Being the player who bursts the money bubble in a major poker tournament is always painful experience but imagine how gut wrenching it must be to finish second in a World Series of Poker event. On one hand, you will have won a massive sum of money. On the other, you were just one opponent away from winning poker’s most sought after prize.
In recent years, a number of British poker stars have fallen in second place in WSOP events, each of them being established and respected professionals. Luminaries of poker. At the 2010 WSOP we had to endure four second place finishes when we could have been celebrating three bracelet wins.
The first of the quartet of runner-up finishes went to Neil Channing in Event #6: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout. Channing managed to navigate his way through almost all of the 358 entrants, but the writing was on the way when Channing reached heads-up trailing Joshua Tieman by 1,281,000 to 7,719,000 chips.
The final hand saw Tieman open to 80,000 with and then call when Channing moved all in for 716,000 with . Tieman improved to an unnecessary straight by the river of a board, to send Channing to the rail in second place.
A week later, in Event #17: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em, Sam Trickett came close to bagging himself a WSOP bracelet. Having finished fourth in this same event in 2008, Trickett gave himself another shot at WSOP glory. Unfortunately, it just was not meant to be.
Trickett lost heads-up to Jason DeWitt to finish second. Although he played well, DeWitt admitted that he ran exceptionally well and could not seem to do anything wrong. That showed in the final hand when DeWitt moved all in with and Trickett called with a superior . Trickett’s hand only stayed best until the flop and when the turn and river were the and respectively, Trickett’s WSOP dream was over.
Just days after winning the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event, James Dempsey found himself one-on-one with the legendary Sammy Farha for the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 of Better Championship. Dempsey ran into a full house on a board when Farha turned over , which is pretty ridiculous heads-up, and the very next hand Dempsey’s micro-stack went into the middle with against the of Farha. The board ran out and Farha narrowly won by virtue of one pip!
Last but certainly not least was the runner-up finish in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E Event by Richard Ashby. Like Dempsey before him, Ashby had won a bracelet in an earlier event but could not snatch a second one. He fought a valiant battle at the final table, some may say it was a typically British dogged fight, but one he ultimately lost.
Ashby’s final hand came during a Hold’em level and was the first hand of heads-up play. Ashby raised, Ian Gordon three-bet and Ashby four-bet. Gordon called and the pair saw the dealer fan out the flop. Gordon then check-raised Ahby’s bet and Ashby called. The turn was the and Gordon checked again, Ashby bet all in and Gordon called with . Ashby could only muster and when the landed on the river it was game over for Ashby.
Since that particular WSOP we have had a number of other so-called bridesmaid finishes, some of which we will touch on in our next article. Here’s hoping there aren’t too many second place finishes in 2013.