The $1,500 Limit Hold Em Shootout at the 2009 World Series of Poker found 572 players ready to play. The Shootout is a unique event that has three rounds of what are essentially single table satellites. Every player started at a full table and played until there was one player remaining at the table. If you were fortunate enough to do that, you cashed and moved on to the 2nd round where you had to try it all over again. Win that table and you make the final table. Easy as pie right? Tell that to players like Maria Ho, Sorel Mizzi, and Michael Binger who were unable to advance past the first round. Tom Schneider, Jean-Robert Bellande, Humberto Brenes, and Dan Heimiller were among the 64 players who advanced to round 2 but did not make the final table.
The final table was comprised of the following players, each starting with the same amount of chips:
Seat 1: David Williams
Seat 2: Millie Shiu
Seat 3: Joep Van Den Bijgaart
Seat 4: Matt Sterling
Seat 5: Greg "FBT" Mueller
Seat 6: Jose Barbero
Seat 7: Marc Naalden
Seat 8: Flaminio Malaguti
Jose Barbero tried and tried again but every hand he played seemed like a failure and he became a short stack much sooner than anyone imagined possible. Short stacked, he called a raise from Greg Mueller in the big blind. The flop came and Mueller check raised a bet from Barbero. Jose made it three bets and Mueller raised yet again, enough to set Barbero all in. Barbero made the call and the cards were turned over, for Mueller giving him top two pair and for Barbero giving him the nut flush draw. No heart came on the turn or river and Jose Barbero finished in 8th place winning $13,655.
The next short stack to fall was Joep Van Den Bijgaart when he raised from late position and his fellow countryman, Marc Naalden, re-raised. Joep called and the flop came and Naalden led out. Joep raised, which was enough to set him all in, and Naalden called. Naalden had for top pair which was way ahead of the nothing Joep held in the form of . No cards came to save the day and Joep Van Den Bijgaart finished in 7th place winning $18,136.
Flaminio Malaguti came back from the dinner break and proceeded to become a short stack. With the action folded to him in the small blind, Flaminio raised and was called by David Williams. The flop came and Flaminio bet and was called by Williams. The turn was the and Flaminio bet again. This time Williams raised, which was enough to set Flaminion all in. Flaminio made the call with and saw that Williams had drawn out on him with . The river was the and Flaminio Malaguti finished in 6th place winning $24,824.
Matt Sterling had the misfortune of getting pocket aces cracked by Greg Mueller when Mueller hit a gut shot straight on the river. Down to his last few chips, Sterling was all in pre-flop the very next hand and both Mueller and Williams decided to join the party. The flop came and Mueller bet with Williams calling. The turn was the and Mueller bet again. Williams folded and Mueller flipped over for 2nd pair and Sterling showed and would need a 6, 8, or queen to stay alive. The river was the and Matt Sterling finished in 5th place winning $35,058.
David Williams had a up and down final table that saw him unable to recover from several confrontations with Marc Naalden and Greg Mueller. Down to his last few chips, he called all in after Millie Shiu opened the pot and Mueller 3 bet it. Shiu made it four bets and Mueller called. The flop came and Mueller called Shiu's bet. The turn was the and Mueller raised Shiu's bet this time. The river was the and Shiu check called Mueller's bet and showed pocket aces. Unfortunately for her, Mueller had turned a set of jacks. Williams could only show and Mueller raked in the monster pot. David Williams finished in 4th place winning $51,145.
After that devastating blow to her chip stack, Millie Shiu was easily the shortest of the three remaining players. She lost another pot to Mueller and found herself all in from the big blind against Mueller and Naalden. Mueller bet the flop and Naalden folded. Mueller had for a pair of 8's and Shiu was in bad shape with her . The king on the turn had her drawing dead and Millie Shiu finished in 3rd place winning $77,138.
Heads up play started with Mueller having a 4:1 chip lead over Naalden. It was probably no coincidence that the two remaining players had already won bracelets this year in limit hold em events. Naalden showed just how capable he was and chipped away at Mueller's chip lead until he managed to take it over. The two took turns holding the chip lead with it going back and forth for quite some time. At one time Naalden took a 2:1 chip lead but moments later it was Mueller who held the same advantage.
Mueller started to pull away winning a series of small pots that added up to a sizable chip advantage. Down to 500K, Naalden raised and was called by Mueller. The flop came and Mueller checked. Naalden bet and Mueller called. The turn was the and Mueller checked again. Naalden bet and this time Mueller check raised. Naalden three bet all in and Mueller made the call. Naalden had and hit a pair of kings on the turn. Mueller, however, had a king as well but his kicker was a 5, which with the two low cards on the board meant it would play. The river was the and the tournament was over. Marc Naalden finished in 2nd place winning $120,614.
After winning the $10,000 Limit Hold Em event earlier this WSOP, his win in the $1,500 Limit Hold Em Shootout has thrust Greg Mueller into lofty territory and cemented his position as one of the best limit hold em players in the world. This was Mueller's 2nd bracelet this year, joining three other players who have won multiple bracelets. Greg Mueller finished in 1st place winning $194,854. Congratulations Greg!