The World Series of Poker Europe was speeding through its events as of September 17. Not only was Event 1 in the books, but Event 2 was into its second day of action. That prompted the launch of Event 3, which looked to be the most popular of them all. The £1,000 + £75 buy-in no-limit holdem tournament was going to attract quite a few players, so it was set up with three starting days because of the small amount of space available at the Casino at the Empire. London’s players, as well as many from around the world, were ready for this reasonably priced buy-in event.
Day 1A began with a total of 202 players, but eliminations came quickly through the day, with some of the early casualties including Marty Smyth, James Dempsey, Sam Trickett, Praz Bansi, Erik Cajelais, Howard Lederer, Chris Moorman, John Dolan, and John Juanda. Play was stopped an hour earlier than planned at the end of the night because only 28 players remained, and they couldn’t take a chance on any one of the starting days running too low so as to make the money before the field combined. When the 28 players’ chips were counted, Jeppe Bisgaard was the leader with 49K, and Anton Wigg came in a close second with 45,600 chips.
Day 1B added another 195 players to the mix, but as the day progressed, some of the names that fell off the list due to elimination included Barny Boatman, Arnaud Mattern, Danny Wong, John Cernuto, Peter Jetten, Phil Ivey, Chad Brown, Hoyt Corkins, Phil Hellmuth, and Vanessa Rousso. By the time the action stopped, at the same level as the night before, only 26 players were able to bag chips, and Wesley Pantling was in the lead with 56,200 chips, followed by Sofia Lovgren with 52,500.
Day 1C brought the last group of players to the tables, and that field of 185 players added to the others to create an entire tournament full of 582 players and prize pool of £582,000. From that money, the top 54 players were to be paid with £133,857 going to the winner. Some of those who departed early in the day were Chris Bjorin, Andy Bloch, Michael Mizrachi, Neil Channing, Jeff Madsen, Men Nguyen, Melissa Hayden, Fabrice Soulier, and John Racener. And when all was said and done for the night, only 25 players remained with Leonard Truche in the top spot with 42,400 chips and Song Lee holding up second place with 40,300.
The official second day of play brought 80 players back to the tables, and the goal was to play into the money and on through to the final table. Early eliminations included Maria Demetriou and Keith Hawkins, who walked away without cash for the event. And it took less than two hours to reach the money bubble. Almost as soon as hand-for-hand play was announced with 55 players in the field, Song Lee was eliminated on the bubble. The payouts then began with Tom Fleischer busting in 54th place for £2,252, and other notables who followed throughout the day included Tommy Vedes in 46th place, Matthew Jarvis in 40th, Claire Renaut in 39th, Allen Kessler in 38th, Priyan de Mel in 25th, Stephen Chidwick in 24th, Wesley Pantling in 21st, Anton Wigg in 20th, and Keith Hawkins in 15th. Finally, on the final table bubble, it was Stephan Nitschke who risked it all with against the of Kaveh Payman. The board of gave the pot to Payman and eliminated Nitschke in tenth place with £8,317.
The final table was then set for September 21 as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Karim Jomeem ||109,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Scott Shelley ||148,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Nicky Katz ||150,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Paul Ian Pitchford ||77,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Jeppe Brisgaard ||171,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Mehdi Senhaji ||369,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Kaveh Payman ||434,000 |
|Seat 8: ||JP Kelly ||242,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Jack Lyman ||55,000 |
Action started with Senhaji in the chip lead but all eyes on JP Kelly, as a win in this event could make history. He won it in 2009, and he would reportedly become the only player to successfully defend a title in back-to-back years since Johnny Chan, as well as becoming the youngest player to win three WSOP bracelets since Phil Ivey set that record.
Some of the shorter stacks looked ready to make moves as play began, but it was Katz who tangled with Kelly on a flop of . Katz bet after those cards appeared, and when Kelly raised it, Katz moved all-in with for top pair, and Kelly called with for the straight draw. The on the turn did make that straight, and the on the river officially sent Nicky Katz out in ninth place with £10,633.
Lyman moved his short stack and successfully doubled through Senhaji and then through Kelly to breathe new life into his game. Bisgaard doubled through Payman to jump into the chip lead. And when Jomeen doubled through Pitchford, the latter did the same through Shelley, which prompted Shelley to double through Jomeen.
That last move left Jomeen with only 6K behind, all of which went into the pot on the next hand with . Lyman and Bisgaard created a side pot, and after the came on the flop, a raising war prompted Lyman to call one of those raises all-in with . Bisgaard showed , and the rest of the cards on the board were dealt and . The aces held up to scoop the pot, and Karim Jomeen was ousted in eighth place with £13,694.
Kelly doubled through Lyman in a big hand, and though Lyman proceeded to double back through Kelly, Lyman was ready to move and did it on the very next hand. His 225K went all-in with , and Shelley was the caller with . The flop of was innocent enough, but the hit on the turn to give Shelley the advantage. The on the river ended the tournament for Jack Lyman, who left in seventh place with £17,768.
Senhaji had a rough final table, and when Payman doubled through him, he was left with less than 200K and pushed it all-in with . Shelley called with , and the race was on. But the board came , and the pocket pair held up to eliminate Medhi Senhaji in sixth place with £23,239.
Payman sought another double-up when he moved his last 133K all-in holding , but Kelly quickly called with a dominating . The dealer had nothing but blanks to offer for the board, and Kaveh Payman was forced to exit in fifth place with the £30,666 in prize money he was offered.
Four-handed action started with Shelley holding 880K and a significant lead, though Kelly was climbing with a stack of 535K. Pitchford had 205K and Bisgaard was just below with 190K. When Bisgaard doubled through Pitchford, the latter was crippled.
Pitchford was all-in for his last 11K on the next hand with , but Kelly just so happened to be along for the ride with . Pitchford was going to need a nine to stay alive, but there wasn’t one on the board. Paul Pitchford became the fourth place finisher and walked away with £40,862 for it.
A short time later, Bisgaard took his shot and moved all-in with . Kelly made another solid call with , but the flop of gave Bisgaard the club flush draw. The on the turn wasn’t it, though, nor was the on the river, and Jeppe Bisgaard was sent on his way with £55,063 for the third place finish.
Heads-up play then began, after a short break, with the following chip counts:
|JP Kelly ||1,030,000 |
|Scott Shelley ||720,000|
The two started a fairly cautious match, but Shelley soon worked his way into the lead and eventually a 2-to-one lead. Kelly was able to double up once, when A-J outdid K-2 on a 6-5-4-4-5 board, and Kelly moved into the chip lead, but his stay there was brief. Shelley became aggressive and not only took the lead back but relegated Kelly to a less than desirable stack.
Kelly soon picked his moment, and he moved all-in preflop with . Shelley made the call with . The flop was slowly dealt as , and Shelley made the set of threes to take a massive lead in the hand. A on the turn and on the river ended the tournament, and JP Kelly had to accept the fact that he would not repeat his 2009 performance but still walk away with £82,854 for the second place finish.
Local London amateur player Scott Shelley claimed his first gold bracelet and took home £133,857 for his WSOPE Event 3 win.