How and Why Marc-Etienne McLaughlin Was Eliminated in 6th Place

Marc-Etienne McLaughlin watches the river on the TV screens with his friends and family as his pocket kings fail to beat Jay Farber's pocket aces. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

Marc-Etienne McLaughlin watches the river on the TV screens with his friends and family as his pocket kings fail to beat Jay Farber’s pocket aces. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

Marc-Etienne McLaughlin was eliminated in sixth place in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event. He returned to the final table third in chips with 26.5 million. He would reach as high as second in the counts before riding an absolute roller coaster of a final table, but a massive cooler would spell disaster in the end for McLaughlin.

His first windfall came when Amir Lehavot opened in late position and McLaughlin called behind him to see a K 6 4 flop. Lehavot led out for 1.25 million and McLaughlin called. The turn came J, Lehavot checked and McLaughlin bet 2.5 million. Lehavot called bumping the pot to over five million and the river came K. Lehavot checked a second time and McLaughlin over bet the pot for 7.2 million. Lehavot snap-called with A K but McLaughlin showed him bad news with K J for a full house.

McLaughlin was less than a million shy of the chip lead behind JC Tran after the hand and remained relatively passive while the table lost another player. He dipped down to 22.6 million in a hand when Ryan Riess took the chip lead. Riess started the action with a small opening raise, Lehavot three-bet to 2.5 million and McLaughlin stuck out 4.75 million for a four-bet. Riess played right back at him and made it 11.1 million to play. Lehavot and McClaughlin folded and Riess took the hand.

McLaughlin then suffered a ten million chip downswing in back-to-back hands to lose about half his stack. First, he three-bet a Jay Farber open to 3.3 million and went to a flop of Q 7 5. McClaughlin checked, Farber slid out 2.75 million and McClaughlin folded. Then he committed 1.3 million preflop with Sylvain Loosli. They checked the flop of T 5 3 and the turn came J. McClaughlin check-called 1.7 million and the river came 8. Loosli bet 3.5 million, McClaughlin called and mucked when Loosli showed A J.

With those two hands McClaughlin was the short stack at the table with 12.8 million. He hovered around that amount and dropped even further when a strong opportunity presented itself. After McLaughlin opened to 1.6 million, Tran three-bet to 3.4 million from the small blind. McLaughlin four-bet all in for 8,825,000 total and after a couple of minutes Tran reluctantly called with A 7. He was in trouble as McLaughlin’s A K was best, and no part of the J 3 3 6 3 board would change that.

After his double, McLaughlin benefited from an error on the part of Loosli, who accidentally raised when it appeared his intention was to call on a flop of K 8 5. After McLaughlin shoved and Loosli folded, he was suddenly at 37,400,000 and solidly in third place. Then he ran into the scenario that every player sees in their darkest poker nightmares.

McLaughlin opened to 1.6 million in late position, Farber three-bet to 3.8 million and everyone else got out of the way. McLaughlin then four-bet to 8.7 million, which was followed by a five-bet from Farber to 19.4 million and a big decision for McLaughlin. He eventually shoved and Farber beat him into the pot, showing A  A in a cruel turn of fate to put McLaughlin and his K K in dire straits. The 8 7 2 J J runout was nowhere near what McLaughlin needed and just when it looked like things were going his chance was snatched away and a sixth place finish was the result.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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