Omaha was rampant at the Rio, with three different events going simultaneously. It was as if the World Series had been transported to London or Monte Carlo where Omaha is all the rage. When the 352 players got down to the final table, there were eight Americans and a Canadian setting down to mix it up. One Canadian who’s had a mixed World Series is Daniel Negreanu. He’s reached two final tables as well as cashed in the $10k PLO event, but he’s struggled trying to put it all together. A 7th and an 8th would be gladly traded for a bracelet. This would not be the event he’d get the bracelet as his strong Day 1 run evaporated late, out before the cash.
The 47 seated on Day 2 quickly got down to the 35 players in the money with many candidates to reach the final table. Huck Seed cashed for the third time this year (24th, $5,829). Allen Cunningham has shown that he’s a threat to grab a bracelet any time he reaches the last three tables. He lost a crucial pot to Peter Costa, folding on the river to Costa’s nut flush. He left a few hands later (18th, $7,772), and Chad Brown
quickly got in line at the payout line (17th, $7,772). Andy Black made a strong run but busted late (11th, $11,658). After Scott Clements knocked out Josh Tieman (10th, $11,658), the final table was set.
The buzz through the evening had been about Phil Hellmuth, second in chips to Clements with a really strong chance for his record-tying 10th bracelet. Hellmuth hoped the third time would be a charm as he had gotten progressively closer to the title that has eluded him. He was 13th in the $3k LHE event, followed by a runner-up finish in the $5k NLHE event. He started bleeding chips early this time, even as Alex Limjoco (9th, $19,430) lost a huge pot to Clements, his queens over fours full house no good up against aces full for Clements. Ronald Matsuura scooped a pot vs. Hellmuth, reaching $200k in chips to Clements’ $355k. Hellmuth tried to be opportunistic, but he could see the basement now with only $50k in chips. Steve Ladowski survived gamely as the small stack, but his scooper went kaput (8th, $38,861). Peter Costa lost a big pot to Clements, and Hellmuth had company on the small stack. Norwegian-born Thor Hansen knocked out Costa with the nut flush and no low (7th, $38,861), and then he and Clements scooped consecutive pots off Hellmuth. Brent Carter finished off Hellmuth in just a brutal fashion. On a board of , Hellmuth flipped over . It hurt to see what he lost to, Carter with out kicked trip eights and no low. Hellmuth is hardly indifferent; he wants to join the Chan/Brunson club again. It wasn’t this time (6th, $48,576).
Clements had $570k in chips, more than the other four players combined and almost four times Martin Corpuz and Ron Matsuura each with $150k. H/L can be a brutal game as hands that flop monsters turn into halved pots or even quartered. Matsuura split just a pot with Clements, a pot that would have helped Matsuura much more than it would have hurt Clements. Matsuura had A-2o and had the nut low with a rivered wheel on a board of . Unfortunately for him, so did Clements. Matsuura, Hansen, and Carter traded the short stack position over several rounds, but Matsuura finally grabbed it for keeps (5th, $58,291). Corpuz joined the remaining duo of Hansen and Carter to battle for the chance to get heads-up against Clements. Each doubled up at least once, saved from elimination. Clements finally knocked out Corpuz (4th, $68,006) with the nut flush and no low vs. trips and the nut low draw. Clements then decided who he’d battle as he chose Carter to leave next (3rd, $77,722).
Thor Hansen sat at a 10:1 chip deficit, and it would take enough scoops to fill several boxes of Raisin Bran if he was going to win this one. Realistically, he could be proud of making it to heads-up (2nd, $155,443). This day belonged to Scott Clements from the beginning (1st, $301,175). Clements joined Jeff Madsen as the second bracelet winner from the state that banned online poker, Washington. Who knows how many aspiring poker players will now lobby their legislatures to ban online poker as well, if it will increase their luck and chances to win a WSOP bracelet like these two.