For a holiday weekend, the one that finds the 2010 World Series of Poker winding down in preparation for the Main Event, Saturday was no day of rest. There was quite a bit of action going on at the Rio in Las Vegas on July 3.
Sure, the schedule was void of any new preliminary events. The only new tournament listed was the $5K buy-in Ante Up for Africa, but that was not an official WSOP bracelet event. In fact, as poker media has discovered in the past, its reputation of being friendly to the poker media has not been stellar, so many poker reporters do not even cover it anymore. Regardless, the charity tournament drew a solid crowd of fans and mainstream media, all to raise money for a good cause.
The rest of the WSOP schedule included two final tables and two events into their second days. The PLO championship was seeking its winner, though with 33 players still left in the field, there was a chance there wouldn’t be a final table until the following day. The only sure thing was the $25K NLHE 6-max final table, as it was set the previous night and given an extra day, contrary to the preset schedule, to play it out on Saturday. Day 2 was in the works for the last $1K NLHE of the Series as well as the $2,500 NLHE. With the very last bracelets of 2010 - besides the Main Event one, of course - up for grabs, no one was walking away without one very easily.
In addition to all of those events, the Tournament of Champions returned to the Rio in the evening hours in an attempt to play down to its final table.
There were a lot of uncertainties surrounding Day 37 of the WSOP, but the end was in sight for all of the tournaments. And the Main Event lurked just around the corner, as Monday would bring the last weeks of the Series and the biggest poker tournament of the year. Bar none.
Event 52: Day 4, $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed
This was, without question, the absolute final day of the $25K NLHE 6-max tournament. With so much money on the line and such an interesting table lineup, the decision was made to delay the actual final table until Saturday. The tournament that started with 191 players and a $4,536,250 prize pool had worked its way down to 78 players during Day 1, the last 18 players on Day 2, and the final table of six on Day 3. Though the top 18 received payment, it was the $1,315,518 first place prize that had a bull’s eye on it. And on July 3, a winner was determined.
Event 54: Day 2, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
It was the last of the $1K NLHE tournaments, and it kicked off on Thursday, July 1 with the first of two starting days. For those in town without massive bankrolls, or even those more seasoned players looking for another shot at the WSOP fame, it was a great opportunity to take a chance at some extra cash and the possibility of a bracelet.
From the two starting days, the total field added up to 3,844 players, which pushed the prize pool to $3,459,000. Upon the completion of both Day 1’s, there were 586 players still holding on to chips, though only 396 of them would be paid for their efforts. And every one of them was eyeing the $570,960 first place prize. With James Dempsey holding a massive chip lead over the crowd with a stack of 144,100 chips, players came together for Day 2 on Saturday.
Day 2 began with some pre-money bubble bustouts, including David Sklansky and Liv Boeree. As hand-for-hand play got underway, it took only moments for enough players to be eliminated to guarantee the last 396 of them some money for their efforts. Play moved on from there, with some of the notables shown on the payout list as George Lind, Yueqi Zhu, and Yuval Bronshtein. Hundreds of players lined up at the cashier cage to cash, while only 47 retained their seats in the tournament. When all chips were counted, David Peters had the most with 594K, followed by Sean Prendiville with 559K. The rest of the top five were Matthew Schulte, Mehul Chaudhari, and Dustin Dorrance-Bowman.
Play was scheduled to resume on Sunday to play down to the final table in preparation for Day 4.
