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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP 2010 | WSOP Tournaments

WSOP Day 22: Seniors and Heads-Up Specialists Raid the Rio

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Friday was another six-event day. Poker excitement mixed with the poker chaos as two segments of the poker population finally got their day to play. The seniors, those over 50 (and many of whom do not consider themselves seniors!) had their own special event at noon, and heads-up specialists had their opportunity to begin playing matches at 5:00pm. Considering the number of seniors in the house and the number of tables required for heads-up games, it was surely going to be a full day for the World Series of Poker staff.

There was also sure to be a bit of controversy surrounding the seniors’ championship. After the hubbub from the ladies tournament exactly one week ago, many claimed that the men who objected to women having their own event should also try to enter the seniors’ tournament. However, it should be noted that laws and the Nevada Gaming Commission do protect the seniors’ event, as age limits can legally be put on tournaments. Anyone trying to play who does not meet the 50-plus age requirement could be turned away. Though many made an issue out of it, the event was protected and could not be challenged as was the ladies’ event.

In addition to those two starting events, there were two tournaments - the $5K six-handed NLHE and $2,500 PLHE/PLO - bringing more than 100 players each back for their Day 2 restarts. With players happy to make the second day but still having to work to make the money, emotions would surely be running high in those events. And there were also two events - the $1,500 NLHE and $1,500 HORSE - bringing their players back to play down to the final tables, as they were unable to do so on Day 2, and then continue on until winners were determined. It looked to be a long day for all involved.

Instead of making this longer, let’s get right to the synopses of the day’s events.

Event 30: Day 3, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em

Players in the $1,500 NLHE tournaments always have a tough and long road, especially those who make deep runs. Out of the 2,394 players in this event, only 243 were paid from the $3,231,900 prize pool, but the sizable $581,851 first place prize spurred them on as far as they could go. Day 1 thinned the field to 288 players, and Day 2 took them into the money and on to the end of the night, where staff found 21 players still holding chips. Friday brought Day 3 and challenged the players to hit the final table and play on through until only one player remains. Find the Results here.

Event 31: Day 3, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.

Playing HORSE is a challenging endeavor, as games rotate constantly between holdem, Omaha, razz, stud, and stud-8, but there were 828 players up for it when the tournament started at 5:00pm on Wednesday, June 16. The prize pool soared to $1,117,800 and paid out the top 80 players when the field thinned that far on Day 2. Ultimately, Day 2 ended with 24 players still holding on to chips, meaning the last day of play would be a taxing one, with the requirement that they play down to the final table and all the way through until a winner is declared. When that process is complete, the recap is posted in a separate article.

Event 32: Day 2, $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em

The short-handed events continue to grow in popularity, but by putting a $5K buy-in with it, it limited the number of players who could afford to compete in this particular event. The field that did show up was a predominantly elite one, but when registration closed with 568 players, it was evident that organizers overestimated this one. It was easy to do considering a whopping 928 players signed up for this event at the 2009 Series, but it was also offered at the very end of the Series instead of this Event 32 right in the middle. Nevertheless, the numbers were down significantly this year but still brought a field filled with recognizable faces to the tables.

Speaking of numbers, the 568 players made for a $2,669,600 prize pool, an amount that was reserved for distribution among the last 54 players with a very solid $667,433 set aside for the winner. Day 1 saw that total field whittled down to only 116 players, and when the chips were bagged at the end of the day, Christian Harder sat atop the leaderboard with Tony Dunst in second place.

Those 116 players returned for Day 2 at 3:00pm, found their way to the tables, and tried to find their way into the money. But along the way, many of them were eliminated, including Darus Suharto, Lisa Hamilton, Scott Montgomery, Chad Brown, Ryan Karp, Eric Blair, James Akenhead, and Phil Ivey. After the dinner break, the bubble approached, and it was at that time that David Singer pushed with 10-6 against the J-4 of Isaac Haxton and lost to a 10-9-4-J-K board, while another table found Craig Marquis’ pocket sevens lose to the A-Q of Joseph Ebanks when an ace hit on the flop. Singer and Marquis split the 54th place prize of $10,171.

