Top set. I had top set. It held up.” Lindgren is steaming and tells Men to come back to his chair and count his chips and to “act like he's been there before.” Men's still going on and on... Freddy Deeb says “We're not on tv” and Men finally sits down. Men says something to the effect that he is sorry... he just won a big pot and was excited. Lindgren retorts “Well I'm sorry that you celebrated like a child. I deserve a little better respect than that.” Lindgren is down to 80K after the hand while Men is now the chip leader with over 700K.

Lindgren would go broke to Men the next hand.

Hoyt Corkins had to make a tough lay down. It took the clock being called on him and it running out in order for him to do so. On a K-8-3-2-2 board, Sean Burstein moved in for 172K with about 150K already in the pot. Corkins studies him intently but Burstein is not moving or saying a word. His hands are on top of his cards... motionless... his eyes fluttering ever so slightly as he looks straight ahead. Corkins tries and gets some information from Burstein... he plays with his chips, stacks them out, and manipulates them as if he is going to make the call as if to see if he can get a reaction from Burstein. Nothing. The clock finally expires and Hoyt's hand is dead. He shows jacks and Burstein picks up the pot.

Burstein tells Hoyt after the hand “that was the longest minute. I was counting the seconds and it took forever.” Hoyt responds “so you were bluffing?” No answer.

In a new situation that is sure to develop as the tournament goes along, Men Nguyen and Freddy Deeb are having a war of words. Men successfully bluffed Deeb out of a pot and showed his hand... 10-2 of spades. Men's pleased with himself and keeps talking about it and I can tell it's getting on Deeb's nerves and that he is getting irritated. Finally, Deeb reaches his breaking point and tells Men “I'm going to f**k you up. That was the biggest mistake of your life showing me that hand.”

Perhaps it was a good thing the break came at that precise moment.

Men is at the center of almost all the drama today. In a hand with Brett Faustman, he makes a big bet on the river when he hits two pair and Faustman calls thinking that Men has a busted flush draw. Men did have a busted flush draw but had managed to hit two pair in the process. After the hand, Men tells Brett that if he had bet the flop, he was going to check raise all in... that he was willing to “gamble” with that hand. Brett doesn't say much and Men says it again for emphasis. Brett responds with “I heard you the first time.”

Deeb and Men go at it again... this time more light hearted than the first encounter. Deeb tells Men he's going to “save you until tomorrow so I can make you look ugly on tv.” Men tells Deeb to “go look in the mirror. You ugly.”

Deeb retorts with “It doesn't matter what I look like. People love me.” The rail claps and whistles. No one ever said poker players were modest.

Once we get down to the final table, it gets eerily quiet. This is not lost on Deeb who says “Why is everybody so quiet? You all are scared to death.” He looks at Men and asks him if he is scared and says “you can talk even if I don't understand you. You're fun.”

The most entertaining hand of the tournament thus far involved none other than you guessed it... Men Nguyen. Men raised under the gun and found one caller in Brett Faustman out of the big blind. Both players checked the J-10-3 flop. They also checked the 2 turn. That stopped on the queen river though. Brett led out for 200K. A big over bet. Men seemed perplexed. “Why so much?” he asked. “200K?” It was all a ploy though as Men raised to 500K, leaving himself with less than 300K. Brett didn't take long to say “I'm all in” and this is when Men and his theatrics began.

He didn't call right away. He took perhaps 20 seconds to do so. Once he did, Brett turned over A-K for the nut straight. Brett's friends and family went nuts in the stands but Men's just sitting there, not saying a thing. Finally he says to the crowd “You don't think I have a hand? You don't think I can beat that?” I look at the board again. I know what Men has but that's kind of a stupid question to ask because ummm no... you can't beat that. With that, Men rolls over the only hand he could have... A-K... and we have a chopped pot.

Who slow rolls the nuts in a split pot?

“I just want to make them happy for a moment,” Men explains.

Whatever you say Men.

One last observation as I wrap things up. I did a quick calculation on the amount of money withheld from the prize pool. For every $10,000 taken, $9,313 went into the prize pool. This means that 6.87% of the prize pool went to the “house” or a total of $178,069. This is a fact of life that most poker players accept now... but too many of them do not realize that in addition to the $300 entry fee the casino takes, they also take an additional percentage for staff and dealers. This number should always be taken into consideration when it comes time to tip the dealers and staff at the end of a tournament. I'm not saying to NOT tip the dealers and staff, but the number should be lower than it would be if this amount was not already being withheld. Although I do have to say if all the staff was as cool and nice as the two Jessica's... it'd be worth every penny.

News Flash

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The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

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