Sunday was a holiday for most people in the United States, as July 4 was Independence Day and a long weekend for many U.S. residents. Though there were celebrations happening all over Las Vegas, the Rio Convention Center was still brimming with poker players and fans, all looking to catch the last of the 2010 World Series of Poker preliminary action before the start of the Main Event on Monday.
The biggest attraction at the Rio was the Tournament of Champions playdown to the final table. After a snafu on Saturday that left Joe Hachem out of the festivities, play was unable to move forward without him, and that left the 17 finalists to return on Sunday to play to and possibly through the final table. With big names still in the running for the TOC title and part of the million dollar freeroll, the fans couldn’t have been happier to catch glimpses of their favorite players in action.
But there were also bracelet events in motion. The $10K PLO championship event was supposed to have reached its conclusion the night before, but considering the late hour at which the final table was found, the players collectively agreed to play it out on Sunday. That final table was getting underway on Sunday. Similarly, Event 56 was supposed to play its final day on Sunday but started the day with more than 70 players still holding chips. That meant the most likely scenario was to play down to the final table and stop there, reserving that final table for Monday, the day that was also scheduled to host the final table for Event 54.
The other little thing scheduled for Monday was the Main Event. Day 1A would bring well over a thousand players to the Rio for their shot at the “big one,” while two preliminary NLHE events searched for their winners.
Sunday was a day for celebration but another day for poker, as the WSOP carried on with its own excitement off the Las Vegas Strip and into the poker history books.
Event 54: Day 3, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
The last of six $1K NLHE tournaments of the 2010 WSOP was in its third full day of action on Sunday, but its slow schedule separated itself from most other tournaments and took the pressure off playing a very long third day because of the larger-than-most fields. One of the very last opportunities for a gold WSOP bracelet and potentially life-changing money was getting to its interesting stage.
The tournament started with 3,844 players from the two starting days and a $3,459,000 prize pool. The collective Day 2 started with only 586 players still in action, and it was soon into that day that the money bubble burst and allowed the final 396 of them to be paid for their time and poker play. Day 2 ultimately ended with 47 players still in the running, and it was David Peters in the chip lead with 594K. The field was still wide open, and the $570,960 first place money was on everyone’s mind.
Day 3 started with Srdjan Mitrovic exiting in 47th place with $9,064 in prize money, and it was a slow day as everyone sought a place at the final table. Other notables cashes included Alex Jacob in 27th place and Sean Prendiville in 15th. And to end the evening, Johnny Kitchens got the last of his chips all-in with against the of David Peters on a flop, and the turn and river ended Kitchens’ run in tenth place with $35,045.
That left nine players to handle the final table with Peters in the lead. All of the chip counts were as follows:
|David Peters ||2,653,000 |
|Marcel Vonk ||2,253,000 |
|Henrik Tollefsen ||1,878,000 |
|Nathan Jessen ||990,000 |
|Matthew Lupton || 973,000 |
|Dustin Dorrance-Bowman ||794,000 |
|Mehul Chaudhari ||789,000 |
|Paul Kerr ||784,000 |
|Espen Moen ||443,000 |
The players were asked to return to the Rio on Monday, July 5, to play for the win and conclude the tournament.
Event 55: Day 4, $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship
The last $10K championship event of the 2010 WSOP preliminaries was finally about to see its last day. It all started with 346 players and a $3,252,400 prize pool, but Day 1 took them down to 171, Day 2 took them into the money so 36 could be paid, and Day 3 went from 36 players to the final table. Normally, Day 3 would also consist of the actual final table, but play was slower than anticipated, and the exhausted players all agreed to continue the following day. That left nine players, all looking for some WSOP gold and the $780,599 first prize. Those nine players included names like Ludovic Lacay, Daniel Alaei, and Alex Kravchenko, all vying for the tournament win.
Event 56: Day 3, $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em
The very last preliminary tournament on the 2010 WSOP schedule was a $2,500 buy-in NLHE tournament that everyone wanted to play. The last chance for a pre-Main Event bracelet drew more players than anticipated, especially with so many players just arriving in town and wanting a chance to compete before the $10K Main, as well as players who were having dismal runs thus far in the summer and looking for one last chance at redemption. The mix was an interesting one.
Event 56 started with 1,942 players and a $4,466,600 prize pool, out of which $825,976 awaited the winner. Day 1 thinned the field to 502 players, but it wasn’t until later on Day 2 that the money bubble burst and the last 198 players found themselves in the money. That second day of play was supposed to bring them close to the final table but ended with 73 still in the running, which led most to believe that Day 3 would only consist of reaching the final and adding a fourth day in which to play it out.
Day 3 did start with those 73 players, and Ivan Mamuzic was the first to depart with $8,660 for the 73rd place finish. Other notables who cashed throughout the day included Jason Dewitt in 65th place, Melanie Weisner in 56th, Court Harrington in 54th, Cherie Beasley in 43rd, Gabe Costner in 37th, David Baker in 35th, Peter Hedlund in 34th, Isaac Baron in 31st, Mike Watson in 24th, Jon Turner in 21st, and Christian Jeppsson in 11th. And to end the evening, James Mackey moved all-in preflop with to find two callers, and the board came . Tomer Berda showed for the set, and Mackey hit the rail in tenth place with $47,232.
The final table was set for the next day as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Mike Wattel ||365,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Salvatore Bonavena ||4,505,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Ali Alawadhi ||670,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Joseph Curcio ||1,205,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Tomer Berda || 3,410,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Bryan Porter ||740,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Alfonso Amendola ||910,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Hungcheng Hung ||740,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Vladimir Kochelaevskiy ||2,025,000 |
The return time was 3:00pm on Monday, June 5, when the players would compete for a WSOP bracelet.
Special Event: Day 3, $1 Million Tournament of Champions
The return of the Tournament of Champions was hailed as a best-of-the-best tournament with only a few wild cards from the sponsorship exemptions. Most of the 27 players were some of the most well-known in the world, all having claimed their rightful place in poker history. While the election of some of the players to the TOC was done by the public and was accused of being a popularity contest, the tables were still stacked and made for an exciting tournament. It played down to 17 after the first two days of play, and after some rescheduling and misscheduling, the final day of action was set for July 4. With ESPN cameras in place and players ready to make the money at the final table - $500K reserved for first place - the fans were ready for a dream team of poker to compete for the TOC title.