Three players came down to a surprising finish in a tournament at the Victoria casino's recent summer festival of poker. It was 3.40am, and under the rules of the tournament, if an event was still not decided by that time (the casino had to close at 4am anyway), just three more hands more would be dealt, and the prizes would be awarded on chip totals. Of course it would be far preferable to fight out the final to a clear finish the next night, after the players had slept. But this was the way the Vic arranged it, as everyone knew beforehand, on the grounds that some players might not be available the next day.

This event was no limit Hold 'em. Player A was leading with 80,000 in chips, feeling happy. Player B had 65,000 in chips. And player C, Myron Rosenbaum, an experienced sports player from Philadelphia, was lying third on 60,000. How should play go, when the last three hands of the night were announced?

Myron knew the score. He had nothing to lose. However the final hands panned out, he was bound to finish no worse than third place. Even if he lost all his chips, that result was guaranteed. So the obvious play was to bet the lot, "all in". If he struck lucky and beat either of his two opponents, he would finish in first place. Even if they did not play, he would nick second spot, just on the antes, which were running at 8,000 a hand.

So on the penultimate hand, Myron, player C, was first to speak and stuck all his chips in on a pathetic Q-7 off-suit.

Player A felt he was caught in a sandwich, not knowing if player B was going to call behind him or fold. Player B, however, sussed out immediately what was happening. He stood second, but if he folded, his reduced chip total meant he would automatically be relegated to third place. So he called, on a fair hand as it happens: J-10.

Player A, hanging on as chip leader at that point, evidently missed the significance of the last three hands being played out to determine the result. The right move was to play, whatever cards he held. In his situation, he could do no worse than finish second. Even if he got busted, he still had 15,000 more chips over either of the other two players, which would have been enough to ensure him second spot. By not playing in the hand, he simply allowed one of the other two to overtake him, regardless.

As luck would have it, Myron caught a second queen on the flop, and zoomed into first place. First prize was pounds 14,550, with pounds 7,275 and pounds 4,365 for second and third. Nice one Myron.

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