Holdem players are generally well-rounded players who can compete in the limit and no-limit arenas. Though many have a specialty based on their growth in the game and the types of games in which they matured as players, they know that limit and no-limit are quite different beasts but enjoy the challenges of both. Event 44 offered the opportunity to show who could handle both games the best with a $2,500 mixed holdem tournament.
There were 507 players in the game, which created a $1,166,100 prize pool. Day 1 reduced the field to only 69 players, and during Day 2, the money bubble burst so the final 54 players could finish the tournament in the money. But with all eyes on the $268,238 first prize, the fight was on for seats at the final table. That second day of play brought them all the way to the final table, though, and the elimination of Alfonso Amendola in tenth place allowed the final table to be set
When players retired for the night, they were aware that their table was set with chip counts as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Michael Michnik ||527,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Jamie Rosen ||300,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Dwyte Pilgrim ||196,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Gavin Smith ||745,000 |
|Seat 5:||Jarred Solomon ||748,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Daniel Idema ||237,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Mike Santoro ||179,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Danny Hannawa ||542,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Timothy Finne ||331,000 |
Play resumed on Saturday, June 26 on the ESPN stage, and aggression at the start of the action came primarily from Finne and Pilgrim.
Short-stacked Santoro decided to try to make something happen, and it was in limit holdem that he dedicated the rest of his chips with . Michnik was along for the ride with and caught straight possibilities on the flop. The came on the turn to give Michnik a pair, and the on the river officially eliminated Mike Santoro in ninth place with $21,304.
Pilgrim ran into problems when Smith took a solid pot from him, and then he was crippled by Idema. Pilgrim then got involved with Rosen to see a flop. Pilgrim bet and Rosen check-called to bring the on the turn. Pilgrim bet again, but Rosen check-raised this time. Pilgrim called all-in with for the flush and straight draws, and Rosen showed for the pair of queens. The on the river gave Rosen two pair, and Dwyte Pilgrim was eliminated in eighth place with $27,438.
Solomon had the greatest roller coaster ride of seven-handed play, as he started with a dip but then came back to double through Rosen and move back up the chip ladder.
Idema, on the other hand, was down to 374K and decided to move it all-in preflop with . Finne called all-in from the small blind with , and Rosen called both players with . The board came , and Finne tripled up while Rosen collected the side pot. Daniel Idema departed in seventh place with $35,601.
Six-handed play found Finne as its chip leader but Rosen and Smith climbing. But short-stacked Michnik doubled through Finne to stay in the game.
It was Solomon who then got involved with Hannawa to see a flop. Solomon bet, and when Hannawa raised, Solomon reraised all-in with pocket queens. Hannawa called with . The on the turn only gave Hannawa trips, and the on the river ended it. Jarred Solomon accepted the $46,562 prize for the sixth place finish.
The five remaining players went off to dinner and returned to Hannawa in the chip lead with 1,153,000 chips, with the nearest competitor being Timothy Finne with 825K. Michnik was the short stack, but Rosen lost ground fairly quickly.
Rosen got involved in a preflop raising battle with Hannawa, who moved all-in. Rosen decided to call all-in for his last 550K with , and Rosen showed a dominating . The board came , and Jamie Rosen was sent away in fifth place with $61,441.
It was during four-handed play that Smith took over the chip lead, though Finne was in close pursuit and the two fought over the lead for quite some time.
Michnik struggled, however, and after Smith relegated him to a 300K stack, Michnik moved all-in preflop with . Smith called with , and the flop and turn sealed the deal, eliminating Michael Michnik in fourth place with $81,871.
Finne lost his footing, and Hannawa had a part in that. It was fitting then that the two tangled again so Finne could get his last 79K all-in. Hannawa called with , which was bad news for Finne holding the . The board of gave Hannawa an even bigger lead in the hand, and the made two pair. The was too little, too late for Timothy Finne, who had been ousted in third place with $110,324.
Heads-up play then began with the following counts:
|Gavin Smith ||2,100,000 |
|Danny Hannawa ||1,700,000 |
During the two hour match, Hannawa fought back, evening the stacks and never giving up. But Smith’s aggression at the proper times allowed him to dominate. Smith eventually surpassed the 3 million mark and crippled his opponent soon after.
The last hand came in a limit round, and the very short-stacked Hannawa pushed all-in with . Smith challenged with and hit the flop of to take an even bigger lead. The on the turn gave Hannawa straight outs, but the on the river ended the match. Danny Hannawa finished the tournament in second place with $166,005.
Gavin Smith finally claimed his first WSOP bracelet for the Event 44 victory, and he visited the cashier cage to pick up $268,238 for the effort.