The first event was a popular one with the casino employees but not an open event, which was indicated by the $500 buy-in, but it offered an opportunity for many of those who deal to players who win WSOP bracelets to win one themselves. But with a relatively small field of 866, the event was scheduled for only two days. That brought us to the first bracelet win of the 2009 World Series of Poker on the second official day of action.
Day 1 found the field thinning from its original 866 to 81, and play wrapped on May 27 just moments after the money bubble burst. Everyone was then guaranteed a minimum payout of $974 for their $500 investment, but the excitement of finding out who would cash for more and ultimately win the bracelet was saved for the second day.
That brought the players to May 28 and Day 2 of Event 1. When 81 players took their seats, the chip lead was actually held by Felix Karli, who had 108,200. Though it was reported the night before that Cesar Chavez was the chip leader, his 107,700 stack was only in second place. Even so, there were a lot of chips in play but some short stacks looking to move quickly.
It took only moments for some of them to be eliminated. In an early hand, Jesse Duangrudeesawat took out three playerswhen his pocket tens held up. In fact, within the first 38 minutes of action, there were 20 bustouts.
Ultimately, it took several hours, but the final table neared when Caesar Chavez was eliminated by Casey Kuhn in 11th place. The final ten players were then moved to one last table, but one more player had to be ousted before the final nine could be considered the “final tablists.” Finally, it was John Williams who went to see a flop with Sammy Porter, after which some betting and raising led Williams to commit the rest of his chips with two black tens. Porter called with , and the turn and river were and to send Williams packing in tenth place.
The final table was then moved to a different area of the Amazon Room to provide more rail space for all of the friends and family who had gathered to watch the table play out. That was when the action got underway.
It didn’t take long for the players to get involved in some big pots, one of which left Porter with only 60K in chips, courtesy of a monster pot won by John McAvoy. Porter looked for a subsequent hand in which to double up but only chipped down to 46K. Finally, Porter made the preflop all-in move with , but after McAvoy called, Bobby Rooney pushed all-in for 68K more with pocket jacks, and McAvoy called and showed . The board came , and Rooney doubled while Sammy Porter hit the rail in ninth place with $7,782.
The next few eliminations came quickly. Ferdinand Boleski put his tournament life on the line with versus the pocket queens of McAvoy, and the board of knocked Boleski out in eighth place with $8,866.
Despite McAvoy moving into the position of chip leader, he soon lost some chips to Kuhn. But a short time later, he had only 169K and pushed it preflop with . Jun Dulay was there with queens and made the call to see hit on the table. Just like that, John McAvoy was out in seventh place with $10,545.
Bobby Rooney was next up after Paul Peterson doubled through him. The all-in move was necessary, and Rooney did it with . Dulay called with , and the dealer gave them to give Dulay the straight and send Rooney out in sixth place with $13,125.
It took well over an hour for anything else of significance to occur in the tournament, as all of the remaining players slowed down their play tremendously. Eventually, Peterson doubled up, and action picked up again.
Jun Dulay saw his chip stack diminish to only 148K and pushed it preflop with pocket eights versus the pocket jacks of Cohen. When the board came , the jacks remained good and sent Dulay out of the tournament in fifth place with $17,127.
Shortly thereafter, Cohen and Yasui went to see a flop of , at which point Yasui moved all-in with . Cohen quickly called and turned over pocket fives. The turn and river cards were blanks and eliminated Grant Yasui in fourth place with $23,483 in prize money.
Kuhn and Cohen then tangled after seeing a flop of . Action led to Kuhn raising all-in with and top pair, and Cohen turned over for middle pair. But a came on the turn to give Cohen trip fives, and the uneventful showed up on the river to end it. Casey Kuhn took the bad beat and $33,923 for third place.
Heads-up action began somewhat slowly and cautiously, but the final hand eventually came when Peterson pushed his short stack all-in preflop with . Cohen called with pocket sixes, and it was off to the races. The dealer calmly dealt , and the sixes held up to eliminate Paul Peterson in second place with $51,787.
Andrew Cohen became the first bracelet winner of the 2009 World Series of Poker. For the honor, he won the gold Corum bracelet and the $83,778 first place prize money.