Sunday, October 6, 2019

2011 WSOP: The Year of Brian Rast

2011 WSOP: The Year of Brian Rast
Two known poker players, Brian Rast and Phil Hellmuth played a heads up match which has been the most memorable moment (event 55) of the 2011 WSOP. Brian Rast was playing for his 2nd bracelet in 2011 and Hellmuth for his 12th gold bracelet after having finished 2nd twice already in 2011. He got another chance to get the gold bracelet. We know the outcome, Rast won the heads up but it is interesting to go through what happened in that final heads up battle.
One of the important facts is that Hellmuth pushed all-in three times with a flush draw and his hand failed to improve all three times. The huge difference between the all-ins was the size of the chip stacks. Hellmuth started the heads up with a small advantage: 10,015 million vs. 9,185. He was continuously winning and built a 5:1 chip lead. Then Rast doubled up twice with flush draws. These all-ins were nothing special, Rast thought he had good cards, he wanted to double up and Hellmuth was in a situation that he could have won the tournament right away. The first time Rast had AdKh on the Th4h4s flop and Hellmuth was holding 9h6h. The second time the flop was KcJc4d, Rast had Ks7d and Hellmuth held Tc8c. Rast won both all-ins and started to build his stack back up. When the final hand came he already had a small advantage against Hellmuth.
The last all-in was the most interesting of all. Not because Rast won one of the most prestigious tournaments (The Poker Player's Championship; a $50 000 buy-in event). It is worth mentioning because Hellmuth pushed all-in with a small flush-draw and the bottom end of a straight draw. The flop came with two diamonds: JdTs9d and Hellmuth had 8d2d. Rast bet 500 000 and Hellmuth pushed all-in with his huge stack (about 9 million chips). Rast made a quick call and showed KcQc, it was the current nuts. The turn and river were respectively the 5h and the 8s so Rast won the tournament.
Rast won the tournament because he could handle the times when he just did not have the right spots and cards, played his best game and did not make huge mistakes. Hellmuth made one bad play and it ended his tournament.
Rast turned the game from a 5:1 chip disadvantage. Being down so much in chips is frustrating for some players but not for Brian Rast. He proved his great skills by winning his 2nd WSOP event in 2011. He confirmed again Jack Straus's quote about "A chip and a chair".

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