The eleventh tournament on the 2009 World Series of Poker schedule was another no-limit hold’em tournament, and though there were already several before and many more to come, the players were not complaining. In fact, 1,646 of them came to the tables at the Rio Convention Center to compete in the hopes of walking away with a coveted gold WSOP bracelet.
The number of entrants in the event created a prize pool of $2,995,720 to be distributed among the 171 finalists. But that money was not to be had by most of the Day 1 players who were eliminated. Only 232 survived to return on Day 2, and more went to the rail before Mandy Baker was sent away on the money bubble. The field then thinned more as the day went on, and only 25 survived to see the final day of play.
Day 3 saw Robert Goodson take the first ticket to the payout window as the 25th place finisher, and more followed until the final table neared and David Mandt was eliminated in 11th place. That allowed the last ten players to be seated at one table, though one more would need to go before the official final table was ready and set.
Eventually, that last elimination would be Mike Carlson, the chipleader coming into the second day of action. Through the day, he lost that lead but still had chips with which to work, but after a flop, Carlson moved all-in for 742K. Peter Rho check-called with pocket jacks, and Carlson showed . The came on the turn and the on the river, and Carlson was suddenly out in tenth place with $41,640.
The final table almost predictably started fairly slowly, though there were some all-in moves that that resulted in chips being moved around. Jonathan McGowan doubled through Michael Dyer, and Scott Hall doubled through Adrian Dresel-Velasquez.
Brent Sheirbon tried the same feat by pushing preflop with pocket threes, but Anthony Harb was able to make the call with pocket aces. When the board ran out , Sheirbon was ousted in ninth place with $59,315.
Dyer was the next to move and did it with , but Hall pushed over the top to isolate with . The dealer slowly turned over , and Michael Dyer was eliminated in eighth place with $65,905.
It was then that play slowed to a turtle’s pace. The audience yearned to see a flop, and with any luck some post-flop action, but it didn’t come until Hall and Rho got into a preflop raising war that ended in Scott Hall all-in for 1,430,000. The third largest stack in the tournament risked it all with , but Rho had a powerful pocket pair of queens. The board came , and Hall exited in seventh place with $76,390.
That left Rho as the dominant chip leader with approximately 3,800,000.
Dresel-Velasquez was the short stack and the only player with under one million chips, and he soon made the all-in move preflop with . Adam Adler called with pocket tens, and the two watched the board produce to end the run for Adrian Dresel-Velasquez, who was awarded $92,867 for the sixth place finish.
As the action sped up, it was McGowan all-in with pocket queens, but unluckily, Harb woke up with pocket kings with which to make the quick call. The rest of the cards came , and Jonathan McGowan was gone in fifth place with $116,833.
Action then slowed again, and it took quite awhile before another player would leave the game. In the meantime, Jim Geary doubled through Harb and Rho, though he remained the short stack at that point. The others continued to chip away at Geary, and he doubled through Adler to stay alive again.
Adler was the then shortest stack at the table and pushed with . Harb called with a dominating . The board came to end Adam Adler’s tournament with a fourth place finish and $161,768 in prize money.
Harb sat with the chip lead, but Geary took a stack of chips from him, and Rho took a significant 1.5 million-chip pot to take over the top spot. For the most part, the three finalists were very cautious in their plays, though, which made for a slow grind through the evening.
Finally, Geary made another push, this time for his last 1.37 million from the small blind with , but Harb was able to make the quick call from the big blind with . The dealer brought out a board to eliminate Jim Geary in third place, for which he received $230,670.
The last two players entered the heads-up match with the following counts:
Anthony Harb 5,100,000
Peter Rho 4,755,000
The stacks were relatively close, but Harb became aggressive and pushed his opponent.
The two soon went to see a flop of and turn of , at which point Rho pushed all-in with for the two flopped pair. But Harb had no problem calling with and the turned straight. When the hit on the river, Peter Rho was forced to accept second place, though the consolation prize was a significant $350,019.
Anthony Harb claimed victory in Event 11 at the 2009 WSOP, and he was awarded $569,199 and the coveted gold bracelet for the feat.