As Event 1 of the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe was coming to a close with Phil Laak as its champion, Event 2 was underway at the Casino at the Empire in London’s Leicester Square. It was a £5,000 + £250 pot-limit Omaha tournament, and players were slow to arrive as tournament director Jack Effel announced the start of the action on September 16. But the high buy-in and players’ love of PLO was sure to bring the numbers up. And the rules of this tournament were a bit different from most, as players were only given 3K in starting chips but three extra buy-in chips worth 4K each, any of which could be cashed in as desired before the end of Level 4.
When all of the players were seated and the numbers were tallied, there were 120 players in the field, which made for an even £600,000 prize pool. Only the top 18 players were to be paid from those funds, though, and the winner was set to take home £159,514. Some of the players to leave in the first half of the day included Tom Dwan, Scott Montgomery, Nikolay Evdakov, Shannon Shorr, Annette Obrestad, Fabrice Soulier, James Akenhead, David Ulliott, and Theo Jorgensen. The day eventually ended after eight levels of play with 49 players left, and it was Sam Stein atop the leaderboard with 112,600 chips, followed by Karl Mahrenholz with 91K. The rest of the top five was rounded out by Jeff Madsen, Scott Fischman, and Michel Abecassis.
Day 2 started slowly with its 49 players, and eventually names like Yuval Bronshtein, Vitaly Lunkin, Hoyt Corkins, Frank Kassela, Roberto Romanello, Ross Boatman, and Phil Laak hit the rail. At the dinner break, there were still 25 players left, all of whom returned to play for quite some time before the money bubble neared. Hand-for-hand lasted for approximately an hour before a break in the action, at which time the blinds were frozen. From that point, it took more than three hours to burst that bubble, and it didn’t happen until John Kabbaj finally got all of his chips in preflop with against the of John Racener. The dealer gave them a board of , and Racener made a flush to eliminate Kabbaj in 19th place. Yasuhiro Waki was the first player to cash in the tournament, taking home £8,514 for 18th place, and Justin Smith followed in 17th place. Ultimately, the very long night came to a close with 15 players remaining, and Racener was at the top of the list with 276K chips. Karl Mahrenholz was in second with 211K, and Willie Tann, Felipe Ramos, and Jeffrey Lisandro finished the top five list.
Day 3 began with the goal of finishing the tournament, and it started with Steve Jelinek departing in 15th place with £10,104. A subsequent hand took out two players - Sam Stein in 14th place and Sean Dempsey in 13th. After Erik Friberg left in 12th place and Michael Schwartz followed in 11th, the ten remaining players were seated together. The chip counts were given at that point as follows:
Seat 1: Jeff Madsen 273,000
Seat 2: Felipe Ramos 116,000
Seat 3: Chris Bjorin 173,000
Seat 4: Andrew Miles 65,000
Seat 5: Joe Serock 238,000
Seat 6: John Racener 280,000
Seat 7: Jeff Kimber 127,000
Seat 8: Willie Tann 135,000
Seat 9: Jeff Lisandro 167,000
Seat 10: Karl Mahrenholz 235,000
Andrew Miles took a stand with his short stack on a board of with , and Ramos was the caller holding . It wasn’t the on the turn but the on the river that gave Ramos the set of sevens and eliminated Miles in tenth place with £12,174.
Bjorin then took a bit hit when Lisandro doubled through him, leaving Bjorin with only 11K, and it went into the pot two hands later with . Lisandro was again the caller, this time with , and the two watched the board come , which gave Lisandro the full house. Chris Bjorin was gone in ninth place with £14,916.
The next big hand that developed started with Kimber, Racener, and Lisandro going to a flop. Racener checked, Kimber bet all-in for his last 70K. Lisandro raised all-in, and though Racener considered it, he folded out of the way, and Kimber showed . Lisandro had for the flopped set of fives and the lead over Kimber’s jacks. The on the turn and on the river ended the hand, and Jeff Kimber was ousted in eighth place with £18,564.
Tann made a crucial move and doubled through Ramos, crippling the latter. Ramos then took the opportunity to double through Racener and then Tann to stay alive going into the dinner break. Lisandro was the chip leader at the time with 435K, followed by Racener with 350K and Madsen and Serock both holding 300K. Mahrenholz sat with 170K, Tann with 150K, and Ramos on the short stack with 92K. Players returned from dinner to almost immediate action as Tann nearly tripled up.
Ramos then took some hits to his already short stack. He lost one hand to Tann and another to Racener, thereby reducing his stack to only 40K. All of that went into the pot preflop on the next hand with , and Serock made the call with . The board came to give Serock the full house, and Felipe Ramos headed to the cashier cage to pick up £23,478 for the seventh place finish.
Mahrenholz was the next to put his tournament life on the line, but the hand started off with Mahrenholz and Serock heading to the flop that was delivered as . Mahrenholz then pushed all-in with for two pair, and Serock called with for the pair of jacks, but the on the turn made it a set, and the on the river ended the hand. Karl Mahrenholz was gone in sixth place with £30,192.
Five-handed play went on for some time, and Serock soared into first place, though Lisandro wasn’t far behind. And then Racener doubled through Serock into the lead. And in more exciting news, Lisandro doubled through Racener to jump back into the top spot.
Racener was relegated to only 140K in chips and pushed it all-in with . Lisandro made the call with . The dealer gave them , and the kings remained the best hand as none of Racener’s outs came to fruition. November Niner John Racener was eliminated short of this bracelet, taking home £39,486 for the fifth place finish.
Madsen lost some ground when Serock doubled through him, but Madsen did come back with a double through Lisandro. Madsen needed to move again, though, and when he tangled with Serock to see a flop of , Madsen moved all-in with for the pair of eights. Serock called with and the overpair. The on the turn and on the river eliminated Jeff Madsen in fourth place with £52,542.
As Serock sat comfortably in the chip lead, Tann was quite uncomfortable with his stack and lost several pots to Lisandro. Down to 140K, Tann pushed his chips all-in with , and Lisandro called with . The flop of gave Lisandro two pair, and the turn and river only improved that to a full house. After finishing in sixth place in Event 1, Willie Tann took third place in this Event 2, which was worth £71,184.
No official chip counts were given for heads-up play when it began, but it seemed as if Serock had Lisandro out-chipped by more than a 2-to-1 margin. The two didn’t take long to find themselves involved in an all-in and call situation, but the two chopped the pot and made no progress. Then counts were given to show that Serock had 1.3 million and Lisandro had 500K chips.
Lisandro worked his way into a slight lead, though Serock promptly took it back. But the two players soon tangled in a pot that resulted in a double-up for Lisandro. Serock was left with a stack of less than 500K.
The two battled again. Serock pushed all-in preflop with , and Lisandro called with . The flop of brought more outs for Serock, but none of them materialized with the on the turn or the on the river. Joe Serock had to settle for second place and the £98,262 that went with it.
Jeffrey Lisandro claimed his first WSOP Europe bracelet but his fifth WSOP piece of gold in total, and this one went with a £159,514 first place prize.