There are many no-limit hold’em tournaments at the World Series of Poker, even numerous ones at the $1,500 buy-in level alone. But what distinguishes one from the other is the Day 2 and Day 3 action. Final tables are bound to bring different names each time, and whether there are amateurs or pros in the line-up, each one will play out in a unique way and almost always present a new champion to the poker world.
This was the second NLHE event of the 2010 WSOP, and the registration number hit 2,341 to make for a $3,160,350 prize pool. The top 243 players were set to receive a bit more than they invested, but the ultimate winner was guaranteed to receive $352,916.
Day 1 brought the field down to only 270 players, and Day 2 burst the money bubble and played down to 25 players, reasonably shy of the actual final table but close enough to warrant attention to the list of players remaining. Saar Wilf was the chip leader at the end of Day 2, but 2009 Event 1 winner Andrew Cohen held a solid second place, and Phil Hellmuth sat in fifth place.
Day 3 started on June 4 with those 25 players, and as the afternoon turned to evening, the following eliminations took place on the way to the final table:
25th place: Ronald Eberhard ($16,275)
24th place: Paul Fehlig ($16,275)
23rd place: Erich Kollmann ($16,275)
22nd place: Richard Geyer ($16,275)
21st place: Vinny Pahuja ($16,275)
20th place: Andrew Cohen ($16,275)
19th place: Raymond Geary ($16,275)
18th place: David Frazier ($20,257)
17th place: Jared Michelizzi ($20,257)
16th place: Devin Looney ($20,257)
15th place: Phil Hellmuth ($25,472)
14th place: Keith Lehr ($25,472)
13th place: Scott Vener ($25,472)
12th place: Darin Utley ($32,456)
11th place: Matthew Ezrol ($32,456)
The remaining 10 players took a dinner break and returned to one last table, though one more player needed to be eliminated before it constituted the official final table of nine players.
Upon the return from dinner, it was Jose Gatmaitan who moved all-in with , and Pascal LeFrancois made the call with . But when the flop came , Gatmaitan was behind the set. Neither the on the turn nor the on the river could help the situation, and Gatmaitan was the tenth place finisher, and the prize for it was $32,456.
The final table was then set with the nine remaining players, though no official chip counts were given in the official reporting.
Play started with Josh Brikis doubling through Saar Wilf. And soon after, a big hand developed when Brikis and Wilf both committed all of their chips preflop, and Max Steinberg called and had both players covered. Steinberg shoewd , Brikis had , and Wilf had . The board came , and the pocket pair held up. That eliminated Wilf in ninth place with $41,843 and Brikis in eighth place with $54,579.
Chip counts were then given for the final seven players:
|Pascal LeFrancois ||4,300,000 |
|Max Steinberg ||1,700,000 |
|Kevin Howe ||1,250,000 |
|David Aue ||825,000 |
|Daniel Wjuniski ||720,000 |
|James Andersen ||650,000 |
|Kurt Disessa ||600,000 |
The short-stacked Disessa was chipped down to 410K and pushed all-in from the small blind with . Howe made the call with and got even further ahead in the hand with a , though Disessa picked up flush outs. The turn was a for more help, but a red ace ended it all on the river, leaving Kurt Disessa with $72,087 for the seventh place finish.
Andersen then tangled with Wjuniski preflop, and when the latter pushed all-in, Andersen called for the remainder of his chips holding . Wjuniski showed , but the flop gave him the set. The on the turn and on the river left no ways out, and James Andersen left in sixth place with $96,422.
Aue was the next to take a chance and risk his tournament life, pushing all-in from the small blind with . Howe called with , but the history of the worse pair hitting on the board was pretty solid at the final table. The flop came , and a ten on the turn gave Aue the set. But the dropped on the river to make a straight for Howe. David Aue was eliminated in fifth place with $130,617.
Though Wjuniski gained a few chips by eliminating Andersen earlier, he was chipped back down to 830K and moved it all-in preflop with . Steinberg called with . The board came , and the best pair going in actually held up, eliminating Daniel Wjuniski in fourth place with $179,286.
A little into three-handed play, it was LeFrancois out in front with 3.9 million but Howe close behind with 3.8 million and Steinberg in last with 2.7 million.
Somehow, Howe was soon at risk. He moved all-in preflop with , and LeFrancois called with . The board of delivered nothing but blanks, and Kevin Howe was gone in short order with $249,351 for the third place finish.
Heads-up action started with the following chip counts:
Pascal LeFrancois 9,184,500
Max Steinberg 1,350,000
It was going to be a fight for Steinberg, but he was ready. He moved all-in with against the of LeFrancois, and the board of delivered the double-up.
Still under 2 million chips, though, another opportunity awaited. The final hand started with a cheap flop. A bet and call led the two to the turn card, and another bet and call. When the came on the river, Steinberg pushed all-in with for the mere pair of fours. LeFrancois pondered it for a moment and called with , and the pair of jacks was the best hand. Max Steinberg was out in second place with $352,916.
Pascal LeFrancois became the Event 8 winner, for which he was awarded $568,974 and a WSOP gold bracelet.
*Editor's note: Pascal felt this was a sporting event and wanted to be photographed with his shirt off*