Events at this year's World Series are a good demonstration of two some simple economic rules: supply and demand, as well as the impact of pricing on volume of units sold. Pros lament that the World Series of Poker has become the World Series of Holdem, but it's hard to fault Harrah's when it comes to giving the customer what they want. They could probably sell out a NLHE event every day for a year here. The other lesson: the lower the price, the higher the number of players. A mere 2,050 players started this event, creating a prize pool of over $3.7M. This three-day event saw some familiar faces make their first cashes of the year while having a final table that were also trying.
Two hundred-three players ended up in the money on Day 1 as they played down to 144 players. Jeff Shulman, Publisher of CardPlayer Magazine, lasted into Day 2, out in 120th ($3,731). Jennifer Tilly
earned her second cash this year, out in 99th ($5,597). Karlo Lopez had his third cash as well (67th, $7,462), and Hasan Habib (63rd, $7,462) and John Spadavecchia (42nd, $9,328) both finished well. But of all the players who made it deep into Day 2, none of them got the top pros attention like the 23rd place finisher, Dan Harrington.
Ask most folks at the Rio what poker books they read heading into the World Series, and you'd likely hear Harrington on Holdem mentioned more than any other. Most had hoped Harrington had retired from poker and would live a life as the wise scholar and author. Getting to the final three tables of a 2,050 field shows that once again he'll be a solid fantasy pick for any WSOP pool.
The last pot of Day 2 was a microcosm of the peaks and valleys of holdem. Down to ten players, Paul Spano raised $40k, and then Nathan Templeton moved all-in for $440k. Spano deliberated quite a bit, and then made the call with his last $320k. He turned over , well behind Templeton's . shoved Spano ahead, and now it was Templeton drawing thin as the brought a gut shot straight draw to chop the pot. Templeton had to be thinking of the queen to do just that, but incredibly the fell on the river. Templeton had moved solidly into 2nd place with $832k in chips, and after the stunned stupor that follows that kind of beat, Paul Spano left (10th, $55,965) as the other nine players bagged their chips.
Justin Scott had the monster stack, $1.5M in chips as the final table started. It was Scott's bracelet to lose, but stranger things had happened. One of those strange things occurred on the fourth hand of the final table. Nathan Templeton raised to $65k, only to see Jason Johnson move all-in with $152k. Farzad Rouhani only had $41k but decided the chance to triple up was too good, so he called. Templeton had pot odds to call the remaining $87k raise from Johnson, and all the cards were shown: Templeton had , Johnson was ahead with , Rouhani held . The flop of looked good for Johnson, then the gave Rouhani a full house and left Templeton hoping for a jack for the side pot. Johnson wanted one of the two kings, but the tripled Rouhani up and gave Johnson the side pot. Cowboys proved to be no good for Bryan Micon as his pocket kings lost to Scott's flopped ace (9th, $74,620). Rouhani again got down to below $40k only to triple up compliments of Scott and Templeton. He then caught pocket aces to double through Scott and move out of the cellar. Scott re-raised Johnson's raise, a cool $1M bet inducing Johnson's call holding vs. Scott's . Jason Johnson was out in 8th ($93,275).
After Greg Glass flopped trip queens to eliminate Josh Wakeman (7th, $111,930) Scott then picked off every other player at the final table, like so many ducks at an arcade. Carl Olson's pocket 6's beaten by a flopped ace (6th, $130,585). Nathan Templeton was taken out by pocket deuces (5th, $149,240). Greg Glass had little hope with K-10o vs. Scott's big slick (4th, $ 186,550). Bob Bright's all-in was called by both Rouhani and Scott, checked down to give Scott the pot with pocket treys and send Bright out (3rd, $261,170).
Forget that Scott now had a $3.8M chip lead over Rouhani's $300k. Rouhani had played masterfully to last until the end. He had aces cracked, caught a set of sixes to double up while on the brink, caught kings to double up again, and got aggressive when he needed to. He earned every chip and every dollar as runner-up ($429,065). But this day belonged to Detroit's Justin Scott (1st, $842,262). Scott said that he'd lost all of his cash upon arriving in Las Vegas at the baccarat tables, only to scratch enough money together to enter this tournament. He hopefully received a comped room for giving his bankroll to the house, but now he has enough cash for a couple of houses.