With the first event of the 2009 World Series of Poker Europe barely in the books, Event 2 was off and running at London’s Empire at the Casino. Expectations that it would be a smaller and shorter event than the first turned into fact, as the higher buy-in (£2,500) and mixed nature (pot-limit hold’em and Omaha) dictated such.
Day 1 was a long one but brought everything together in a nice package. The 158-player starting field was filled with recognizable faces, such as Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Dario Minieri, Max Pescatori, Mike Matusow, Bertrand Grospellier, Roland de Wolfe, Vitally Lunkin, Huck Seed, Jeff Lisandro, Men Nguyen, Annette Obrestad, Andy Bloch, Andrew Black, Barry Greenstein, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, Howard Lederer, Hoyt Corkins, and Event 1 champion JP Kelly. But the day played down quite quickly, and only 22 were bagging chips when the clock stopped, and Erik Cajelais was the overall chipleader with 144,900 chips.
Day 2 began with only a few players to go before hitting the money, and the bubble burst when Karelas Konstantinos shoved all-in with pocket fives. He was called by Mats Gavatin and his . The pocket pair was safe until the river on the board, which knocked Konstantinos out in 19th place.
With players seated at two tables, the first elimination came when Sampo Lopponen left the field in 18th place, and he was followed by Vitaly Lunkin in 17th. Allie Prescott was ousted in 13th, and as the final table neared, a quick bust-out came when Nikolay Evdakov pushed all-in on an Omaha hand with , but Gavatin called with 9-8-5-4 rainbow. The board of brought the latter two pair and sent Evdakov out in tenth place with £7,643.
The final table was then set and proceeding with no significant break. The starting chip counts were as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Ian Frazer ||169,500 |
|Seat 2: ||Men Nguyen ||164,200 |
|Seat 3: ||Chris Bjorin ||98,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Mats Gavatin ||282,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Hoyt Corkins ||53,200 |
|Seat 6: ||Howard Lederer ||94,300 |
|Seat 7: ||Robin Keston ||56,700 |
|Seat 8: ||Richard Gryko ||164,300 |
|Seat 9: ||Erik Cajelais ||95,000 |
It was decided amongst the players that instead of playing down to a winner, three levels would be played before the night ended. The remaining players at that point could subsequently decide to play on through the night, but three levels was the plan.
Not much time passed before the first elimination. Lederer and Gavatin battled preflop in hold’em and it ended with Lederer all-in holding pocket threes and Gavatin showing . The board came . The quads knocked Howard Lederer
out in ninth place with £9.117.
The hands that followed saw Gavatin chip up even further, surpassing the 500K mark and pressing forward with aggressive play. Cajelais, on the other hand, doubled through Nguyen just to stay alive, and then Nguyen doubled through Frazer.
Frazer was left with only 26K in chips, though he was able to double through Cajelais to stay alive. But the nature of the game forced him to do it again, and he did it with against the of Gryko. The board gave Frazer outs with a flop, but the turn and river allowed Gryko’s sixes to hold up and eliminated Ian Frazer in eighth place with £11,732.
Corkins was the next at risk, and he was nearly all-in (only 4,500 behind) from the big blind before the flop with Gryko. Corkins checked, but when Gryko made a bet, Corkins pushed the rest of his chips all-in with . Gryko showed for high card, and the turn gave him the pair. The on the river ended it for Hoyt Corkins, who received £15,302 for seventh place.
A big pot brewed when five players went to see a flop. Gryko raised, and everyone folded to Bjorin, who called all-in with . Gryko turned over for two pair, and the river and solidified Gryko as the winner of the pot. Chris Bjorin was eliminated in sixth place with £20,106.
The day then ended with the following players and their chip counts still in contention:
|Seat 1: ||Men Nguyen ||268,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Mats Gavatin ||448,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Robin Keston ||63,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Richard Gryko ||329,000 |
|Seat 5: || Erik Cajelais ||81,000 |
The originally unplanned Day 3 began with Cajelais getting very aggressive. A double-up through Gavatin put him back into contention with more than 150K in chips. Keston also doubled through Gavatin to stay alive.
But it was Gryko who lost momentum on the last day of action, and he finally got involved with Cajelais, who had Gryko covered in chips. The two went to see a flop of , which prompted Cajelaid to bet and Gryko to raise all-in with . But his top pair was trumped by Cajelais and his . The on the turn was no help, nor was the on the river, and Richard Gryko left the tournament in fifth place with £26,619.
Nguyen was then the one to find himself in a struggle. Chipped down to only 39K, he was able to double through Keston, but he needed to do it again and moved all-in with against the of Cajelais. The flop was innocent with , but the looked better for Cajelais, and the on the river gave him the straight. Men “The Master” Nguyen exited in fourth place with £35,412.
Three-handed play found Cajelais as the chipleader with 460K and Keston and Gavatin both holding at just above the 300K mark. And play slowed quite a bit.
Eventually, Keston pushed all-in with pocket deuces, but Cajelais was able to call with pocket kings. The board came to give Cajelais the set and knock out Robin Keston in third place, for which he received £47,858.
Heads-up play began with Cajelais holding a dominating near-million chip stack and Gavatin clinging to hope with 180K. But Gavatin doubled up quickly in an Omaha hand to stay alive.
Still the underdog, though, Gavatin moved all-in again in Omaha with . Cajelais called with . The board came , and Mats Gavatin was relegated to second place with £64,705.
Erik Cajelais won Event 2 at the 2009 WSOPE and the £104,677 that went along with the bracelet.