The day played on in the money, as various notables cashed like Eric Baldwin in 50th, Isaac Haxton in 49th, Toto Leonidas in 46th, Helen Ellis in 41st, Andrew Robl in 40th, Shannon Shorr in 33rd, Chris Bell in 32nd, Tony Dunst in 28th, Ryan D’Angelo in 27th, Tom Marchese in 24th, David Ulliott in 19th, Eugene Todd in 15th, and Christian Harder in 14th. Ultimately, play stopped with 12 players remaining. Their chip counts going into Day 3 were as follows:

Mark Radoja
1,493,000
Erick Lindgren
1,165,000
Lucas Greenwood 
925,000
Bruno Launais 
873,000
Taylor McFarland
848,000
Darren Elias 
841,000
Paul Sheng 
712,000
Anthony Roux 
668,000
Jeffrey Papola
598,000
Orlando Delacruz
300,000
Evan Panesis 
299,000
Men Nguyen 
261,000

The dozen was set to return to the Rio’s Amazon Room on Saturday, June 19, to play down to the final table and through to the winner’s circle.

Event 33: Day 2, $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha

Players have come to love the mixed game, no matter what format or combination of games that may be offered. But the mixture of only two games gives them the opportunity to keep more focus at the tables, and restricting the two games to pot-limit keeps them in one betting frame of mind. And the fact that holdem and Omaha are the most popular variations of poker, make that combination the ideal one. All the stars aligned to bring 482 players to the tables, slightly more than the year before and proof of the adoration of the mixed game.

The registration number set the prize pool at $1,108,600, which was enough to pay the top 45 players while saving $260,517 for the eventual winner. Day 1 took the field from 482 players down to 126, still quite a bit away from the money, and the chip leader was Justin Smith with 130K with Tyler Patterson in a distant second with 95,300.

Some of the players who took their seats at the beginning of Day 2 but didn’t stay long were Vitaly Lunkin, Alex Kamberis, Tim West, Shaun Deeb, Nam Le, Bill Chen, Liv Boeree, and Tad Jurgens. A little while after surviving players returned from their dinner break, the bubble burst without the hand being recorded, but the final 45 players then began recording cashes. Some of the more well-known players in the money included Matt Giannetti in 45th place, Jeff Lisandro in 42nd, Andy Black in 41st, Steve Zolotow in 33rd, Ross Boatman in 27th, Justin Smith in 21st, and John Kabbaj in 17th.

The day ended with 14 players bagging their chips, and their counts were recorded as follows:

Jose-Luis Velador
455,000
David Chiu
451,000
Rob Hollink
423,000
Matt Sterling
280,000
Joshua Tieman 
277,000
Annand Ramdin
262,000
Craig Gray
248,000
Kevin MacPhee
247,000
Phil Ivey 
207,000
Tristan McDonald
196,000
Burt Boutin
190,000
Gavin Cochrane
188,000
James Mitchell 
136,000
Konstantin Bucherl 
75,000

Those players were asked to return to the Rio on Saturday, June 19, at 3:00pm in order to play down to the final table and through it to determine the event’s winner.

Event 34: Day 1, $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship

It was one of the tournaments that players wait a year for the opportunity to play, as it keeps the field restricted to those 50-years of age and older. The tournament staff was prepared for a big crowd, as the 2009 event drew 2,707 players and created a prize pool of $2,463,370, and indications were that the number would grow this year. But no one could have predicted by how much. Before the numbers were in, though, Oklahoma Johnny Hale kicked off the festivities with a rather long speech, including some words about the Golden Eagle trophy in honor of past tournament winners.

Ultimately, the registration number was official with a whopping 3,142 players and prize pool of $2,827,800. That overshot the previous year’s totals by quite a significant margin and guaranteed payouts to the top 324 players with $487,994 to be awarded to the winner.

