Paul Wasicka lays down the facts about THAT legendary hand at the WSOP: “It’s the ultimate fear – being put in a situation where you have no fold equity”

Wasicka talks us through the infamous hand at the WSOP 2006 Main Event final table

When ESPN screened the final table of the 2006 WSOP Main Event, millions of people could be heard as one shouting, ‘How could he fold that hand?’

The hand they were referring to was when play was three-handed at the final table and Wasicka held 8-7, on a board of 5-6-10, giving him the open-ended straight flush draw. But there was just one problem – Gold had just moved all-in over the top of Binger’s post-flop continuation bet. Binger held top pair with A-10, while Gold had seen the flop with 3-4 for an open-ended straight draw. And with over 60m in chips, compared to Wasicka’s 14m and Binger’s 11m, he had a great chance to steal another big pot or knock either or both players out.

Even so, with such a monster, it seems like an easy call, right? But with so much money at stake ($12m for first, $6m for second, $4m for third), and the way the betting had gone, for Wasicka it was the worst-case scenario, as he explains…

‘It’s the ultimate fear – being put in a situation where you have no fold equity. I had such a beastly hand but it could easily be dominated. I had no fold equity, and Michael could still fold if I called all-in, and then I might end up finishing third. All these things rushed into my mind and I was ready to vomit, because I’d already anticipated what was going to happen.

I thought that more often than not Michael would bet around 3m, leaving himself with about 6.5m, which would give me enough room to get him to fold; and if Jamie called his bet, there’d be even more money in the pot for me. Not only that, but if Michael didn’t have anything and checked, Jamie was almost certainly going to bet.

The only thing I didn’t want to happen was for Michael to bet and Jamie to go all-in, because if Michael had just gone all-in I would have been willing to gamble at that point. If Michael and Jamie had both moved all-in, I also would have gambled, because all I needed to happen was for me to survive or Michael to get knocked out for me to get second place.’

Stuck in the middle

‘What ended up happening was the worst possible scenario, where Michael bet, Jamie went all-in, and I was stuck in a situation where if I called Michael could still fold, and I’d have to win the hand to survive.

I thought 100 percent Michael would fold. I thought he’d fold everything except a set or an Ace-high flush draw, and if he had a set, then what could Jamie have? I thought Jamie probably had the draw – a better one than mine.

And if Michael had the higher flush draw he’d obviously call, because if two people were all-in it would be his best chance to triple-up. In that scenario I’d have been drawing to six outs, so I thought it was a horrible situation – I couldn’t have asked for a worse turn of events.’

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