A bit on Terrence Chan
As a tournament reporter, especially one who reports on the same people frequently, it's quite possible to become emotionally invested in a player. It's even easier to fall into that emotional investment when you're writing about hometeam PokerStars' players. So far, during this WSOP, I've found myself inordinately interested in two players. John Gale, 2005 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure winner, has been climbing through numerous fields and once got heads-up for a bracelet. As I've spent many hours with him in several different countries, it's been easy to root for him.
And then there is Terrence Chan. I met Terrence at the PCA, as well. There he staged a fantastic short-stacked comeback to finish 20th place. We met again when he represented Team Costa Rica at the PokerStars World Cup of Poker in London. There, where the pride of the game was bigger than the money, I discovered how serious Terrence is about his game.
And so we met again at the World Series of Poker, where Terrence has climbed high into large fields three times, each time threatening to make a final table before suffering impossible bad luck or running into painfully dramatic boards that end in his demise.
Today, Terrence found himself there again. After amassing massive stack yesterday, he found himself all in before the flop. It took four re-raises to get his opponent's chips in the middle. Terrence, who held KK, couldn't believe his opponent would invest more than 15,000 chips (at 200/400 blinds) with A9. When A9 ran down his KK, it seemed as though the bad luck would Terrence down again.
At the time, I inadvertantly offered a backhanded compliment and told him he played a shortstack well. He laughed it off. By bedtime Terrence was second in chips.
After changing hotel rooms this morning, I ran back to the Rio where Terrence seemed to be holding court. His chip stack was impressive and his mood seemed good.
Then we learned why people say, "That's poker."
Howard Lederer limped in from the small blind. Terrence, in the big blind, found AJ and put in a raise. Lederer came over the top all in. Now, that kind of move from a player less-experienced than Lederer, might seem like a standard limp re-raise with a big pocket pair. Terrence, however, read it differently. And he read it right. He knew Lederer wanted him to make a decision for all his chips, rather than allowing Terrence to push back.
Yes, Terrence read it differently and he read it right. He called and Lederer turned up KQ.
And KQ won.
With his stack cut in half, Terrence went back to work. He came in for a raise with a pair of nines and was re-raised by a guy (update: now believed to be Alex Balandin) who had re-raised him all day yesterday. Terrence, who had folded to every previous re-raise, decided to look the guy up. Sure enough, Terrence was slightly ahead against AKo.
And AKo won.
If you have any question about the kind of thinking that goes into play at this level, all you need to do is watch this kind of action. You need to win races. You need your best hands to hold up. Had Terrence won those two pots, he would've had greater than the final table average stack...with more than 25 players to go until the final table.
It's the kind of emotional rollercoaster that's hard to watch, let alone live.
I consider myself an experienced amateur. It's days like today that I realize how much the latter part of that description is true.
Now all that's left is the main event. Terrence will be there as well.
And we'll be there with him. Good luck, man.