If you have come to the belief that poker is nothing but a series of won and lost races, this November Nine performance will do nothing to change your mind.
When Jonathan Duhamel called John Dolan’s all-in and Dolan turned over Q♦5♦, we thought, “Finally, we could see an elimination that isn’t the result of a race!”
It was an exciting moment for all involved. The first three eliminations of the day had been coin flips, the ol’ pair versus overcards scenario that has become tournament poker’s version of a Henny Youngman one-liner. Take my race, please.
And then Duhamel turned over his hand: 4♣4♦.
Tried and true, another race, and an another elimination by way of coin-flip. Dolan could do nothing to improve his hand. He watched the J♥7♥6♥9♥3♣ board run out. He was gone in sixth for $1,772,959.
We wouldn’t have to wait long before the November Five again gave us a chance to break the streak. Michael Mizrachi called John Racener’s all-in with A♦8♦. Racener held big slick, a hand that held up to the end, knocked Mizrachi out of the chip lead, and made certain that this event will stretch into the hours during which french toast is an appropriate order and not just something that happens after too many cocktails at the Pai Gow table.
Up to this point, it had been all fun and games. Then came the unthinkable. Johnathan Duhamel and John Racener got it all-in. Duhamel held A♣K♥ to Racener’s A♠Q♠.
This was it. This was the moment an elimination would not be the result of a race. We were prepared to close this post out with just such a sentence. Then our nearby colleague Martin Derbyshire said, “Here’s the Phil Ivey moment.”
Before the flop even came out, Derbyshire had sealed it. His recollection was of that moment this time last year when Phil Ivey held the ace-king to Darvin Moon’s ace-queen. Everyone knows how that ended. And now everyone knew what was about to happen to Duhamel
There it was…the Q♦ on the flop. Sure, Duhamel had outs, but everyone knew they weren’t coming.
With less than 27,000,000 in his stack, Duhamel would probably have been right to sit back and take a breath. Instead, he was right back in action moments later. He came in for a raise and Michael Mizrachi moved all-in over the top. Duhamel barely thought before calling with A♠9♥. Whether it was tilt or a good read, no one can say. The only that that was for sure was that The Grinder had pocket threes, a hand that was basically worthless after a nine fell on the flop.
In any case, it was another damned race.
When everyone finally took their seats, the chip counts shook out like this.
Joseph Cheong 67,925,000
Jonathan Duhamel 53,900,000
Michael Mizrachi 28,450,000
John Racener 39,600,000
Fillipo Candio 29,725,000