The final table started with the bright lights of the ESPN set shining down upon a star studded field. A big pile of cash awaited the winner and the participants gazed upon the money as they walked into the final table area. When play started the seat assignments and chip counts were as follows:
Seat 1: Mike Sowers 675,000
Seat 2: Chris Bell 455,000
Seat 3: Amit Makhija 525,000
Seat 4: Patrik Antonius 230,000
Seat 5: Andy Bloch 2,115,000
Seat 6: Mike Sexton 1,130,000
Seat 7: Phil Laak 425,000
Seat 8: Nenad Medic 1,200,000
Seat 9: Kathy Liebert 285,000
It didn't take long for the action to get started. On the very first hand, Phil Laak and Patrik Antonius got it all in pre-flop. Laak had pocket jacks and Antonius kings. The flop sent the crowd into a frenzy as it brought Laak a set of jacks. Antonius was now on the verge of elimination. The roar from the crowd as a king hit the river could be heard through the entire Amazon Room as Antonius hit his miracle card to survive.
A dazed Laak barely had time to recover before he was dealt pocket jacks once again. This time he ran into pocket aces. At least there was no drama in this hand as Laak never received any assistance and was eliminated. Phil Laak was the 9th place finisher winning $74,448 for his play.
Next to hit the rail was Mike Sowers who picked the wrong time to make a play. Veteran poker player and announcer Mike Sexton opened the action for 110K and Sowers popped it from the big blind to 390K. Sexton moved all in and Sowers sheepishly called and turned over 9-4 off suit which was crushed by Sexton's pocket queens. No luck to save the day and Mike Sowers finished in 8th place winning $99,264.
Patrik Antonius had a roller coaster ride of a final table but his ride came to an end abruptly when he decided to make a move with K-10 of hearts and Andy Block looked him up with A-4 of clubs. The ace high held up and Patrik “I'm too damn good looking” Antonius finished in 7th place winning $124,080.
Chris Bell had some good friends cheering him on including Erik Lindgren and Gavin Smith and it looked like their presence was going to be good luck for him when his A-3 hit an ace on the turn against Nenad Medic's pocket jacks. Of course the two outer jack came on the river to KO the amiable professional. Chris Bell finished in 6th place winning $157,168 for his noble effort.
Andy Bloch, whose birthday is today, came in as the chip leader and continued to keep control of the table with well timed raises and re-raises. He also showed that he was not afraid to take a chance against a short stack as he re-raised Amit Makhija all in pre-flop with only A-7. Fortunately for Bloch his timing was uncanny as Amit only had A-3. The board came with four diamonds and Bloch's 7 of diamonds was enough to take the pot. Amit Makhija finished in 5th place and won $198,528 for his two days of work.
Four handed play began with the following chip counts:
Andy Bloch 4.1 million
Nenad Medic 1.3 million
Mike Sexton 1 million
Kathy Liebert 700K
Bloch was clearly in control and could even double up a player and still be the chip leader. Bloch decided Christmas was going to come early as he started to play the role of Santa Claus. First, he doubled up Nemad Medic when Medic's A-K of spades flopped the nut flush against Bloch's kings. Up next was Mike Sexton whose A-J bested Bloch's A-6. Not to be left out, Bloch went ahead and doubled up Kathy Liebert too. Despite all the charitable giving, Bloch was still in control of the tournament as he had managed to pick up a number of sizable pots in between the doubling ups. As they hit the dinner break, Bloch had a 2:1 chip lead over Sexton and Medic with Kathy Liebert lagging far behind and in dire need of another double up.
Liebert didn't wait long after the break - getting it all in with Andy Bloch. This time Bloch was the one ahead as he had A-Q to Liebert's A-7. The flop came 6-5-3 with two hearts giving Liebert some life. The 4 of hearts on the turn gave Liebert the straight but it also gave Bloch a flush draw. A 4 on the river and Liebert pumped her fist as the dealer pushed the 1.2 million pot over to her.
After getting crippled losing a race to Nenad Medic with 10’s to Medic's A-J, Mike Sexton was our next player to be eliminated when he put over half his stack in pre-flop and was called by Kathy Liebert. The flop came A-J-8 and Liebert check called Sexton's all in bet with A-8. The WPT announcer was in bad shape as he only had A-6. The turn was a 4 and the only card that could save Sexton is a jack. Sexton hit two pair on the river but it wasn't good enough to overtake Liebert's bigger two pair. Mike Sexton finished in 4th place winning $248,160.
Starting 3 handed play, chip counts were 2.5 million apiece for Medic and Bloch and 2 million for Liebert. It would only make sense then that the three players would get involved in a monster pot. Medic opened the action by raising to 300K. Liebert moved all in for an additional 900K (she had lost a series of small pots prior to this hand). Bloch re-raised the size of the pot over the top of Liebert but the action wasn't done as Medic put the rest of his chips in the pot as well. Medic was way ahead with pocket Queens, Bloch was in 2nd place with nines, and Liebert needed the most help of all with her pair of sixes. The flop came with a queen and the stunned crowd went insane. Medic won easily the biggest pot of the tournament and Kathy Liebert was the 3rd place finisher winning $306,064 and left to a rousing standing ovation from the audience.
After that huge hand, Nemad Medic entered heads up play with a 4.5 million to 2.6 million chip advantage over Andy Bloch. Medic proceeded to grind down Bloch, winning 700K from him in one pot and 300K from him in another pot. With the stacks at 6.2 million to 900K, things were beginning to look bleak for the birthday boy.
On the 176th hand of the day, almost nine hours after play started, Medic limped in from the small blind and Bloch made it 300K to go. Medic called.
The flop came .
Bloch bet most of his remaining stack... 500K and Medic raised enough to set him all in. Bloch called with pocket 9's. Medic had a monster draw though with . The turn was the giving Medic the flush, but it wasn't over yet as Bloch had the in his hand. It was his only hope but it was not to be and Andy Bloch once again finished 2nd at a WSOP final table (he took 2nd to Chip Reese in the inaugural H.O.R.S.E. Event) winning $488,048.
Nemad Medic played a controlled, patient game and came away with not only the 1st bracelet of the 2008 World Series of Poker but his first bracelet. Nemad Medic is the winner of the 2008 WSOP $10,000 Pot Limit Hold Em Championship bracelet and $794,112. Congratulations Nemad!