The $10,000 buy-in world championship events typically attract the cream of the crop in poker, and the $10K Limit Hold’em at the 2008 WSOP was no different. Without drawing a large field, the 218 players who did sign up were determined to make this an event to remember.
Day 1 consisted of the majority of the players being eliminated, though 97 survived with tournament pro J.C. Tran at the top of the leader board. The second day of action went well into the nighttime and early morning hours as they played to the final nine, in the process of which payments for finishers would begin with 27th place. Numerous popular players – Corkins, Tomko, Mizrachi, Witteles, Sung, Kravchenko – finished in that group, but the final table players, with Aaron Katz having the most chips, were as follows:
Seat 1: Andy Bloch
Seat 2: Rob Hollink
Seat 3: Tommy Hang
Seat 4: Cy Jassinowsky
Seat 5: Jerrod Ankenman
Seat 6: Chris Vitch
Seat 7: Brock Parker
Seat 8: J.C. Tran
Seat 9: Aaron Katz
Once the cards were in the air, it was obvious that this would not be an action-packed game. As is the way of limit hold’em anyway, it was destined to be a slow, calculating, and determined final table that had no guaranteed ending in sight.
After more than a dozen hands, it was aggressive J.C. Tran who made a move. The raising and reraising eventually led to Tran doubling through Andy Bloch, who didn’t have much room to lose chips and needed to do some chip-gathering of his own.
More movement ensued. Chris Vitch was severely short and moved for his last 22K. Aaron Katz called with , and Vitch showed . The board was no good to Vitch with , and he was out in 9th place with $51,230.
Cy Jassinowsky found some good fortune with a double-up against Jerrod Ankenman, but it was limited and he lost some of it to an Ankenman triple-up. Not long after, he became involved in a hand after Bloch led out pre-flop, Hollink raised it up, and Tommy Hang made it even more to go. Jassinowsky called for his last 40K, Bloch folded, and Hollink called. The flop of saw Hang bet and Hollink fold. Hang showed pocket Queens, and Jassinowsky had only . The turn and river of and were no help, and Jassinowsky was gone in 8th place for $66,599.
Bloch tried to stay in the game and successfully doubled through Aaron Katz, but two hands later, he moved in again for his last 50K. Hollink was the one to call with , and Bloch showed . The board came , and Bloch was bracelet-blocked in 7th place with consolation of $81,968.
After 125 hands had been played, J.C. Tran was getting low on chips and challenged Ankenman, which resulted in a double-up. But a short time later, Tran got involved with Hollink before the flop. When the first three cards came , Hollink led out and Tran called. The on the turn prompted a bet from Hollink and the rest of Tran’s chips to enter the pot. The river was a , and when Hollink turned over a , Tran mucked and left in 5th place with $128,075.
Next, it would be Ankenman, Hollink, and Katz who would tangle, and Katz got it all in pre-flop. The board came , and Hollink and Ankenman checked it through. In the end, the best hand belonged to Ankenman with Queen high, Hollink lost a few chips, and Aaron Katz was out in 4th with $158,813.
As the evening wore on, Tommy Hang began to make some moves and put his tournament life on the line. It worked several times as he doubled through Ankenman and Hollink. Finally, on a hand that was initially raised by Hang and reraised by Hollink, Hang called for the last of his chips with . Hollink showed , and the board came . Hang was hung out to dry in 3rd place with a $194,674 prize.
As would be suspected in a limit hold’em game, despite rising blinds and antes, play was slow throughout the night. Players and reporters saw more than 200 hands come and go, and heads-up action lasted quite a while as well. Finally, on hand 242, Ankenman raised and Hollink took the bait to reraise enough to put his opponent all-in. Ankenman called with , and Hollink turned over . The dealer slowly but surely put out , and it was over.
Jerrod Ankenman took second place and $307,380 for his runner-up status. Full Tilt player Rob Hollink happily claimed first place, the 2008 WSOP bracelet, and the $496,931 prize money. Congratulations, Rob!