Play started at noon and moved through the day with some notable players making exits from the tournament, including the aforementioned Hale, Barry Shulman, Dennis Phillips, Shirley Williams, Alan Boston, Tom McEvoy, and David Sklansky. But on the positive side, there were 450 survivors, and the one with the most chips was determined to be Tom Schneider with 94K chips. He was followed by James Gleason with 79,300, and the rest of the top five included John Woo, Eddy Scharf, and James Winniman.

The still-sizable field was asked to return to play down into the money on Day 3 and continue on Saturday to get as close to the final table as possible.

Event 35: Day 1, $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship

Easily, the heads-up championship was one of the most anticipated events of the entire 2010 WSOP. Many players relish the opportunity to play heads-up poker, some even touting it as the purest form of poker, as there is no time for blinding off or lacking focus or watching your opponent interact with someone else. It’s strictly one-on-one poker, and every hand matters. Event 35 was that chance for many poker players to put their skills to the test, though with a $10K buy-in, it restricted the players who could afford to participate. Another restriction was the cap put on the event by Harrah’s, and only 256 players could sign up. The 2009 event had no problem selling those seats well in advance, and 2010 looked early on as if it would be the same situation.

The 2010 field did start with 256 players and the same prize pool as the year before - $2,406,400. Only those making it to the round of 32 would be guaranteed a payout, so winning several rounds of play was necessary to get there.

Play got underway, and some matches were over rather quickly, with Phil Ivey defeating Michael Mizrachi, Kido Pham beating Brian Roberts, and Antonio Esfandiari taking down Justin Bonomo. When all of the first round matches were complete, some of the names moving on included Amit Makhija, George Lind, Gabe Kaplan, Josh Arieh, Victor Ramdin, Carlos Mortensen, Annette Obrestad, Brock Parker, Phil Gordon, Kevin Saul, Paul Wasicka, Sorel Mizzi, Jason Mercier, Dario Minieri, Scott Clements, Tom Dwan, Joao Barbosa, David Williams, Bertrand Grospellier, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso, Barry Greenstein, Sam Farha, and defending champion Leo Wolpert.

At the end of Round 2, there were 64 players left, all of whom were set to return to play one more round and win it to get into the money. Of course, only half of them would do that. But the matches set for the beginning of Day 2 were as follows:

Jason Somerville vs. Tobias Reinkenmeier
Julian Herold vs. Craig Bergeron
Martin Kabrhel vs. Fabrizio Baldassari
Alexander Benovski vs. Darren Woods
Gavin Smith vs. Gabe Kaplan
Josh Arieh vs. Maxim Lykov
Ashton Griffin vs. Anton Kozlovskiy
Phil Ivey vs. Kido Pham
Andrew Feldman vs. Nicholas Rampone
Michael Leah vs. Faraz Jaka
Steven Gross vs. Amritraj Singh
Brock Parker vs. Phil Gordon
Brian Rast vs. Aaron Been
Antonio Esfandiari vs. Owen Crowe
Ayaz Mahmood vs. James Collopy
Alioscia Oliva vs. Kevin Saul
Sorel Mizzi vs. Matthew Waxman
Chris Moorman vs. Vladimir Schmelev
Jeremy Coon vs. Alexander Kostritsyn
Keith Block vs. Scott Baumstein
Scott Clements vs. Robbie Verspui
Bertrand Grospellier vs. Andrew Rosskamm
Ryan Fee vs. Timothy Adams
Jordan Morgan vs. Ludovic Lacay
Ernst Schmejkal vs. Juan Ramirez
David Williams vs. Christopher Moore
Jonathan Little vs. Alexander Kravchenko
Sam Stein vs. Emil Patel
Vanessa Rousso vs. Terrence Chan
Dee Tiller vs. Melanie Weisner
Eric Cloutier vs. Vivek Rajkumar
Johan Sundell vs. Michael Glasser

The restart was set for 3:00pm on Saturday, June 19.

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