The $1,500 Seven-Card Stud event began on Wednesday, June 18th with a total of 381 players. While a larger field would have been nicer for the prize pool, which was set at $520,065, it wasn’t exactly expected as seven-stud is typically a game geared toward older players and the game’s aficionados. The faces in the crowd certainly reflected this.
Day 1 of Event #35 finished with 70 players, and Day 2 played down to the final table. In the process, the money bubble burst so that the final 40 players could be paid for their efforts in the tournament. And as the final table neared, WSOP regular Sabyl Landrum was eliminated in 12th place, followed by young pro Bryan Devonshire in 11th. Finally, Roy Rose and Charles Monroe took the 10th and 9th place spots respectively, and the final eight were set. The seat assignments and chip counts were as follows:
Players, most of them relatively unknown on the tournament circuit, convened at 3pm on Friday, June 20th to fight it out on the felt for the bracelet.
The action began with some doubling of the short stacks – Max Troy through Al Barbieri, and Kalpakis through Levon Torosyan and again courtesy of Giacomo D’Agostino. Then the bustouts came in semi-succession.
First, it was Jeffrey Siegal versus Troy, and in the end, one was eliminated. Siegal showed , and Troy had him dominated with . Siegal was gone fairly quickly in 8th place with $14,041.
Next, it was Andre Boyer up against Al Barbieri, and all of the short-stack’s chips were in only to get crushed by Barbieri’s trips. Boyer was out in 7th place for $16,642.
Third, Barbieri took another victom when he made trips again against Kalpakis’ pair of sixes. Kalpakis took leave of the table in 6th place with $21,842.
Not long after, Giacomo D’Agostino discovered he was not going to be able to keep up with the chip accumulations of some of the other players. He finally put the rest of his chips in the pot after Rocco raised on the bring-in. Rocco ended up with trip Aces, and D’Agostino lost with trip tens to be forced out in 5th place for $28,083.
On a subsequent hand, Barbieri was the bring-in, and Torosyan and Troy were the callers. Barbieri let his hand go on fourth street, and the remaining two players got all of Troy’s chips in on sixth street. Troy showed a pair of Aces, but Torosyan made a full house on seventh street with fours full of Kings. Troy was sent home in 4th place with $37,184.
Upon reaching three-handed action, Barbieri continued to increase his chip lead, eventually amassing approximately two-thirds of the chips in play. He did lose some to Torosyan to allow the chip lead to be in danger, but it wasn’t long before he got those chips back.
Torosyan couldn’t keep his momentum long enough to eliminate another player. Finally, the short-stack with on the board and Rocco with were close to getting it all in. Rocco won that hand with a pair of Jacks against his opponent’s deuces, and that left Torosyan with only 6K left. Torosyan did triple up at one point but was finally taken out completely by Rocco in a subsequent hand. Torosyan left the tough table in 3rd place with $50,186.
Heads-up action was a battle back and forth between two opponents with different playing styles but each with a deep desire to win the tournament. Rocco and Barbieri switched the chip lead until Rocco decided to keep it. And he increased it. Finally, Barbieri was down to a stack that was less than a third of what Rocco had amassed.
With Barbieri as the aggressor, the key hand occurred. Barbieri showed , and Rocco had . Barbieri ended up all-in on third street and made a pair of treys on sixth street, but Rocco made a pair of Kings to top that on seventh street. That was all Barbieri could do and had to settle for 2nd place and $83,210.
Mike Rocco was overcome by emotion when he won Event #35 of the WSOP. He gladly accepted the 2008 WSOP bracelet and $135,753 for the win. Congrats!