Posted: Tuesday July 12, 2005 4:57PM; Updated: Tuesday July 12, 2005 5:15PM
The flop: 3-4-5 rainbow.
Both players check.
The turn is an 8S, putting two spades on the table.
Seat 6 bets $15,000 and Friedman calls. His father, Mark, is tense. A few hands earlier Friedman had gone in versus Phan until the river before folding. He'd basically pissed away $8,000 in a staring contest, then confided to his dad that he knew he should've folded.
"If he knew he should've folded," Mark Friedman asked a family friend standing next to him, "why didn't he fold?"
Now Adam is doing it all over again. The river is a 3D. No face cards on the table, no flush draw available. Friedman bets $22,000. Seat 6 calls. A few feet away, Mr. Friedman's hair is graying by the second.
Seat 6 turns over a K-6 suited. Adam? A 3-7 suited. Triple threes. He just won an $80,000 pot by betting $37,000 post-flop with nothing more than a pair of threes.
"Get him over here so I can put him a [bleepin'] headlock," Mr. Friedman tells his friends with a smile on his face.
Adam approaches his dad, shares a high-five and an observation: "That's the difference between you and me. I play those hands."
A few minutes later Mr. Friedman confesses to his friends, "If that guy had turned over a better hand, I'd still be out in the freakin' hallway."
It would be easy to dismiss Friedman's play as loose, even reckless, but as the day continues his chip stack continues to grow. He survives into the money and then some. Gowen is knocked out of the tournament, while Friedman and Phan become Table 124's alpha dogs. He may be impetuous and well, a little uncool, but Friedman can play.
At about 5:30 p.m., Sam Farha, the Bogie of poker, arrives at Table 124 and takes a seat directly to the left of Friedman. "Sam Farha!" Friedman excitedly exclaims, "You're my sister's favorite player!"
Friedman runs excitedly into the hallway outside the Brasilia room, a 10-year-old who's just spotted Derek Jeter. "Hey," he yells to his parents, "Sam Farha's on my left."
Meanwhile Farha and Phan, who'd enjoyed a friendly rivalry the day before, greet one another with humor and respect. "You still here?" asks Farha. "Look who's back," replies Phan.
The difference is that Phan has more than half a million dollars in chips, while Sammy is down to his last $26,000. "I made one bluff earlier," he informs Phan, "and it cost me a hundred thousand."
On his first hand at Table 124, Farha goes all in. "Here we go, baby," Farha says.
Everyone at the table folds. "See that," says Phan. "Sammy sees me, he starts drooling already."
Friedman, meanwhile, is drooling over Farha. He's almost obsequious, and he's anything but quiet, and by now his behavior has begun to rub players the wrong way. "Tell [Friedman] to go all in in front of you," Phan tells Farha, "and he will. Hey, Sammy, you're an entertaining guy, but he won't stop talking anyway.
"I wonder what you'd do," Phan says to Friedman, "If you had a camera on you all day."
Two hands later, Farha is all in again. The man seated at 4 comes with him.
"All in and a call on 124," the dealer announces so that the ESPN camera crew can scurry over. Sam flips an A-Q unsuited. Seat 4 turns over a pair of black queens.
The flop: 2-8-9, the latter two hearts.
The turn: 7 of hearts.
Sammy's ace was a heart. He needs a heart on the river or he's out. "I feel it," he tells the table.
The river comes a jack of...hearts.
Farha, an unlit cigarette dragging from his mouth, smiles that cool Sammy Farha smile. Friedman has a look on his face as if he just got to watch U2 perform from the side of the stage. Phan, forever cool, keeps it light.
"Sammy, you're my hero," Phan says. "People ask, 'Who's your hero?' I say Sammy Farha. 'And who you wanna play like?' Anyone but Sammy Farha."
The hours pass. Friedman and Phan continue to win, even after Table 124 is broken up and its players dispersed to other tables. Sam Farha is eventually eliminated, as are hundreds of others. At 1 a.m, today's session is almost over and fewer than 190 players remain. The worst that anyone can do is pick up a check for $39,075.
Friedman, now on Table 129, has approximately $325,000 in his chip stack.
He's still talking a lot, providing expert opinions to men who don't necessarily want to hear it from someone who looks as if he's late to his intramural flag football game. And then suddenly, everything changes.
"Ohhh, that's the first mistake I've made," Friedman says with a profound sense of dread. "What did I do? Oh, I didn't have to do that."
Shane Bartholomew, a 31-year-old Brit seated at 3, has just reeled Friedman into a huge pot. Bartholomew, on the button, had bet 12 grand pre-flop.
Friedman, in the big blind (blinds at this point are $2,500 to $5,000) had called.
The flop: A-5H-10H.
Bartholomew bets 20 Gs after the flop. Again, Friedman calls. The turn is a black 4. "I check, he checks," Bartholomew will explain later.
The river comes a jack of hearts. Three hearts are on the board. "So I well up my eyes," Bartholomew says, "do the whinnying with my lips. Shuffle the chips. Anything to look nervous. Or to look like I'm not trying to look nervous."
Bartholomew bets $50,000. Friedman takes the bet, raises him to $100,000.
Then Bartholomew goes for the kill. "I'm all in," he says.
Friedman, sensing the kill, asks the dealer to count Bartholomew's stack.
"One hundred ninety-one thousand five hundred," the dealer declares after a few careful accountings.
Friedman is sitting on a 9-K, both hearts. He's hit the flush with a King as his high card. He's looking at knocking out Bartholomew and in the process nearly doubling up his own stack in one hand. He's been at this twelve hours straight and well, who can blame him if in this one moment avarice overtakes caution.
"Do you got it?" Friedman asks Bartholomew, grasping for a tell. Bartholomew surrenders nothing. "I call," Friedman says.
Friedman turns over his 9-K of hearts. Bartholomew turns over an 8 of hearts and -- an ace of hearts! The nut flush.
"THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!" Bartholomew screams. "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!"
Friedman's face turns beet red. He rubs his eyes. Is near tears. "Made one bad mistake!" he says out loud to no one in particular. Horrible play! I've been perfect for three days! Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars! I just lost 75 percent of my stack."
Over to the side, his father watches with genuine concern. This is no longer Sports Kids, Moms & Dads, The Poker Edition. Mark Friedman is looking at his son in a way that just says he aches for him.
Off to the side, Nolan Dalaa, a WSOP official, watches with a stunned look on his face. "That's the most dramatic moment of the tournament so far," he says. "You never see a moment like that usually until the final table."
An older player watches Friedman, who continues to verbally beat himself up.
"He's lucky we're quitting today in a few minutes," the player says. "He's not all there right now. If this happened two hours ago, he'd go on tilt and be outta here in half an hour."
It was an incredible day for Adam Friedman. He won a huge pot with a 3-7.
Met Sam Farha. And got humbled. He'll limp into today's action, but he shouldn't be too hard on himself. It's his first WSOP, he's only 23, he's learned a ton, and, most importantly, he's still playing.