Controversial Poker Hand Highlights Day 2 of $50,000 Poker Players Championship

  • Lavanya Desai
2012 WSOP

Some major drama took place during Day 2 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship on Monday. A massive three-way pot involving Shaun Deeb, Abe Mosseri and Nikolai Yakovenko generated some confusion between the players and the floor staff, resulting in more than 45 minutes of debate in the Amazon Room.

The chaos, which took place during the pot-limit Omaha round, was covered at length by PokerNews Live Reporting Manager Donnie Peters. Here's how it went down:

From under the gun, Charles Pacheco limped in. Viktor Blom limped in from middle position and then Abe Mosseri limped in behind him in the hijack seat. Shaun Deeb then called on the button and John D'Agostino completed the bet from the small blind. Then, things got a bit interesting.

Nikolai Yakovenko was in the big blind and he raised to 12,400. Pacheco, Blom and Mosseri all made the call before action was back on Deeb. He took some time to think about his decision and then announced that he raised the pot.

Deeb actually had less than a full, pot-sized raise. His stack was a total of 68,800 and he was in for all of it. D'Agostino folded his hand from the small blind and then Yakovenko took some time of his own to think. After a minute or two, Yakovenko said, "All right, I'm all in."

While Deeb had less than the pot, Yakovenko had more and wasn't exactly all in just yet, but he slid a couple of giant stacks forward. Pacheco checked his cards again and made some facial movements. Blom quickly tossed his hand away, but had acted out of turn. A little bit longer passed and Pacheco then folded. With Blom already out of the way, Mosseri was up and had a very big decision in front of him.

Mosseri had a little under 400,000 in his stack and asked Yakovenko to count his stack. Yakovenko said to Mosseri that he actually had more than the pot, but Mosseri still wanted a count on Yakovenko's entire stack, using a few choice words. With all the chips Yakovenko had, it took him and the dealer a little bit to break down all the stacks. When it was finished, Yakovenko was said to have had 407,300.

Mosseri went into the tank, while Deeb stood up next to the table and watched. While Mosseri tanked for several minutes, a large crowd gathered around the table. It seemed as though every few seconds that passed, a new person showed up to watch what was going on. Everyone wanted to see what was going on and some were commenting on the action, which Yakovenko jumped in and asked people to stop doing. Deeb backed him up and silenced the spectators.

Abe Mosseri
Abe Mosseri

It was several long minutes in the tank for Mosseri. D'Agostino was pacing around behind the table telling people they weren't even going to get to play another hand because of how long this had been taking. D'Agostino was very short at the time and was looking to get some more hands in.

At one point when Mosseri was in the tank, he did some talking about his hand out loud, which Yakovenko wanted him to stop doing. Mosseri had announced his hand, saying, "I have aces and one suit," while plenty of other players were hovering around. Yakovenko took this as Mosseri "polling his friends" about his hand. There was also a point when Mosseri looked back at his cards and Greg Mueller leaned down to peak in from behind, which Yakovenko also requested be put to a stop.

Mosseri tanked for what most estimated at 10 to 15 minutes before Yakovenko finally called the clock on him. "Wow, this is the first time in my life anyone has called the clock on me," said Mosseri. Mosseri was given a minute to act on his hand by the floor staff and eventually said, "I call."

After Mosseri said he made the call, he turned his hand over, which was followed by Deeb turning his hand over and Yakovenko turning his over. Here's what was seen:

Controversial Poker Hand Highlights Day 2 of ,000 Poker Players Championship 101

Mosseri: {A-Clubs}{A-Spades}{J-Clubs}{5-Clubs}
Deeb: {J-Hearts}{J-Spades}{10-Clubs}{7-Spades}
Yakovenko: {K-Clubs}{K-Spades}{3-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}

With all the cards turned up, the dealer quickly ran out the flop, turn and river with the {Q-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{8-Spades}. Deeb had made a spade flush to more than triple up and win the main pot. For the side pot, Mosseri's aces held up and he was the winner of that one. But then, there was more controversy.

After the board ran out, Yakovenko said, "Wait a minute, he only said call," speaking of Mosseri's preflop action. Because Yakovenko had more than the pot when he raised, he wasn't actually all in. He stated that he only reraised the pot, which caused issue about whether or not everyone's money actually went in. It was clear that Deeb was all in, but the side pot between Mosseri and Yakovenko was in question due to Mosseri saying only, "I call."

The floor staff was called over again and the dealer informed him that the hands were prematurely tabled with action still pending between Mosseri and Yakovenko. It took another few minutes to get the story of the hand straight and figure out what was to happen.

Shaun Deeb
Shaun Deeb

The pot was counted, which Eslami's iPad calculator was needed for, to determine that Yakovenko's reraise was to 246,000. With Mosseri's stack at around 150,000 more than that, the first floor ruled that the turn and river would have to be rerun as the flop action hadn't been complete. Deeb flung his arms up in the air and couldn't believe the ruling. Neither could anyone watching or the players at the adjacent tables who could hear things.

