It was a $5,000 buy-in short-handed no-limit holdem tournament hosted in the middle of the 2010 World Series of Poker schedule. Players seemed excited about it, and many did sign up for the opportunity to play, knowing that the higher buy-in would make for a solid field and the six-handed tables would be nicer to play than the usual nine-handed ones. The number of players alone was solid, as 568 of them signed up to play, but compared to the 928-player registration of 2009, it had to be somewhat of a disappointment. The downswing was one of the most noticeable of the Series thus far.
Even so, the 568-player field created a $2,669,600 prize pool, out of which 54 competitors would be paid and the winner was set to receive $667,433 of it. Day 1 thinned the field down to just 116 players, but Day 2 took them into the money and on toward the final table. But at the end of the night, a dozen players still remained.
Those 12 players returned to the Rio on Saturday, June 19, to play all the way to a winner. The starting chip counts for the day 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 |
Play got off to a somewhat slow start, but eventually, some of the players were eliminated before a chance at final table play as follows:
|12th place: ||Lucas Greenwood ($33,476) |
|11th place: ||Anthony Roux ($33,476) |
|10th place: ||Evan Panesis ($43,941) |
|9th place: || Paul Sheng ($43,941) |
|8th place: ||Darren Elias ($59,291) |
The last seven players were seated together and playing until one more person was eliminated so the chip counts of the official six finalists could be recorded. It was Taylor McFarland who took a previous hit when Erick Lindgren doubled through him, and two hands later, the all-in move came with . Mark Radoja called with , and the board came to eliminate McFarland in seventh place, which was worth $59,291.
The final table of six was then set as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Orlando Delacruz ||860,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Men Nguyen ||1,570,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Jeffrey Papola ||2,280,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Bruno Launais ||850,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Erick Lindgren ||1,827,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Mark Radoja ||1,140,000 |
Lindgren took the first pot, but the group soon went to dinner with Radoja having fallen to the short stack. When they returned, chip leader Papola continued to dominate, though Delacruz was also making a few moves.
Then a big pot seemed to happen out of nowhere. Launais started the hand with a raise, and Lindgren reraised to 260K. Nguyen then reraised for 1.5 million chips. Lindgren considered and talked out his choices before calling all-in for his tournament life, knowing that Nguyen had him out-chipped. Lindgren showed , but Nguyen flipped over the . The board was virtually blank, and Erick Lindgren was suddenly gone from the tournament, walking away with $82,303 for the sixth place finish.
After Radoja doubled through Delacruz, the latter moved all-in on the next hand, effectively having done so by posting the big blind. Papola and Radoja called. After the flop, a bet from Papola prompted a fold from Radoja, and Papola showed for the pair of deuces. Delacruz turned over , and nothing about the turn or river could save Orlando Delacruz, who finished in fifth place with $117,595.
Launais was the next to move, and he did it for 600K with . But Radoja quickly called from the big blind with . The flop of gave each player a pair, but Radoja was in the lead, especially when the came on the turn for trip aces. The on the river ended the hand and eliminated Bruno Launais in fourth place with $173,123.
The final three players started action with Nguyen in the lead with 3.25 million, followed by Papola with 3.01 million and Radoja with 2.1 million. Radoja took a solid pot from Papola to climb a bit, but Papola took one from Nguyen to take over the chip lead, and the distance between them kept growing. Nguyen was eventually relegated to a rather small stack and doubled through Papola just to stay alive.
Perpetually short-stacked Radoja finally got into a pot with Papola that started with a flop. It was then that Radoja pushed all-in with for the flush draw. Papola called with for top pair. The on the turn helped Radoja by a margin, but the on the river did not, and though it was - oddly enough - Nguyen who celebrated after not even being in the hand, Mark Radoja still maintained his civility and departed in third place with $262,902.
Heads-up play started with the following chip counts:
|Jeffrey Papola ||6,500,000 |
|Men Nguyen ||1,980,000 |
Play went on for a number of hours, as Nguyen struggled to stay in the game for much of it. Nguyen finally doubled through to 3 million but lost most of those chips. Nguyen doubled twice more, the last one bringing the two players close to even in chips. But after the two players spent some time near the even mark, Papola took charge again and never looked back.
When Nguyen was down to 2 million chips again, he moved all-in with . Papola called with . The board came , and after Nguyen shook hands with his competitor, he reportedly “had a few unkind words for one of the dealers.” Men Nguyen then left in second place with $412,746.
Jeffrey Papola, who finished second in Event 26 only days before, came up with his victory late into the night, and for the Event 32 win, he walked away with $667,443 and the WSOP gold bracelet.