Ryan Hughes from Phoenix took out Greg "Fossilman" Raymer and Doug Carli, outplaying 340 of the world's best Stud players to win his first WSOP bracelet.
Chip counts to start the Final Table of eight players:
Steve Graboski (373k)
Ryan Hughes (341k)
Greg Raymer (215k)
Doug Carli (97k)
Min Lee (66k)
Ron Ware (46k)
Jim Weir (46k)
Adam Spiegelberg (36k)
Most spectators pulled for Greg Raymer to grab his third WSOP bracelet. Raymer is among the most popular poker players at the WSOP, and he has to be the most gracious and approachable. He prides himself on his all-around poker skills, and Stud H/L is right in his sweet spot. Third in chips, he had lots of options.
The Final Table huggled next to the superstructure of the ESPN set, and the 8s faced away from the shrouded table used for the WSOP Webcast. This table is not conducive to spectator viewing, but railbirds flocked to catch a glimpse of Raymer in action.
With so many short-stacks and a jump in prize money from 8th ($13,923) to 4th ($41,460), players expected an early action table. The first three out inevitably followed form with Adam Spiegelberg (8th $13,923), Ron Ware (7th $18,873), and Jim Weir (6th $24,443) leaving the tight confines of the Final Table.
By the time Weir busted out, Greg Raymer had the chip lead. With antes of 5k, a 5k bring-in, and 20k/40k bets, any hand could be a big hand. Steve Graboski proved to have problems grabbing pots throughout the Final Table. He got all-in during a hand that Raymer and Ryan Hughes were involved in. Hughes and Raymer were raising each other on every street. On sixth street, the three players looked at:
Graboski had no more chips, and Hughes bet 40k into the side pot. Raymer raised, and Hughes folded. The last card was dealt down, and Graboski needed a club to grab a flush. Raymer turned over and hoped the trip sevens were good. They were, and Steve Graboski was out in 5th ($32,178).
Raymer held a dominant chip lead, but Hughes hacked away and took the chip lead over the next hour. All three players took pots from Raymer, and his big stack quickly evaporated. When they reached the next level (antes of 7k, a 10k bring-in, 25k/50k bets), Ryan Hughes took aim at each opponent. He took out Greg Raymer (4th $41,460), Doug Carli (3rd $61,880), and finally Min Lee ($97,461).
It was the first cash ever in a stud event for Ryan Hughes (1st $176,358). He isn't well known, but he is a player on the move. He won a PPT event during the LA Poker Classic, as well as cashed five other times in the WSOP since 2004. He hopes this propels him to that next level that players are constantly searching for.