Twice the historic poker hand matchup

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By Christopher Cosenza

After a player wins the World Series main event the two cards he held on the final hand is sort of reserved for him. Then if he manages to win another title while holding those same cards the hand is named after him, a la Doyle Brunson and his 10-2.

But what about when exact hand matchups and virtually identical community cards return from poker’s past to again inflict historical implications? Such was the case about three and a half hours into this year’s final table.

Michael “Grinder” Mizrachi called Matthew Jarvis’ all-in with Grinder holding {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} vs. Jarvis’ 9-9. What ensued was one of the most exciting final-table moments in history. The flop came Q-Q-8, giving Grinder the lead for the moment. After the vocal Grinder clan settled down, the dealer turned a two-outer for Jarvis, giving him his full house and sending the Penn & Teller Theater into a frenzy. But the roller-coaster ride had one more inverted 3-G moment left as the AS fell on the river to eliminate Jarvis and send the Grinders into hysteria.

“When the nine comes it’s like a burst of energy, but I knew he had seven outs,” Jarvis said. “It’s all good. He has to call there. He played it right and I played it right. It’s a hard game and we can only do as much as we can.”

“When I flat and he moves in behind me, I thought my ace-queen was in a coin-flip,” Grinder said. “I was getting the right price and I had some gambling chips. The flop came Q-Q-8. Everyone got excited, but you can’t celebrate yet because two outs is two outs. He hit the two-outer and then I found a way to hit a seven-outer.”

Indeed, it was a remarkable hand, and would go down as one of a kind in WSOP history if it hadn’t happened before. You see, with 10 players remaining in the 2003 main event and Phil Ivey having an incredible WSOP, he held two nines and ran into destiny. Chris Moneymaker, still just the lucky Tennessee accountant at the time, held A-Q and got all-in with Ivey. The same flop (just substitute a six for the eight), turn and river (it was even the {a-Spades}) sent Ivey to the rail and kicked off the “Moneymaker Effect.”

If that hadn’t happened the way it did, you wouldn’t be in a poker room today and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this article. So, with all due respect to Grinder-Jarvis, this matchup belongs in history to Moneymaker-Ivey.

But what about a name? Shouldn’t the matchup that ultimately allowed this poker craze to begin have some sort of moniker? We think so, and would like to nominate “The Boom!” After all, it twice was the shot heard ’round the World (Series), and, obviously, kicked off the poker boom.

Of course we don’t expect the name to catch on. There’s likely a better chance of poker being played on Mars than this moment arising again on poker’s biggest stage.