Chris Reslock overcame a small starting stack to overpower monster chip leader David Oppenheim then battled five-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey to take down the $5k Seven-Card Stud World Championship Event #11. (Photo courtesy of PokerNews)
If No Limit Hold-em is the poker of today, then the poker of yesterday is Seven-Card Stud. Head to Tunica, Foxwoods, or the Bellagio, and you'll find veteran players matching wits in this ever-changing game whose popularity has been restored a bit through the overall popularity of HORSE.
David Oppenheim entered Event #11 as a monster chip leader (609k) with Phil Ivey in second with 322k. Ivey is the youngest player to five WSOP bracelets, and none of his victories in the World Series has been in NLH.
The most improbable series of finishes in the last two years has been Marco Traniello. This was his thirteenth WSOP cash since he started playing in 2005, and it was his second final table this year. He came into the final table with only 30k in chips, and with 2k antes, a 3k bring-in, and betting limits of 10k/20k, he needed to catch some cards quickly to have a chance to get deep. Unfortunately, Phil Ivey knocked him out in 8th ($19,458). Look for Traniello to visit the final table again during this World Series as he pursues his first WSOP bracelet.
While Traniello left quickly, Chris Reslock wanted to stay a long time. He came into the Final Table fifth in chips (141k), and he won several early pots before knocking out Oriane Teyssiere (7th, $27,072) and Ted Lawson (6th, $35,532). This was Lawson's eighth cash since 2005, another top World Series player looking to break through for his first World Series bracelet. Reslock had moved up to 425k in chips, ahead of Ivey with 340k and trailing only David Oppenheim with 665k.
Pat Pezzin battled hard all afternoon, doubling through Chris Reslock, losing a pot to David Oppenheim, doubling up through Phil Ivey. Just like a kid on a pogo stick, he bounced down to the felt and back up again as he fought for survival and some kind of momentum. He found enough momentum to chip up and let Thor Jorgensen bust out in 5th ($46,530).
David Oppenheim held the chip lead but had been unable to use his chips with force. It was now a four-man horse race.
David Oppenheim: 583k
Phil Ivey: 410k
Pat Pezzin: 385k
Chris Reslock: 367k
In stud, the lowest first card up bets first and has the option of the lower bring-in or the higher complete bet. The bring-in is a minimal bet above the ante which starts the action and punishes the low card with a somewhat unjust tariff. Phil Ivey used the low card to great effect, continually bypassing the weak bring-in and simply completing the bet. At one point, he took down three of four hands using this strategy. This aggression not only kept other players on their toes, it camouflaged Ivey's hands well as he was ready to go to war with any down cards.
David Oppenheim pulled a rabbit out of the hat to get the table down to three players. Pat Pezzin got the last of his chips in with the vs Oppenheim's . It looked good until the final down card for Pezzin, but Oppenheim flipped up his three down cards for a dreadful sign of the beast, 666. The final cards read:
Trip sixes sent Pezzin home in 4th ($61,335). It was his best finish in five World Series cashes, and the Toronto native was hoping it was the near miss he needed to push him to even greater heights.
Oppenheim held the chip lead (710k) with Ivey (580k) and Reslock (485k) in hot pursuit. Ivey showed why he was a five-time bracelet winner, pushing Oppenheim off of his complete once with a raise while taking antes almost with impunity. After twenty hands, he'd moved dangerously into the chip lead (635k). His lead was slim, but it would not be easy for anyone to get in front of the Ivey train.
With antes of 7k, a bring-in of 10k, and 30k/60k limits, it didn't take many big hands to turn the tide, and Chris Reslock knew he would need ammunition to take his first bracelet. He took four hands in a row to bring Oppenheim to his knees, forcing him to the felt once only to see him stay alive. He staved off elimination for another dozen hands but Reslock finally finished off David Oppenheim (3rd, $93,060).
Reslock sat on 1.4m in chips over Ivey's 325k, but both player knew the lead was hardly insurmountable for Ivey. Reslock was confident but played with intensity, and he needed it on the last hand.
With Ivey showing and Reslock holding , the two three-bet the first card. Both knew this would be the hand that either ended the event or set Ivey up for a trip to the winner's circle. On the next card, Ivey showed and bet it against Reslock's , and again Reslock raised to 60k. Ivey called. On fifth street, Ivey showed to Reslock's ; again Ivey bet and was raised to 120k. Ivey called.
Ivey got his last 69k in chips into the pot, and he needed help to take the hand. He held in the hole for two pair. Reslock had for trip tens, and Ivey needed a 7 or 8 to take the massive 692k pot. The final card was dealt down, and Reslock quickly flipped over his and hoped Ivey would not show his cards. Ivey tossed his cards in the muck as he took 2nd place ($143,820).
Chris Reslock took his first WSOP bracelet ($258,453), and the former Atlantic City taxi driver had been added to the roster of the top stud players in the world. And Phil Ivey? He headed back to the tables, building a stack of chips in the $1.5k Seven-Card Stud event, still in hot pursuit for his sixth WSOP bracelet.