Fortune Favored The Brave: Key Hands From 888Live’s 2017 Season

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Tom Hall played a key hand to win 888Live in London in October

While it is true that in tournament poker just about every hand counts, for those who make it deep – perhaps even to the end – often times there are one or two hands that can be looked back upon as being a crucial development to the story of the tournament. Those hands and decisions are even more magnified when playing in major events for heaps of money like the players were in the 888Live Events this year. With 888poker’s circuit finished for the year, we decided to take a look at a few key hands from final tables that helped change the fortunes for the shot takers who found themselves in a position to go for the win.

Niall Farrell Gets Popped Three-handed.

After passing chips back and forth multiple times with Romania’s Catalin Pop during the final table of the 888Live event in Rozvadov in February, Scottish superstar Niall Farrell, found himself just moments away from having a choke on the tournament’s endgame.

After the chip leader Pop raised from the small blind, Farrell, who was second in chips, looked down at JcJs and put in a healthy three bet. Pop, having Farrell covered, came over the top – moving all in. Farrell snapped Pop off and saw the good news as Pop tabled 5c5h.

Unfortunately for the former EPT Main Event winner he only had a moment to enjoy his brief lead as the flop spread out 9d5d2d. The flopped set for Pop put Farrell way behind, with just under 8% chance to pull it out. The Qd on the turn increased Farrell’s outs to one for the win and an additional nine for the chop. But, as we like to see around here, pocket fives won out as the river offers no helps sending the top tier pro home in third for over €36,000 and propelling Catalin Pop to a commanding chip leadthat he would not relinquish – claiming the 888Live Rozvadov Main Event Title for a career high score of €80,000.

Cate Hall Plays it Cooler.

Outspoken poker personality Cate Hall stormed into the final table of the 888Live May Event in Barcelona second in chips. After some early action which saw Hall’s chip stack fluctuate quite a bit she found herself in an unavoidable head-on collision that nearly left her on life support. Under the gun, Hall picked up the QcQs and put in a raise for roughly 2x. Spain’s own Jaime Rueda Sampedro quickly moved all-in for a little less and when the action returned to her, Hall called.

Sampedro had her crushed, holding KhKs.

Sometimes though, you just have to play it cool. Hall did just that and her pocket queens got there in a hurry with a QdTd7h flop. The board ran out clean for Hall sending Sampedro to the rail in seventh and helping propel Hall further in the contest. She eventually would bow out in fourth for €35,000.

Haroldo Shows Heart.

Facing a 2.5:1 chip deficit during heads-up play at the 888Live Event in Sao Paulo, local player Haroldo Ferriera Da Silva had his back against the wall. Needing to make a move he made a tank-call while holding 4c4s vs his opponent, Guilherme Cazula’s suited AhKh and the baby pair held, giving Silva some much-needed breathing room and ability to mix it up.

Now holding the chip lead, Silva found himself facing a three-bet after his open raise. Looking down at 4h5h Silva made the call. The Ad8d6h gave him a gutter and backdoor possibilities, but he was also facing another healthy bet from Cazula. He called to see the Ah drop on the turn. The checked around action was just what Silva needed as the 2h completed the board. Cazula put the majority of his chips in the middle and Silva snapped holding the six-high flush. It was good. Casual was nearly felted allowing Silva to turn his overwhelming lead into easily the biggest cash of his career, good for $200,000 BRL ($63,862 USD).

Tom’s in it for the long Hall.

UK poker pro Tom Hall was in the midst of a grueling battle. After reaching a heads-up deal with local UK player Ning Lu at the 888Live Event in London this October, one that guaranteed each at least £70,000, play had begun to drag. With £8,888 and the trophy left in the prizepool, the pair were reluctant to relinquish the notion of taking first place. After play crawled on, the pair agreed to shorten the levels to 30 minutes. Play continued. Hall requested to the levels shorten to 20 minutes, but Lu contested. Play continued. For over three hours the pair grinded their stacks until finally, mercifully at nearly 3:30 in the morning Lu and Hall got it all in.

Lu held QcTd but was slightly behind Hall’s Ac5h. The board of AdQd3h3c4s gave them both a pair but it was Hall that ended up smiling in the winner’s photo.

Which crucial hands will change the fortunes of players in 2018? 888Live Events are set to return in the New Year with plenty more pivotal plays to pour over.