Akenhead: “I had Aces”

With two tables remaining in the Main Event, James Akenhead did the UK proud with a tenacious short stack performance. Supported by various members of the hit squad, plus very loud family and friends, he was not content to fold his way to the final table.

Several hundred poker fans filled the platforms and the bleechers overlooking the ESPN feature table. The atmosphere was fun and the action was surprisingly fast, the field thinning from thirteen to ten within around one hour.

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Shortie Jamie Robbins had moved in several times already this session, avoiding elimination in fourteenth place when his TT spiked a set on the end to best Steve Begleiter’s pocket aces.

Akenhead was the unenviable target of the Ivey stare down when he made what could have been a squeeze play. Phil called an early position raise from his button, only to see Akenhead move in from the blind. Phil must have had a medium pair as he gnashed over the decision for most of his chips, finally laying it down after a few minutes deliberation. Akenhead walked over to the bleechers and confided that he actually had pocket aces. Obviously this was no time to slow play them, or raise small enough to let anyone outflop.

Jamie Robbins would finally go out in eleventh when he moved in on Ivey’s blind. Phil made the gutsy call for half his stack with AhTh. Robbins showed KQ. The room held its breath, as all poker fans (if not the other players) wanted to see this ace-high hold up. It did hold, giving Ivey the chance to be the first big-name pro to win the modern Main Event.

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The final ten became the final nine oh too soon for one of the chip leaders, Jordan Smith. He played his aces a little slower than our Akenhead, making it 2.1 million to go after an early raise to 800k and a flat call from the chip leader on the button. The first raiser folded and Darvin Moon called the 1.3, giving him a chance to stack Smith if he hit…. the perfect flop.

Moon’s set of eights was check-raised by Aces… all in! The set held and Jordan Smith looked like death. Suddenly the room erupted because it was all over till November, and Ivey was going to be there. Short stack Akenhead was going to be there. The Brits were the loudest group in the room.

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