It was the last of the 56 preliminary events at the 2010 World Series of Poker, and it didn’t fail to impress. The $2,500 NLHE event caught the attention of players arriving in Las Vegas, as well as pros looking for one last chance to cash before the Main Event. No matter the reason for playing, the WSOP gold bracelet was at the center of it all - the heart and soul of the seven weeks of the Series.
There were 1,942 players to start the event, which resulted in a $4,466,600 prize pool. Day 1 thinned the field to 502 players, and in the midst of Day 2, it was whittled down far enough to burst the money bubble and allow the last 198 players to cash. Day 3 started with 73 players, and after a very long day of attempting to find the final table, players decided to finish it after James Mackey busted in tenth place, thereby playing the rest of the tournament out on a fourth day.
On Monday, June 5, the final nine players returned to the Amazon Ballroom at the Rio with the following chip stacks to play for the win:
|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 |
Action started with Wattel doubling through Amendola, which relegated the latter to a stack of less than 500K. Amendola moved those chips all-in with , but Curcio was able to call and dominate with . The flop of hit Curcio with the pair of kings, and the on the turn and on the river ended the hand altogether. Alfonso Amendola exited in ninth place with $60,580.
Play continued with quite a bit of action but no eliminations. Alawadhi doubled through Curcio, Porter doubled through Bonavena, and Wattel doubled through Curcio. Then it was up to Curcio to double, which he did through Bonavena twice and Berda once. Bonavena recovered nicely, though, and slipped back into the top spot on the leaderboard.
Curcio, on the other hand, couldn’t get his footing. He pushed all-in from the small blind in another double-up attempt, but Kochelaevskiy called with , which clearly dominated the of Curcio. The board of only improved Kochelaevskiy to a flush, and Joseph Curcio was sent away in eighth place with $78,705.
Alawadhi was the next to push, but the hand started as he went to a flop of with Berda. Alawadhi then made the all-in move with for the flush draw, and Berda calmly called with for top pair. A came on the turn and a followed on the river, and that was all they wrote for Ali Alawadhi, who departed with $103,527 for the seventh place finish.
Hung was down to 760K and pushed it preflop with . Berda made the call from the small blind with . Hung watched as the board did nothing to help. The sixth place spot was then taken by Hungcheng Hung, who took home $137,496 for the deep run.
Bonavena suffered during the latter part of the action, though he doubled through Berda to stay alive. And Berda came back from that to continue a steady climb.
A big hand then developed when Wattel moved all-in for his last 685K. Bonavena came over the top for 915K, and Porter did the same to isolate, which worked, and he had both opponents covered. Wattel showed , Bonavena turned over , and Porter had them dominated with . The board of prompted a double elimination, with Mike Wattel out in fifth place with $186,250, and Salvatore Bonavena following in fourth place with $254,777.
The last three players went to dinner, but upon their return, Kochelaevskiy used his large stack to chip up to more than 9 million, while the other two struggled. Berda doubled through Porter twice, which left Porter with the short stack and the need to move.
Porter then pushed preflop with , but Berda made the call holding . The flop of gave Berda the top pair, and the on the turn made it into trip aces. The on the river did nothing but eliminate Bryan Porter in third place, which was worth $353,260.
Heads-up play started with the following chip counts:
|Vladimir Kochelaevskiy ||9,800,000 |
|Tomer Berda ||4,800,000 |
Berda tried to chip up but was initially unsuccessful, as Kochelaevskiy climbed over the 12 million chip mark in the beginning stages of the battle. But then Berda doubled and doubled again, moving close to 11 million chips. The roller coaster continued as Kochelaevskiy took the lead again, but Berda never gave up.
With Berda in the lead, Kochelaevskiy pushed all-in with , and Berda called with . The flop of gave both players a pair but the aces remained in the lead. The on the turn and on the river ended the match, as Vladimir Kochelaevskiy had to accept a second place finish and the $510,939 that went with it.
The last bracelet of the WSOP preliminary events was claimed by Tomer Berda, who won $825,976 to go with the NLHE title.