For those who pay close attention to the World Series of Poker as it runs its course, and particularly for those who report on it from the scene, another $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament can seem redundant. In fact, it is redundant. There are many of them throughout the Series. But since the WSOP is for the players and they continue to appreciate the many offerings and opportunities, the schedule brings it to them. Another big draw, it certainly was.
What caught many people’s attention, however, was the $10,000 heads-up event, which always inevitably brings interesting match-ups and straight up poker. There is no room for sitting out a hand, folding to let the other players duke it out. It’s about two opponents going at on the green felt, with skills and cards in hand, it until one emerges victorious, and players and fans alike relish it. It made Day 18 of the 2009 WSOP.
But all tournaments deserve attention and a summary of the action, so for your reading pleasure…
Event 26: $1,500 Limit Hold’em, Day 2
The limit event drew a crowd of 643 players who appreciate the limit hold’em skills versus the wild action of no-limit. With their buy-ins combined, the prize pool became $877,695, with nearly $200K of it reserved for the ultimate champion. Day 1 ended with 124 players, so it would be the task on Day 2 to play down to the money at 63 players and continue on to the final table.
It was late in the afternoon on Day 2 that hand-for-hand went into effect, just after Katja Svendsen was eliminated in 65th place. And it didn’t take long until Kieu Duong and Noah Boeken tangled after a flop. Duong ended up all-in with pocket jacks, and the overpair was good against the of Boeken. The turn of changed nothing, but the on the river gave Boeken the flush and eliminated Duong in 64th place on the bubble.
Soon to be eliminated after was Soheil Shamseddin, who was awarded $2,896 for surviving into the money. Others followed, such as notables like Barry Greenstein , Bryan Devonshire, and Victor Ramdin. And as the day progressed, it looked as if finding the final table nine would not happen by the 3:00am cut-off time.
There were 15 remaining at the end of the night, and Al Barbieri sat with 400,000 and the chip lead. Demetrios Arvanetes took second position with 350,000, and Tomas Alenius was in third with 322,000. The most recognizable names in the chip counts were Rep Porter and Richard Brodie.
Event 27: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Day 2
Omaha has recently been touted as the next hold’em, though the complications of a game like 8-or-better continues to relegate it to the select few who have a penchant for a lot of action, split pots, and complicated strategies. When the $5,000 buy-in PLO-8 tournament came around on the schedule, there were only 198 takers, and the tables were filled with recognizable faces who have dedicated themselves to mastering a variety of games. That field brought the prize pool to $930,600, with more than $246K set aside for the winner.
The first day of action saw the majority of players leave their seats and only 59 allowed to return for Day 2. And that day was bound to be a long one, which it did turn out to be. It wasn’t until the late evening hours that the money bubble even neared, as it took quite some time to reach the final 18 who would be in the money. Finally, as Mickey Appelman looked down at his stack of 15K, he pushed preflop with , and Armando Ruiz called with . The dealer turned over and ended Appelman’s run on the bubble.
Play slowed, surprisingly, after the money was reached, but after midnight, it was Chris Bell who was finally eliminated in 18th place for $14,889, then Jeff Lisandro took 17th, Kenny Tam 16th, Matt Lefkowitz 15th, Kirill Rabtsov 14th, Andy Bloch 13th, and Senovio Ramirez III in 12th and Mark Bartlog in 11th during the same hand. After all players were moved to one table, it took only about 20 minutes for Scott Clements to eliminate Stewart Yancik in tenth place, meaning the official final table was set for the next day as follows:
Seat 1: Anthony Lellouche 533,000
Seat 2: Roland de Wolfe 386,000
Seat 3: Alex Kravchenko 267,000
Seat 4: Andy Black 182,000
Seat 5: Brett Richey 238,000
Seat 6: Scott Clements 801,000
Seat 7: Armando Ruiz II 192,000
Seat 8: John Racener 214,000
Seat 9: Robert Campbell 152,000
Event 28: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, Day 1
This is the event to which we referred. It was a Saturday, and there’s nothing that brings the players to the Rio Convention Center for the World Series like a $1.5K no-limit hold’em event. On this particular Saturday, 2,638 players tried their hand at tournament poker action, and when those entries were tabulated, the prize pool came to $3,600,870. But only 270 players would receive any portion of it in the end.
At the end of the fast and furious day, only 327 players remained in the field, which meant that no one would hit the money until sometime early in the afternoon of Day 2. The person with the best chance of doing that would be Van Dung Nguyen, who reported a final chip count of 218,000. The chip leader was followed by Zach Fritz in second place with a 154K-stack, and the rest of the top five on the leaderboard were Mats Gavatin, Marco Johnson, and Arthur Evans.
Event 29: $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, Day 1
And this was the one many waited for. Interesting match-ups were a given, and a prize pool unfolded that would make the average poker player’s mouth water. There were 256 players who entered the world championship heads-up event, which was actually the cap on the tournament, making for a $2.406,400 prize pool with a $625,682 first prize. Those who made it to the round of 32 players would be guaranteed a payout, though they would each have to survive three matches to get there.
Round 1 began on the first day with some players moving on rather quickly. Within the first 15 minutes of the day, Hoyt Corkins and Justin Smith secured their spots in the second round, and a short amount of time later, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Jason Mercier did the same. Finally, it was David Benefield who dispatched Scott Augustine to end the first round and give 256 players the chance at the second.
Later that evening, the 256 players came back to the felt to attempt to play into the next stage of the game. Round 2 started with Dragan Galic being the first to advance, followed by Alec Torelli, Jeff Garza, and Erik Seidel. Eventually, as the night turned to morning, Bertrand Grospellier and Gavin Smith were eliminated, and to cap off the night, Alexey Popov beat Kenneth Middleton to advance to Round 3.
All players were set to return on Sunday, June 14 to play several more rounds. All those who go on to win Round 3 will be in the money and fighting harder battles each round to advance to the finals.