Sweet. We have a controversy at the 2019 World Series of Poker. With four players remaining in the Event #5: High Roller – $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em for the 50th Annual, veteran poker player Sam Soverel acted out of turn, potentially influencing the rest of the action and possibly contributing to Dmitry Yurasov’s elimination in fourth place. Afterward, fellow pro Isaac Haxton, who was not involved in the proceedings, posted on Twitter that Soverel should have been disqualified.
Here is what happened. Again, four players remaining in the pricey tournament. Fourth place gets $458,138 and it’s huge pay jumps after that: $640,924, $917,232, and $1,484,085. Soverel opened the betting with a 400,000 chip pre-flop bet holding Js-9s and Yurasov moved all-in for 4.93 million with Ad-Td. Andrew Lichtenberger folded and Ben Heath asked Soverel for a chip count. Soverel gave him the number – about the same as Yurasov and about half of what Heath had. Heath thought for a bit and then threw in a time extension chip.
Then things got weird. Soverel looked like he may have thought Heath tossed in his hole cards rather than the time extension chip and proceeded to re-check his hole cards before inexplicably mucking while it was still Heath’s turn. He immediately looked horrified and he knew the ramifications: Heath now only had to worry about one player to call instead of potentially two. Yurasov understood this, too, and looked mightily pissed.
Heath ended up calling and knocking out Yurasov (Soverel also would have been eliminated had he called). Heath said later that he would have called, regardless, so the fold out of turn didn’t matter, but it sure mattered to Yurasov.
Soverel busted out shortly thereafter and Heath went on to win the tournament.
Haxton Is Perturbed
After reading about the hand online, Isaac Haxton launched into it on Twitter, saying, “If this is reported accurately, anything less than disqualification and fourth place money for Sam is insufficient. You absolutely can’t let people get away with shit like this at the final table of a $50k.”
He went on to say that Soverel has a history of some angle shooting-type moves and that after watching the video of the hand, he believes that Soverel folded out of turn on purpose. Among other reasons for his belief is that Soverel is experienced enough and the situation is important enough (four-handed in a $50,000 buy-in event) that it is “inconceivable” that it was just a mistake. If it was an accident, Haxton believes Soverel deserved at least a multi-orbit penalty; Soverel was not penalized.
A bit later, Haxton went further, saying that Soverel should not only have been disqualified and given fourth place money, but that he should also have been banned for a year from the World Series of Poker. Realistically, though, he would have at least liked to see Soverel given such a long penalty that his chips were blinded off in third place.