After three long days of play and a stunning come-from-behind heads-up match, Thomas ‘Buzzer' Bihl captured the first World Series of Poker Europe bracelet in history, taking down the L2,500 HORSE tourney in London last night. Bihl made the final table with some of the top poker players in the world, including Chris ‘Jesus' Ferguson, Joe ‘The Elegance' Beevers and Jennifer Harman. His opponents held nine WSOP bracelets between them, but it was Bihl who prevailed after a long final table to capture the newest WSOP bracelet and the L70,875 prize money.
Jennifer Harman started the day on top of the leader board with Yuval Bronshtein close behind. The chip counts looked like this as final table play began -
Seat 1: Jennifer Harman - 204,000
Seat 2: Gary Jones - 30,000
Seat 3: Joe Beevers - 74,500
Seat 4: Kirk Morrison - 172,500
Seat 5: Thomas Bihl - 130,500
Seat 6: Yuval Bronshtein - 185,500
Seat 7: Alex Kravchenko - 114,500
Seat 8: Chris Ferguson - 142,500
Gary ‘The Choirboy' Jones didn't last long enough for the first game change before he busted in 8th place. Jones sported a bright green mane of hair for the tournament in an effort to raise environmental awareness about climate change, but his neon green hair didn't distract Chris ‘Jesus' Ferguson from busting him with a rivered straight in Hold ‘Em, sending Jones to the rail in 8th place (L9,188).
Joe Beevers picked up the nickname ‘The Elegance' for his dapper dress and cool play under pressure, but the Hendon Mob player couldn't overcome his short starting stack. Beevers went out in 7th place when Kirk Morrison picked up the nut flush to bust home town favorite Beevers with L11,812 for his 7th-place finish.
Atlanta native Yuval Bronshtein was next to fall when he ran into Thomas Bihl in Razz. Bihl check-raised Bronshtein on sixth street, and a pot-committed Bronshtein called Bihl down with a nine-low, not good enough to save him as Bihl turned over 8-7-5-3-A. Bronshtein picked up L14,438 for his 6th-place finish.
Alex Kravchenko hit the WSOP spotlight this summer with a bracelet in the $1,500 Omaha 8 event, four cashes in other preliminary events, and a 4th-place finish in the Main Event. The winningest tournament player in Russian poker history, Kravchenko proved that his summer wasn't a fluke this week in London, when he finished 5th in this event. Kirk Morrison busted Kravchenko in an Omaha 8 hand when Morrison's flush and nut low got there on the river to crack Kravchenko's two pair. Kravchenko picked up L17,850 for his three days' play.
That hand moved Morrison into the chip lead, with stacks looking like this as play became four-handed. Thomas Bihl was the last non-bracelet holder standing as the players neared the dinner break. These were the chip counts after half the final table had been eliminated -
Kirk Morrison -- 310,000
Jennifer Harman -- 305,000
Chris Ferguson -- 230,000
Thomas Bihl -- 210,000
The post-dinner break action was all Morrison as he amassed a huge chip lead and Jennifer Harman and Chris Ferguson slid closer and closer to the edge. Finally, Ferguson got all his chips in the middle in Stud Hi, and ran into Bihl's K-K in the hole. Ferguson couldn't catch an Ace to survive, and the 2000 WSOP Main Event champ busted in 4th place (L21,700).
Morrison held a monster chip lead over his two remaining opponents after Ferguson's elimination, but Jennifer Harman spent the next three hours showing why she is one of the most respected mixed-game players in the poker world. The chip stacks looked like this as play became 3-handed -
Kirk Morrison -- 685,000
Thomas Bihl -- 280,000
Jennifer Harman -- 75,000
It took almost three hours of grinding and determined play, but Harman pulled back into contention, then a few key hands with Bihl and Harman saw Morrison slip to the bottom of the chip stacks. Finally, Morrison and Harman squared off for the last time, in Stud 8.
Morrison had the bring-in, and called Harman's complete. Morrison called on every street until he was all in on sixth. Morrison was drawing thin with a pair of fours and a draw to an 8-7 low, while Harman's pair of Jacks led the whole way. No help for Morrison on seventh street, and he rode the elevator from penthouse to outhouse and was eliminated in 3rd place for L26,250.
The expertise of the two remaining players and the limit format made for a marathon heads-up battle, as heads-up play lasted through over 100 hands and more than two full rotations through all five of the HORSE games. Bihl finally overcame Harman in one final Hold ‘Em hand to capture his first WSOP bracelet.
Both players checked the flop of , and Harman check-raised all in on the turn, when the hit. Bihl called, and turn over for an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw, and Harman's two pair, 10s and 7s didn't hold up against the six on the river, which gave Bihl a straight, and gave Harman L40,688 for second place.
A humble Thomas Bihl said "It's every poker players' dream to win a bracelet," in an interview after claiming his historic victory. The German pro notched his most impressive victory of his career in picking up his first bracelet, beating out a field of 105 of the best poker players in the world, including 35 WSOP bracelet holders who held a combined bracelet total well into the triple digits.
Here are the final table money winners -
1 Thomas Bihl £ 70,875
2 Jennifer Harman £ 40,688
3 Kirk Morrison £ 26,250
4 Chris "Jesus" Ferguson £ 21,700
5 Alex Kravchenko £ 17,850
6 Yuval Bronshtein £ 14,438
7 Joe Beevers £ 11,812
8 Gary Jones £ 9,188