The excitement at the World Series of Poker is nearing its peak as the Main Event is finally underway after six weeks of preliminary events. The energy is palpable, and the quest to capture the most-prized possession in poker is on.
Ask any professional poker player how to navigate the ten-day journey to poker glory and most will tell you Day 1 is all about gathering chips where you can, but mostly it's about surviving.
This week's 888poker Hand of the Week showcases the brutal nature of the game when two poker professionals get all the chips in the middle on what will be talked about as the "cooler" hand of the day, week and maybe even the series.
Here's the video, courtesy of PokerGo:
The action happened about an hour into Level 1, with the blinds at 75/150. Here's how the action played out.
Vanessa Selbst opened the action with a raise to 400 holding . Gaelle Baumann, on the button, called with , as did Noah Schwartz with from the big blind.
The flop came giving a set to both Selbst and Baumann and a flush draw to Schwartz. Schwartz checked to Selbst who made it 700. Baumann called, and Schwartz folded.
At this point, there isn't much table chatter, and the hand is sort of playing itself. Then the turn is dealt.
Selbst checks the turn and Baumann takes the opportunity to grab the betting lead by sliding 1,700 into the pot. Selbst, after thinking for about forty seconds, makes it 5,800 and Baumann chooses just to call.
The on the river doesn't change anything. Selbst took her nearly a minute before deciding to bet 16,200 into a pot 14,275.
After another full minute, Baumann, who is barely blinking and sitting pretty still while contemplating her options, finally decides to push 36,500 into the middle.
Selbst instantly realizes something is up. She sits back and then leans forward in her chair with a disbelieving laugh. "Are you serious right now?" She continued to talk to herself.
"Oh, my God."
"Well, guys. Let's see what suits I have."
"Wow. This may be a quick Main Event for me. I don't know if I'm good enough to fold this."
"What do you think I have," Selbst asked Baumann, who continues to stare ahead.
Somebody else from the table blurted, "Flush."
Selbst quickly responded, "I don't have a flush."
As she continues to process the hand, Selbst apologizes to the table. "I'm going to need a lot of time. I'm sorry." And then she starts to talk through the possibilities.
"Ace-seven of hearts. Would you shove with ace-seven of hearts? You could have ace-seven of hearts, so I'm going to have to call."
Selbst puts her remaining chips in the pot and immediately asks if Baumann has quads.
Baumann, replies, "Yeah."
As Selbst stands up from her chair, she says, "I almost folded. I wanted to fold. I really did."
"Now I have a story," Selbst says as she collects her belongings and prepares to leave the Mothership to a round of applause.
But she stops one more time to look at the table, "If I had a heart and a diamond, I could fold. But I didn't have the heart."
As she left the final table and her Main Event run behind, Selbst could be heard saying, "What a gift," referring to the fact that today was her birthday.
Vanessa's thought process was captured on the ESPN's coverage of Day 1b, so PokerNews caught up with Baumann to see if she would indeed have folded ace-seven of hearts and get her other thoughts about the hand.
"Vanessa took a tricky line when she check-raised me on the turn. I knew she was strong. Of course, I was hoping she had aces. I don't think she would fold aces full. I don't think I could fold it in that spot."
Baumann said that when Selbst asked her if she would shove ace-seven of hearts that she said, "yes." But she'd been thinking about the hand for most of the day and changed her mind.
"I said yes at the time, but going through the hand again, I don't think I would shove ace-seven there. "
It's always unfortunate to get coolered in a tournament, but the pain takes on a new level when it's the Main Event. It certainly doesn't help to have your bad beat story immortalised on ESPN.