"Even in the Colonies, You Don’t Give Flack to a Duke"
Andrew N.S. Glazer, "The Poker Pundit"
Max Shapiro and I tag-teamed this event. I’ll start: I was up so late
finishing the long, two-part PLO report “The Magnificent Nine” that
I’d have been starting back on three hours sleep. Max covered the first
two hours (exactly 100 hands), so I could at least catch 200 winks (five hours
We’re also not going to be able to pull that two-newsletters-in-one-day
thing very often, so if your favorite player doesn’t get as much ink
as you’d prefer, please try to bear with us.
The $1,500 entry Hold’em Shootout is unique among WSOP events. All other
events are elimination tournaments that use a system of breaking down tables
as players bust out all around the room, in order to keep most tables full
or close to full.
You might get “high-carded” off a table if another gets shorthanded
and all others are full, with none ready to break, or you might lose your starting
opponents fairly quickly if your table is amongst those scheduled to break
SHOUTOUT TOURNAMENTS QUITE DIFFERENT IN STYLE
In a shootout event, you take a good long look at your starting table, because
those are the folks you have to beat to advance. Yesterday, 220 players started
this event, which meant that over the course of the early afternoon, eventually
22 single table winners emerged, each guaranteed a place in the money.
Then, in the early evening, those 22 players drew for random seat assignments
at three tables, one with eight players and two with seven.
These single tables then took on a bit of a supersatellite quality, because
the top three players from each would advance to today’s final table.
The fourth place finisher from the table that started with eight players got
a small consolation prize: he was awarded tenth place and $500 more than the
others who hadn’t qualified for the final.
Because your chip total did carry over, play here only “resembled” supersatellites.
You wanted to accumulate as many chips as possible, even if you knew you were
guaranteed a seat in the final.
As a result, when we started back today, the starting seats and chip positions
|1 Steve Schraber
|2 Dee Luong
|3 Annie Duke
|4 Al Korson
|5 Walter Threadgill
|6 Layne Flack
|7 Sam Chung
|8 Don Barton
|9 Pete Kaufman
SHAPIRO IN FOR GLAZER
Max’s report of highlights from the first 100 hands:
In the early going, Layne Flack lost all five of the hands he took to the
flop and skidded from $32,000 to about 13k. Finally he raised and won the blinds. “Layne
wins another,” announced Matt Savage. “Another?” Layne repeated
in mock amazement.
On hands 33 and 40, Duke twice had A-K, flopped an ace and won, increasing
her lead to about $80,000. On hand #41, Chung used pocket nines to make a jack-high
straight against Schraber to move into second place with close to 60k.
Flack made a nice recovery with two straights. The first time, on hand # 47,
he had pocket sixes against Schraber’s A-K. Schraber check-raised from
the small blind on a flop of 4-4-2, went all-in and got called when the turn
brought a five and when a river trey gave Flack a six-high straight, Schraber
exited ninth (note that Flack was already leading; he’d have won as long
as an ace or king didn’t hit the river).
Eleven hands later, Flack had 9-9, and like Chung earlier, made a jack-high
straight, and was back up to about 48k. A few hands later, he paired his 10
holding K-10 against Duke’s 8-8 to move up to about 60k.
On hand #65, Chung had the button and bet a flop of J-4-2 with pocket fives.
Schraber, who had earlier gone all in but survived rather comfortably with
a full house, fatalistically called all in for $2,500 with K-Q. The fives held
up when a six and ace came, and Schraber finished eighth.
FLACK GOES ON THE ATTACK
Flack’s bigger stack let him play more aggressively. On hand #70, he
three-bet a flop of Q-Q-2 against Chung and forced him to fold by betting out
when a third queen hit the river. Winning another hand, this time against Luong,
he moved into second chip position behind Duke, then dropping to third after
Threadgill picked up a couple of pots.
But Duke put some distance between her and the others when she got three-way
action in a four-bet pot. She had A-Q, made trip aces and moved up to about
When the limits increased to $2,000-$4,000, here were the chip positions:
Flack moved into high gear right after the break by winning two big pots.
The first hand, he held Q-J of spades and flopped a flush against Chung. The
next hand saw three players each in for four bets before the flop. When Flack
bet a board of 9-9-6-5, both Chung and Barton folded, and Flack now had the
Two hands later, hand #95, Chung had pocket queens. Luong and Flack got into
a four-bet raising war pre-flop, and Chung called all-in for $3,000. When a
flop of 6-4-3 was re-raised by Luong, Flack folded. Luong turned up pocket
aces and Chung’s Q-Q was good only for seventh place when a king and
To this point, Flack (by his own calculations) had raised seven times in a
row (and had his first beer).
