I've had the end of May circled on my calendar for months: the beginning of the ultramarathon known as the World Series of Poker. It's the biggest, most important poker event and the one every professional poker player sees as a way to make their mark on poker history.
I'll be playing in more than 40 events over the nearly two-month series, and I'm really motivated to outdo my 2010 WSOP, which some have called the greatest WSOP run in history.
That year, I won the $50,000-buy-in event (known as the Poker Players Championship, as only the most elite players can afford the buy-in), finished second in the Player of the Year race and made the final table of four events, including the Main Event, where I finished fifth.
But even two years later, there is one hand from that Main Event final table that still resonates. It's certainly the craziest hand I've ever been involved with and one of the craziest I've ever seen at a table.
With eight players left, one of the players put in an initial raise. I flat called with A-Q suited. Matt Jarvis moved all in, pushing the pot to $18.6 million in chips.
It was $12.9 million for me to call, just over half my stack. As I contemplated the call, I thought about the situation. It was early at the final table. I had played with Jarvis before. I usually make good educated guesses in those situations. I thought his hand range was an underpair -- 9s or 10s -- and I knew if I called and was
He turned over 9h, 9c. My read was dead-on.
I had friends and family there. He had a big group there. Everyone was cheering. It got really loud in the arena.
The flop came Qs, 8d, Qc, giving me trip queens and making me a 90 percent favorite to win the hand. My supporters went nuts, but I immediately motioned for everyone to chill. Anything can happen in poker. I've seen two-outers all the time, and a 10-J would give him a straight.
It was worse than a straight. The turn came 9s, giving Jarvis a full house and making him nearly a 9:1 favorite to win the hand.
The roller-coaster ride was insane. The anxiety in the crowd was unreal.
It felt like forever before they flipped over the river card, the As, giving me a bigger full house. My family and supporters just lost their minds. I just started screaming.
That was the biggest hand I've ever been a part of. It's the biggest event in the world. It was the hand I'll never forget the rest of my life.
My goal for this year is two WSOP bracelets and four final tables. So hopefully this is the year I play a new biggest hand of my life.
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi has won two World Series of Poker championships and two World Poker Tour titles. He is also a DeepStacks Pro and lead instructor for DeepStacks Live.