As the third annual World Series of Poker Europe progressed, the buy-ins for the events rose and the fields grew tougher. Thus was the case for Event 3, the £5,000 pot-limit Omaha tournament. In the last one before the Main Event at the Casino at the Empire in London’s Leicester Square, players gathered for their second-to-last chance at a gold WSOP bracelet.
The first day of the event saw 154 players enter the tournament for a £770,000 prize pool, and each competitor was given 10K in starting chips and a 10K chip for rebuying more chips during the first three levels if needed. The interesting structure spurred the usual thinning of the field, and only 36 players were still seated at the end of the day, including Sandra Naujoks, Tom Dwan, Noah Boeken, and Howard Lederer. But it was Jani Vilmunen atop the leaderboard with 300K, followed by Sorel Mizzi with 155K, while Lederer held up third place.
The second day was a fight for the money, as only 18 of the 36 players would make the money. As that point of the tournament approached, it was Dave Callaghan who got involved in a preflop raising war with Jani Vilmunen, who held . Callaghan had , and the board came to eliminate him on the bubble.
Andrey Zaichenko was the first to cash out with £11,034 for 18th place, and other notable in-the-money finishes came from Tony Bloom in 15th place, Tom Dwan in 14th, and Chris Bjorin in 11th. The last ten players were then seated together at one table, but it wasn’t until one more player left that the final table was set. Short-stacked Robert Williamson III doubled up, which left Naujoks as the shortest stack. She finally got involved with chipleader Vilmunen on a board of . Her all-in hand was , but her set was trumped by the straight hand of Vilmunen. The came on the river to eliminate Sandra Naujoks in tenth place with £14,900.
And the final table was set with chip counts and seat assignments as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Robert Williamson III ||64,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Ville Haavisto ||249,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Howard Lederer ||320,000 |
|Seat 4:||Jeff Kimber ||133,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Dan Hindin ||320,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Aarno Kivelio ||608,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Jani Vilmunen ||899,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Roberto Romanello ||306,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Ross Boatman ||180,000 |
The extremely short-stacked Robert Williamson III was unable to get anything going and finally opted for the all-in move with . Romanello called with . The board came down , and Williamson was gone quickly with £17,772 for ninth place.
Soon after, Kimber and Lederer got involved on a flop. Lederer bet out, Kimber called, the two saw a turn card. Both players checked, but when the came on the river, Kimber pushed all-in with for the full house, but Lederer called with and the better full house. Jeff Kimber left the tournament in eighth place with £22,869.
Romanello started the table in the middle of the pack but lost ground. He took a hit from Kivelio and subsequently moved all-in with 9-8-5-4 on a 7-2-3 flop, but Vilmunen was the caller with 7-6-5-4. The pair of sevens held up to eliminate Roberto Romanello in seventh place with £29,830.
The next player at risk was Hindin, who pushed all of his chips in with against the of Vilmunen. When the board ran out , it was Daniel Hindin who hit the rail in sixth place with £39,193 in prize money.
With five players remaining and Vilmunen holding a tight grip on the chip lead, it was Boatman in trouble, though he was able to double through Kivelio to stay alive. But Kivielo came back a few hands later and doubled back through Boatman, leaving the latter with only 85K remaining. After dinner, he doubled through Vilmunen but was still in dire need of improvement.
However, it was Haavisto who got involved with Lederer on a flop, after which Haavisto pushed all-in with 8-6-5-4. Lederer called with A-K-Q-10 for top pair, which improved when the hit on the turn and the came on the river to give him the straight. Ville Haavisto left the tournament in fifth place with £51,890.
Then it was Boatman’s time to attempt another double-up. He did it preflop with , while Kivelio called with . The dealer gave them a board, and Ross Boatman was eliminated in fourth place with £69,030.
The final three players launched into play with Lederer holding a slight lead over Vilmunen, but Kivelio wasn’t far behind, and with one key hand, Kivelio took the lead from both of his opponents. But it was a double-up by Vilmunen through Kivelio that left the latter in somewhat of a desperate position.
That led to a three-way pot that started with a flop. Vilmunen bet, Lederer folded, and Kivelio raised all-in with . Those draws had hope, but Vilmunen called with , and the set held up when the turn brought the and the river the . Aarno Kivelio left the tournament in third place with £93,293.
Heads-up play began after a quick break, and the chip counts were as follows:
|Howard Lederer ||1,800,000 |
|Jani Vilmunen ||1,250,000 |
Vilmunen came out swinging and took the first pot. With aggressive play, he soon took the lead from Lederer, which ultimately led to the last hand of the night. Vilmunen raised, Lederer reraised, and Vilmunen called to see a flop. Lederer bet, but Vilmunen raised all-in. Lederer called all-in for his tournament life with for the straight, but Vilmunen turned over for the better straight. The turn and river ended the tournament with Howard Lederer finishing in second place with £126,134.
Jani Vilmunen of Finland won the third event of the 2009 World Series of Poker, for which he was awarded a World Series bracelet and £204,048 in prize money.