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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | WSOP2009 Tournaments

$40K NLH Event 2: Lunkin wins 2nd WSOP bracelet

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The biggest buy in outside of the 50K H.O.R.S.E. event started four days ago with 201 of the biggest and brightest names in poker forking out $40,000 apiece in hopes of taking down nearly two million dollars and a WSOP bracelet. Most of the biggest names failed to make it to the final table, but there was still former WSOP Main Event champion Greg Raymer, veteran Ted Forrest, and internet wonder kids Justin Bonomo, Isaac Haxton, and Dani Stern in contention. The final table, their seat, and starting chips were as follows:

Seat 1 – Ted Forrest 560,000
Seat 2 – Noah Schwartz 660,000
Seat 3 – Alec Torelli 2,340,000
Seat 4 – Isaac Haxton 5,955,000
Seat 5 – Greg Raymer 3,345,000
Seat 6 – Justin Bonomo 1,685,000
Seat 7 – Lex Veldhuis 3,805,000
Seat 8 – Dani Stern 1,300,000
Seat 9 – Vitaly Lunkin 4,565,000

The action was quiet initially as it went mainly raise and fold for the first fifteen hands or so. Justin Bonomo was the benefactor of a Greg Raymer gift when he moved all in over the top of Raymer's opening 150K raise for a total of 1.44 million. Raymer made the call with A-8 and Bonomo's A-J held up as he doubled up to nearly 3 million with Raymer falling under the 2 million mark.

Ted Forrest came in short stacked and knew he would have to make a move if he was going to have a chance at winning the tournament. It was folded to him in the small blind and Noah Schwartz raised enough to set Ted all in. Ted made the call with J-10 off suit and was up against the pocket 3's of Schwartz. The flop was an uneventful K-9-2 all spades giving Schwartz a baby flush draw to go with his pair. The turn made things more exciting and gave Forrest a small sliver of hope as it was a red 8. However, the river was not one of the cards Forrest needed and he was eliminated. Ted Forrest finished in 9th place winning $230,317.

Noah Schwartz also came in short stacked and he soon joined Forrest on the rail when he picked up A-K and moved all in pre-flop only to find out that he was in big trouble as Greg Raymer had pocket aces and made the easy call. Raymer's aces, unlike yesterday when he had them cracked twice, held up and Schwartz was the next player out. Noah Schwartz finished in 8th place winning $246,834.

After his early misstep to Bonomo, Raymer bounced back with a vengeance. Isaac Haxton opened the pot for 225,000 and Raymer, one to his left, made the call. The flop came 9-6-5 with two spades and Haxton checked to the former champ. Raymer bet 400,000 and Haxton didn't waste much time before he announced that he was all in. Raymer said I call before Haxton was even done and quickly flipped over pocket 6's for a flopped set. Haxton had an overpair in pocket jacks but would not hit the two outer. That hand moved Raymer to nearly 6 million in chips and knocked the former chip leader Haxton under the 3 million mark.

Lex Veldhuis had an attractive cheering section led by his girlfriend, Evelyn Ng, but unfortunately they had little to cheer for over the course of the afternoon. Veldhuis was on the unfortunate end of a bad beat earlier to Dani Stern and then met his demise when he moved all in over the top of Greg Raymer's opener with A-7 of diamonds and was called by Raymer and his kings. The kings held and Lex Veldhuis was our 7th place finisher winning $277,940.

Alec Torelli could never gain any momentum and down to his last million in chips he open shoved from the cutoff with A-2 only to be looked up by Isaac Haxton who had A-10. The board was no help for Alec Torelli and he was eliminated in 6th place winning $329,730 for his efforts.

Dani Stern came into the final table as the 3rd shortest stack but he clawed his way back into contention. Down to two million, Stern moved all in over the top of Raymer's opening minimum raise and Raymer called with pocket 7's. Stern had A-10 and was looking as if he would be joining his friends in the stands when the flop and turn came Q-Q-4-6. The river, however, was a 10 and Stern's rowdy cheering section whooped it up as their friend doubled up.

