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Top-10 hands to November Nine hands watch for on ESPN

9 Nov 2010

By Aaron Todd
When ESPN airs its final table coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event on Tuesday night, poker fans will only see about 10 percent of the roughly 250 hands that were played. There were some real made-for-TV moments at the final table, so here are our nominations for the top-10 hands to watch for on Tuesday night.

10. Racener doubles up
After Jonathan Duhamel won seven of the first 10 hands in heads up play, John Racener was in danger of falling below 10 big blinds and it was getting into all-in or fold territory. Duhamel recognized this and moved in from the small blind with king-four, only to find Racener wake up with pocket queens to double up to more than 36 million chips and back in contention.

9. Grinder gets eliminated
Duhamel was one of the most aggressive players at the table, so maybe Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi should have had his radar up when Duhamel just called from the small blind after everyone else at the table had folded. When the Grinder hit top pair on a queen-high flop and Duhamel check-raised him all-in, Grinder snap called and Duhamel showed pocket aces. The Grinder couldn't improve, and his tournament ended with a fifth-place finish.

8. Big stacks tangle
Duhamel and Joseph Cheong tangled throughout the day, and both had huge stacks when three-handed play began. Many assumed that they would treat each other with kid gloves in an attempt to knock out Racener, the short stack. Many were wrong. With Duhamel on the button, Cheong called a raise, then check-raised on a flop of 10-six-six. Cheong bet again on the turn when a nine hit the board, then made a hefty 13.5 million bet on the river when a king and a third club hit the board. Duhamel called and showed ace-king, winning a pot of nearly 60 million chips to re-take the chip lead. You'll have to watch the ESPN coverage to find out Cheong's cards – he never flipped them over.

7. Cheong stares down Duhamel
Earlier in the day, with seven players remaining, Duhamel three-bet Cheong preflop, and Cheong called. With an ace-10-four flop, Cheong check-called. After a six on the turn, action checked around, and the river jack prompted a huge bet by Cheong. Duhamel eventually called, and Cheong flipped a four and a six to show two pair. Once again, watch ESPN's coverage to find out Duhamel's holdings.

6. Duhamel wins
It really was only a matter of time. Duhamel moved all in with ace-jack, and Racener, down to about 10 big blinds, called with king-eight suited. Neither hand improved, and Duhamel's ace-high won him the 2010 WSOP Main Event title.

5. Jason Senti's elimination
It was a coin flip, but oh was it a dramatic one. Jason Senti moved all in with ace-king, and Cheong called with pocket 10s. Senti flopped trip kings, but Cheong hit running cards to make a straight and eliminate Senti in seventh place.

4. Candio bluffs Grinder
Most of the players played pretty close to the vest at the final table, with very few willing to give up any information without being forced to show their cards. Filippo Candio was the lone exception. The most memorable reveal came against the Grinder, when Mizrachi folded to his river bluff. Candio stood up and threw down queen-10 of hearts for a queen high busted flush draw, and the Grinder was left shaking his head.

3. Mizrachi-Duhamel WTF
Duhamel's chip stack reached its low point at about 25 million chips (after losing with ace-king vs. Racener's ace-queen … if we were doing a top-11, that hand would have made the list), and the Grinder had taken the chip lead. After Duhamel limped in from the small blind, the Grinder put the pressure on him by moving all in. Duhamel called and turned over ace-nine. A stunned Mizrachi showed pocket threes, and Duhamel was flipping for his tournament life. Duhamel hit a nine on the flop, then another on the turn to double up and get back over 50 million chips, while Mizrachi saw his fortunes go from being a dominant chip stack to one of the short stacks.

2. Cheong-Duhamel play WSOP's biggest pot
Cheong and Duhamel played a lot of big pots at this year's final table, but none were bigger than hand number 213. In fact, no WSOP pot has ever been bigger. After Duhamel three-bet Cheong, Cheong put in a fourth bet. Duhamel thought for awhile, then made a small raise for the fifth bet. After a minute of deliberation, Cheong moved all in, and Duhamel snap called. Cheong showed a meager ace-seven, while Duhamel tabled pocket queens. Cheong was unable to improve, and Duhamel won a pot of more than 180 million chips, and Cheong was left crippled, only to be eliminated a few hands later.

1. Mizrachi-Jarvis roller coaster full house
It's not often that the guy who finishes eighth gets top billing in a top-10, but the hand that eliminated Matt Jarvis deserves the number one spot on our list. All the money went in preflop, with Mizrachi holding ace-queen, and Jarvis holding pocket nines. It was a coin flip, but Mizrachi had the coin weighted in his favor when two queens hit on the flop. In search of one of the two remaining nines in the deck to move back ahead, the prospects for Jarvis seemed bleak. When the nine came on the turn, the entire crowd in the Penn & Teller Theater gasped, and Jarvis breathed new life. But a deck of cards can be cruel, and just as Jarvis started to think he was safe, an ace arrived on the river, giving the Grinder a better full house, eliminating Jarvis, and sending Grinder's friends, family and fans through the roof.
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