GLAZER IN FOR SHAPIRO
My first job was to check out the chip positions, and I estimated them at:
Flack continued pounding the way few others can maneuver a big stack, and
by #114, he was at 140k. The other “early going” (for me) involved
Barton, who survived several very short-chipped all-ins. His K-K on #121 got
a stack one bet couldn’t finish (16k), and four hands later, he got it
all in with raise-re-raise sequences on both the flop and turn against Luong.
Barton had good reason: he’d followed up his K-K with an A-A, and Luong’s
4-4 was no match. Barton suddenly had 32k, and now it was Kaufman who was the
next apparent target.
Luong is a rather attractive young woman, and provided a bit of comic relief
when she appeared to catch Flack gazing into an area just south of what was
in an earlier era called a décolletage.
FLACK CAUGHT RED-FACED, RED-HANDED
“Camera angle, camera angle,” she said, as Flack started to redden. “Go
ahead, take a look, I want to be seen.” Normally Flack wouldn’t
have turned this shade of red after three six-packs.
Luong brings much more than a pretty face to the tables. The Richmond, CA
resident doesn’t play a lot of tournaments, and as this was her first
WSOP cash, you probably haven’t heard of her, but she regularly plays
and beats the $40-80 and $80-160 games at San Jose’s Bay 101, so she
got some game. If opponents like Flack want to add to her EV (expected value,
that is, what she rates to make per hour in a given game) by allowing themselves
to get distracted, that’s their problem, not hers.
Another welcome intermittent final table distraction was John Bonetti’s
announcing on the PPV Internet broadcast. When Duke picked up a small pot,
Bonetti said, “Annie Duke picks up some driftwood, I think she’s
building a barn. Johnny Chan built about seven barns yesterday,” a reference
to the way Chan built his stacks by picking up small pots.
We’d reached hand #150, and I was curious how the barn-material collections
were going, and I estimated
Luong, 75,000 planks
Duke, 90,000 pieces driftwood
Threadgill, 17,000 nuts and bolts
Flack, 95,000 glass bottles to be melted into greenhouse window panes
Barton, 10,000 nails, to be used for hanging on by
Kaufman, 45,000 bales of hay, to be used for cleaning up Flack’s messes
While Flack’s stack had bounced back and forth between 140k and 70k,
most of the others had been a bit more stable, except the two short stacks,
Barton and Kaufman; they’d taken turns feeling good and feeling like
their time was up.
FLACK CRIPPLES BARTON
Flack doubled up Barton a few hands later, and then dealt a severe blow to
Kaufman’s chances a few hands after that. Flack opened for 4k, with both
Kaufman and Duke (the big blind) coming along to see the 2h-4d-7h flop.
Duke led out for 2k, but Flack popped it to four and Kaufman to six. Duke
got out of the way, and Flack called. The 6h hit the turn, Flack checked, Kaufman
bet 4k and Flack made it 8k, with Kaufman calling.
The 2s hit the river, and with three hearts on a paired board, Kaufman grew
more confident, while Flack grew more cautious. He checked, Kaufman bet 4k
again, and Flack just called. Kaufman turned over his A-A for aces-up, and
a relieved Flack turned over the 3d-5d that had made a straight on the turn.
We now had three short stacks, and while they might have still been thinking
about the top prizes, Kaufman, Barton and Threadgill were all short enough
to warrant keeping an eye on each other for the difference between the 6th
place payoff of $11,000 and the $20,000 awarded for 4th.
PICKING ON THE LITTLE GUYS A SOLID PLAN
Four hands after Kaufman had joined the “hangin’ tough” group,
#161 overall, Threadgill opened for 4k, and Flack, Barton, and Kaufman all
came along. One big stack was in with the three little ones. Flack can certainly
pick his spots.
The flop came Js-3h-10d. Kaufman led out for 2k, and only Threadgill and Flack
called. The 7c hit the turn, and Kaufman led out one more time, with Threadgill
calling all-in, and Flack flat calling.
The 9h hit the river, and Flack’s bet forced Kaufman to play an 8k side
pot. His reasons were understandable when he turned over his Qh-8h. I’m
not exactly sure what Flack was doing in the pot on the flop, and even on the
turn he was live only to a gutshot, but that’s exactly what came, and
Flack had the second-nut straight.
No one else turned over K-Q, and Flack scooped in the pot, laughing at his
own weak play and good luck. Threadgill, who’d been eliminated in sixth
place, wasn’t in the mood to hear anyone laughing. “And now he
laughs,” Threadgill said, as if to indicate he thought Flack was laughing
FLACK NEEDS NO REASON TO LAUGH, AND RARELY DOES SO MALICIOUSLY
I know Flack well enough to know that he was doing no such thing; he was just
laughing at how simple the game is when you can catch cards at will. He probably
hadn’t shown the best judgment in picking that moment to laugh, but there
was nothing sinister about it.