Event 55: Day 3, $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship
Despite its $10K buy-in, the last championship tournament of the 2010 Series attracted a solid crowd of 346 players, making for a prize pool of $3,252,400, which included a first place prize of $780,599. Day 1 ended with 171 players still in the running, and Day 2 took the finalists into the money so the top 36 could get paid and wrapped for the night with 33 players holding on to their chips. Day 3 was supposed to be the final day of the tournament, pushing them on to the final table and through until a winner was declared, but it was going to be the call of the final table players as to whether they played through or postponed the final table until Sunday. And late into the night, upon the elimination of Jason Mercier in tenth place, it was decided to stop play until July 4 with the following final table set and ready to go:
|Seat 1: ||Ludovic Lacay ||2,279,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Daniel Alaei ||1,800,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Miguel Proulx ||2,440,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Matthew Wheat ||745,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Ville Mattila ||490,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Trevor Uyesugi ||435,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Alexander Kravchenko ||330,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Stephen Pierson ||570,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Dmitry Stelmak ||1,285,000 |
Event 56: Day 2, $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em
It was the last - very last - opportunity to pick up a WSOP bracelet before the Main Event. Event 56 was the final preliminary event on the schedule, and its $2,500 buy-in deterred few who had the itch, wanted to play one last pre-Main Event tournament, and could scrape together the money to do it. Even with a 5:00pm start time, the field was solid.
The registration numbers showed 1,942 in the event and a resulting $4,466,600 pool, which included a whopping $825,976 amount for the winner alone. Day 1 took the field down to a more manageable 502-person field, but they were still quite a way from the money bubble that would allow the top 198 players to be paid.
Day 2 got off to a late start because of some logistics, but the tournament staff was ready to start an hour later than scheduled. Some of the first players to make their way to the rail once it all began were Nicolas Chouity, Men Nguyen, Jonathan Aguiar, and Matt Hawrilenko, but it wasn’t until later in the day that the money bubble burst. That allowed Thomas Guillaume to cash out for $5,044 in 198th place, and others who also received payment for their play included Jamie Gold, Lauren Kling, Dan Heimiller, David Singer, Robert Hwang, and Tom Franklin.
When the requisite number of levels were complete, there were still 73 players in the tournament, nowhere near the final table that was the goal of the day. The leaderboard showed James Mackey with 1,011,000 chips and the lead, and second place was held by Christian Jeppsson with 548K. The others in the top five were Alfonso Amendola, Michael Abdoulah, and Peter Kaemmerlen.
Action was set to resume at 3:00pm to play down to the final table and likely hold off on that last table until Monday.
Special Event: $5,000 Ante Up for Africa
The tournament was not a bracelet event, but a charity tournament held to benefit the Ante Up for Africa organization, which is dedicated to raising money and awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Africa, specifically Darfur. Annie Duke and Don Cheadle have raised millions of dollars for the foundation in only a few years. The $5,000 buy-in event was technically a regular poker tournament, as Nevada law prohibits tournament buy-in money from being donated directly to a charity, but all players were encouraged to donate all or some of their winnings to the cause.
The field consisted of many players from all backgrounds, but the focus was on the Hollywood celebrities, sports stars, and poker pros. Some of the names reported to be in the tournament were Evander Holyfield, Shane Warne, Matt Damon, David Alan Grier, Shannon Elizabeth, Montel Williams, Brad Garrett, Jerome Bettis, and Francesca Fioretti. All in all, there were 83 entries for the tournament and a prize pool set to pay out the top nine players.
All of the final table finishers donated some of their winnings to the charity, Gordon donating 100 percent of his first place prize money, and those players and their official payouts were:
1st place: Phil Gordon ($129,086)
2nd place: Shannon Elizabeth ($79,776)
3rd place: Aleksey Filatov ($55,843)
4th place: Carter Phillips ($40,676)
5th place: Erik Seidel ($29,926)
6th place: Jerome Bettis ($22,355)
7th place: Barry Hartheimer ($17,930)
8th place: Kyle Carlston ($14,945)
9th place: Claire Renaut ($12,843)
Special Event: Day 3, $1 Million Tournament of Champions
The Tournament of Champions was scheduled to resume on July 3 to play down closer to the final table, but it seemed that no one shared that information with player Joe Hachem. Ultimately, with his absence from the action, the decision was made to postpone again, this time until 11am on Sunday, July 4.