Chad Brown's best chance at a WSOP bracelet in 2009 came in the $10,000 Limit Hold'em championship. A tough limit hold'em player in his own right, Brown tore through the field and looked good for the victory. And then there was the worst possible river you could imagine. In this final installment from the 2009 WSOP, Chad Brown leads us to that moment.
by Chad Brown
The WSOP limit hold'em championship had all the best limit hold'em players in the world. I was playing very well on Day 1 and knew that there could be no mistakes with this tough competition. I made it through Day 1 with an above average chip stack and finished Day 2 in the money. I came back on Day 3 with the final table in sight.
With around 16 players left, there was a key hand that I did not play. There was a raise by a loose player in early position and Howard Lederer re-raised. It was folded to me in the small blind. I had pocket nines and I folded. Howard was heads up with the loose player and the flop came down with a 9-high board with two spades. I thought, wow, I would have flopped top set! But I live by the philosophy of not playing results. I know laying down the nines in this spot was the right decision. The turn and the river put up running spades and Howard won the hand with the nut flush, as he was holding two aces in his hand. If I would have played this hand, I would have left myself very short and probably would not have made the final table.
So, I make it to the final table and, with the exception of one player, everyone is world class at limit hold'em. I recognized that to win this bracelet, I would have to play my very best and catch some breaks. I think there were six players left when we saw the pot of the night.
There was a raise and a re-raise and the action moved to Daniel Alaei. Daniel was one of the chip leaders to start this hand and he cold called two bets on the button. The re-raiser, Pat Pezzin, plays a style very similar to Lederer. The big blind re-raised and Pat capped it. Daniel had pocket nines and, because of all the money in the pot, he had to play after the flop came up 5-6-8. He knew he was behind, but he had six likely outs to take the lead. The flop and the turn were capped. Daniel missed on the river and was able to lay it down. Pat, of course, had the rockets and won a massive pot. It crippled Daniel in the process. I felt he was one of the tougher players at the table. I'm sure Daniel realized it was a mistake to call Pat's re-raise under these circumstances, but it's that kind of mistake that can make the difference.
With three players remaining, I was facing Pat and Greg Mueller. I had won a bunch of small pots and had a big chip lead. Pat was the short stack, but was still okay. This tournament had a great structure and gave us a lot of play. Then came the hand of the tournament for me.
Pat had raised on the button and I called from the small blind with A♦2♦. Greg called in the big blind. The flop came queen-high with two diamonds and we all checked. The turn put up a seven and I bet. Greg raised and Pat mucked. I made the call drawing to the ace high flush, but I actually thought my ace might be good. I have played a lot with Greg and know he is capable of making a play there with a draw. Bingo, the 4♦ fell on the river. If I won this pot, I'd have about 90% of the chips in play and am almost certain to win my first bracelet. I checked thinking that Greg would bet if he missed a straight draw and he could have hit a smaller flush. He bet just as planned. I raised, he re-raised, I re-raised and he re-raised. I stopped and look at the board. The 3♦5♦ made a straight flush. I said aloud, "I can't believe you made a straight flush."
I should have mucked, but I paid off with the hope, not that he would be bluffing, but that there was a remote chance he misread his cards. That was the only hope there was, but he did indeed have the straight flush. I was crushed. That was the bracelet.
It wasn't over for me. I was still chip average, but I lost every hand after that, and in all of them--with the exception of the last hand--I had the best of it on the flop and would get sucked out on the turn or river. I finished in a disappointing third place, but to be honest, I was very proud of the way I played and thought I gave myself the best chance to win. Greg went on to victory and followed that up with yet another bracelet. They were his first and second bracelets and were well overdue.