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The Muck: Could/Should You Fold Kings Preflop on the Main Event Final Table Bubble?

Kings versus kings versus aces Main Event Final Table bubble
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  • @official_glp The Muck: Could you get away with kings on the Main Event final table bubble?

“It feels like you can’t get away from kings, but you can,” Maria Ho said.

“You cannot,” Norman Chad cheekily replied.

It was the stone bubble of the WSOP Main Event final table, and ESPN’s commentators were in disbelief. But hole cards don't lie.

With the blinds at 300K/600K/100K, Nicolas Manion raised under the gun to 1,500,000 with pocket aces. Antoine Labat, who had 51,250,000 and pocket kings, called in middle position. Yueqi Zhu, who also had two kings, moved all-in for 24,700,000 from the hijack.

Once the action was back on Manion, who had 43,000,000, he announced all-in himself and Labat asked for a count. Labat shook his head and muttered to himself. Could he really fold pocket kings preflop on the bubble of the Main Event final table?

“This is a sick spot,” Lon McEachern said.

Labat tanked for about two minutes and...well, see for yourself:

Labat Weighs in

After a harmless {J-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{3-Spades}{J-Clubs} runout, Manion rocketed to 112,775,000, just surpassing the 109,175,000 of longtime leader Michael Dyer. Zhu was eliminated in 10th place for $850,025. Labat was left with 8,050,000 chips and plenty of questions.

He was, of course, thrilled to make the final table, even if he would be the short stack. At the same time, he second-guessed his decision to call with kings.

“If I fold, it’s going to look so crazy," Labat said. "But I had this feeling like, he has it.”

The Poker Community Responds

Did Labat make a good or a bad call? Plenty of people have chimed in.

While debates swarmed Poker Twitter, Two Plus Two poster Nerd E Tron started a new thread: A Terrible Call with Kings on the WSOP Main Event FT Bubble... and here's why (SPOILERS)

Manion's Own Heroic Fold

Are you searching for someone who's folded kings preflop? Look no further than Nicolas Manion himself. Only a day before the epic hand in question, Manion folded kings preflop when Alex Lynskey five-bet-shoved all-in.

“I’ve shown nothing but nut hands today, and he shoved all-in for 16 million,” Manion explained. “To me, that’s just one hand and one hand only, so I’m not going to put my tournament life on kings when I’m 99 percent sure he has aces.”

And then, in a fascinating reversal, it was Manion who lived the dream on the final table bubble:

With six players remaining at the end of Day 8, Manion is in second place. He has 72,250,000 and a chance to ride his epic three-way aces hand to an 8.8 million dollar payday.

As for Labat, he was eliminated in 9th place with—you guessed it—a pair of kings.

Antoine Labat

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