We just heard the tell tale signs of a bad beat in progress, as one player screamed out in exultation in one moment, before crying out in anguish when the river card fell.
Brendan Flaherty, meanwhile, shot out of his chair in unadulterated joy, pumping his fist and knocking his chair over as he celebrated what has to be one of the more improbable victories of the day.
According to multiple sources at the table, the drama began when a short-stacked player moved all in over the top of a 1,000 opening raise, putting his last 7,000 at risk. Another player decided to isolate in position, and he reraised all in for 20,000, putting the action on Flaherty.
The boisterous Flaherty checked his cards and snapped off with a call, putting the majority of his own chips at risk in the process. With three players all in for their tournament lives, we arrived to see the most of the players at the table stand as one, expecting to witness a momentous showdown of premium hands.
While both of his opponents showed up with the goods, Flaherty went to war with a cap gun against two cannons. The dealer burned and turned one card, before revealing the players' destinies with the flash of three board cards.
The short-stacked player had survived the flop, and his pocket pair was in the lead in its race against the overcards. Flaherty, meanwhile, was left grasping for straws, as his ragged hand failed to connect in any meaningful way.
With a third spade on board, the ace-queen added a slew of additional outs, while Flaherty's slim draw was drawn and quartered, leaving him with only non-spade tens, eights, and threes as potential saviors.
Just like that, a blind squirrel found his nut in the form of a backdoor straight, while two players were eliminated from the Main Event in particularly brutal fashion.
For his part, Flaherty explained that he misread his hand, thinking he held rather than a three-gap unsuited connector. Despite this lapse in vision, Flaherty can now see a seat at Day 2 on the horizon, as he has built a healthy stack with just thirty minutes to play here tonight.
"Can I just go home now?," Flaherty wondered aloud, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he had nearly stamped that ticket just minutes before.