Limit holdem players united for this big event, the most prestigious LHE championship of the year. With a $10,000 buy-in and a WSOP bracelet up for grabs, it drew an elite group of players, some well-known pros, others satellite winners, and even some relative amateurs who worked on their bankroll for a long time to be able to afford it. They showed up for the late 5:00pm start on Tuesday, June 15, and prepared to limit bet as far as they could go.
All in all, there were 171 players who bought in to the tournament, and though that number was a dip from the 185-player field of 2009, the prize pool still grew to $1,607,400. When the money was dispersed, only 18 players would be paid but the winner would take home $425,969. Day 1 downsized the field to only 107, but it wasn’t until late into the night on Day 2 that the money bubble burst. When players stopped to bag their chips, there were only 13 people doing so, and their stacks were recorded as follows:
|Kyle Ray ||643,000 |
|Daniel Idema ||634,000 |
|Jameson Painter ||574,000 |
|Dave Baker ||542,000 |
|Darren Woods ||529,000 |
|Matt Keikoan ||418,000 |
|Simon Morris ||364,000 |
|Brock Parker ||351,000 |
|Zvi Groysman ||278,000 |
|Anh Van Nguyen ||274,000 |
|Michael Mizrachi ||256,000 |
|Mark Klecan ||169,000 |
|David Chiu ||144,000 |
Day 3 started with those 13 players but saw some of them eliminated early in the day:
13th place: Mark Klecan ($27,069)
12th place: Darren Woods ($32,614)
11th place: Dave Baker ($32,614)
The final ten players were seated together, but the table wouldn’t be official until one more competitor fell from the leaderboard. It happened when Nguyen and Painter got involved on a board of , at which point, Nguyen bet, Painter raised, and Nguyen called all-in for his tournament life with for top two pair. Painter then showed for the rivered flush, and Nguyen was out in tenth place with $32,614.
The official final table was then set as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Daniel Idema ||829,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Michael Mizrachi ||243,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Brock Parker ||619,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Matt Keikoan ||505,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Zvi Groysman ||500,000 |
|Seat 6: || David Chiu ||75,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Jameson Painter ||1,209,000 |
|Seat 8: || Kyle Ray ||903,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Simon Morris ||233,000 |
It didn’t take long for Chiu to move his short stack all-in with , but original raiser Keikoan made the easy call with . The flop only helped Keikoan when it came , and the turn and river cards simply finished it. David Chiu ended his run early, taking home $39,760 for the ninth place finish.
As Idema moved up the leaderboard Parker and Mizrachi both struggled but climbed a bit. Groysman doubled through Morris to stay alive and then tripled to get out of the range of the shorter stacks.
But Mizrachi couldn’t find much momentum. Finally, ground down to 65K, he moved all-in preflop with , and Morris called with . Mizrachi looked good for a double there, though the gave Morris the straight draw that was completed when the came on the turn. The on the river gave Mizrachi a set of kings, but it wasn’t enough to win the hand. Michael Mizrachi was gone in eighth place with $49,732.
When the final seven players went on their dinner break, it was Idema with the chip lead, but Ray, Painter, and Keikoan all within striking distance. Morris was the short stack with only 110K.
Morris then moved all-in after the dinner break with , and Keikoan made the call with . The entire board ran out without helping the short stack, as it came . Simon Morris was eliminated in seventh place with $62,897.
While Parker struggled, losing chips and then doubling up and so on, it was Groysman who lost a big hand to be relegated to a stack of 150K.
That prompted Groysman to tangle with Idema to see a flop of . More chips went in to see the on the turn, and it was then that Groysman committed the rest of his chips with . Idema went along with and top two pair. The on the river ended it for Zvi Groysman, who took home $80,884 for the sixth place finish.
Parker never got off the short stack. Finally, with only 185K left, he pushed all-in preflop with , and Painter called from the big blind with . Nothing on the board hit Parker, and the ace-high of Painter won the pot. Brock Parker was denied his 2010 bracelet and left in fifth place with $105,783.
Four-handed play saw a lot of maneuvering. Though Idema held on to the lead, Keikoan lost chips when Ray doubled through him twice. Ray even doubled through Idema to accumulate more chips.
It was Painter who lost several hands in a row, only to then get involved with Keikoan to see a flop. Painter bet, Keikoan check-raised, and Painter called all-in for his last 190K holding and top pair. But Keikoan showed for the set. The on the turn and on the river shipped Keikoan the pot and sent Jameson Painter out in fourth place with $140,760.
Ray was the short stack of the final three, and a preflop raising war with Keikoan prompted capped bets with only 20K behind for Ray. Those chips were committed in the dark, so Ray showed his , and Keikoan turned over . The flop of hit Keikoan but gave Ray some straight outs, and the on the turn gave him more outs. But the showed up on the river, and Kyle Ray was eliminated in third place with $190,702.
Heads-up play then began with the following chip counts:
Daniel Idema 3,740,000
Matt Keikoan 1,395,000
Action started with Keikoan fighting his way to more chips. It worked during the first hour, as Keikoan and Idema were nearly even in chips at one point. But the tournament went on for a total of about five hours, and the two went back and forth quite a few times during that span.
At nearly 5:00am Las Vegas time, Keikoan took the chip lead and climbed above the 3 million mark. Shortly thereafter, he took a pot from Idema that left the latter with only 150K.
Idema put the rest of his chips at risk on the next hand from the big blind with , and Keikoan turned over . The dealer slowly gave them a board, and the tournament was over with Daniel Idema taking second place and the $263,244 that went with it.
Matt Keikoan won his second bracelet, and for his Event 29 victory, he walked away with $425,969 in prize money, a gold WSOP bracelet, and the title of limit hold’em champion.