Esmarelda outlasts

Our first Foster City event of the season attracted 33 players on four tables, our largest field so far this year. With seven spots paying out, the tournament lasted over nine hours before the winner was determined. We actually had a couple of bust-outs in the first level. First one of the day was a really tough one: flopped trips on a board of , but watch out, someone else was holding , and a jam/call was all it took to finish it up.

Then, there were a couple of back-to-back bust-outs during the middle of the second level. After the long lunch break, we were down to two tables. Finally, once the blinds reached 400/800, we were at the final table: Esmarelda, Amo, Tony, Christine, Geoffrey, Dennis, Gilbert, Rodney, and Bharad:

During 500/1000, Bharad got involved in a huge pot after flopping a set vs. Dennis. Then the turn and river came both deuces, giving him a full house. Lots of pre and post-flop action in this hand, and Bharad got quite a bit of value there. At the end of that level, Amo doubled up with QQ, shoving all in and getting called by Geoffrey with A5 off-suit. A five hit on the flop but queens held up.

1st final table bust was at 600/1200. Tony, with KJ, did not outrace Amo’s 44. There was a lot of action at 800/1600, including two exciting turn-around hands: First, Rodney looked down at 10-10 with about 10 big blinds left. Shove time! Geoffrey called with JJ, and improved on the AJK flop. Q came on the river though, giving Rodney his straight and a crucial double-up. ¬†Then, after a few more hands, Dennis shoved his last 4900 and got called by Bharad. Dennis showed JJ and Bharad had him beat with QQ. But a J on the turn turned the tables and kept Dennis alive. Then, there was a big pot builder between Bharad and Rodney. There was a raise and a call pre-flop, then the flop came out . Bharad bet 4K and was called. The turn was , this time Rodney led out with 7K and was called. The river was , and Bharad again bet 4K, was called and showed A8 for a pair of 8s. Rodney was playing KK and that was what he needed for a very nice pot.¬†Finally, we were at the bubble. Geoffrey got it in with and Esmarelda called and showed she was ahead with AQ off-suit. JQK came on the flop, and that was that. We were down to the points-earners.

First to go was Christine, in 3BB “any two cards” territory, she went all in with 65 and was called with A5. Ace high won it. Then Dennis went all in for 8200, a little more than 5BB, with vs. Bharad with AK off-suit, which held up. After that, play slowed down a little bit. At 1000/2000, we had a pretty tense hand: With the pot already built up pre-flop (forget how much it was), Gilbert shoved the rest of his stack, around 28K, putting Bharad in the tank for a good 2 or 3 minutes. After a lot of thinking he folded, and after a few hands worth of discussion he shared that he folded 66, and Gilbert revealed he had shoved with AQ. You have to pay to know for sure though! Rodney hit an improbable two back-to-back full houses during 1500/3000 taking down good sized pots, and becoming the clear chip leader. Soon after, Esmarelda shoved with 44, and was called by Amo with AA. Unfortunately for Amo, a flopped 4 cracked those aces and left him on the ropes. Several hands later, Amo went all in with and was called by Rodney with . The board filled up with hearts and Amo went home in 5th place with 11 points. At 2000/4000, Gilbert’s tournament was on the line with something-4 (I forget what his kicker was), vs. Bharad’s AK suited. He happily flopped a 4, for a pair, but then Bharad spiked a K on the river, sending Gilbert away in 4th place with 18 points. AK has been very good to Bharad today.

A turning point hand for Bharad happened late in 2000/4000. Again, we saw a lot of pre-flop and post-flop action. Flop was , and then the turn was . Rodney bet 19K into an already huge pot. Bharad shoved all-in for 22.5K more, was called, and showed K8 for two pair, beating Rodney’s K3. Esmarelda finished Rodney off next hand, who earned 29 points for 3rd place. We were at 4000/8000 and heads up. The stacks were about 2.5 to 1 in favor of Bharad.

Heads up consisted of some very tight play, with Esmarelda patiently chipping away at Bharad, while he looked for ways to get her to put some chips in with the worst hand. It didn’t end up happening often. The final hand happened when they were both at close to even stacks. It was a coin flip. Esmarelda with vs. Bharad’s . Ace hit on the flop and then irrelevant turn and river cards. Bharad went home in 2nd with 41 points, and Esmarelda walked away with 54 points. Both players rocketed to 3rd and 2nd respectively in the overall Piranha standings–great early-season positions for both. Congratulations!

5 thoughts on “Esmarelda outlasts”

  1. I wanted to follow up on a ruling I needed to make as TD about mid-way through the event. At the time I was pretty sure I had the correct ruling but not 100% so I thought I’d look up the TDA rules to make sure:


    A player had to leave after the lunch break, so his stack sat abandoned, being blinded out for the rest of the tournament. During pre-flop play, but after there were chips in the post, it was discovered that the abandoned stack was not dealt. TD was called over at that time.


    TD ruled that since there was already action, a misdeal should not be declared. There was no major objection since the mis-dealt hand was to someone who was no longer playing.


    Not enough information to know whether this was the correct ruling. Section 34 of the TDA rules include the following scenario as a misdeal: “4) a seat entitled to a hand is dealt out;” However, it then goes on to specify: “D: Once substantial action occurs a misdeal cannot be declared; the hand must proceed (See Rule 35).”

    So, what is “substantial action?”

    “35: Substantial Action
    Substantial Action is either A) any 2 actions in turn, at least one of which puts chips in the pot (i.e. any 2 actions except 2 checks or 2 folds) or B) any combination of 3 actions in turn (check, bet, raise, call, fold).”

    In Saturday’s scenario, there was action, and that action involved putting chips into the pot, but the TD failed to check whether there were at least 2 actions in turn. If there were at least 2 actions including the one where chips went into the pot, then the ruling was correct. If the action that put chips in the pot was the first action after the deal, then the hand should have been declared a mis-deal and re-played.

    I hope nobody feels offended by my handling of the hand. This was a good reminder to everyone to regularly review and understand the rules so that you know what to do even in these kinds of unusual scenarios–especially if you’re TD.

  2. Hi Ryan,

    Your interpretation of this rule is correct unless the only player that had acted was UTG. If, for example, there was at least one fold prior to the call/raise than “Substantial Action” would be deemed to have occurred.

    In practice, there is almost “Substantial Action” in these kinds of hands every time because it will usually be a few players acting before anyone even notices.

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