WSOP 2016: Well, there's no rule against it...
The tablet sits atop some fancy sort of stand, one that allows it to sit four feet off the carpet, rest securely in its frame, and broadcast the Euro '16 final to anyone within eyeshot. One man--either a superfan or a man who took a flier in the sports book this morning--has an earbud strung from the tablet into his head, and its white wire extends nearly two feet over to the makeshift TV. Together, the man and the tablet look like something out of a futuristic hospital. To the casual observer, the man is getting a transfusion of sports right into his brain.
There are no rules against this. Each player is allowed an electronic device at the table, and this man has just taken his allowance to the next level. He's not at all bothered when he bluffs and gets one of those cocky single-chip calls. He mucks straight away with what appears to be negative interest in seeing the hand that beat him. As such, his opponent doesn't bother to show it. There is a rule for this, however, and that rule allows for the winner to muck his hand facedown and take the pot. Watching the hand play out is like watching an entire game but having the winning goal blacked out. But, those are the rules.
Fatima Moreira de Melo, Olympian, model, and poker pro watches it all happen over the top of her own phone. She's got Instagram up, and it's amazing she's not captured her last big hand on it, because it was worthy of recording.
With opponent Ben Herman limping in before her, De Melo came in for a raise to 500 and got a call to see a 5♦5♣K♣ flop. With the action checked to her, De Melo made it 500 again and got another call. The 4♦ fell on the turn. Another check from Herman opened the door to De Melo's 1,200 bet. Once again, Herman called. The river, K♥, drew yet another check. De Melo bet 2,800, and Herman called.
"Ace-high," De Melo declared, tabling ace-jack.
Herman flipped up his hand: K♦J♦. (That's second nuts if you're keeping score at home.)
De Melo rose up out of her chair as if she thought she'd just seen a six-headed moose cross the road. She thought she saw it, but she had to get closer to be sure.
Sure enough. There it was. A check-call with second nuts. A six-headed moose in the wild.
While nature may have rules against a multi-headed alces alces, there are no rules against check-calling with second nuts at the WSOP.
"I have no idea what happened there. I turned my ace-high into a bluff," De Melo said at the next break. "I guess I was repping quads or something? I don't know. I was like...huh? HUH?"
De Melo was still stymied an hour later. Though she was still in her typical good spirits, she was still pretty surprised she didn't see a raise there at the end.
"He limped pre-flop. I don't think it's very likely he's doing that with a pair higher than fives. So, I just wanted to get him off ace-high, and then he calls me," she said with a shrug. "But, we're still so deep."
In short, she's fine. She cashed well in two events in the last two weeks. She got to hang our with her buddy Leo Margets in the Tag Team event. She's not about to freak out over one hand.
Nevertheless, it seemed only fair to ask Herman about his thought process when he just called with second nuts.
"In the first level, if I raise there, people at the table suggested she could level herself and be calling with an ace. She's never doing that," Herman said later. "If she does have a king, we're likely getting it all-in. And I don't have the nuts. There is absolutely nothing she is calling with that I'm still beating, and there is no reason for me to go to a showdown all-in when I don't have the nuts in the first level. So that was it."
And then, he offered one other little nugget.
"Whatever it sets up at the table the rest of the way..."
And there it was. Not only did Herman get to win a nice little pot early on, but he got to set up a little table image in the process.
After all, there's no rule against that.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.