The combination of limit and no-limit hold’em is an ideal one because it brings together those with a passion for hold’em but requires a strategy change at the start of each round. And while limit allows the action to slow a bit – or a lot – for players to catch their breaths, the no-limit portion of the game creates the opportunity for more drastic moves and greater chip movement. So, we have the $1,500 Mixed Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker.
Event #41 began with 731 players, but only 98 of them made it to Day 2. The money was reached for the top 72 players, but playing down to the final table nine proved to be quite the task, and it wasn’t until approximately 3:00 in the morning of June 24th that it happened. With the elimination of Todd Witteles in 10th place, the remaining players were allowed to go home and rest up for the final table set for 12 hours from then.
Upon their return, the final table was set as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Chris Rentes||132,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Michael Chu || 264,000 |
|Seat 3: || Alex Jalali || 204,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Nick Binger || 339,000 |
|Seat 5: ||David MacHowsky ||147,500 |
|Seat 6: ||Jonathan Tamayo ||238,500 |
|Seat 7: ||Mats Gavatin ||405,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Frank Gary ||332,000 |
|Seat 9: ||David Sorger ||130,000 |
Beginning at Level 18, the first 30 minutes of play would be limit hold’em with blinds at 5K-10K, the subsequent half-hour increment would be no-limit with 3K-6K blinds, and it would alternate accordingly throughout play.
From the start, Nick Binger came out swinging and consistently chipped up by winning most of the hands in the first round. He quickly took the chip lead, and as the next few hands will illustrate, he got so far out in front that the other players could hardly see him.
When the first no-limit round of the final table kicked in, short-stacked David Sorger moved all-in for his last 40,500. Binger raised to isolate, and it worked. Binger showed , and Sorger turned over . The board came , and it was over for Sorger in 9th place with a payout of $19,956.
Very soon after the first elimination, Binger made a raise, and everyone was shocked. Just kidding; it was expected. Michael Chu called from the big blind to see the flop of . Binger made the first bet, but Chu check-raised for his last 145K. Binger called with , and Chu showed . The turn and river were and , and Chu was out in 8th place with $27,439.
As Binger approached the 1 million chip mark, guess who became involved in the next significant hand? Binger. He called a raise by Mats Gavatin before seeing a flop of . Binger raised from there, but Gavatin reraised. Binger pushed all-in with , and Gavatin called with . The turn and river were and respectively, and Binger’s trips held up. Gavatin was sent away at the hands of Binger, as everyone else was. He took 7th place and $34,923.
One player, who was not Nick Binger, began to make a little headway. David MacHowsky doubled through Alex Jalali. But lo and behold, on the next hand that Nick raised, MacHowsky decided to tangle and moved all-in from the small blind. Binger called with , and MacHowsky sadly showed . The board surprised no one as it came , and MacHowsky was out in 6th place with $44,902.
Binger took a slight hit to his stack after that, losing several pots and dipping below the 1 million mark, but it wasn’t long until he started chipping back up. And then an opportunity presented itself in the form of Jalali pushing all-in for his last 104K, so Binger moved all-in for everyone else to fold. Binger turned over , and Jalili had some outs with . But all signs pointed to the flop that came , and Jalili was sent away in 5th place with $56,875.
Chris Rentes, who had flown under the radar for much of the final table action, finally got involved with Tamayo and was able to double through him. But shortly thereafter, he moved again, this time for his last 50K in the small blind, and Binger called in the big blind. Binger showed the worst hand in poker, , and Rentes turned over . But as Binger’s luck would have it, his 7-high was good when the rest of the cards came . Rentes was out in 4th place with $69,348.
Soon after three-handed play began, Binger was a massive chip leader as he approached the 1.5 million mark, while each of his opponents sat with just under 400K. But something strange began to happen. Tamayo began to change up his strategy, and his aggression paid off as he chipped up, courtesy of Binger. Binger was, in fact, losing chips to both opponents and seemed to have lost some momentum. Finally, Tamayo took over the chip lead, and the disillusion on the part of Binger was difficult to hide.
The remainder of the action amongst the three players had Binger on a roller coaster. He regained the chip lead but gave it up again to become the shortest stack of the three. Finally, it came down to one hand. Binger raised from the small blind, Tamayo reraised in the big blind, Binger reraised again, Tamayo raised max, and Binger called. Binger had only 69K left with the flop came , and it was all-in and called by Tamayo. Binger showed , but Tamayo showed . The turn and river were and , and the elimination was a bit stunning. Nick Binger was out in 3rd place with $84,814.
Heads-up play started with the following chip counts:
|Jonathan Tamayo ||1,399,000 |
|Frank Gary ||794,000 |
Tamayo had demonstrated that he had picked up some momentum, but the elimination of Binger showed that anything can change with a few hands. That’s what happened, as Gary suddenly became more aggressive and finally doubled through Tamayo. As the two dueled, Gary got the upper hand and whittled Tamayo’s stack down to less than 200K.
Tamayo then moved all-in pre-flop with , and Gary called with . The board came , and it was over in dramatic fashion. Despite Jonathan Tamayo’s persistence and aggression at the final table, he ended in 2nd place with a $140,093 cash prize.
Frank Gary implemented a strategy of patience and came out swinging when it was necessary. He won Event #41 at the 2008 WSOP for the gold bracelet and $219,508. Congrats!