The pot-limit Omaha-8 tournament was a unique one, and combined with a $5,000 buy-in was destined to bring an elite group of players to the tables. And the 198-player field was filled with recognizable faces and those who had spent many years trying to perfect Omaha and all of its varieties. The result was a $930,600 prize pool, and though $246K was reserved for the winner, it was the bracelet and the feeling of victory for which all participants strove.
And the one who got there to claim the win was Roland de Wolfe, a former journalist-turned-pro whose win was a triumphant one for all who learn the game and strive to play it for a living. But the Englishman who outlasted them all would not know his fate or place in the game until he was the only one left standing.
Day 1 saw the field diminish to only 59 players, but it took the second day and many hours into it to work the field down to the bubble, at which point Mickey Appelman took the position of tournament bubble player. That put players like Chris Bell and Jeff Lisandro in the money, and as the final table neared, it was Andy Bloch eliminated in 13th, Senovio Ramirez III in 12th, and Mark Brtlog in 11th. Ultimately, with Scott Clements on a roll, Stewart Yancik became one of the casualties and was ousted in tenth place to set the final table.
Those final nine players returned on Day 3 to play for the win, with chip counts as follows:
Seat 1: Antony 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
The table started with Ruiz fighting for his tournament life, and he successfully doubled up to save it. Kravchenko ultimately did the same and doubled just in the nick of time. Campbell doubled through Clements, and Ruiz did it one more time through Campbell.
With the flurry of action, it was soon time for an actual elimination. Antony Lellouche had fallen since his original status in second place on the leaderboard. After a flop of , it was Clements who put the pressure on and Lellouche who called all-in. Clements turned over the , and Lellouche showed . The turn brought a , but the on the river ended the tournament for Lellouche, who received $29,965 for the ninth place finish.
Ruiz had troubles from the start of the tournament and finally put his tournament life on the line preflop with . Richey was the caller with , and the board came . Armando Ruiz left in eighth place with $32,105.
Racener was getting low on chips, and he got involved in a hand to see a flop with Campbell and Clements, the latter of whom left after post-flop betting. When the came on the turn, Racener pushed with and some draws, but Campbell called with for the temporarily better hand. When the river brought a , the tournament was over for John Racener, who took home $36,200 for the seventh place finish.
It was then that Clements took his original final table lead and made even more of it. During six-handed play, he had more than half of the chips at the table, and it seemed as if he could run away with the entire package.
At the same time, Andy Black hadn’t found much to move with until he took into action. Campbell was the caller with , and the two watched as the dealer gave them . The flush was good enough to knock Black out of the tournament in sixth place, which was worth $42,993.
Kravchenko pushed soon after with , and Clements was happy to call with . When the board came , it caused the chips to be pushed to Clements and Alex Kravchenko to be pushed to the door with $53,881 for the fifth place finish.
Campbell and de Wolfe soon tangled after a flop. But it wasn’t until after the on the turn that Campbell made the all-in move with . De Wolfe had , and when the river brought the , Robert Campbell was ousted in fourth place with $72,121.
When the final three began their match, Clements still maintained a solid lead, and Brett Richey was the short stack, though he soon took the opportunity to quarter Clements and jump up to a solid second place. Wolfe then took his short stack into battle with Clements and doubled through.
Clements and de Wolfe started their duel calmly and saw a flop. Clements made the first move, but de Wolfe raised, and Clements responded with an all-in move holding . De Wolfe called with . The turn came the and the river the , which allowed de Wolfe to scoop the pot and eliminate the formidable Scott Clements in third place with $101,063.
Heads-up action began with Richey trying to push into a better chip position, but de Wolfe had a substantial lead. Finally, though, after an hour and some small successes but never the opportunity to take enough chips to take the lead, the two got involved on a flop. Some betting led to Richey being all-in for his tournament life with and top pair with a draw. But it was de Wolfe there with and the two pair. The turn of the and the river of eliminated Brett Richey in second place with $152,618.
The title, bracelet, and $246,616 first prize went to Roland de Wolfe, the Englishman who also claimed - after this win - to be the second player ever to capture poker’s Triple Crown by winning an EPT, WPT, and WSOP title. Gavin Griffin was the only other player to have that distinction in poker until de Wolfe caught up with this victory. Congratulations!