3,151 players gathered Saturday for the $1.5k NLH Event #49, breaking the record of 2,998 set at the beginning of the World Series of Poker. A whopping 324 players cashed late on Day 1 as play ended with 218 players bagging their chips for the night.
Greg Mueller didn't have very many chips to count and bag. It was the fifth time this year that Mueller has made the money, including a runner-up finish for $328,554 in Event #1 ($5k NLH/LH Mixed Hold-Em). He regularly has a massive stack on Day 1 in big events, but this time his 15k was well short of Day 1 chipleader Mads Wissing Andersen with 147k. Poker sometimes is a sprint, but more often it is a marathon. Mueller showed he could run either race as he increased his stack almost seventy-fold by the end of the evening of Day 2.
The most lively player deep into Day 2 was Leandro "Brasa" Pimental. He started the day as the #2 Pimental in the field behind Eduardo. As play moved down to a final two tables, a group of forty fellow Brazilians burst into song and chants as if they were at a Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier. "Olé! Olé! Brasa! Brasa!" went the chants whenever he won a pot, and the place went as quiet as a church when an opponent rivered a queen to drop him into the danger zone with 180k and fourteen players left.
Play normally gets very deliberate with eleven players left as one more bustout leads to a redrawn table of ten and a slow, full table. This time, two players left to jump from eleven to nine. On one table, Todd Lundwall moved all-in with 7[h]-7[s] and was called by Ray Spencer with A[c]-9[s]. Spencer caught an ace, and Lundwall was out in 11th ($37,635). Suddenly on the adjacent table, Duane Felix raised to 100k and Thomas Middlethon moved all-in for 280k. Felix called with A[s]-J[s], well behind Middlethon's Q[d]-Q[c]. J[h]-K[s]-5[c] came on the flop, then A[c] sent a rush of euphoria over Felix as well as the other players. 7[c] meant Middlethon was out in 10th ($37,635), and the Final Table was set.
Chip counts for the Final Table:
1s Greg Mueller (1.03m)
2s Chadrasekhar Billavara (456k)
3s Lewis Titterton (552k)
4s Leandro Pimentel (1.13m)
5s Ray Spencer (1.13m)
6s Taylor Douglas (2.62m)
7s Duane Felix (996k)
8s John Hunt (833k)
9s Cort Kibler-Melby (694k)
The Final Table was in the shrouded webcast table, and this time a huge crowd of Brazilians gathered to cheer what happened to Brasa. They watched the one-hour delayed broadcast outside of the Media Room, with a few close friends trying to catch any sound through the curtains to determine how their friend was doing. When Pimentel won a pot, a cheer would go up outside of the curtains.
Billavara slow-played A[c]-A[s] to double-up through Mueller on a A[d]-Q[h]-10[h] flop. Mueller called with K[d]-10[d], and his miserable day had started. One player left before it got ugly for Mueller. Lewis Titterton got all his chips in with K[c]-Q[d], and Pimental moved over the top with A[d]-10[h]. A[c]-7[h]-10[c]-2[d]-K[h] tilted the chips away from Titterton, and he was out in 9th ($45,162).
Pimental got involved in a big three way pot when he raised with A[h]-J[s]. Ray Spencer called with K[s]-2[s] as did John Hunt with A[d]-10[d]. The flop came 4[h]-A[c]-2[d], Pimental bet 320k, and Hunt moved all-in after Spencer folded. Pimental called in a dominant position, and 8[d] brought a flush draw for Hunt. It was 10[c] instead of the flush that came on the river, and Hunt was up to 1.4m instead of out the door.
Blinds moved up to 30k/60k with a 5k ante. Mueller raised to 240k with J[h]-J[c], and Pimental moved all-in for another 460k. Mueller called reluctantly, and he was way behind as Pimental showed Q[h]-Q[d]. 4[s]-6[s]-10[s]-3[d]-K[h] shipped the monster pot to Pimental and left Mueller with 600k. He steamingly played J[s]-6[h] to get back over a million in a pot with Kibler-Melby, a jack on the river getting him paid off. It wasn't enough to get him whole.
