LAS VEGAS -- If there's one thing you can't accuse Sylvain Loosli of being, it's impatient. The Frenchman didn't play any of the first 17 hands at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table. And when he found himself stuck with a medium-sized chip stack between two overwhelming chip leaders and two short stacks, he bided his time to make sure he could move up the pay ladder.
"I knew I had to be patient," said Loosli. "I knew I had to play tight just waiting for people to bust, so that's what I did, just waiting for some good spots."
He was, however, embroiled in a bit of controversy, as on two separate occasions he made an incomplete raise that required a ruling from the floor. In poker, a player that raises is required to raise at least as much as the previous player. For instance, if the big blind is 200 and a player raises to 600, a player that wishes to raise must make a raise to at least 1,000 (matching the 400 raise made by the previous player). When a player puts out more than a call but less than a complete raise, then two things can happen, depending on the amount of chips put in by the player. If the number of chips is less than 50 percent of a raise, it is ruled a call. If it's 50 percent or more, it's ruled a minimum raise, and action goes back to the previous player.
Some saw Loosli's actions as a clear attempt at angle shooting.
"'Angle Shooting, French Edition' by Sylvain Loosli" Tweeted @AlCantHang the first time it happened.
"WHAT'S THE ANGLE % HERE?" asked Scott Seiver the second time it happened.
Loosli said he simply made a mistake and put the wrong amount of chips out on both occasions, though he did intend to raise both times.
But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Loosli's run was that despite starting the day in sixth chip position and moving up to fourth place, Loosli never once doubled up or had his tournament life at risk, until his final hand of the tournament.
Loosli, at the time the shortest stack at the table, moved all in from the small blind holding queen-seven and was called by Ryan Riess, who had ace-10. Loosli failed to improve and busted in fourth place, claiming nearly $2.8 million.
"I just wanted to play my best poker tonight," said Loosli. "Obviously it's disappointing to be fourth, to be so close to the title, but it's such a great result."
Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi. Follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.