Players can often be heard speaking about how much they dislike razz, a poker game variation that can have serious swings and frustrate those who hold the cards. But host a razz tournament, and the players will sign up. Event 40 was a testament to that and again proved that it’s the game players most love to hate, but love usually prevails.
Day 1 got underway late in the afternoon of Monday, June 21 with 365 players, which set the prize pool at $839,500 and established the ability to pay out the top 40 players but save $214,085 for the ultimate winner. By the time the first night ended, only 147 players remained, and Day 2 saw that number diminish until the money bubble burst. A number of well-known players cashed, and it was after Linda Johnson finished in 16th place that play wrapped for the night, leaving 15 players to return for the final day of Event 40. They were:
|Melville Lewis ||504,000 |
|Mikko Pispala ||458,000 |
|Stuart Rutter ||295,000 |
|Maxwell Troy ||258,000 |
|Chris Bjorin ||163,000 |
|Nick Helm ||145,000 |
|Frank Kassela ||144,000 |
|Daniel Ospina ||136,000 |
|Thomas Tiller ||128,000 |
|Jennifer Harman ||108,000 |
|Steven Diano ||98,000 |
|William Wood ||93,000 |
|Arthur Cobb||86,000 |
|Vladimir Schmelev ||81,000 |
|Scott Packer ||54,000|
Those players took to the tables again on Wednesday, though the following didn’t make it as far as they would have liked:
15th place: Nick Helm ($7,857)
14th place: William Wood ($9,687)
13th place: Steve Diano ($9,687)
12th place: Scott Packer ($12,105)
11th place: Daniel Ospina ($12,105)
10th place: Arthur Cobb ($15,329)
The unofficial final table, with one more to go before it was official, provided chip counts at that point:
|Seat 1: ||Dee Tiller ||200,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Jennifer Harman ||140,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Mikko Pispala ||270,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Melville Lewis ||550,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Vladimir Shchemelev ||280,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Maxwell Troy ||470,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Frank Kassela|| 430,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Chris Bjorin ||130,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Stuart Rutter ||195,000 |
It didn’t take long for Tiller to get involved, and the all-in move was made after fourth street with Paspala making the call. The cards for Tiller came 5-3-6-7-Q-2-K, but Pispala had 6-3-5-2-5-8-A for the six-five low. Dee Tiller was ousted before the official final table and took home $15,329 for ninth place.
Bjorin was in need of chips with only about 40K remaining, and those chips went all-in on third street with 6-5-2 against Shchemelev’s A-4-2. And it was the latter who caught J-5-3-10 to make the wheel and eliminate Chris Bjorin in eighth place with $19,686.
Rutter took some from Harman but remained short and got involved with Shchemelev, getting all of his chips in on fifth street. Rutter came up with 3-6-7-Q-A-Q-J, but Shchemelev had 5-7-10-4-8-Q and an unknown card on the end to win the hand. Stuart Rutter was ousted in seventh place with $25,646.
Six-handed play found Harman at the low end of the stacks. She committed the remainder of her chips on fifth street of a hand with Lewis, and Harman ended up with 2-4-9-3-5-Q-4. Lewis, on the other hand, had 6-5-A-J-3-7-2, and Jennifer Harman was sent away in sixth place with $33,890.
Five players went to a dinner break with Lewis as the chip leader and Pispala as the short stack, but upon their return, Pispala made a run for it, successfully at first with a double-up through Troy.
Soon after, Pispala made another attempt and pushed all-in on fourth street against Kassela. Pispala ended up with 3-8-7-7-5-9-3, but Kassela made A-9-5-Q-J-6-8 to send Mikko Pispala to the rail with $45,433 for the fifth place finish.
Action was four-handed and remained that way for some time. It started with Lewis holding over 1 million chips and Troy on the short stack with less than 450K. Troy doubled up several times through Kassela, though, and finally tripled up to more than 500K. But Kassela also climbed and did so right into the chip lead. Troy eventually found his way into the top spot as well, while Lewis took the fall and became one of the short stacks.
Not long after Lewis doubled through Shchemelev, the latter got involved with Kassela and was all-in on third street. Shchemelev accumulated A-6-8-8-8-8-3, and while quads are pretty in any other game, they’re not so attractive in razz. Kassela had the A-4-7-9-10-9-5 winning hand, and his nine-seven eliminated Vladimir Shchemelev in fourth place with $61,795.
Lewis then pushed all-in on fifth street during a hand with Troy. Lewis had 8-6-3-9-2 and picked up 2-7, but Troy had 7-5-A-8-4 with 5-Q. That was enough to eliminate Melville Lewis in third place with $85,284.
Heads-up play started with the following counts:
|Maxwell Troy ||1,750,000 |
|Frank Kassela ||990,000 |
Action was fairly slow at the outset of the battle, but Kassela slowly chipped up. The process led to Troy being whittled down to only 430K, and the last of his chips eventually went in to discover he had 3-2-6-8-7-Q-4. Kassela produced a 4-3-2-5-9-5-7 hand for the seven-five low. Maxwell Troy was out in second place with $132,229.
Frank Kassela won Event 40 after having claimed victory about two weeks before in Event 15. A total of $214,085 was accompanied by another bracelet, and Kassela became the first - and possibly only - double bracelet winner of the 2010 World Series of Poker.