Tough Spots and Brutal Beats on Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event

Date IconLast Updated: Aug 17th, 2023
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Tough Spots and Brutal Beats on Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event

Tricky spots, coolers, and bad beats are par for the course in poker, but no one wants one of these situations on Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event


Unfortunately for a player known as Yon, that’s exactly the position he was in on Day 1B of this year’s Main Event. The South Korean woke up with pocket aces and no doubt jumped for joy internally after watching players raise and re-raise before the flop. 

When the action finally got around to Yon, he put in a four-bet that folded out the original raisers. However, one player stuck around. That player was Alan Mulleady. The American initially called the original raisers and liked his hand enough to match Yon’s bet.

The video below shows why Mulleady was happy to call. With pocket kings being more than strong enough to stick around in a four-bet pot, Mulleady remained stoic as the flop rolled out 8 3 K.


Mulleady casually checked his set to Yon who continued his pre-flop aggression with a bet. Mulleady wasted no time moving his chips into the middle. 

Yon could almost sense he was beat but, with pocket aces and a king-high board, it was tough to fold. He eventually called and saw the bad news. With that, Yon was out of the WSOP Main Event before the close of Day 1B. 

Social Media Experts Give Their Take on AA vs. KK

Dusk Till Dawn owner and high stakes player Rob Yong described the hand as “brutal,” while @Wiscodsin on Twitter said it was “pain” for Yon. 

As gut-wrenching as the hand might have been for Yon, some people on Twitter were critical of his play. Even though aces are strong against certain hands in Melleady’s range, some think they weren’t strong enough to call an all-in. 

“How do you call there with one pair on Day 1?! Serious dead money in the ME, not missing this next year guaranteed,” John Lee tweeted. 

John Lee wasn’t the only player critical of the call. @TdotJohn said it was an obvious spot to fold pocket aces, given the pre-flop action and stage of the tournament. 

“Legit the perfect scenario to fold pockets Aces. No ace of heart in hand and a king on flop,” @TdotJohn wrote on Twitter. 

Joel on Twitter questioned why Yon called when, after the hands were exposed, he appeared to know what Mulleady had. 

“If that's exactly what he thought he had, then why call?! Lol,” Joel wrote on Twitter. 

Commenting on hands from behind a computer screen is a lot easier than making decisions at the table, particularly when it’s the WSOP Main Event. Pressure can get the better of everyone, even former WSOP Main Event champions

Even Former WSOP Champs Make Mistakes

Indeed, with Day 1C drawing to a close, 2021 World Champion Koray Aldemir found himself in a similarly tricky spot to Yon. With pocket kings in hand, Aldemir three-bet an early position raiser. Another player cold four-bet forcing everyone to fold around to Aldemir. 

The German pondered his options before moving all-in. His opponent quickly called with pocket aces and, with that, Aldemir became the first former champion to be eliminated from the 2023 WSOP Main Event. 

Could Aldemir have folded pocket kings? Did Yon make a mistake putting it all on the line with aces on a king-high flop? Those are tricky questions to answer, despite what people on social media might say. Hindsight is wonderful, but things aren’t always as clear when you’re in the middle of a $10,000 poker tournament. 

Indeed, with thousands of people to play through and millions of dollars up for grabs, there’s no other tournament like the WSOP Main Event. This alone can influence people’s decisions and force them into speculative calls.

Whether or not Yon and Aldemir made speculative calls is up for debate. What’s clear, however, is that the WSOP Main Event is already living up to its reputation as one of the toughest, most volatile tournaments in poker.