We were getting close to the dinner break, and for a moment it looked like
two extremely short-chipped players were going to have to wait an hour for
their seemingly inevitable fates to be decided, but on the very last hand,
Duke opened for 4k, Barton made it 6k from the small blind, and Duke, seeing
that Barton had only 3k left, tossed that in rather than the allowable 2k raise.
Barton could have forced her to take the last $1,000 back, but he was fine
with getting it all in before the flop. Duke turned over K-J, while Barton
was the slight favorite with 7-7.
The board came down 8-A-9-A-nine to put two pair on board, counterfeiting
Barton’s smaller pair of sevens, and leaving him with playing the board
as his best hand. Duke could offer a king kicker instead of an eight, and Barton
was out fifth.
The chip counts at the break were
This almost looked like one of those SAT questions that asks you to “pick
the item that doesn’t belong with the rest.” Kaufman had indeed
made it to a fourth place payoff, but he was probably able to eat a relaxed
dinner, with everyone else out of reach.
A NEW BLIND STRUCTURE
Play resumed with $2,000-3,000 blinds, playing $3,000-6,000.
First we took care of the inevitable on hand #170. Duke limped from the button,
with Flack and Kauffman coming along for the ride. Everyone checked as the
board began 2-7-7-A, but after an apparent blank hit the river, Flack bet and
Kaufman called for his last few chips. Flack turned over A-2, which was actually
just aces and sevens with a bad kicker, but it was good enough. Kaufman mucked
and exited fourth, and the real fight was on. It started out as a fairly even
battle, with the chips leveling out to
By the time we’d reached hand #191, Flack had picked up 25k, and Luong
10k, which meant that Duke had lost 35k. No sooner than I had made a margin
note that “Annie looks frustrated by her cards” then Duke went
on a rampage. She won hands 195-198, the last one a fairly big one when she
made a boat with 8d-9d and Flack made top two pair with his A-10 on a 9-A-8-9-10
Now Duke and Flack were tied at 120k, with Luong right behind at 90k. Duke
grabbed the lead on the next hand, and stayed hot over the next half dozen
to pull 40k ahead of Flack and 50k ahead of Luong.
Flack stayed within range, but Luong could find neither the right betting
pace nor the right cards to hang in, often having to drop out before the showdown
or to take desperation shots at the showdown because a big draw had failed
to turn into anything.
THEY JUST “CHIPPED AWAY” AT HER
Luong never suffered any single huge individual beat, but when the limits
are high and the betting pace is fast, you need to make your share of hands,
and she couldn’t, Her chips just fell away 6k here and 12k there. By
the time we reached hand #231, Luong and Flack limped in from the blinds, and
Flack check-called when Luong bet the 2c-6c-5s flop.
The 8s hit the turn, and this time Flack check-raised, his last bet enough
to put Luong all-in. She turned over the 9-5 that had been leading on the flop
but which, appropriately enough for the stretch she’d been enduring,
fell behind on the turn, because Flack showed Q-8.
A queen on the river ended Luong’s day and Flack’s distraction
simultaneously. Duke and Flack counted their chips and discovered that Duke
held a small lead, 175k-155k. The duo asked that the clock be stopped.
The deal negotiation team (Duke invited brother Howard Lederer in as a consultant)
returned quickly from a very brief chat. Diego’s eyes met mine and we
silently agreed that such a quick return must have meant an event split.
MEMO TO SELF: KEEP MOUTH SHUT, APPEAR SMART
We’re both very smart when our mouths are closed. Duke announced that
the deal had given them each $80,000, and that they had left $20,000 and the
bracelet in play.
Heads-up play began on hand #232, and finally ended on hand #355. I could
spend 15 pages detailing the hands, but all you really know was that these
two were about as evenly matched as I’d every seen in a long heads-up
battle. The lead changed hands 12 times. Flack took a 2-1 (220-110) about eight
times, and Duke took the same big lead about four times. As you’d imagine
in such a back and forth duel, we spent a lot of time tied, too.
The blinds jumped to $2.000-4,000, playing $4,000-8,000, after hand #259,
and jumped again, to $3,000-6,000, playing $6,000-12,000, after hand #347.
With all of the ups and downs, all those times where the player with the big
lead just needed two more good hands to put away the trailer, we were tied
as late as hand #338.
Even though I’d successfully predicted that the heads-up match would
go for at least two hours on the PPV broadcast (it wound up going about 2.5),
when we reached that last tie, I started sensing that the end was near, and
perhaps on the theory that if you make enough predictions, you’ll be
right on some of them, I was right here, too.
