2012 WSOP, Day 23: Canadians Make Excellent Showing In Seniors Event, Paul Sokoloff Alive In H.O.R.S.E. World Championship


The 2012 World Series of Poker was expected to hand out two bracelets on Sunday but, due to the late hour of one of the tournaments, only one bracelet actually was awarded. While the action was going on in the tournament arenas of the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino, several Canadians put on an excellent show for the fans in attendance and rail birding from the internet.

  • Event #29 – $1000 Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship – Day Three

32 players came back on Sunday, looking to determine a champion from the 4128 runners who started off the action on Friday. There were four Canadians in contention, looking up at chip leader Kevin DeTienne and his 1.325 million in chips, and each made a run at the title to be proud of.

Dennis Phillips

Frank Longinotti was the first to drop from the fracas after he moved all in and was called by Jim McCrink. Longinotti’s A-9 of diamonds needed some help against McCrink’s pocket Queens but, once the board came King high without diamonds, he would be knocked out of the tournament in 23rd place (18,353).

The other three Canadian contenders lasted much further into the Vegas night. Eckville’s Clifton Green would make it to the final two tables before he would fall with his A-J against Martin Fitzmaurice’s pocket nines. By the time the unofficial final table was set, two Canadians were still in the running. Unfortunately, one of those would fall short of the “official” WSOP nine-handed final table.

Innisfail’s Carolyn Tulloch was the victim of a difficult bad beat in the hand that sent her away from the Seniors Event. After raising the pot to 125K, Stuart Spear made the call and the duo saw a 9-10-4 rainbow flop. Tulloch made her stand, pushing in her remaining chips, and Spear quickly made the call. Tulloch’s pocket Jacks were ahead before the flop, but Spear’s 10-9 had magically hit two pair. Looking for a Jack or running straight cards, Tulloch instead saw an Ace on the turn and a seven on the river to eliminate her in tenth place ($37,672).

William (Bill) Thomson

Thus, it was up to Calgary’s William Thomson to carry the Canadian flag into the final table and he was in good shape to do so. Stacked with 1.2 million chips (good for fourth), Thomson appeared to be on course to do some damage in the tournament. Alas, it wasn’t to be; Thomson lost a chunk of chips to Hoyt Corkins, then doubled up Allyn Jaffrey Shulman to drop down to the danger zone. Undaunted, Thomson began to rebuild, knocking out Fitzmaurice in eighth place, and went to the dinner break in sixth place ahead of Shulman.

With the blinds growing to a significant level, players were forced into action following dinner. Thomson found an opportunity to get some chips off of one of the leaders, 2008 WSOP “November Niner” Dennis Phillips, calling an all-in move from Phillips. It was a classic race, with Phillips’ pocket nines ahead of Thomson’s A-J, and the board provided no Ace or Jack for Thomson, eliminating him in seventh place ($83,332).

Only two more players – Spear and William Stabler – were eliminated before the final four decided to call it a night. Phillips will lead the foursome back to the table on Monday holding 5.335 million in chips, while Bob Phelps (3.475 million), Corkins (1.96 million) and Shulman (1.62 million) will be looking to knock Phillips off the mountain. Kudos, however, to the four Canadians who made an excellent run in the Seniors Event!

  • Event #30 – $1500 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball Draw – Day Three

No Canadian players were among the 35 players who cashed in this tournament, but the final table featured several big names looking to make their run at a WSOP bracelet. The seven men left in the battle would make the Event #30 final table one of the shorter final tables of the 2012 WSOP so far.

Brandon Cantu led Rep Porter, Michael Mizrachi and Erick Lindgren at the start of play, with Mizrachi storming out of the gate. He knocked out Ryan Tepen in seventh place and continued his upward climb in taking chips from Cantu and Porter. Andrew Lichtenberger knocked out Porter in sixth place to bring the table to five handed play in slightly more than thirty minutes.

Lichtenberger continued to grow his stack, knocking off Lindgren in fifth place, to move into the chip lead with four players to go. Mizrachi, who seemed to have lost his mojo after his excellent start, would depart in fourth place at the hands of Cantu. It was at this point that Larry Wright began to make some noise in the tournament.

Once down to only 65K in chips, Wright went on a run where he seemingly didn’t lose a hand. He eventually would pass both Cantu and Lichtenberger to take the lead and, once he eliminated Lichtenberger in third, held a nearly 300K chip lead over Cantu. Over the span of the next hour, Wright would not let Cantu back in the match, dispatching Cantu from the felt when he nailed a 9-8-7-4-3 that Cantu could not beat.

