Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby out slugged Jeff Shulman.
251 players ponied up $2,500 each to play in this two-day event, with David Williams, Jeff Madsen, Jeff Shulman, and Alex Jacob grabbing seats late. They joined a cast including Justin Bonomo, Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, JJ Liu, Rene Angelil, and Juha Helppi among others. Each event brings more solid players out of the woodwork as they work on their tourney games to get primed for the WSOP arriving in Las Vegas in ten weeks. As is common at these events, the list of quick exits include some very tough players, this time sending Liz Lieu, Joe Sebok, Mark Seif, David Williams, and Alex Jacob out in the first three hours. By that time the field had been cut in half as those remaining jockeyed for position.
JC Tran took the afternoon chip lead, and no player has been hotter than Tran in the last six months. Since October 2006, here are some of the results he's logged: 1st in WCOOP/PokerStars ($670k), 1st in World Poker Finals at Foxwoods ($312k), 1st in Five Diamond Classic at Bellagio ($266k), 6th at Gold Strike World Poker Open in Tunica ($142k), 2nd in LA Poker Classic ($1.177M), and 1st in World Poker Challenge in Reno ($683k). Any one of these finishes would make a great year for most pros, combined and they are breathtaking. He's built these results through a combination of aggression and stellar reads, but a few missteps along the way meant this scalp would not be added to his trophy case. First, he reraised with 7-6o vs. A-K, doubling up an opponent he'd been picking on. Next, he lost a big pot when David Daneshgar made a 50k bet on the river into a pot of 116k with a board of . Finally, Jared Hamby three-bet all-in pre-flop, and Tran called with . Hamby turned over pocket aces, and the most dangerous player in the room was out (12th, $7,000). Play ended at 3:00AM, and the Final Table was set for Day 2.
David Daneshgar started Day 2 with the chip lead (265k), with Adam Whittles close behind (230k) as well as Jared Hamby (190k). Jeff Shulman (21k) and Q. Chi (23k) were the short stacks. Shulman and Chi doubled up quickly, with Chi repeating the feat within the first hour. Shulman did him one better. The flurry of chip movement left Whittles down to 65k, and he moved all-in with . J.C. Alvarado came over the top for a total of 93k with . Shulman was ready to get out of the way until he peaked at his cards. Two red aces winked back at him, so he called all-in. He tripled up, sending Daneshgar to the rail (10th, $7k), and leaving Alvarado with 9k in chips. He left the following hand (9th, $9,330), and Shulman had a nice stack with 250k. The other short stack Chi survived, good for 7th ($14,580), doubling his take home pay through his savvy play.
James Mackey stopped the Shulman juggernaut, doubling through him with a full house to take the chip lead at 413k. Shulman dropped back to third in chips behind Woodin (214k), with Hamby now in sixth of six players with just under 100k. Hamby grabbed enough chips to cover Mark Wilds as both their stacks had dwindled to 75k. Wilds reraised all-in, Hamby called and pounded the table showing pocket aces, leaving Mark Wilds out as his pocket nines didn't improve (6th, $20,410). Hamby went on a roll, turning his pocket kings on Woodin's pocket fours (5th, $26,245). Hamby played his rush, raising pots continuously. Shulman reraised all-in for his 205k, and Hamby instacalled flipping over . Shulman's pocket jacks held up, and he doubled up to 410k.
The third place finisher resulted from a sick shove and an even sicker call. James Mackey raised to 35k on the button and Dave Daneshgar made the call from the big blind. The flop came , and Daneshgar moved all-in with 111k. Mackey contemplated for quite awhile, and finally called. His deliberation was understandable and his call miraculous as he showed . That's king high with no draw. Daneshgar felted , and Mackey's read had been impeccable. Now the cards had to hold up for him, and they did with meaning that the king high was good. Dave Daneshgar could only shake his head at the call then shake Mackey's hand, as Daneshgar was out in 4th ($34,980).
Hamby hit a two outer to double through Shulman, Hamby's pocket tens catching a third ten on the flop to beat Shulman's pocket jacks. Shulman then doubled through each of his opponents, first catching a king on the river with K-Q to double through Hamby's pocket sevens, then doubling through Mackey's small blind shove. Shulman A-9 stayed ahead of Mackey's Q-3, and Shulman was back to 300k. Hamby again caught lightning in a bottle, catching a 5 on the river with pocket fives to double through Mackey and his pocket sixes.
The three ring circus finally ended with Mackey moved all-in with and Shulman called with . With no improvement, James Mackey finished 3rd ($61,235).
While Event #2's heads-up ended in moments, this one lasted ninety minutes. Shulman doubled up quickly to take a dominant chip lead of 1.1M to Hamby's 100k. With a flop of , they got all of their chips in the middle. Hamby hoped for a drawing hand as he felted , but Shulman had flopped top two pair with his . Hamby caught a three on the turn to stay alive, but a seven on the river pushed the monster pot to Shulman. Hamby didn't worry about his 10:1 deficit and gradually chipped away over the next hour.
One final race ended the afternoon and the event, Hamby covering Shulman as he called Shulman's all-in reraise. Pocket eights for Hamby, K-Qo for Shulman, and the eights held up for good. Shulman is no fluke, as his 2nd place finish ($122,465) added to his recent run of five figure payouts. It was his best payday since making the final table of the 2000 WSOP Main Event, won by Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. For Jared Hamby, this was a long time coming. He's a solid online player and played several events in the World Series last summer, cashing in the Main Event but falling short of serious money. $223,780 is serious money indeed, and TheWacoKidd will be ready to make another run here at the Bellagio in the coming days.
Picture courtesy of TheWacoKidd