The last $1,500 no-limit hold’em event of the series was met by some with relief that such events would be over, and by others with excitement that they had one more opportunity to make a run at a WSOP bracelet in the most popular card game in the world. The tournament sold out the night before it even began on Monday, June 29, and it was no surprise to anyone.
When all were counted, there were 2,818 players in the event and a resulting prize pool of $3,846,570. While only 297 players would receive any of it, the ultimate winner would take home a substantial prize of $673,276. The first day of action saw the field thinned to only 376 players, but it was during Day 2 that the money bubble burst and the number of players eventually decreased to 28.
The final day of action saw those 28 players return to the Rio in the hopes of making it to the final table and on through to the winner’s circle. Through the first few hours, the eliminations went quickly, but it took well into the evening hours before the final table was found. The bustouts leading to that point were:
28th place: Brandon Wong ($19,848)
27th place: Mike Maher ($19,848)
26th place: Stephen Outram ($19,848)
25th place: Eric Hayes ($19,848)
24th place: Philippe Narboni ($19,848)
23rd place: Paulo Nunes ($19,848)
22nd place: Wayne Chow ($19,848)
21st place: Matt Stern ($19,848)
20th place: Steven Rubinfeld ($19,848)
19th place: Jon Christensen ($19,848)
18th place: Kevin Rosini ($28,310)
17th place: Todd Lundwall ($28,310)
16th place: John Spagnuolo ($28,310)
15th place: Vivek Rajkumar ($40,350)
14th place: Thai Tran ($40,350)
13th place: Felix Lambertz ($40,350)
12th place: Brian Green ($57,506)
11th place: Arkadiy Tsinis ($57,506)
It was then that the final ten players were seated at one table with the following chip counts:
Seat 1: Sergey Konkin 700,000
Seat 2: Tony Veckey 1,180,000
Seat 3: Jason Wheeler 2,000,000
Seat 4: Miha Remic 800,000
Seat 5: Andrew Malott 1,000,000
Seat 6: Joseph Chaplin 1,300,000
Seat 7: Christopher Bonita 1,980,000
Seat 8: Mike Ratcliff 415,000
Seat 9: Christopher DeMaci 1,300,000
Seat 10: David Jaoui 920,000
Cautionary play ensued until Mike Ratcliff was finally eliminated in tenth place for $57,506, at which time the official final table was set and action sped up.
The all-ins were starting to become more frequent, though some of them resulted in double-ups, as when Joseph Chaplin doubled his stack through Christopher DeMaci.
Then it was Miha Remic’s turn, and he pushed preflop with , only to be called by Andrew Malott’s pocket fives. The board ran out , and Remic was ousted in ninth place with $81,970 for making it to the final table.
David Jaoui was the next to put his tournament life at risk and did so preflop for his last 650K with . Sergey Konkin called with pocket queens, and Jaoui was in need of help. The dealer could only give them , which left Jaoui out in eighth place with $87,855.
The bustouts were coming more and more quickly. Christopher DeMaci pushed from the small blind with , but he regretfully found a caller in Konkin from the big blind with . The board came , and DeMaci was ousted in seventh place with $98,933.
Christopher Bonita was the next to be at risk, though the hand started innocently enough with a flop of . Wheeler put out a bet, and Bonita check-called to see the come on the turn. Wheeler bet enough to put Bonita all-in, and Bonita called with . His draw was met by the of Wheeler, who already had the straight. Bonita made a lower straight on the river when the showed, but that didn’t stop him from being eliminated in sixth place with $147,131.
Andrew Malott got into a preflop raising war with Chaplin and decided to push all-in with his solid pocket kings, and Chaplin called with . But the board immediately hit Chaplin with a flop of flop. The turn brought a and the river a , which ended Malott’s run in fifth place with $147,131.
Some double-ups were in order during four-handed action, but it was Konkin who was left hurting. Vecky doubled through Konkin to put a dent in his stack, and Veckey came back to do it again a few hands later. Konkin was then left with only 35K and forced to move on the next hand from the big blind. Veckey, Wheeler, and Chaplin all came along and checked through a board of , at which point Veckey showed for the win. Sergey Konkin was eliminated in fourth place with $195,213.
Joseph Chaplin finally got involved for his stack, though it wasn’t until after the flop. Veckey made the bet, Wheeler called, and Chaplin raised all-in for nearly 1.6 million. Veckey got out of the way, but Wheeler called with for the flush draw. Chaplin called with for the straight draw. The on the turn gave Wheeler the top pair, and the on the river ended the tournament for Joseph Chaplin in third place, for which he received $276,029.
Heads-up action began with Jason Wheeler holding 8 million chips and Tony Veckey with 4.7 million.
Though Veckey made some aggressive moves, the cards weren’t cooperating. And it soon came down to one hand that started with a flop. Wheeler bet, and Veckey called. The unknown turn card prompted Veckey to push all-in with , and Wheeler called with . A on the river gave trips to Wheeler, but Veckey’s flopped straight was the ultimate winner. Jason Wheeler took second place and $418,122.
Tony Veckey became the winner of the coveted WSOP gold bracelet, along with a whopping $673,276 in prize money for the victory.