EPT9 Barcelona: From the archive: Carter Phillips’ extraordinary bluff

August 24, 2012


The EPT main event in Barcelona is on its dinner break, with nine players remaining. It is always a strange period of play at this time, when the remaining competitors are seated around a pseudo final table. There are nine players left but one more still needs to bust before we reach the “official” final of eight.

This passage of play was never more dramatic than during season six here in Barcelona, however, when we saw one of the most fascinating and explosive hands in the tour’s history. It included an extraordinary bluff, an etiquette transgression, a big fold and gasps from all around. Suffice to say, it also made the television edit, where it was described by Daniel Negreanu as “some sophisticated ram-jam aggressive poker”.

The hand in question played out between the eventual champion and runner up, Carter Phillips and Marc Goodwin, respectively. It also featured a short cameo from Santiago Terrezas, whose influence it is difficult to quantify. Fortunately we have a long and detailed archive at both PokerStars Blog and PokerStars.tv, allowing us to look back at the hand and relive the moment, both in words and pictures.


Marc Goodwin at EPT Barcelona season six

First some context. Goodwin, one of the UK’s most popular and successful live tournament pros, had come into the penultimate day as the runaway chip leader. He had been playing pretty much his A-game for a week. But Phillips, a 20-year-old American pro, had been on a charge and had assumed the lead from Goodwin when they were down to nine.

In the immediate run up to the hand in question, Matt Lapossie had beaten Goodwin’s big slick when he called a pre-flop four bet with 10♦4♦ and hit a ten. “You’ve got to laugh,” said Goodwin. “I don’t know how much I can raise you to get you out of a pot.”

“Just fold,” Lapossie taunted a rattled Goodwin. But the British player had used all of his 30-year poker experience to regroup and was back purring again when the big one occurred. Here’s how Marc Convey described it in the PokerStars Blog live coverage:

Three of the table’s huge stacks just got involved in a spectacular pot. Carter Phillips started it with a raise to 95,000, called by Matt Lapossie before Marc Goodwin three-bet to 330,000. Phillips wasn’t finished yet though and four-bet to 620,000. Lapossie moved out of the way but Goodwin decided to call in position.

The flop was full of action: 9♦10♥Q♦. It seemed to slow both players who checked to see the A♥ turn, which became another flash point. Phillips led out this time for 700,000 leaving Goodwin with the decision, and a spell in the tank.

Deep in concentration he was snapped out of it when Santiago Terrazas called the clock. Visibly surprised, it wasn’t long before Goodwin mucked ace-king face-up, only for Phillips to show 6♣8♣.

An audacious bluff, it’ll be the subject of many conversations in the Costa Brava’s bars tonight.

Goodwin might have crumbled at this point, but it is testament to his spirit that he was able to rally – knocking out Julien Nuijten in ninth – and making it all the way to the heads up stage and another showdown with his nemesis Phillips.

But Phillips himself had seized the momentum and went on an amazing charge for the best part of 12 months. He won the EPT Barcelona title, for €850,000, and then won the first of his two World Series bracelets less than a year later.


Carter Phillips: The bluffing king

In many ways it all started with that hand.

Re-live all the action in full courtesy of PokerStars.tv. The entire episode is worth a second view, but this hand in question begins at 38:09.


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