Ooops !

Have you ever mucked the best hand?  I don’t mean when you fold the best hand to a bluff, but when you actually throw away the winning hand after all the cards are dealt?

Well last week Phil Laak managed to do exactly that…..in a 60 thousand euro pot!

It’s the biggest blunder of its type that I have ever heard of, but it didn’t seem to affect Laak in the slightest. He was over €100k up when he made the mistake (after sitting down with €20k), but carried on playing for the entire 48 hours of the “Big Game” and finished up over €160,000, more than any of the other 32 players who took part.

His blunder occurred in a hand against British player Andy Moseley when they managed to both get about €30k into the pot, Moseley with AKs and Laak with A6o.

(You may well ask what Laak was doing all in preflop for 30k with a measly ace-six.  Well the short answer is that he raised one time too many! When Moseley shoved all in there was enough money in the pot that Laak felt committed to call off the extra €20k getting 2-1 odds.)

But when the cards came down 2 T 2 6 J Laak mucked his winning hand and Moseley collected the pot!  Thirty minutes later, when the hand was aired on television with hole card cameras, people spotted what he’d done. Ouch!

Of course, had his cards been face up before the deal he would not have been able to make the error. Everyone would have seen the winning hand – there would have been a gasp on the turn, a look of disgust from Moseley most probably, and a happy Laak would have been handed a lucky pot by the dealer.

But Laak didn’t show his hand. Being a cash game he doesn’t have to of course and I suspect the reason was that he didn’t want his opponents seeing the weak hands he was getting involved in.

I’ve blogged about this before and it’s a pet hate of mine with cash games. In a tournament, when there is an all in and a call the cards go on their backs because there is no more betting to be done. Not so in a cash game – it’s up to the players whether they show or not. It’s excruciating and I hate it. There’s enough guesswork in poker as it is so there’s no need for even more of it when there’ no betting to be done!

I think if this happened to me I would have gone a wee bit mental when I found out and I dare say it would have affected my play. Not so Laak, who appeared perfectly happy with his life when he gave an quick interview between hands!  He’s either a great actor or he genuinely didn’t let it get to him (it probably helped that he was still a huge winner on the session).

Laak himself said he hadn’t made this particular balls up since Atlantic City in 2001, so he has a good memory.  I can’t say I remember ever doing it at all – although I shouldn’t discount the possibility that I was so stupid to have not even noticed I had done it

Maybe the thought that got into his brain was something like “I won’t show this puny hand and I can just muck it…just muck it….just….oh shit”. But who knows what he was thinking.  In his interview he gabbled on a bit about the “power of the ace-king” but he didn’t really make much sense. Of course, if he knew the reason with absolute clarity, he wouldn’t have made the error. Let’s just say he had been playing 30 hours straight and mistakes do happen.

But he’s such a happy soul it didn’t faze him and he has to be commended for that. So I suppose the moral of the story is “be happy while you play!”

Well, that and be a massive winner at all  times….

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