Mueller raised with 3[d]-4[d] from the cutoff, and Ray Spencer called with K[d]-8[h] from the small blind as did Taylor Douglas from the big blind. The flop looked to be a home run for Mueller: 4[h]-6[c]-4[s]. Spencer checked, and Douglas led out 210k into the pot. Mueller min-raised to 420k, and Spencer folded. Douglas moved all-in, and Mueller beat him into the pot with his trip fours. Douglas turned over 10[c]-4[c] for trip fours also with a kicker that played. Mueller needed some big cards to come, the board to pair, or a three to hit and give him a full house. None of that happened as 7[h]-9[d] came, and Greg Mueller was out in 8th ($55,914). He was stunned as he stood outside of the Amazon Room, another potential home run turned into a bloop single that left him stranded on first.
Ray Spencer was short-stacked and moved all-in with K[c]-J[h], and Douglas called with A[h]-J[s]. It was actually a great flop for Spencer if he wasn't going to hit his king, as 10[h]-A[c]-3[c] gave him a straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. 10[s]-K[s] left him not good enough, and he finished in 7th ($79,270).
Blinds moved up to 60k/120k with a 15k ante, and the final six felt the heat. Duane Felix moved all-in with A[h]-2[h] and was called by the A[c]-9[c] of John Hunt. K[c]-9[h]-10[d] brought nothing but a runner-runner flush draw or a deuce for Felix, but it was Hunt who bagged the flush with 4[c]-J[c]. Felix walked from behind the curtain in 5th ($131,184).
After Felix left, it was almost like the lights went out as everyone started grabbing chips from one another. Taylor Douglas became the aggressive table captain, raising and taking blinds at will. Billavara decided to play back at him with 9[c]-10[d] and moved all-in, and Douglas quickly called with A[c]-K[h]. 8[h]-10[h]-5[c] ripped the lead from Douglas, but J[h] brought him a ton of outs. 2[c] on the river doubled up Billavara.
Pimentel then took his turn with Douglas. He raised only to have Douglas come over the top with 3[c]-3[h]. He gladly called all-in with K[s]-K[d], and now Pimentel had a healthy stack. Billavara then doubled up again, this time through John Hunt. Hunt came over the of Billavara's 1m raise with pocket fives. Billavara called with A[h]-J[h] and got brutalized by the 3[c]-5[d]-8[d]-4[d]-8[h] board as Hunt doubled up.
The Brazilian contingent was an hour behind as they watched the webcast outside of the Media Room, but word of mouth travels fast. Pimentel moved all-in with A[h]-10[s] and was called by Billavara with A[c]-Q[c]. No help came from the dealer, and Leandro Pimentel was out in 4th place. He walked from behind the curtain to the interview set outside of the Amazon Room as the quartet of friends who listened through the curtains gave their congratulations. As the interview started, a swarm of Brazilians flooded down the hall. "Brasa! Brasa!" went the cheers, leaving the interview pointless. They threw him in the air and chanted before he collected his $189,249 or 361,465 Brazilian Reais.
The noise may have left the room but not the excitement. Taylor Douglas moved all-in with Q[s]-J[d], and John Hunt moved over the top with A[s]-Q[s]. Chandrasekhar Billavara looked won at K-Q, and deliberated awhile before folding. Douglas looked to be in bad shape but spiked a jack on the flop to double up. Crippled, he shoved with K[c]-4[d] and was happy to see Billavara turn over Q[c]-J[c] after his call. Again, a jack flopped to give the hand to someone else, but this time it meant a 3rd place finish for John Hunt ($292,476)
Billavara sat with 5.465m in front of him, and Douglas had 4m for plenty of chips to play with. Ultimately, it was inexperience that got the best of Douglas. With blinds still at 60k/120k with 15k antes, there was no need to shove at blinds to take them down. Douglas lost a couple of quick pots then started open-shoving at blinds. He did it once too often with Q[c]-9[s], and Billavara called with A[d]-7[s]. J[h]-6[h]-2[s]-A[h] sent Taylor Douglas out in 2nd ($467,101).
Chandrasekhar Billavara had won the fourth largest live poker tournament in history ($722,914), taking down the Final Table as the short stack. And he almost didn't enter the event. He played three hands before losing all of his chips in the first WSOP event he played in last week, but he won $3,200 in craps at the Rio as he let off steam.
His logic in entering the second event was even if he busted out again, he'd be up $200 for his Vegas trip. Well, he ended up a little more than that, +$721,414 to be exact.
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