Yesterday, 1,000 people started the $1,500 NLHE Shootout and it took until the early morning hours until they had reached the final ten. Players arrived for the final table after what must have seemed like just a few hours of sleep to go after the $335,565 first place prize. The final table all started with the same chip counts, one million apiece, and the seating assignments were as follows:
Seat 1: Casey Coleman (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)
Seat 2: Matthew Giannetti (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Seat 3: Thomas West (Los Altos, California)
Seat 4: Rory Monahan (Carbondale, Illinois)
Seat 5: Kyle Bowker (Walton, New York)
Seat 6: John Strzemp III (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Seat 7: Mike Schwartz (Encino, California)
Seat 8: Sergey Rybachenko (Moscow, Russian Federation)
Seat 9: Jason Young (Suffern, New York)
Seat 10: Alexander Triner (Rockville, Maryland)
The first big pot of the day took place when Sergey Rybachenko opened for 55K and was re-raised by Casey Coleman to 170K. Sergey made the call. The flop came and Sergey checked. Casey bet 250K and Sergey quickly called. The turn is the and both players checked. The river is the and the Russian bets 375K. Casey says, “I call” and turns over A-K for two pair with nut kicker. Unfortunately for him, Sergey had hit a gutshot straight on the river with the . A sick hand indeed to call the re-raise pre-flop and the 250K flop bet, but Sergey was rewarded for Casey's mistake of checking the turn. Coleman would go out a few hands later when his A-Q was bested by Mike Schwartz's pocket 8's. Casey Coleman finished in 10th place winning $7,507.
Alexander Triner re-raised Jason Young's opening raise to 225K only to find himself facing an all in from Young. It was a tough call for Triner with A-K but he went ahead and made it. When Young turned over A-J, Triner had to be dreaming of a final three finish with a huge double up. The flop came 9-9-2 which gave Young some more outs to the chop. Young decided to be greedy, however, and take the whole pot with a jack on the turn and a jack on the river and Triner was crippled after taking the bad beat. Triner's misfortune would continue the very next hand when he picked up pocket jacks and got it all in with John Strzemp who had queens. No miracle for Triner and just like that he was out in 9th place. For his efforts, Triner received $9,828.
It would only be a few minutes before our next player would be eliminated as Thomas West got it in against the now big stacked Jason Young. Young had A-K which dominated West's A-Q. The board came all rags and the king kicker played to eliminate West in 8th place, which was good for $12,421.
Sergey Rybachenko went from rags to riches when he made a huge bet of 600K on the river on a A-8-7-3-8 board and was called by chip leader Jason Young and his A-Q. Sergey mucked and then proceeded to lose even more chips to Mike Schwartz when they got it all in on a J-10-5 flop and Sergey's Q-J was crushed by Schwartz's pocket aces. After the two hands, Sergey was down to under 400K.
Kyle Bowker had been quiet throughout the final table and when he opened to 100K, he probably figured that he would get some respect. Wrong, think again. Not only did John Strzemp and Mike Schwartz call, Sergey Rybachenko moved all in out of the big blind for his remaining chips. Wanting to isolate the short stack, Bowker moved all in. Strzemp got out of the way but much to Bowker's chagrin, Schwartz made the call. Sergey was looking good to triple up and get right back in it with pocket kings, Bowker was making a move with Q-9 of diamonds and was in a world of hurt because Schwartz had A-Q. The flop came J-4-2 keeping Sergey in the lead. The turn was a 9 propelling Bowker to the lead for the side pot. Ah, but that river card is the destroyer of dreams... the dasher of hopes... it was an ace. An ace that eliminated not just Sergey Rybachenko but also meant the end of the road for Kyle Bowker. Sergey Rybachenko finished in 7th place winning $15,697. Kyle Bowker finished in 6th place winning $23,887.
Matthew Giannetti was short and down to 300K when he doubled up against Mike Schwartz with 8's against A-7. Moments later, he raised and was called by none other than Schwartz. The flop comes A-K-9 with two hearts. Schwartz bets enough to set Giannetti all in and he makes the call with A-10. Schwartz is technically behind with Q-9 of hearts but is a mathematical favorite to win the hand. It's not the flush that wins it for Schwartz as the turn is a queen and the river is another 9 to give him a full house. Matthew Giannetti finishes in 5th place which was good for $40,267.
Rory Monahan was quiet at the final table and once he got short, he started to open up with a series of all in moves. John Strzemp finally looked him up and it would be Rory's last all in of the night as his 6-5 of clubs would not be able to overcome Strzemp's A-Q. Monahan finished in 4th place and won $82,582 for his two days of work.
John Strzemp ended up playing one of those hands that will keep him up at nights. On a K-7-2 flop, Strzemp made a 175K bet and was called by Mike Schwartz. The turn was a 5 and Strzemp again bet, this time for 500K and again he was called by Schwartz. The river was a 2nd king and this time Strzemp decided to make a colossal error and fired the third bullet. He moved all in for 1.3 million. It was a bad time for a bluff as Schwartz had a king and quickly called. Strzemp was on the bluff with Q-9 and was eliminated for his mistake. John Strzemp finished in 3rd place and won $129,675 for his close but not quite close enough finish.
Heads up play began with the two players even in chips with approximately five million apiece. It was a see saw affair that had the players exchanging chip leads. It looked to be over when Mike Schwartz limped in and Jason Young made it 400K to go. Schwartz called and the flop came J-10-4. Young bet 750K and Schwartz called. The turn was a 4 and Young moved all in. Schwartz mulled over what to do and said, “I think you have ace ten, I call.”
Schwartz turned over J-8 for top pair and Young did indeed turn over an ace. The other card was not one Schwartz wanted to see though... it was a jack. The river is a three and Young starts to celebrate with his friends thinking he has won the tournament but it is determined that Schwartz had him slightly covered and will be all in on the big blind the next hand.
Schwartz won the next hand. And the next one. And the one after that. On the verge of elimination, he turned 150K into over one million in a period of three hands. After a couple hands of normalcy, the two get it all in again. Young has 6's but wouldn't you know it... Schwartz has him crushed with kings and doubles up yet again, this time to 3.4 million and what looked like a certain victory for Young moments earlier was now in doubt.
As valiant a comeback as Schwartz had made it was not meant to be. The two players got it all in for what seemed like the hundredth time. It was a race with Schwartz having pocket 4's and Young having A-J. The flop came all rags and Schwartz was looking as if he was going to take the chip lead. The turn was an ace though and when no 4 came on the river, Young could finally celebrate the actual victory. Mike Swartz finished in 2nd place and won $209,527.
One lucky win with A-J against A-K was all Jason Young needed to get going. Once he doubled up with the fortunate three outer, Young steamrolled the table on his way to winning the $1,500 WSOP NLHE Shootout. In addition to the bracelet, Young won a very impressive $335,565. Congratulations Jason!
*The third-place finisher was John Strzemp III, who was making his first appearance at a WSOP final table. His father (John Strzemp II) finished second in the 1997 WSOP Main Event to the late Stu Ungar.*