LAPT Peru: Never surrender

"That was the craziest hand of any LAPT ever," said our Brazilian blogger, Sergio Prado.

There was a big crowd by the non-feature table and a seemingly larger pile of chips on the table. Action was on the wild Frenchman, Maxence Debar. Debar was deep in thought and the board showed all low cards.

The hand had been going on for a few minutes, and it all started with a battle of the blinds. Sérgio Pereira raised to 48,000 from the small blind and Debar called from the big.

The flop came 2♦7♣8♣ and Pereira led out for another 48,000. Debar called and an 8♦ came on the turn.

Pereira took the lead again, this time for 100,000. Debar called again and a 5♥ fell on the river. Then things got crazy.

Pereira moved all-in for 368,000 and Debar went into the tank. After about 4 minutes of intense thought and opponent gazing, Debar made his decision.

"Call," Debar said.


Brazilian gentleman and 11th place finisher, Sérgio Pereira

Pereira stood up, shook Debar's hand and said, "You got me." Pereira turned over Q♠J♣ and Debar exploded.

"Yes! YES!" Debar cheered. When he finally grabbed his cards again, he turned over K♥4♥. King-high versus queen-high for the largest pot of the tournament.

The Brazilian was eliminated in 11th place for $11,480 while Debar's chip lead grew to 2.1 million. Some criticized Debar's call, others celebrated.

But after hearing Debar's thought process, it's hard to call it anything other than an amazing call.

"I had position on him," Debar said. "So I called pre. Then he bet really fast on the flop and I wanted to float him. I knew I could beat him out later, he wasn't aggressive and I wanted to see his move on the turn.

"He raised fast again with a lot of chips on the turn. He wanted me to go away, he wasn't betting for value," Debar continued. "I was thinking maybe he had a draw, to the flush, straight or both. Then when the river fell he, moved all-in instantly. He didn't look at the board and I could tell he just wanted me to go far, far away from this hand."

While Debar knew Pereira was weak, he wasn't sure if his king-high was good enough.

"I was sure he had nothing, but I only had king high. Then I thought, if he had ace-high, he might check the river for value, hoping to take it down instead of chasing me away," Debar explained. "Then I looked at his face and he looked sick. He never looked at me and didn't know where to look. His face turned red, then white, then red again. I decided to take a chance with my king-high."


Maxence Debar, walking his 2.1 million chips to the feature table

It paid off. Debar won the largest pot of the tournament and brought us down to our final 10 players.

"It was the best call of my life," Debar continued, ecstatic. "It was crazy, crazy, crazy, but it worked."

While the French may have a reputation of surrendering, Debar does not.

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Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Peru