Shouts of, "That is the worst ruling of all time," and "I can't believe that's the rule," and "Are you joking?" rang out within the tournament area. Deeb spoke up and said he wasn't accepting the ruling and that he wanted the ruling of World Series of Poker Tournament Director Jack Effel. However, because Effel was no longer in the building, the lead floor supervisor was called in and arrived on the scene within a few minutes to try and solve the issue.

The floor first needed to hear things from the dealer upon arriving on the scene. By this time it had been over 20 minutes since it all began. The dealer ran through the actions to the floor, what had happened, what was said and how it ended. The floor then heard from the players again before making the final ruling.

The ruling was reversed in that it was deemed "accepted action" by all parties that all of the money was in the middle, even though Abe Mosseri had only said, "I call." Nikolai Yakovenko would have only committed about 60 percent of his stack by putting in the pot-sized reraise, but it was now ruled that he had to pay off Mosseri's entire lot.

There was a lot of back and forth between the players, even the ones not directly involved in the hand. All were trying to get the entire story straight and the pot set so play could move forward. Because of the time this had taken, which was around 30 minutes at this point, the players requested something be done about putting time back on the clock. Although the other tables in the tournament weren't directly involved in the hand, all tables had suffered because everyone was paying attention to the commotion rather than playing at a normal speed.

While the back and forth between Mosseri, Yakovenko and the floor was going on, Yakovenko had told the floor about Mosseri talking about his hand, showing them when he looked back at them and also about how he himself said to Mosseri that he reraised the pot, but was not actually all in. There was also a little bit of back story between the two that Ali Eslami filled us in on.

Early in the night, a hand happened where Yakovenko made a wheel, but turned over the two cards he wasn't using for the wheel first. A few seconds later, he turned over the cards that showed he had a wheel and scooped the pot after slowrolling Mosseri. Mosseri was upset and picked up the chips he owed to Yakovenko and tossed them across the table. Yakovenko had pulled this move because prior to this, Mosseri was doing some unpleasant joking towards Yakovenko's play in the event.

Controversial Poker Hand Highlights Day 2 of ,000 Poker Players Championship 102

Eventually, Mosseri said he didn't want Yakovenko to ever talk to him again and the two got quiet. Yakovenko now directed most of his attention to the floor because he was rather upset with the ruling and having to pay Mosseri's entire amount. Mosseri, on the other hand, was busy stacking up his new stack of over 600,000 in chips. Mosseri also added that he thought the players were all in and said he would have just left if he had lost the pot. Deeb was also busy stacking up his chips as he had more than tripled his stack.

It took a few minutes to actually sort out the pot and get it correct before play resumed at the table. The players seated at Table 360 did ask the floor if there was something they could do about the time they had missed. The floor went to work on that, if possible, while the dealer dealt the next hand.

Yakovenko was left with just under 15,000 in chips and got them all in on the next hand in a hand of limit hold'em. He was all in preflop against Viktor Blom and Roland Israelashvili. At the showdown on the {Q-Clubs}{7-Spades}{3-Spades}{3-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} board, Yakovenko's {A-Spades}{J-Spades} couldn't beat Blom's {2-Hearts}{2-Clubs}. Israelashvili had the {A-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}. Yakovenko was eliminated, but that only brought up another issue.

Nikolai Yakovenko
Nikolai Yakovenko

With everything taking so long with the big hand, a table needed to be broken, but it was held up. The table was eventually broken and Phil Ivey took the seat once claimed by Yakovenko. The players at the table wanted more time because of the issue, but it had just been announced that there were only four hands left in the day and the clock was paused. Because Ivey had now joined the table, the floor said they couldn't play extra time as Ivey would be playing double because he came from an active table.

The table came up with a solution on the behalf of Eslami to finish out the four hands with Ivey, then remove him from the table and play an extra 15 to 20 minutes on their own. They believed it would be like they were "going back in time to fill the space," as Eslami put it. Problem was, Ivey said he wanted to be a part of it as he had missed some hands at the other table due to the slow play and the table not breaking because of the controversy that had happened. In the end, though, it was ruled that no time would be added and the players would simply finish their four hands for the night and then bag up their chips.

After it was all over, some 40 to 45 minutes after the first limp from Charles Pacheco, Yakovenko did some debating with the floor staff on the side, which lasted a few minutes. After he was done, Mosseri talked to the floor to give his final thoughts. Eslami also spoke with the floor and said what he felt on the situation and the final ruling.

While many of the players were leaving the tournament area following the completion of the day, many of them complimented the floor on the correct ruling given all that had happened. It seemed to be well understood by all that it was a very difficult situation and something that hadn't been seen before, making it truly a unique issue.

For in-depth coverage of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, stay locked in to the PokerNews Live Reporting page. Play resumes at 2:00 PM local time on Tuesday with 62 of the original 108 players still in contention.

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