By now, you have probably heard about the end of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event, the one in which the heads-up chip leader seemed to dump chips and to the Mike Leah in an apparent deal. While Leah disputes the notion that he “bought” his first WPT title, he has answered the speculation, confirming that a deal was made with Ryan Yu.
First, let’s look at the first three hands of heads-up, courtesy of WPT.com. Yu had a lead of 10.800 million to 4.715 million and then the following occurred:
Ryan Yu raises to 4,000,000 from the button on the first hand of heads-up play, Mike Leah (pictured) reraises all in for 4,695,000 from the big blind, and Yu folds.
Mike Leah – 8,735,000
Ryan Yu – 6,780,000
Mike Leah limps in from the button, and Ryan Yu raises to 5,000,000 from the big blind. Leah reraises all in for 8,715,000 and Yu folds.
Mike Leah – 13,755,000
Ryan Yu – 1,760,000
Ryan Yu raises to 1,700,000 from the button, and Mike Leah (pictured) pushes all in for 13,735,000 from the big blind. Yu folds, and Leah captures this pot.
“When you’re beat, you’re beat!” says Yu.
Mike Leah – 15,475,000
Ryan Yu – 40,000
It’s hard to read that as anything but an intentional chip dump in an effort to give Leah the victory. The speculation was that some sort of deal was made and that speculation was correct. On Facebook, Leah said that he rarely accepts any deals at the end of tournaments, as he loves the competition and just wants to play things out, but in this case:
I wanted to win this tournament more than any other I can remember – I was messaging a friend early day 2 when I had 20 bb’s making plans for them to come back and watch the Final Table – I told them I was going to make it & win – This is not a normal occurrence for me – From 3 tables, to 2 tables, to the Final table I was focused on nothing else…..the word Chop or Deal was never brought up by myself or anyone else – And the way the chip distribution was; often myself with one of the bigger stacks and various short stacks I wouldn’t have even considered a deal as ICM gives more value to shorter stacks then I would ever want to give them in a deal.
As soon as we were Heads-Up he [Ryan Yu] mentioned something about talking deal(Can’t remember his exact words) I hadn’t considered making a deal until that exact moment; I believe my words were something like: “Well I wouldn’t consider any deal unless I got the win, trophy, etc….” I didn’t know how Ryan would respond and honestly didn’t care I would’ve been happy to play for it – HU for a WPT title; not much more exciting then that. But very quickly he responded that he’d be fine with that if we did even ICM.
Ummm ok so we’re going to do an even ICM deal – Sure I may be giving up some edge but its not like I play HU poker every day, week or even month….Wow I actually get to be responsible and not just “flip” for 150k and I get a WPT title, a spot in the Champions Club, entry into the TOC and my 4th Fallsview title in 5 years…..
“How could I not agree to this?” Leah added.
Once the terms were hammered out, the two men decided the easiest thing to do was to have Yu just raise and fold, which is clearly what happened. Many in the poker community hated the optics of this, as it was just so blatant, but Leah said that he felt that it was better than trying to hide what they were doing.
He did agree that this probably wasn’t ideal and that “every ‘major’ title should be played for,” but in the end, Leah got a deal he loved, so he took it. Yu was more concerned with the money, Leah was more concerned with the title (and got a good monetary deal), so for them, it was a win-win.
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