Dan Baruch won three SNG's and turned his initial $1.5k buy-in into a $264k prize in the WSOP Shootout. He held his own with Daniel Negreanu three-handed then used his big stack to finish off runner-up Jared Davis.
SNG's are a staple of online play. Some top online players may sit at forty-sixty per day, popping up four tables at a time to take down a table. Here at the World Series of Poker, 900 players sat at 90 tables in a winner-take-all format to move into the money and sit in Round 2. These 90 players worked to see who would sit at the Final Table of nine to have their chance at the WSOP bracelet.
The first round saw quite a diverse approach to the SNG. Each of the ten players started with 3k in chips, the winner the first to have all 30k in chips at the table. Blinds were the comfortable hour levels, but many tables played like these were 6-max turbos. Winners of their table who cashed and moved on included WSOP ME Final Table players Richard Lee and Michael Binger, Vince Van Patten, "Freakonomics" author and leading economist Steven Levitt, Joe Sebok, Erick Seidel, Scott Clements, Bill Chen, An Tran, and Barry Greenstein. Jennifer Harman had a long tough heads-up battle but ultimately was finished off when her J-10 top pair lost to J-3 for a flopped two pair. Harman has had a tough WSOP so far, so hopefully better things are ahead for her.
Tables were redrawn for the evening session of Round 2. Each player who didn't win their table received $6,757. Thomas Fuller was the first to take down his table, getting very lucky against Steven Levitt. Fuller slightly covered Levitt, and Levitt made it 4.1k and Fuller called. The flop came , Fuller checked, and Lebitt bet 7.2k. On the turn of , Fuller bet out 8k. Levitt raised to 20k and Fuller then moved all-in. Levitt called and showed for top pair, and Fuller showed for noghting but a gutshot straight draw. The brutal river of brought an end to Levitt's first WSOP cash and sent Fuller on to the Final Table.
Dan Baruch used a flush to end his table, while Erick Lindgren caught a straight with to end Brandon Schaefer's evening. Daniel Negreanu joined his good buddy Lindgren, as did Brendan Lee, Doug Baughman, Frederick Goldberg, Jared Davis, and Michael Wehner.
Each player at the Final Table started with 300k in chips, and the blinds started at 3k/6k with a 1k ante. This looked very similar to a solid SNG, where the donkified early shoves had evaporated and small pot poker took center stage. Daniel Negreanu decided on a race with Fred Goldberg. Negreanu had vs Goldberg's pocket jacks, and the river ace sent Fred Goldberg out (9th $9,828).
Lindgren's stack had slipped to 170k when he got into a pot with Baruch. Lindgren moved all-in on the turn with a board of and Baruch called quickly. The ace hit Lindgren with his , but he'd already lost when Baruch showed . Erick Lindgren was out in 8th ($12,899).
Thomas Fuller was the short stack but then masterfully doubled through Brendan Lee. Fuller moved all-in on a board of , and Lee called with . Fuller had pocket kings and they held up to get him healthy. Another action flop led to the next to exit the shrouded table.
In a three-way pot, Negreanu checked a flop of , and Baughman bet. Baruch called, then Negreanu raised only to see Baughman move all-in. He called after Baruch folded and showed . Baughman had a monster draw with . took some outs away from Baughman, and the harmless sent the chips to Negreanu as Doug Baughman went to the cashier (7th $15,971).
As the blinds increased to 6k/12k with a 2k ante, Negreanu had a dangerous stack:
Daniel Negreanu (899k)
Brendan Lee (479k)
Thomas Fuller (371k)
Jared David (353k)
Don Baruch (340k)
Michael Wehner (258k)
Negreanu increased his stack by taking pots then busting Brendan Lee. Lee moved all-in on a flop of , and Negreanu worked through the hand then called with . Lee had , but sent Brendan Lee home (6th $22,113). He then knocked out short-stacked Michael Wehner (5th $36,855) to move up to 1.5m. Fuller (397k), Davis (394), and Baruch (350k) combined had less chips than the new PokerStars Team member. It seemed inevitable that Negreanu would use the stack to dominate the table, but it didn't work out that way.
He moved up to 1.6m in chips then Jared Davis picked up pocket aces to send fellow shorty Thomas Fuller home (4th $68,796). Baruch and Negreanu then tangled. On a flop of , all the chips got into the pot. Negreanu held and Baruch showed . were the wrong black cards for Negreanu, and Baruch doubled up 745k. He then continued played his rush and quickly eased into the chip lead.
The Final Table turned on a key hand between these two. On a flop of , Baruch checked. Negreanu bet top pair with , and Baruch then moved all-in. He had , and Negreanu went into the tank for several minutes. He finally folded his hand, a tough laydown.
Play slowed down after the dinner break. Baruch held the chip lead and led the table into passivity, occasionally taking decent pots to restore his comfortable chip lead. Negreanu slowed down, his more cautious play and deliberate. Baruch pushed up to 2m in chips with Davis and Negreanu down to less than 350k each. Davis moved all-in with pocket fives pre-flop and Negreanu finally decided to roll the dice with . The board was ragged and missed Negreanu's eight, and the one-time monster chipleader was out in 3rd ($101,351).
Davis had 607k to Baruch's 2.1m, and Davis never got closer than that during the fifty hands of heads-up play. Baruch used to finish off the of Jared Davis (2nd $149,263). It was the first cash in any live tournament for Don Baruch (1st $264,107). All he had to do was win three SNG's, and that's exactly what the father of two girls did. (photo courtesy of PokerNews)