When they began three-handed play, Cheong and Duhamel were running away with the show. They were each approaching 100 million while John Racener sat patiently by with his 20-ish million. Cheong, however, was in no mood to sit patiently. He went to work quickly and was the first player to crest that magical 100-million-chip mark. He and Duhamel proceeded to wage all-out war hand after dramatic hand while Racener folded his buttons, sat on his hands, and waited for the fireworks.
And the fireworks, they came. In Hand #213, 25 hands into the three-way, a battle of the big-stacked blinds broke out. It started with Cheong opening the pot, and the betting action ended with him six-bet shoving all in with . Duhamel probably didn’t like the idea of playing a 180-million-chip pot, but he didn’t waste any time calling with , putting himself at risk in the process. There was no ace for Cheong, and he was crushed from 95 million all the way down to just ten. It was, as far as we can tell, the largest pot in the history of the WSOP!
This is how it played:
John Racener has the button.
Joseph Cheong raises to 2.9 million from the small blind after Racener folds his button. Jonathan Duhamel reraises from the big blind to 6.75 million. Cheong doesn’t buy it and four-bets to 14.25 million. Duhamel comes back with a five-bet to 22.75 million.
Cheong goes back and checks his hand while thinking about his decision. The room is completely silent while Cheong tanks. The crowd grows a bit restless after a minute or so, but settles back down before Cheong takes some more time. Cheong moves all in and Duhamel makes the call!
Cheong moved all in for a massive 95.05 million! Duhamel has less chips. This pot also has a lot riding on it for John Racener, the bystander in the confrontation. Time for the flop…
The flop is spread, and Cheong still needs to hit while Duhamel stays in front.
The turn brings the and everyone in this room in on the edge of their seat awaiting the river card.
The river completes the board with the and that’s it! The sea of red Montreal Canadians jerseys swarms Duhamel on the stage and begins the chant of, “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!” Cheong sits back in his chair to assist with the final and official count of the stacks. His cheering section stands stunned, many shaking their heads. Cheong was left with under 10 million in chips.
Cheong doubled up once in the meanwhile, but six hands after the blowup, he was gone in third place. That’s good for more than $4 million, but it doesn’t come with a ticket to Monday’s finale.