Michael Mizrachi

1. Larry Wright (McQueeney, TX), $101,975

2. Brandon Cantu (Las Vegas, NV), $63,048

3. Andrew Lichtenberger (East Northport, NY), $41,445

4. Michael Mizrachi (Miami, FL), $28,198

5. Erick Lindgren (Las Vegas, NV), $19,676

6. Rep Porter (Woodinville, WA), $14,078

7. Ryan Tepen (Chesterfield, MO), $10,318

  • Event #31 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – Day Two

Of the 331 players who came back on Sunday for Day Two of this tournament, only 297 would receive anything for their efforts. There will not be any Canadians who come back on Monday to determine this championship as Terrence Chan was eliminated in twentieth place ($19,012) in one of the last hands of Sunday’s play. Also joining Chan on the cash out sheet are Marc McLaughlin, Ryan Mackinnon, Jean-Philippe Piquette, Sam Chartier (all for the $2770 min-cash), Kyle Ho, Michael Malm, David Arnold, Gerard Dower, Michael Neuber, Roger Hardy (all for $3036), Jonathan Plens, Mike McDonald, Joel Bullock, Chi Sang Wong, Jonas Mackoff ($3719), Jeffrey Hilliard ($4174), Philippe Boucher ($4744), Bradley Duck ($5427), Jurrien Eisinga, Yeping Shan ($6299), Elliot Smith ($7362), Erik Cajelais ($10,436) and Vaughn Prichard ($12,599).

There will be some interest in this particular battle for the bracelet, however. Leading the way for the 19 players remaining is 2009 World Champion Joe Cada, who sits with 1.869 million in chips. Since Carlos Mortensen won the WSOP Championship Event in 2001, no Championship Event winner has gone on to take another bracelet. If Cada is able to succeed here, he would make WSOP history.

Also in the mix is Cherish Andrews, the Day One leader of this tournament. No woman has won an “open” event since 2008 (Vanessa Selbst), so if Andrews is able to do this, she would crack that curse. Other notable names left include Carter Phillips (586K), J. C. Tran (339K) and Dwyte Pilgrim (293K), but they will have their work cut out for them if they are to contend for the championship.

The eventual winner tonight will take down the WSOP bracelet and first place cash of $664,130.

  • Event #32 – $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship – Day Two

Only fifteen players will come back on Monday from the 178 players that started on Saturday and two of the leaders are looking to put their mark on the WSOP Player of the Year race. John Monnette holds the lead at this point with his 825,000 in chips and is in a prime spot to attempt to take his second bracelet of the 2012 WSOP. Not to be outdone, Phil Hellmuth is in fourth place with 571,000, also looking to add his second 2012 bracelet.

One of Canada’s own will be fighting it out for the H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, but he has some work to do to get there. Toronto’s Paul Sokoloff would use a late-evening knockout of Steve Zolotow in Stud, with hidden Kings and a Q-K-Q first up cards, which had Zolotow leaving the table even before Seventh Street was a thought. Sokoloff will be down the table a bit, sitting with 157,000 in chips, but in the game of H.O.R.S.E., anything is possible.

With some quick play, the champion of this tournament may be determined tonight, but don’t be surprised if it rolls over into tomorrow’s action. The next H.O.R.S.E. World Champion will take home the $451,779 bankroll boost and the WSOP bracelet…when that champ is determined.

  • Event #33 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Day One

Steve "BetrThanPhil" Tripp

By the time the late registration period had ended for Event #33, 2795 players had come to the felt. It seems that they were leaving almost as quickly as they came because, by the end of action on Monday morning, only 231 players were remaining and some already out the door with cash for their day of work.

Jonathan Duhamel, Huichen Kuo, and Madison Bergeron (all for $1836) were those Canadians who cashed among the 64 players who put a WSOP cash on their poker resumes. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t some Canadian players to pull for on Monday.

According to the official WSOP report, Elmvale’s Steven Tripp will be in fifth place at the start of play on Monday with his 89,900 in chips. Following Tripp up will be Edmonton’s Ren Ho Zhang, sitting in seventh place only 6000 chips behind Tripp. Also in the Top Fifty are Daniel Idema (26th, 67,600) and Sherbrooke’s Marc Blais (37th, 61,300).

Currently the leader is Brad Libson and his 117,100 in chips, but this tournament is far from over. Tuesday’s final table will crown a champion, who will earn the WSOP bracelet and $440,238.

  • Event #34 – $5000 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha and Event #35 – $2500 Mixed Hold’em (Limit/No Limit) – STARTING TODAY

If the pros already weren’t in the Rio for the WSOP, today’s tournaments would certainly draw them out. The $5000 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha tournament is a guaranteed entertainment value for not only the players but the fans in attendance. Jason Mercier should be back to defend his title and expect more than the 507 runners that appeared last year.

At 5PM (Pacific Time), the $2500 Mixed Hold’em tournament will take to Day One action. In last year’s tournament, Matt Matros won his second bracelet in as many years by defeating the 580 player field. Now that he has added a third this year, Matros will be primed to defend his title in this event.

Believe it or not, we’ve now passed the halfway mark of the 2012 World Series of Poker. There’s still plenty of action left, including the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship and the Main Event, which should make this WSOP one to remember.



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