The $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship was destined to be a hit with the players, as PLO is seemingly more and more like the new hold’em. The game is suddenly appearing in card rooms and casinos around the world, and players are flocking to it. A total of 381 players did just that on Sunday, June 29 to see who could claim the title of PLO world champion at the 2008 WSOP.
The first day saw the majority of the players exit the tournament with only 86 surviving to return for Day 2. Josh Arieh arrived on the second day of play with a massive chip lead over the rest of the field, and by the dinner break, he had catapulted himself to a lead of more than 350K over any other player. But something happened after dinner, and he was suddenly caught up in a downward spiral, losing his lead and the majority of his chips. Into the wee hours of the morning, Arieh came face to face with opponent Greg Hurst and was eliminated in 12th place for a prize of $53,721.
When it was all said and done around 5am, the long day produced the final nine players who would compete for the title. The final table was set as follows:
Seat 1: Kido Pham
Seat 2: Brandon Moran
Seat 3: Peter Jetten
Seat 4: Michael Mizrachi
Seat 5: Billy Argyros
Seat 6: Greg Hurst
Seat 7: Tom Hanlon
Seat 8: Marty Smyth
Seat 9: Richard Harroch
Action began with Michael Mizrachi aggressive and unafraid to challenge everyone with his big stacks. On the eighth hand of the late afternoon, Mizrachi came in raising, and Greg Hurst called. The flop came , and Mizrachi bet out. Hurst raised, Mizrachi reraised all-in, and Hurst called all-in. Mizrachi showed for the straight, and Hurst turned over for the pair of Aces and a higher straight draw. The turn and river were and , and it was over Hurst had a very short day and finished in 9th place for $80,581.
Brandon Moran managed to come to the final table trailing only Mizrachi, but upon getting involved all-in with Richard Harroch, who was all-in post-flop, Moran lost the hand and any chip advantage he had previously. Harroch doubled up, and Moran was left with less than 150K in chips. He then went on to double through Marty Smyth to stay alive.
Only two hands later, Moran was forced to move again but took it slow. When Kido Pham raised up front, Moran simply called, along with Peter Jetten, but Mizrachi reraised it to isolate. Pham called, and Moran pushed all-in, Jetted folded, and the others called. After the flop of , Mizrachi moved all-in, causing Pham to fold. Mizrachi then showed , and Moran had a draw with . The turn and river were and respectively, and Mizrachi won with the full house. Moran was out in 8th place with $107,442.
Tom Hanlon had a rough day. Though he brought his short stack in for a double-up on the second hand of the day, he had then been unable to do much else. On hand 52, Hanlon made a pre-flop raise that was called by Mizrachi in the big blind. The flop came , and Mizrachi bet out. Hanlon called all-in with . and Mizrachi showed . The turn was an and the river a to eliminate Hanlon from the tournament in 7th place with $134,302.
After Jetten doubled through Pham, the latter took some time but saw himself losing ground, despite still being near the top in chips. On the 62nd hand of the night, Mizrachi limped into a pre-flop pot, followed by Billy Argyros and Harroch. Pham raised it up from the big blind and all folded except Mizrachi. The flop came down , and it was Mizrachi who bet out and Pham who check-called. Pham checked the on the turn, but Mizrachi moved all-in. Pham thought for quite a long time before calling and showing , and Mizrachi turned over . The river was a blank for Pham, and he was out of the event in 6th place with $170,116.
By the time the dinner break rolled around, five players remained with Marty Smyth at the top of the leader board by more than 1 million over Mizrachi in second.
Richard Harroch was the shortest stack after dinner, and he called an initial raise on hand 78 by Marty Smyth. After seeing the on the flop, Harroch moved all-in with , and Smyth called with . There was a on the turn and on the river, and oddly enough, quads are good enough for Smyth to win it. Harroch took 5th place and $214,884.
Argyros was having a tough time, especially after losing a sizable pot to Mizrachi. But on the very next hand, Argyros doubled through Mizrachi when he hit his gutshot straight draw on the turn. Two hands later, the two tangled again. Mizrachi limped into the pot, but Argyros raised. Mizrachi reraised all-in with , and Argyros called with . The board came , and it was over for “The Croc.” Billy Argyros was eliminated in 4th place with a prize of $268,605.
As they approached the 100th hand of the final table with just three players, Marty Smyth had a fairly substantial chip lead with 3.295 million, while Jetten and Mizrachi were both trailing with 2.21 million and 2.135 million respectively.
Only a few hands later, after an initial raise by Jetten, Mizrachi reraised the pot. Jetten moved all-in with , and Mizrachi called immediately with . The board came out , and Jetten’s better hand held up. Michael Mizrachi was gone in 3rd place with $331,279 to bring home to the family.
The first few hands of heads-up action were exciting, and one in particular changed the course of it all. Some raising occurred before the flop of , but Jetten bet the 1.44 million pot after it showed. Smyth moved all in with , and Jetted called with . The turn was a , and the river was a , and Smyth’s straight gave him the double-up and a rather sizable chip lead.
Jetten wasn’t giving up, and as he chipped up, then took a huge pot to regain the chip lead, but Smyth caught up to step in front of his opponent again.
Hand 133 would be the deciding showdown. Jetten called in, but Smyth raised with a call from Jetten behind. The flop came . Smyth bet the pot, Jetten raised the pot, Smyth quickly moved all-in, and Jetten called just as fast. Smyth had a slight chip lead with for the straight, and Jetten showed for the straight. It was close, especially when the turn came a . But the river brought a to give Smyth the flush, and Peter Jetten was the second place finisher with a prize of $528,257.
Marty Smyth won his first WSOP bracelet in the pot-limit Omaha world championship event, along with $859,532 in prize money. Congratulations!