David Chiu overcame the odds on Saturday to win the 2008 World Poker Tour Championship. When Chiu and Gus Hansen got heads-up, Hansen had a massive 22 million to 4.3 million chip advantage and all the momentum in the world. He had just knocked out four players in 22 hands and was seemingly cruising towards victory.
Chiu slowly took back the momentum in the match and eventually defeated Hansen after making trips on the river versus Hansen's flopped two pair. Several other poker sites have hailed the victory as "one of the greatest comebacks of all time" in a major poker tournament.
While it was certainly impressive, Chiu's victory was not the greatest comeback of all time in a major tournament. That distinction belongs to Jack Straus, the 1982 World Series of Poker champion. The origin of the phrase "chip and a chair" can be traced back to Jack's victory that year.
The story goes that Straus was involved in a hand with another player when he pushed a large mound of his chips towards the center of the table. He didn't say "All In"; he simply pushed what he thought were all of his remaining chips into the center of the table. His opponent called and the two players flipped over their cards. Straus was beaten in the hand, and stood up to leave the table and the tournament, thinking that he had been eliminated.
When Straus was cleaning up and grabbing his coat, he noticed that he still had a single $500 chip underneath his drink napkin (some reports say that it was a pack of cigarettes instead of a napkin). He had not actually announced that he was all-in at any point during the hand, and was allowed to remain in the tournament with his single $500 chip. Some versions of the story have this occurring on the final day of the event, but most poker historians say that it happened well into the first day.
Straus moved all-in with his short stack over and over, and kept winning. Eventually he had some breathing room, having been saved from elimination by the narrowest of margins.
Eventually Straus had clawed, kicked and scratched his way to the final table and eventually found himself heads-up with Dewey Tomko. The final hand came when the two players pushed all of their chips in the middle, with Straus holding A-10 and Tomko holding A-4. The flop brought a 4, giving Tomko a pair of fours. The turn was the Queen of clubs, and the river brought the 10 of spades, giving Straus the improbable victory. Straus, seemingly eliminated from the tournament on Day 1, had fought his way back and beaten 103 other players on his way to the title.
Considering how close Straus was elimination and considering the fact that he ended up winning the WSOP main event, you would have to say that this was the greatest comeback of all time in a major poker tournament.
If you were ever wondering where the term "chip and a chair" came from, look no further than Jack's victory in the 1982 World Series of Poker. As long as you have at least one chip to play with and a chair to sit at, you are still alive in any tournament, even the World Series of Poker main event.
Filed Under: Live Tournament Results
| Miscellaneous Poker Articles