Limit may not be as TV friendly, but it was the first ever webcast of a WSOP event. Those who purchased the package could even see the hole cards and got commentary from poker pro Brian Wilson (who won a WSOP gold bracelet in 2005) and ESPN's Howard David, normally the radio voice of Monday Night Football.
Poker author David Sklansky was inspired enough by his protégé and crazy poker pal Brandi Hawbaker to finish 13th for $10,310 cash, his best finish in years. Soon after, Styczynski took the lead by winning a 180k pot from Brandon Wong. Wong bubbled the final table for a $11,552 cash and a few unrealized dreams.
That hand helped Styczynski build a stack of more than half the chips when the final table began play. The chip counts:
Gary Styczynski (817k)
James Gorham (632k)
Hansu Chu (389k)
Soheil Shamseddin (303k)
James Holland (163k)
Varouzhan Gumroyan (148k)
Michael Banks (135k)
Dariush Imani (109k)
Peter O'Donnell (55k)
Dariush Imani (9th $16,148) was quickly eliminated when his pocket tens ran into pocket Aces. Peter O'Donnell (8th - $22,359) tripled up early with pocket tens but was eliminated when his pocket tens got slaughtered by Varouzhan Gumroyan's set of tens.
Styczynski continued his domination, even though he was dominated, when his K[c]-Q[c] went up against Michael Banks (7th - $30,433) and his all-in push with A[d]-Q[d].
The flop was A[h]-Q[s]-J[d], giving Banks two-pair but an inside straight draw to Styczynski. 2[c] came on the turn, but Styczynski spiked 10[s] on the river to send Banks home. Banks will have to console himself with the $14 million he won in the Canadian Lottery.
Holland went to war with pocket Kings after a flop of Q[c]-9[s]-7[c], sticking his last few chips in after the Q[s] turn. Gumroyan called with A[d]-Q[d], showing trip Queens, and James Holland (6th - $40,991) did not catch his miracle on the river.
James Gorman, who was second at the start, lost two big pots, one to Shamseddin and another one to Gumroyan that left him short-stacked. Styczynski sent Gorman home (5th - $53,412) on a board of 2[c]-2[d]-2[h]-J[h] when Gorman went all-in with A[d]-8[d] and ran into Styczynski's J[d]-4[c] and a full house.
Soheil Shamseddin (4th - $75,771) was victim to Styczynski's continued hot streak when his two pair with A[c]-K[c] fell to Styczynski's rivered straight with Q[d]-3[d]. With the blinds at 20k/40k, Styczyski had the lead with 1.4m in chips, followed by Gumroyan's 1 million and Chu's 170,000 and a prayer.
Not surprisingly, Chu went home soon after that (3rd - $114,278), and it was heads-up with the two players nearly even in chips with 1.3 million a piece. Two big pots later, Styczynski had 2.4m and Gumroyan only had 350k.
On the first, Gumroyan rivered a pair of 8s and called a river bet, but Styczynski had turned a pair of 9s. However, Gumroyan then doubled through Styczynski twice and soon was back at 1.1m and later won another pot with a pair of aces to Styczynski's pair of sevens.
The exciting heads-up match continued when Gumroyan won a huge pot with pocket Aces. That gave him the lead, but then Styczynski won the biggest pot of the tournament. The board showed A[h]-K[h]-J[s]-Q[s] on the turn, and Gumroyan check-raised Styczynski and was called. The river brought the 7[h]. Gumroyan bet, Styczynski raised, Gumroyan re-raised and Styczynski completed with a four-bet. Gumroyan had 10[s]-2[s] for an Ace-high straight, but Styczynski had Q[h]-8[h] and the nut flush.
Gumroyan battled back after that but went out on a flop of 10[c]-9[s]-5[d], when he pushed with A[h]-4[s] and Styczynski called with J[c]-8[d]. The turn was a Q[c], and Gary Styczynski was the champion.
Final payouts were:
Gary Styczynski - $280,715
Varouzhan Gumroyan - $177,627
Hansu Chu - $114,278a
Soheil Shamseddin - $75,771
James Gorham - $53,412
Jimmy Holland - $40,991
Michael Banks - $30,433
Peter O'Donnell - $22,359
Dariush Imani - $16,148
Styczynski, 42 years old from Pearl River, NY, is a part-time consultant and poker player. He went into the WSOP on fire, cashing three times in tournaments at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. It's possible his consulting services may be in demand more than ever, this time at the game of poker. Styczynski won the title the hard way - one bet at a time.