WSOP Main Event: Brian "Art of Aces" Nadell Feels the Rush

Brian "Art of Aces" Nadell stood less and a foot from me, looked into my eyes, and said, "I have to call."

He clearly did not want to call.

He was in the big blind, and Sam Khoueis pushed in his last 148K(ish) from the small blind.

Brian jumped out of his chair in the nine seat as soon as he peeked at his cards, and shook his head. "I have to call," he said to himself. "I have to call, I have to call, I have to call."

Like I said, he clearly did not want to call.

Sam's fans from the rail cheered him on, but I know that Brian didn't hear them. He continued to pace. "I have to call. Goddammit, I have to call."

He was standing behind the dealer, with his back to the table, when he eventually said, "Okay, I call."

Sam flipped up pocket tens. Brian's hands flew to his face and said "No! Nonononononono!!"

"Oh !$@#" I thought, ""He's got eights."

The table waited while the ESPN cameras rolled. After about a minute, the dealer turned up Brian's cards: pocket eights.

Looked right at me and said, "I had to call!" I could see the anguish in his eyes; it radiated off of him like heat from the parking lot.

The dealer picked up the two hands and positioned them in the appropriate manner, knocked the table, and dealt out the flop:

Eight. Nine. Nine.

Any other player in this room would have errupted into an endzone celebration upon flopping a full house when he was way behind pre-flop, but Brian has been a professional player for over twenty years, and I'm sure he's been in this position before. Well, maybe not with 100 players left in the Main Event, but something similar.

He collapsed to the floor, and crouched down behind his chair, physically dodging the last two tens in the deck.

They didn't come, and Brian sent Sam to the rail while increasing his stack up to over 600K.

He looked to me and we crashed our fists together in celebration. "This is my destiny, man!" He said, relief pouring out of him.

He settled back down into his seat, and while he stacked up his chips he said, "Man, now I can see the rush all you guys keep talking about! I haven't had a chance to feel like this for the entire tournament."

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker