Put a $2,500 no-limit holdem on the tournament schedule and the players will come, but add the six-handed variable to it, and the tournament becomes even more attractive. When Event 26 arrived on Monday, June 14, players did not hesitate to swarm the Pavilion Ballroom to take part in it, and they took to their tables - six at a time - to enjoy their extra room for legs and arms and gear up for the no-limit action.
All in all, there were 1,245 players who bought in to the tournament, which created a prize pool of $2,863,500, an amount to be distributed amongst the last 126 players standing with $630,031 reserved for the very last one who would take first place. Day 1 reduced the field to 156, and it was on Day 2 that the money bubble burst. By the end of that second day, after Daniel Negreanu exited in 16th place with $23,537, there were 15 players who bagged their chips, and it was Steve Cowley in the lead with 1,279,000 with Martins Adeniya in second. But anything could happen, and usually does, on Day 3.
The final day of the tournament began on Wednesday, June 16, with those 15 players, but many of them exited early in the day:
15th place: Erik Cajelais ($23,537)
14th place: Andrey Danilyuk ($23,537)
13th place: Patrick Ricci ($23,537)
12th place: Alexander Ivarsson ($30,524)
11th place: Taurean Davis ($30,524)
10th place: Tyler Witteman ($40,547)
9th place: Martins Adeniya ($40,547)
8th place: Justin Smith ($55,236)
With one more player to go before the official final table was set, a hand developed when Eddy Scharf raised, Jeffrey Papola reraised, and Javier Etayo pushed all-in for 641K. Jarred Solomon came over the top all-in from the small blind. The big blind folded, as did Scharf and Papola. Etayo had his tournament life on the line with , but Solomon had . The race was on, but the changed nothing. Javier Etayo was eliminated in seventh place with $55,236.
The final table was set, just before players went on their dinner break, with stacks as follows:
|Joe Baldwin ||2,812,000 |
|Jarred Solomon ||1,779,000 |
|Steve Cowley ||1,730,000 |
|Eddy Scharf ||1,321,000 |
|Jeffrey Papola ||1,000,000 |
|William Haydon ||799,000 |
The short stacks climbed as play got underway, with Papola moving up a bit and Haydon making moves.
Haydon actually took a significant pot from Cowley, putting the latter down to less than 1 million chips. Cowley then got involved with Papola to see a flop. Cowley bet, and Papola check-called for the on the turn. Cowley bet again, and Papola check-raised all-in. Cowley called with for top pair, and Papola showed for two pair. The on the river sent Steve Cowley on his way with $77,228 for the sixth place finish.
Five-handed play lasted quite a long time, as Haydon jumped out to a massive lead and Scharf was relegated to the short stack. Scharf was able to double through Haydon to stay alive, though.
Solomon eventually became the short stack and pushed his last 1,095,000 chips all-in with . Baldwin called from the big blind with . The flop of gave Baldwin top pair but Solomon the straight draw, but the on the turn only gave Baldwin more outs to the flush. The on the river made that flush, and Jarred Solomon was eliminated in fifth place with $110,903.
Scharf was finally ready to put his tournament life to the test and pushed all-in with . But Papola easily got involved with . The flop gave Scharf the pair of jacks, and the on the turn gave him straight outs, but the on the river brought none of them. Eddy Scharf was sent away in fourth place with $163,649.
Three-handed play also went on for some time, as Haydon doubled through Baldwin to take the chip lead and continued to climb. Baldwin seemed perpetually stuck on the short stack.
Finally, Baldwin moved all-in preflop with , and Haydon made the call with , which didn’t look promising until the flop came . The pair of aces was in the lead as the came on the turn and the on the river. Joe Baldwin ended his tournament in third place with $248,265.
Heads-up play started with the following counts:
|William Haydon ||7,390,000 |
|Jeffrey Papola ||1,910,000|
Papola was clearly ready to move all-in and tried several times with no calls from Haydon. But finally, when Papola did it with , Haydon made the call with . The on the flop only gave Haydon straight outs, and the on the turn brought no help for Papola. The on the river gave Haydon the straight, and Jeffrey Papola had to settle for a second place finish and the $391,068 that went with it.
William Haydon won Event 26 and took home $630,031 and the WSOP gold bracelet for the NLHE short-handed tournament victory.