Along with Greg Raymer, Justin Bonomo was probably the most heralded player at the final table. Justin had managed to add nearly a million to his moderate stack thanks to a generous call from Raymer. Bonomo looked down at pocket jacks and opened the action for 250,000. He found some action in the form of Isaac Haxton in the small blind and Greg Raymer in the big blind. The flop came 10-9-3 with two hearts and Haxton led out for a smallish 300K. Raymer folded and Bonomo decided to put the pressure on Haxton and moved all in for approximately 2.8 million. Only one problem for Bonomo, Haxton had trapped him perfectly by flat calling with pocket aces pre-flop. The rockets held and Justin Bonomo was eliminated in 5th place winning $413,166 for his four days of work.

Isaac Haxton started the day as the chip leader but with four players remaining he found himself along with Dani Stern as one of the two short stacks. Stern limped in from the button and Haxton, trying to pick up the dead money plus Stern's limp, moved all in with K-7 of clubs. Stern, however, decided to look him up with pocket 5's and off to the races. The flop came A-6-3 with two clubs, keeping Stern in the lead with his 5's but Haxton had a ton of outs and he hit one of them, the 9 of clubs on the turn to double up and cripple Stern in the process. Stern would be knocked out shortly thereafter when he got it all in pre-flop with Q-10 and was bested by the A-K of Vitaly Lunkin. Dani Stern finished in 4th place and collected $548,315 for his play.

Raymer, the former world champion, then showed that he might be too in love with pocket fives... or presto as he likes to call it. Looking down at the speed limit, Raymer opened the pot for 400K and Haxton came over the top for 1.25 million. In an unusual, and somewhat puzzling move, Raymer then moved all in over the top for oh... 8.1 million total. Haxton had him slightly covered and makes the tough call with pocket 9's and is thrilled to see he is ahead. The 9's hold and just like that Greg Raymer is eliminated in 3rd place, winning $774,927. Raymer is gracious in defeat and signs the fossil he had been using as his card protector and gives it to the young Haxton.

Heads up play started with Haxton holding a 2:1 chip lead over Lunkin, but Lunkin was quick to seize control of the tournament and take the chip lead with a series of well timed raises and bets. Haxton recovered though and got back to the advantage he had held at the start of a match when he made a colossal blunder that gave Lunkin clear control of the match. Haxton raised on the button to 400K and Lunkin re-raised to 1.4 million. Haxton carefully deliberated and announced that he was all in. Lunkin made the call for his tournament life with pocket tens and saw that he was way ahead of the K-3 of clubs of Haxton. A-10 came on the flop and now Lunkin was the one with the 2:1 chip lead.

Lady luck would find Haxton soon though when he moved all in over a Lunkin bet on a K-5-3-6 board with K-10. Lunkin insta-called with pocket aces and Haxton said the oft overused phrase, “one time.” Well, Haxton's one time must have been today because the river was a 10 and Haxton thrust his fists into the air while his contingent went nuts, jumping up and down and yelling “one time!” That fortunate double up gave Haxton a 14 million to 10 million chip advantage over the frustrated Russian.

Luck would again shine on Haxton when he moved all in on a A-5-4 all club flop with Q-8 off with the 8 being a club and being called by Lunkin who had Q-10 with the queen of clubs. The turn was an 8 and unless Lunkin could get a 10 or a club, the bracelet would be Haxton's. Lunkin didn't say it out loud but I'm sure he was thinking inside, “one time!” and his thoughts were answered as the river was a club and the marathon heads up battle would live on, now with Lunkin holding a massive chip advantage of 18.5 million to 5.5 million.

Lunkin's good run of cards would continue when he would pick up pocket aces. Lunkin decided to get tricky and limped in. Haxton popped it up to 600K and Lunkin made the call. The flop came Q-10-8 all diamonds and Haxton led out for 1.2 million. Lunkin moved all in and Haxton made the call with 8-3 with the 3 being a diamond. Lunkin didn't have a diamond, so Haxton had some outs to win the hand and get back in contention. The turn was a 7 of clubs and the river was the king of spades and Lunkin was the winner of his 2nd WSOP bracelet in two years. Isaac Haxton finished in 2nd place winning $1,168,566.

Vitaly Lunkin was like a sly fox throughout the tournament. Flying under the radar,  biding his time and trapping his opponents beautifully time and time again. Vitaly Lunkin is the winner of the 40K NLHE event winning $1,891,012 and his 2nd WSOP bracelet. Congratulations Vitaly!

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