There was a chance the third $1K NLHE tournament of the 2010 World Series of Poker could be done in three full days, four counting the two starting days. But in the end, the field had been too large, action progressed too slowly toward the end, and it was better for everyone involved to take it the full four days, for which the schedule was prepared to accommodate. So when Day 4 arrived, players were more than ready to find their winner.
The event started on Saturday, June 12, with Day 1A and the first 1,931 players to take their seats, and Day 1B on Sunday brought another 1,358 to the tables, making for a total field of 3,289 players and prize pool of $2,960,100. From that money, the last 342 players standing were to be paid, with the winner cashing out for $503,389.
The completion of both starting days left only 512 players remaining, and Day 2 took that number much lower, first through the money bubble and then on the way to the final table. But the night ended with 30 players still at the tables, so Day 3 whittled them down to only nine players. It was the elimination of Alexis Belanger-Lebel in tenth place that made it happen, and the last nine players bagged their chips, celebrated a little in their own ways at the realization that they made a WSOP final table, and returned on Wednesday, June 16 to play for the win.
With starting chip counts as follows, the final table got underway on Day 4 as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Blake Kelso ||1,166,000 |
|Seat 2: ||JD McNamara ||2,393,000 |
|Seat 3:||Thanh dat Tran ||2,311,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Greg Pohler ||1,660,000 |
|Seat 5: ||David Cai ||844,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Michael Gross ||535,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Denis Murphy ||789,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Jeffrey Tebben ||466,000 |
|Seat 9: ||John Tolbert ||925,000 |
Gross was one of the shortest stacks going into play, and having lost a few chips, it was time for the last 462K to go all-in preflop. Gross did it on the button with , and original raiser Tran called with . The flop of hit Tran with the jack, and the turn and river allowed that winning hand to stand. Michael Gross was the first to depart the festivities, taking with him $38,629 for the ninth place finish.
As Tebben challenged others with his short stack and chipped up, Pohler was bleeding chips and finally moved all-in for his last 470K. Tebben was the caller with , which was ahead against the - of Pohler. The board of didn’t change the situation at all, and Greg Pohler was gone in eighth place with $50,410.
Tolbert tried to make some moves and successfully doubled through Murphy. But when Cai eventually doubled through Tolbert, the latter was ready to push again. Tolbert did it with 480K preflop holding , but Murphy just happened to have his opponent covered by 15K and showed . The board of allowed the queens to take it, and David Tolbert was eliminated in seventh place with $66,513.
The next player making the decision to move was Kelso, who pushed all-in for 630K with . But McNamara moved all-in over the top with , and everyone else stayed out of the way. The flop of brought the straight draw for Kelso, and the was in line with that, but the denied all of those possibilities. Blake Kelso took his cue and left the final table in sixth place with $88,654.
Tran was the biggest climber, as he reached the 3 million mark during six-handed play and maintained his lead up to the dinner break. Tebben sat in second place and began to catch up to Tran, while Cai was in last position and couldn’t seem to gain much ground.
After the players returned from dinner, Cai was down to 890K and moved all-in with . McNamara looked down at from the big blind and called. Both players picked up a king on the flop, but the turn and river left the result the same. David Cai was eliminated in fifth place with $119,410.
Murphy and Tebben tangled on a , but it was after the on the turn that Murphy pushed all-in, and Tebben didn’t hesitate to call. Murphy showed for the club draw, but Tebben turned over for the wheel. The on the river provided no help for Dennis Murphy, who took a walk to the cashier cage to collect $162,568 for the fourth place finish.
Three-handed play saw Tebben with a solid 4.15 million chips, and the other two players trailed, McNamara with 2.9 million and Tran with 2.7 million.
Tran was the next to go. The hand started with Tran trying to limp in from the small blind, but when Tebben raised from the big blind, Tran pushed all-in for 2.775,000 chips. Tebben called with , and Tran turned over the . The board came , and Kiet Tran found no help there; he was forced to leave in third place with $223,665.
Heads-up play then began with the following counts:
Jeffrey Tebben 6,970,000
J.D. McNamara 2,900,000
McNamara took a few hits at the start of the action but eventually moved back toward his starting stack. But Tebben put him to the test without much leeway.
The two finally got involved in a hand that started with a flop. They checked to the on the turn, at which point Tebben bet and McNamara called. The on the river prompted a bet from McNamara and check-raise all-in from Tebben. McNamara called without hesitation for his tournament life with , but Tebben showed for the trip kings. J.D. McNamara was eliminated in second place with $310,248.
Jeff Tebben became the winner of Event 24, and his hard work garnered him a WSOP gold bracelet and $503,389.