When one looks at the entire WSOP schedule and sees so many $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments, it may seem like overkill and something that would be unable to draw interest after awhile. But it is exactly the opposite; as the Series goes on, the events become more popular. This was announced as sold out before the noon start time on Saturday, June 27, and there were players still angling to buy a seat. There was no shortage of interest in the relatively cheap buy-in NLHE events.
The final number of players in the field was 2,781, and the resulting prize pool was $3,796,065, which would be reserved for the last 297 players in the field. Day 1 found the vast majority of the players in departure mode, but there were 349 left to come back to the Rio for Day 2. It was then that they were able to play into the money, at which point the 297 survivors were guaranteed at least $2,733 in cash for making it through such a massive field.
Day 3 found only 30 players remaining, but the goal of the day was to play to the final table and on through to the winner. And they took off right from the start, as Allan Lebiszczak was eliminated almost immediately in 30th place with $15,374. From there, several bustouts dominated the first few hours of play:
29th place: Billie Payne ($15,374)
28th place: Robert Diaz ($15,374)
27th place: Chris Zurawski ($19,587)
26th place: Jochum Weenink ($19,587)
25th place: Rafael Belloso ($19,587)
24th place: Terry Fleischer ($19,587)
23rd place: Albert Kenny ($19,587)
22nd place: Ben Truelove ($19,587)
21st place: Alex Jacob ($19,587)
20th place: Craig O’Neill ($19,587)
19th place: Michael Worrman ($19,587)
It was then that the last 18 players redrew for seats at two tables and found themselves ever closer to the greater money jumps and final table action. The subsequent bustouts were as follows:
18th place: Eric Lupovich ($27,939)
17th place: Mike Matern ($27,939)
16th place: Jesse Haabak ($27,939)
15th place: Jeffery Vanchiro ($39,820)
14th place: Jesper Mertz ($39,820)
13th place: Victoria Szilasi ($39,820)
12th place: Josh Schlein ($56,751)
After Diego Vilela was eliminated in 11th place by Andrew Chen, for which he received $56,751, the last ten players were seated together at one table. One more elimination was required, however, to bring them to the official final table of nine. That occurred when Jon Mazursky and Jason Helder got involved to see a flop of . Mazursky pushed for his last 450K with pocket fives, but Helder quickly made the call with pocket kings. The turn was the and the river the , and Mazursky took the $56,751 for tenth place.
That left nine players and the final table lined up as follows:
Seat 1: Owen Crowe 1,030,000
Seat 2: Carsten Joh 875,000
Seat 3: Steven Levy 2,515,000
Seat 4: Jason Helder 2,900,000
Seat 5: Thibaut Durand 1,420,000
Seat 6: David Walasinski 700,000
Seat 7: Georgios Kapalas 1,280,000
Seat 8: Nathan Page 735,000
Seat 9: Andrew Chen 1,030,000
Play started slowly, with very little action in the early goings. It was well over an hour before a big hand came down to change the look of the table. And that hand was a spectacular one. Chen moved all-in preflop to put Nathan Page to the test, and page called for his last 580K with . Chen showed pocket nines, and the board came to give him quads. That left Page without much to say, only to accept the ninth place finish and $80,894 in prize money.
After Durand doubled through Helder, Helder was in a position to move and did so when he looked down at preflop. Crowe called with pocket nines, and those nines held up on a board. Jason Helder was eliminated in eighth place with $86,702.
The eliminations were coming faster, and soon after Helder left the table, Kapalas decided to move all-in from the big blind with . Joh decided to call the possible bluff with pocket sevens. Kapalas received a few outs with the flop, but the on the turn and on the river sent Georgios Kapalas out of the tournament in seventh place with $97,634.
One of the most consistent players of the day had been Durand, but he finally faced a short stack and pushed preflop with . Levy called with and dominated. The two watched the dealer give then , and Thibaut Durand was gone in sixth place with $115,817.
Crowe and Chen got into a bit of a preflop raising war in the next key hand that resulted in Chen pushing all-in with pocket eights. Crowe thought before calling all-in for his tournament life holding , and the board blanked for Crowe with . Owen Crowe was forced to accept $145,199 for his fifth place finish.
Levy took a hit when Walasinski doubled through him, and it didn’t take long for the two to battle again. When Walasinski made another all-in move, Levy called immediately for his tournament life with , and Walasinski showed . The board came to send Steven Levy packing in fourth place with $192,650.
The last three players were led by Chen’s stack of more than 6.2 million. Walasinski had nearly 4.4 million, and Joh was the shortest stack with 1.87 million, though Joh soon made his move and doubled through Walasinski.
Walasinski continued to bleed chips and finally pushed all-in preflop with 1,620,000 with . Joh made the call with , and the board produced to eliminate David Walasinski in third place with $272,405.
Heads-up play began with the following counts:
Carsten Joh 6,860,000
Andrew Chen 5,665,000
It was Joh who became extremely aggressive and chipped away at Chen throughout the heads-up match. When Chen was relegated to just over 2 million chips, he finally made his move with . Joh called with pocket sixes, and the two anxiously awaited the board as it came . The rivered set eliminated Andrew Chen in second place with a respectable $412,632 in prize money.
Carsten Joh became the newest 2009 WSOP champion, claiming his first ever WSOP bracelet along with $664,426 in prize money.