The Tournament of Champions started on the prior weekend with 27 players, all of whom earned, were nominated, or qualified to play in the million dollar freeroll. ESPN was filming the event for an upcoming television episode, and the all-star cast took the felt for two days of starting action. But at the end of those two days, each with only four levels, there were still 17 players in the running for the final table money and $500K first place prize. With the final table scheduled for July 4 but the field nowhere near ready for that, a decision was made to bring the players back on the evening of July 3 in an attempt to reach the final nine. There was talk of a contingency plan to put the final table action off until the time of the November Nine, but Day 3’s progress was going to be the determining factor.
Players did come back on July 3 at 7:00pm, and the starting chip counts showed Mike Matusow in the lead with 85,500 chips, followed by Huck Seed with 73K. But Joe Hachem claimed not to be informed of the date and time, thus he slept through the start, prompting tournament officials to stop the tournament, rebag the chips, and reschedule the tournament for July 4 at 11:00am.
With action finally getting underway, play was slow, but things picked up a bit as Matusow lost his chip lead and Allen Cunningham was the first to depart the day, knocked out by Johnny Chan. Daniel Negreanu sent Bertrand Grospellier home, and play moved forward until the final table of 10 was set. But with only nine players getting paid, one more had to go before the table was official. That happened when Erik Seidel pushed all-in for his last 18,700 chips with , only to be called by Jennifer Harman and her . The board came , and Seidel departed in tenth place on the money and final table bubble.
The final table was then set as follows, though no chip counts were given when the official final table got underway:
Seat 1: Annie Duke
Seat 2: Joe Hachem
Seat 3: Johnny Chan
Seat 4: Daniel Negreanu
Seat 5: Barry Greenstein
Seat 6: Huck Seed
Seat 7: Jennifer Harman
Seat 8: T.J. Cloutier
Seat 9: Howard Lederer
Cloutier was the first to get involved in a big pot, and it was with Negreanu and Duke to see a flop. Cloutier was the bettor, and Duke folded but Negreanu called. The on the turn prompted a big bet from Negreanu and all-in call from Cloutier with . But Negreanu showed for top pair to beat the jacks. The on the river eliminated Cloutier in ninth place with $25,000.
Play continued as Duke doubled through Harman, at which point chip counts were given that showed the following:
|Seat 1: ||Annie Duke ||48,700 |
|Seat 2: ||Joe Hachem ||151,200 |
|Seat 3: ||Johnny Chan ||129,200 |
|Seat 4: ||Daniel Negreanu ||219,800 |
|Seat 5: ||Barry Greenstein ||45,300 |
|Seat 6: ||Huck Seed ||88,200 |
|Seat 7: ||Jennifer Harman||78,400 |
|Seat 9: ||Howard Lederer ||58,700 |
Duke had problems gaining much momentum and decided to push all-in with , and Greenstein called with . The board started with a flop of , which looked good for a Duke double-up, and the on the turn didn’t change anything. But the on the river gave Greenstein the pair of jacks, and that left Annie Duke out in eighth place with $25,000.
Harman had her own troubles, as Greenstein doubled through her previously, but she managed to triple up to stay alive. She then doubled through Lederer, and soon after, Lederer doubled through Chan.
Back to Harman, she was ready to move her short stack again, pushing with , but she happened to find Greenstein and his with the call. The board came to bring some, but not enough help. Jennifer Harman took to the rail in seventh place with $25,000.
Negreanu was relegated to a stack of 55K after Seed took a big pot from him, and Negreanu then got involved with Hachem. On a flop of , Negreanu pushed with , but Hachem showed for the set. The on the turn and on the river ended the tournament for Daniel Negreanu, who walked away with $25,000 for the sixth place finish.
Greenstein tried to make some moves and was able to successfully double through Seed before heading to the dinner break. But it was after the meal that he tangled with Lederer to see a flop of . Greenstein then pushed all-in with for the draws, and Lederer called with for the pair of aces. The on the turn and on the river allowed Lederer’s pairs to hold, and Barry Greenstein was gone in fifth place with $25,000.
Hachem moved soon after with , but Lederer had him bested with . The board produced , which was enough to send Joe Hachem out in fourth place with $25,000.
Three-handed play went on for awhile, and the all-ins were aplenty. Seed doubled through Lederer, Chan doubled through Seed, and then Seed responded with a double back through Chan. Chan came back once more to double through Seed, but Lederer then did it through Chan.
Hectic was the word, and Chan finally took another chance, putting his last chips all-in with . Lederer called with a dominating and only improved on the flop, though Chan picked up some straight outs. The on the turn changed nothing, nor did the on the river. Johnny Chan was ousted in third place, which paid $100,000.
Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
|Howard Lederer || 468,000 |
|Huck Seed ||342,000 |
Lederer started strong and widened his lead, but one big double-up from Seed left Lederer with 260K.
Lederer was eventually relegated to a stack of 138K and pushed all-in with , and Seed called with . The board of only helped Seed and eliminated Howard Lederer in second place with $250,000.
Huck Seed won the 2010 Tournament of Champions, which was worth $500,000 in addition to the coveted title.