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Where Are They Now: Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman

It’s easy to recall a time when you could turn on ESPN and be treated to repeated broadcasts of the World Series of Poker. Reruns of the 2004 and 2005 WSOPs in the middle of the night were as common as infomercials, but now those same episodes, which made superstars out of Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem and Mike Matusow, are more apt to be found on ESPN Classic.

Another man who found exposure, for better or worse, in 2005 was Adam Friedman. Although he is actually quite the accomplished poker player, Friedman is often remembered by the poker masses for a hand that occurred at an outer table and was captured by ESPN's cameras. It happened when Shane Bartholomew had moved all-in with {A-Hearts}{8-Hearts} on a board reading {A-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{J-Hearts} and Friedman and was considering the 192,000 bet with the inferior {K-Hearts}{9-Hearts}.

Friedman eventually made the call, but collapsed in his seat and buried his head in his arms after discovering he had run into the nuts.

“What a blow to Adam Friedman,” Lon McEachern said on the broadcast. “He is overcome with grief.”

“Friedman’s beating himself up unnecessarily,” Norman Chad chimed in about the clearly emotional Friedman.

“I played perfect for three days,” Friedman pined. “I played so good for three days.”

If that doesn't jog your memory, check out the following video at the 3:28 mark to see the hand on ESPN.

While one of Friedman’s lowest points in life was immortalized on film, his accomplishments didn’t garner the same attention. For instance, did you know he managed to recover from the aforementioned hand to make a deep run in the 2005 Main Event, finishing in 43rd place for $235,390? Likewise, he also has three other $100,000-plus scores.

Adam Friedman Notable Accomplishments

July 7, 200536th Annual World Series of Poker Main Event43rd$235,390
April 30, 2006Midwest Regional Poker Championship $5,000 NLHE1st$147,940
April 4, 2007Midwest Regional Poker Championship $2,500 NLHE1st$101,258
March 7, 2009Midwest Regional Poker Championship $2,500 NLHE1st$91,829
June 4, 200940th Annual World Series of Poker $10,000 Mixed Events 8 Game14th$27,718
June 10, 201142nd Annual World Series of Poker $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.3rd$121,437
February 18, 2012L.A. Poker Classic $1,070 H.O.R.S.E.3rd$11,700

PokerNews sat down with Friedman at a recent WSOP Circuit stop to see just what he’s been up to since the 2005 WSOP.

Can you describe the infamous hand for us as you saw it?

Essentially what happened was a guy raised in middle position, I called with {K-Hearts}{9-Hearts} and the flop was {A-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{10-Hearts}. He fired out, I called, and the turn was a blank. He checked, I checked. The river was the {J-Hearts} and he bet 50,000, I min-raised to 100,000 and he moved all-in for another 180,000. I tanked for like eight minutes and finally called. I recovered from there. I was down to less than 100,000, but by Day 4 I had it up to over a million. Eventually I went out.

What was the reaction from your friends and family? Likewise, what about the general poker public?

My parents cringed at it. All my nonpoker friends made a lot of fun of me, they thought it was the funniest thing they’ve ever seen in their lives. I laughed it off. A lot of the poker community, they made fun of me too. The only people who mention it now are a couple of random people who are like, “You look familiar, are you that guy from ESPN?”

Did you know that hand was going to be on TV or did you discover it by watching the broadcast?

I assumed it might have been because I remember there was a camera at the table, but I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time. I was 23 and not really thinking about the possible outcome of what could happen. It was genuine, I wasn’t faking anything; whereas, if that same thing were to happen now, I would have just been like, “Whatever.” It was the first tournament I had ever played in my life.

How did you come to play the Main Event that year?

I was playing $10/$20 limit hold’em games back home and they had a $140 double shootout for the WSOP. I ended up winning that and I made it to where I did.

Have you played the Main Event since?

I’ve played the Main Event every year, all except for one year. No cashes, a couple Day 2s — like three Day 2s — but no cashes in that tournament.

We’ve occasionally seen you on the circuit. We assume you’ve continued to play over the past eight years?

Once in a blue moon I’ll show up on the Circuit, not often. I’ll go to maybe one or two stops at most a year. I play cash games, go to L.A. and Vegas, play at home when I can, just trying to find good games where I don’t have to do a lot of traveling, which I’ve done ever since Black Friday a little over a year ago.

Did you play online?

I played periodically off and on, but right before it closed down is when I had really decided to focus playing online. Once I found my niche online where I was winning, that’s when they shut it down.

Do you have any money stuck online?

Nope, every penny off.

What’s your favorite game in a cash game? Tournament?

In a cash game, I enjoy playing seven-card stud a lot. I would say that game and 2-7 triple draw, but now the way poker is I have to play a lot of no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha. In tournaments, any form of eight or ten game mixed or H.O.R.S.E. They’re far and away my favorite because I believe I’m the absolute best at it.

What’s your proudest poker moment?

I probably have two things I’m fairly proud of. I won the Midwest Regional Poker Championship Main Event three out of four years, once when it was a $5K buy-in, the two other times when it was a $2,500 buy-in. The other thing I’m probably more proud of is that I’ve had better mixed games results than I believe anyone on the planet, in mixed-games tournaments, the last four years. I don’t think anybody has better results than me. I may not have the biggest cashes or whatever, but no one has as many deep runs and finishes as me.

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