The second stop on Season 9 of the World Poker Tour was a much-anticipated one, as it had been years since a $5,000 event was offered by the WPT. But the new season with all of its changes brought with it a few lower buy-ins, one of those being at the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino. With Los Angeles as the backdrop and players anxious to lunge for a WPT title, the events kicked off at the Bike on Friday, August 20.
Day 1A started with seven levels in mind, including a dinner break, but when the field only produced 186 players, the day was shorted to six levels. Attendance was lower than anticipated, but it still looked to combine with another starting day to surpass the 279 players of 2009. However, the prize pool would be a challenge since the previous year required $10K buy-ins and produced a substantial number.
Nevertheless, the field was stacked with some of the biggest names in the game, and it was noted by the WPT’s live reporting team that nearly 5% of the players were female, somewhat larger than at most big tournaments. But as the day played on, some of the players exited quickly, including Dwyte Pilgrim, Soheil Shamseddin, Faraz Jaka, Jerry Yang, Justin Smith, and Bruce Buffer. When action ended late into the evening, there were only 90 players bagging their chips, and Manuel Reyes was the leader with 205,350 chips. He was followed by Raymond Dolan with 165,500, and others in the top five were Max Casal, Ken Michelman, and Franco Brunetti.
Day 1B added another 276 players to the field, making the final registration number 462 and the prize pool $2,515,072. The money was to be split among the top 45 players, with a minimum payout of $10,200 and the first place spot ready to pay $750,000. Though that number was significantly less than the $1,034,500 that Prahlad Friedman http://pokerworks.com/poker-news/2009/08/28/wpt-legends-of-poker-prahlad-friedman-beats-november-niner.html) took home for his 2009 WPT Legends of Poker win, nearly twice as many players would receive payouts in 2010. As action proceeded through the day, one player was honored for a WPT record, as Kathy Liebert was given a token of appreciation for playing in her 100th WPT event. It was also noted that she holds all major WPT records pertaining to female players, such as most final tables, cashes, and money earned. However, she was one of the players who was eliminated on her first day of play, and James Carroll, David Plastik, and Isaac Haxton also departed early. And when the six levels were complete, only 153 players remained with Vinny Vinh as the chip leader with 180K, followed by Justin young with 138,950. The rest of the top five were Micah Raskin, Philip Stark, and Ari Goott.
Day 2 got underway with 241 players, and the plan was to play seven levels. As action moved through the first few hours, some of the eliminations included Zach Clark, Tim West, Barry Greenstein, Frank Kassela, and Jeff Madsen. Others like Vinny Vinh, Steve Brecher, and Justin Young also took leave of the tournament before the day was done, and when the final counts were done at the end of the night, only 60 players remained. Phil Collins led the pack with 898,000 chips, followed by Andrew Frankenberger with 589,000, and the others in the top five were JC Alvarado, Kyle McCammond, and Tom Braband.
Day 3 thinned the field even further, and some who left before the money bubble included Tim Phan, Chris Moore, and Jordan Young. When the field hit the magic number of 46 players, hand-for-hand play began, and it was eventually Brian Patrick who pushed his last 49K all-in with . Jonathan Little called with , and the board of gave Little the top two pair, eliminating Patrick in 46th place on the bubble. The last 45 players continued play, but as the rest of the afternoon and evening progressed, players who busted included Amit Makhija in 45th place, Jonathan Aguiar in 44th, Joe Hachem in 43rd, Ali Eslami in 42nd, JC Alvarado in 38th, Soi Nguyen in 34th, Joe Sebok in 32nd, last woman standing Erica Schoenberg in 30th, Phil Collins in 29th, and Allen Kessler in 20th. Soon after the elimination of Jason Dorfman in 16th place, play ended for the day. Of the 15 players remaining, Andrew Frankenberger was the leader, as he was the previous day, this time with 1,958,000 chips, and in second place was Jonathan Little with 1,314,000 chips.
Day 4 would turn out to be a quick trip from 15 players down to the final table of six, taking only a few hours to find the eliminations needed. It started with Adam Schiffer leaving the tournament in 15th place with $19,500, and it wasn’t long before Jonathan Little exited in 12th place without his third WPT title. Others departed, and on the final table bubble, Steve Reitzfeld got involved with two players to see a flop. Reitzfeld then moved all-in for his last 260K with for the straight draw, but Tom Lee made the call with and the lead. The on the turn and on the river ended the hand, eliminating Reitzfeld in seventh place with $45,000.
The final table was then officially set as follows:
Seat 1: Jared Jaffee 1,006,000
Seat 2: Kyle Wilson 2,854,000
Seat 3: Tom Le 2,915,000
Seat 4: Franco Brunetti 800,000
Seat 5: Andy Frankenberger 3,015,000
Seat 6: Tom Braband 968,000
Play began on August 25 at the very end of Level 22, with blinds of 10K/20K and a 3K ante. Movement was cautious during the first round of play, but it didn’t take long for Braband to move his short stack and double through Frankenberger. Several rounds later, though, Jaffee doubled through Braband. The chip lead then changed hands several times, as it went from Wilson to Lee.
Brunetti had a tough time at the table, and though he was able to climb a bit through the first 50 hands, Braband scored a double-up through him and left Brunetti with only 195K in chips.
By the 53rd hand of the night, Brunetti had been reduced to only 120K and pushed it all-in from the big blind with . Wilson was the original raiser and called for 40K more with , and the flop of hit him for the pair of sixes. The on the turn and on the river ended the run for Franco Brunetti, who was the first to take leave of the table, taking with him $63,000 for the sixth place finish.
A big hand developed that started with Braband, Jaffee, and Wilson going to see a flop of , and they all checked to receive a on the turn. Wilson then bet out, Braband called, and Jaffee raised all-in for 620K. Wilson made the call, but Braband folded out of the way. Jaffee then showed , but the two pair was no good against the and trip sevens of Wilson. The on the river ended it for Jared Jaffee, who departed in fifth place with $86,000.
It was another 33 hands into the tournament before one of the four remaining players was at risk. It happened on the 100th hand of the night when Braband pushed all-in for his last 810K. Original raiser Wilson made the decision to call with , and it was a race when Braband showed . The board brought little in the way of excitement when it came , and Braband never improved. The fourth place finisher was Tom Braband, who walked away with $109,000.
Three-handed play started with Lee as the chip leader with just over 5 million chips, and Wilson held up second with a bit more than 4 million. Frankenberger was on the short stack but still had 2.525 million, and he hung in there for quite a few hands. Nearly 50 hands later, Frankenberger doubled through Wilson, and he doubled through Lee about 25 hands after that. Frankenberger worked his way back to the chip lead and left Lee with only 510K.
Lee then pushed the rest of his chips all-in but received calls from both of his opponents. They checked down the entire board of , at which point Frankenberger bet, and Wilson folded. Lee showed that never improved, but Frankenberger turned up the for the flush. Tom Lee headed to the cashier cage to collect $174,772 for the third place finish.
Heads-up action then began with the following chip counts:
Andy Frankenberger 8,960,000
Kyle Wilson 2,600,000
It only took five hands. On the 194th hand of the night, Frankenberger led out with a raise and Wilson pushed all-in with . Frankenberger showed a dominating and only improved on the flop, though a flush draw appeared for Wilson. But the on the turn and on the river failed to make that flush and left Kyle Wilson to settle for a second place finish and the $370,000 that went with it.
Andy Frankenberger won the 2010 WPT Legends of Poker, for which he was awarded a bracelet, trophy, and $750,000 in cash.