It was an Omaha-8 tournament that began on Tuesday, June 23 with 424 players and tried to finish in three days. Though they missed that mark, the tournament was just as exciting over the three days as Omaha can be. With the field playing for a prize pool of $975,200 and first place prize of $229,192, not to mention the shiny gold World Series of Poker bracelet, it was no wonder the tournament took longer than expected.
Day 1 found the field only thinning to 196 players, nowhere near the money bubble that would allow 45 players to be paid. Ultimately, that happened on Day 2 when Marsha Waggoner busted in 46th place to burst the bubble. Play was still remarkably slow once the rest of the players were in the money, and the day ended with 23 still in the game.
The final day of action started with Mike Matusow coming in quite determined to go deeper but actually finding himself crippled shortly into play. He pushed soon after with against the of James Dempsey. The board came to give Dempsey all of the chips and leave Mike Matusow out in 23rd place with $7,411 to show for it.
Subsequent eliminations on the way to the final table came as follows:
22nd place David Rabbi $7,411
21st place Jonah Seewald $7,411
20th place Victor Deltoro $7,411
19th place Jim Banafato $7,411
18th place Meng La $9,634
17th place CK Hua $9,634
16th place Frankie O’Dell $9,634
15th place Danny Smith $12,667
14th place James Dempsey $12,667
13th place Jeff Tunkel $12,667
12th place Patrice Boudet $17,007
11th place J.W. Smith $17,007
The last 10 players were then seated at one table with Josh Schlein as the chipleader and John Monnette as the short stack. And it didn’t take terribly long for Monnette to move all-in and get a call from Michael Keiner, who sent Monnette out in tenth place with $17,007.
Pat Poels was the next short stack and couldn’t seem to gain much momentum at the table. He went to see a flop of with Scott Bohlman, and some betting led them to the turn. Bohlman bet out again, prompting Poels to raise all-in with , and Bohlman called with . The river brought the to present the flush for Bohlman, and when the chips were counted, it was noted that Poels had his opponent covered by one 1,000 chip. He pushed that forward and climbed up to 4,000, but he finally lost a battle and accepted the $23,541 for ninth place.
It was then that play slowed. But during the hours of chopped pots and cautious play, it was Gregorich who found himself hurting, though he doubled twice to stay alive. Finally, though, he put his last 24K at risk in another attempt to double with . Josh Schlein and Mark Tenner both came along, though a bet by Tenner after the flop prompted Schlein to fold. Tenner showed , which turned into a full house when the came on the turn. The on the river ended the match, and Mark Gregorich was ousted in eighth place with $26,213.
Tenner took a significant pot from Keiner that left him in short-stacked position, and Keiner finally moved with , which looked good against the of Derek Raymond, but the board came to give him the best two pair. Michael Keiner was gone in seventh place with $30,562.
After a dinner break for the remaining six players, Sirous Jamshidi got involved with Tenner and found himself with only 115K after the hand. Soon after, he tangled with Bohlman on a board, and Jamshidi raised all-in with . But Bohlman called immediately with and the wheel. The river of a ended Jamshidi’s run in sixth place with $37,350.
Schlein suddenly found himself in trouble and was able to double through Tenner but soon moved again. Down to only 110K, he moved all-in with and was called by Raymond and his . The board ran out to give Raymond a pair of queens, and Josh Schlein was eliminated in fifth place with $48,028.
Four-handed play found Tenner in the lead but Bohlman catching up quickly. Over the next hour, Tenner chipped up, and Bohlman lost the majority of his chips to be relegated to a 250K stack. But it was Coppola who suffered in the following hour, as Raymond scooped him and Bohlman took a significant pot to leave Coppola with only 375K.
Fabio Coppola got involved with Raymond on a board of that was then checked down to the river, at which point Coppola moved all-in with . The hand showed nothing, and Raymond called with , and his two pair won the hand. An angry Coppola exited in fourth place with $65,094.
The last three players started action with Raymond in the lead, Bohlman bringing up second, and Tenner on the short stack, but Tenner proceeded to take that lead and switch places with Raymond in the course of the next hour. It seemed to be Tenner and Raymond exchanging most of the chips while Bohlman couldn’t gain much ground.
Finally, Scott Bohlman went to see a flop of with Tenner, and after the on the turn, Bohlman bet all-in with for the two pair. Tenner called with and the trip fives, which ended the match and gave Bohlman $93,199 for third place.
The heads-up match took two and a half hours with both players maintaining a great deal of stamina and the ability to win pots when needed. No matter how short one player got, he would manage to even the stacks soon enough. But finally, in the wee hours of the morning, after Tenner lost a few significant pots, a hand developed to decide the game.
Tenner pushed all-in with , and Raymond called with . The board ran out to give Raymond the wheel and Mark Tenner the second place finish, which was worth $141,647.
Derek Raymond won the tournament, the first place prize of $229,192, and the WSOP gold bracelet.