Bob Bounahra has been propelling much of the action in the $1,000 WSOP Event 21 NLHE. He lost a significant stack betting K-J on a K-5-3 flop versus Dominik Nitsche. The latter player exercised caution, checking down the winning hand, pocket aces. The next hand, down to 800,000, Bounahra survived all in scare with A-K vs. A-6 and doubled up to 1.7 million.
Cosmic shrug. Bounahra doubles up back to where he was.
Meanwhile, in the H.O.R.S.E. event, David Benyamine took a hard fall. First he mucked on a 10-10-6-5-4 board, presumably with a 10 to Richard Sklar’s flopped set of sixes. On the next hand, he woke up with pocket aces and lost a preflop all-in versus Randy Ohel’s A-3 suited, whith his opponent flopping a club flush. Out in 11th, the $32,000 he won was a mere drop in the bucket in a total prize pool of nearly $1.9 million. The last player felted before consolidation to the unofficial final table on the ESPN stage was Nick Kost, who bested last year’s Omaha 8 event winner Calen McNeil to take down the $1,500 Omaha High-Low Split. The H.O.R.S.E event take home of $40,000 was significantly less than the $283,275 he walked away with last week, but it came against the “best of the best” in a pressure packed $10,000 buy in mixed game format. Kost has only a few live tournament cashes, including a $12,435 victory in the 2011 L.A Poker Classic/WPT fixed limit hold’em to his credit. This suggests that he put his Omaha 8 winnings to productive use in this event. I would be very surprised if we don’t hear more from Kost again before the 2014 World Series of Poker is finished.
With the tables breaking, I had the opportunity to speak with Bruno Fitoussi, a veteran French player, who had been chatting it up at the table with Elky and Negreanu on Day Two. The wild-haired Fitoussi single handedly popularized poker in the early 1990s, opening France’s first poker room in 1990 and spending a year in Las Vegas in 1991. Four years later, he established the Aviation Club de France on the Paris’ Champs-Elysées, a club that is still considered France’s premier poker venue.
Fitoussi, known as France's Ambassador of Poker.
Anyway, Fitoussi told me that he had been watching with interest the $1,000 WSOP Event 21, as Billy Horan’s A-A was cracked by Dave D'Alesandro’s A-A on a miracle spade flush. Fitoussi is a good friend of Horan, has played him in poker and backgammon for the past thirty years. That ultimate bad beat reminded him of an incident that occurred in Paris years ago, where a guy holding aces raised a guy with queens, and ultimately went all-in pre-flop. In that situation, another player said that he had folded pocket queens, meaning that there were virtually zero outs. Unfortunately for our man with the aces, a queen peeled on the river––proving the adage that poker players simply cannot tell the truth.
Unfortunately Fitoussi was the short stack, nursing a stack of less than 90,000, and was quickly felted on the ESPN stage, giving us our final table of eight worthy contenders––though none of the superstars one might expect, given the original lineup.
While the action in the H.O.R.S.E game is good, I cannot be in two places at once, and will return to the $1,000 NLHE where fan favorites Bounahra and Nitsche are still alive and well. Not well, actually––Bounahra just bet out a large stack of greens on a river Q with his Q-9 and was called reluctantly by Nitsche who had A-3 and had flopped an A. Now Bounahra is in full push-fold mode, holding the smallest stack at the table. With a 30 minute dinner break at hand, he consults with Antonio Esfandiari and his father in the stands before sticking a fat stogie in his mouth and walking off––planning his comeback, no doubt.Bounahra clearly jonesing for a stogie.