Limit hold’em has been and continues to be one of the most popular poker variations. In the cash game arena, it allows players to play hold’em without the risk of losing massive amounts of chips in one all-in play. But on the tournament circuit, the love for limit hold’em diminishes a bit because of the slow pace at which it plays. The time it took to finish the 2008 WSOP $1,500 limit hold’em tournament was indicative of just that.
Out of 880 players, there were 18 left at the end of Day 2 when the field was supposed to have decreased to the final nine. But since the action, if I may use that word, is so slow in a limit tournament, tournament officials put the kibosh on it at 3am on Day 2 to allow the final 18 players to return on Day 3 to play it down and determine the winner.
Already having finished in the money were some notable players – Dewey Tomko, Tom Schneider, Victor Ramdin, Marco Traniello, and Terrence Chan. But the list of players entering Day 3 was even more interesting, with long-time pro Vinnie Vinh at the top of the leader board. Last year, Vinh made news by finishing two Day 1’s as the chip leader and not showing up on either Day 2 to finish the action. This year, however, he returned on Day 2 and Day 3. Second in chips coming into Day 3 was Erick Lindgren, who already claimed one WSOP bracelet this year and was gunning for another.
The 18 players returning for Day 3 were as follows:
Play resumed at 3pm on Sunday, June 8th. Surprisingly, there was quite a bit of movement in the first levels of the day. In fact, the first hand of the day saw the demise of Arash Beral, and the other short stack Steve Foutty was the next to go. Teddy “The Ice Man” Monroe was able to double up his short stack and live to freeze out more of his opponents. Other players were not able to go the way of the Ice Man, as Joseph Sanders was out in 16th place after a double-up that didn’t take him far. Eric Pratt and Duc Nguyen were taken out on the same hand.
The action took somewhat of a tournament-changing turn. First, it was Vinnie Vinh who lost a very sizable pot to Jimmy Shultz; frustrated and in a bit of shock, he looked down to see only 145K left out of his original starting stack. Steve Skholnik went the opposite way of Vinnie, tripling up through Zac Fellows and Christoph Niesert to sit even with Vinnie at 145K.
Brendan Taylor took a stand and doubled up, and then he got Aces and eliminated John O’Brien in 13th place. In 12th place, it was Shkolnik who was crippled by Jimmy Schultz, then sent to the rail by Erick Lindgren.
Vinh was taking a beating and not exactly happy about it. Schultz caught him in a bluff and took a 190K pot, and Vinh was down to 45K. He chipped back up but got quite talkative – negatively – at the 100K mark. And while he was tilting, Zach Henderson was eliminated in 11th place, and Erick Lindgren was taken out by Markus Golser and had to settle for a 10th place finish instead of a second final table. The final nine were set to play down to one winner of the shiny new WSOP bracelet.
Only a few hands into the action of the final nine, the 9th place finisher was determined. Jimmy Shultz started the action with a raise, and Chung Law reraised. Shultz reraised enough to put Law all-in, and Law called with . Shultz had , and it would be tough for Law to catch up. The board proved it with , and Law was given his walking papers and $23,423.
And then Vinh took over. He took a pot from Markus Golser to put him up to 290K, and then another huge pot from Brendan Taylor to put him near the 425K mark. Next, he proceeded to take some of Zac Fellows’ chips and sit comfortably at the 650K mark. The railbirds were loving the action, and Vinh had gained his confidence and positive attitude back.
Christoph Niesert pushed his short stack in pre-flop, and Shultz and Fellows checked all the way through as the dealer put out . Fellows showed for top pair, and the other two mucked. Niesert finished in 8th place with $32,432.
It was again time for chips to exchange hands. Golser gave quite a few to Vinh and was crippled to only 19K but came back to triple up through Taylor and Eslami, then took more chips from Vinh to climb back to 170K. Shortly thereafter, Vinh lost more chips to Taylor, then Shulz. Going into the dinner break, Shulz had the lead with Fellows and Taylor coming up behind. Moore was the short stack with only 50K.
Just after the dinner break, Ali Eslami lost a pot that put him down to 70K. And on the next hand, Shultz raised, and Eslami called all-in with . Shultz showed , and the board came and an irrelevant river card. Eslami was sent home in 7th place with $41,441.
A bit later, Golser was short-stacked with only 60K and was in for 2/3 of that before the flop with Shultz. After the flop of , the rest of Golser’s money went in with , and Shultz showed . Neither the turn nor the river helped Golser, and he finished in sixth place with a $53,453 consolation prize.
Monroe was the next short stack to be put to the test. Shultz raised, though he thought he was putting in the big blind, and Monroe called all-in from the small blind. Taylor also called from the big blind. The players checked the flop and turn, which came , and when the hit on the river, Shultz began to bet but Taylor mucked first. When Shultz showed , Monroe was beat and left the table in 5th place with $67,867.
As Vinh charged back again from a short stack to domination status at the table, Taylor was one of the casualties. Taylor got it all in on the river after the entire board showed , but Vinh showed pocket 8’s, and Taylor mucked before he left with his $82,882 and 4th place finish.
Vinh’s behavior became so erratic, almost as much as his chip stacks, and he was finally warned by the floor staff to settle down. He did just in time for him to double up. Then he became involved in a hand from the big blind after a raise from Shultz. Vinh called, and the flop came . Vinh then shoved all-in with Q-2, and Shultz called with . The turn and river were and respectively, and Vinh had to take his animated behavior elsewhere. The 3rd place finish was good for $99,099.
Chip counts were unavailable as heads-up action began, but it was semi-irrelevant as the chips were traded back and forth for more than 30 minutes. Quite some time later, Shultz seemed to take a distant lead with over 2 million in chips to Fellows with under 500K.
After 2am, it finally came to a head. After a flop of , Fellows bet, Shultz raised, and Fellows called. The turn of a prompted Shultz to bet, Fellows to raise to 700K, and Shultz to call. The river was a , and Fellows bet out, only to be raised by Shultz. Fellows finally called, Shultz turned over the , and he scooped the pot that left Fellows with only 75K.
Fellows subsequently moved all-in pre-flop on the next hand, though he looked good with . Shultz called with . The board came to give Shultz the flush.
Zac Fellows took second place and the prize money of $165,165.
Jimmy Shultz took the Event #12 LHE title, a 2008 WSOP bracelet, and $257,105. Congrats!