EVEN WITH A SLOW STRUCTURE, EVENTUALLY YOU HIT HIGH LIMITS
At 3-6, playing 6&12, the money fairly flies out of a player’s stack,
especially if the players both develop something. Sixty grand can shift faster
than you can bat an eye, and since 135k represented half the chips in play,
it almost didn’t matter who was leading. If one could manage to string
together three big hands in a row, the other was doomed, or something very
On hand #339, Duke got caught with Ah-2h on a 2s-7s-6h flop – quite
easily the best hand – and it got better when a heard draw appeared with
the 9h turn card. The flush didn’t get there, but a third deuce did,
just enough to cost Duke more money, because Flack had started with an 8-5
and turned a straight.
That hand cost Duke 48k, and if she’d made her flush instead of the
three deuces, it might have earned her 56k. Nothing like one card shifting
a third of the chips.
Flack three-bet #342 holding J-8, and got rewarded by a 7s-Js-Jd flop. Duke
must have held something big, like A-A, Q-Q, or A-K, because she hung in through
some heavy betting on the Ks turn and the 9c river…while unable to beat
the three jacks.
When the limits reached the still higher level, Flack chopped away at Duke’s
stack with post-flop bets on hands 351-353. Duke couldn’t call any of
them, and had 60k left.
The final hand really summed it up. Flack made it 12k
from the small blind on the button, and Duke called. The flop came 6d-4d-Ah,
and Duke check-raised
Flack to get 12k in on the flop. When the 7c hit the turn, Duke liked her
Jd-5d, because she now not only had a flush draw, but an open-ended straight
as well. She bet out and Flack called.
HITTING THE STRAIGHT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
The 9d hit the river, giving Duke her flush, so she bet out again, only to
be raised enough by Flack to put her all in. She called, and learned she was
one pip short: Flack had Qd-8d. I’d thought it would take roughly three
big hands to do it, and that’s exactly what had happened.
“It was a fitting last hand,” Duke said. “That was as equal
a match as I’ve ever played, and whoever caught a rush was going to win.”
I wanted to know if yet another near-miss on a bracelet attempt was weighting
“I’d like a bracelet, sure, but I don’t feel too bad about
this,” Duke said. “I played as well as I can play, and I was even
sick, although I want to be very clear that I’m not bringing that up
as an excuse. Layne was the one player I didn’t want to face heads-up,
because he’s tremendously skilled and a great guy too, but I couldn’t
have played any better than I did and that’s what really matters.”
Flack, who has now captured two bracelets in each of the last two years, isn’t
short on self-confidence, but he respected Duke’s game “She was
the one I least wanted to play heads-up, that’s for sure,” Flack
said. “She made it hard. I’ve never played heads-up for almost
I was a bit surprised to hear that, so I pressed further. “Duh, Pundit,
remember who you’re talking to…Mr. pot-limit, no-limit. Those heads-up
matches don’t go on forever. I hate this game. I can play it, but I hate
WHAT DID DUKE THINK OF THE LADIES EVENT?
There was one more opinion I wanted from Duke, and it had to do with that
Ladies Tournament supersatellite going on across the room.
“I’m of two minds about that,” Duke said. “Would I
play it? No. Do I think it should offer a gold bracelet? No. This is one of
the few competitive games where men and women can compete on a perfectly level
playing field. At the same time, I think it’s nice for a lot of people.
I know a lot of women who are wives or girlfriends of poker players, and it
isn’t an easy life. It’s nice that they have something classier
to do for at least one day that isn’t just hanging around the rail or
playing slot machines or blackjack.”
Layne Flack now has five bracelets, and is one of three pros with two this
year (the others being Chris Ferguson and Johnny Chan, which puts Flack in
some elite company). While Annie Duke is still looking for #1, I have zero
doubt that if she keeps coming to the WSOP for the next ten years, she’ll
get at least one, and perhaps quite a few more than that.
Final Official Results
$1,500 Limit hold’em shootout
220 entrants, Total Prize Pool $306,900
1. Layne Flack, $120,000
2. Annie Duke, $60,000
3. Dee Luong, $30,000
4. Pete Kaufman, $20,000
5. Don Barton, $14,000
6. Walter Threadgill, $11,000
7. Juijen Chang, $7,700
8. Steve Schraber, $6,200
9. Al Korson, $5,000
10th, Brent Carter, $3,000.
11th-22nd, $2,500 each: Ram Vaswani, Moj Seyedin, Scott Mayfield, Ray Bonavida,
Gary Lent, Walter Morrill, Glen Bindelglass, Robert Geers, Dennis Horton,
Chris Johanssen, “Syracuse” Chris Tsiprailidis, Bon Phan
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