While there was plenty of activity around the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino on Sunday for the 2012 World Series of Poker, not much of the activity was being done by the citizens of Canada. With that said, however, a bracelet was awarded and a second event was suspended, bringing back its two combatants for play today.
Event #41 – $3000 No Limit Hold’em – Day Three
The final 30 players who came back for action on Sunday featured two of Canada’s sons, Scott Montgomery and Vincent Bellissimo, but neither of them was around when the final table was decided.
Bellissimo came into the day with 275K in chips, at the bottom of the middle third of the 30 player field but still with some chips to do battle with. He was able to wade through the first three eliminations of the day but, with his stack reaching a critical point, decided to attempt to make a play. After raising the pot to 21K, Kyle Frey put out a three bet of 61K, which prompted Bellissimo to push his remaining stack to the center. After some deliberation, Frey made the call and, unfortunately, it was the correct one.
Bellissimo was on the tough end of the draw, his A-6 facing Frey’s A-J, but the flop did provide some interest. The K-10-5 offered a chance at a chop with a runner-runner straight but, once the nine peeled off on the turn and another ten hit the river, Bellissimo’s shot at a double up had failed and eliminated the Kleinburg resident in 27th place, good for a $22,377 payday.
The news was a bit better for Montgomery, making his second cash of the 2012 WSOP. Starting Sunday’s action with 554K in chips, he could be a bit more selective in his hand selection. Selective he was, avoiding much of the early carnage that brought the field to two tables, leaving him holding 370K by the time 18 players was left. When Montgomery went for the gas to get back in the game, however, he was stopped by a misfiring engine.
After a bet of 35K from the cutoff, it was Frey once again who would respond with a three bet. Montgomery made his stand by pushing all in and Frey called, tabling pocket tens against Montgomery’s A-7 off suit. Once the board ran Queen high, Frey had taken out his second Canadian player and Montgomery was out in 17th place ($27,248).
Frey would lose a good deal of those chips to the final lady in the field, Australia’s Jackie Glazier, when his A-K couldn’t run down the lady’s pocket Kings after the dinner break. He would make the final table but would be eliminated in eighth by Paul Vas Nunes. Glazier, on the other hand, has an opportunity to bring more history into this year’s WSOP proceedings.
Early this morning, Glazier had worked her way to the lead against Greg Ostrander (by more than a 3:1 margin) and the duo decided to stop and finish this afternoon at 1PM (Pacific Time). If Glazier is able to win her first bracelet, she would join Allyn Jaffrey Shulman as a 2012 WSOP bracelet winner, the first time at least two women have won bracelets (outside of the Ladies Event) since 2004, when Cyndy Violette, Kathy Liebert and Annie Duke each won tournaments.
Event #42 – $2500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo – Final Day
Of the 22 men who came back yesterday for the fun and games of Omaha and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, not a one of them was Canadian. The top Canadian finisher for the tournament, Vancouver’s Chris Back, was eliminated on Saturday in 32nd place, picking up $5775 for his efforts. In fact, Back was the only player from “North of the Border” who was able to garner anything in the cash column for Canada.
This isn’t to say there weren’t some interesting storylines for the tournament. Former WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Lisandro was atop the table, but lurking behind him was ESPN poker analyst Norm Chad, looking to usher in one of the signs of the Apocalypse should he win a WSOP bracelet. The normally jovial Chad was all business during play on Sunday, chopping the legs from another former WSOP POY, Tom Schneider, to move into the chip lead with play at two tables.
When the final table began, Mark Gregorich was at the helm, with Chad running right behind him in second place. Sitting down the rankings a bit were top European players in George Danzer and Oleksii Kovalchuk, who would turn out to be the ones to watch during the final table play. Danzer was particularly active in the early going, knocking Chad back to earth in Stud Hi/Lo to push his stack over the 700K mark.
Kovalchuk wasn’t about to let his German counterpart get too far ahead of him, however. He would take huge pots in Stud Hi/Lo over Yuval Bronshtein and Danny Ratigan to bump up over one million in chips while Chad left at the hands of Gregorich in sixth place. From there, Kovalchuk and Danzer would storm through the remaining players to heads up as the clock ticked past 1AM with Kovalchuk in the lead by over 800K in chips.
Although Danzer would reverse the chip stacks within 45 minutes of play, Kovalchuk would storm back to take a slim lead within ten minutes. The duo battled it out for over an hour and a half total, with Kovalchuk finally being able to dispatch Danzer during Omaha Hi/Lo when his A-K-9-4 nailed two pair on a 6-9-J-K-3 board against Danzer’s missed straight draw (A-Q-8-2).
1. Oleksii Kovalchuk (Kyiv, the Ukraine), $228,014
2. George Danzer (Munich, Germany), $140,825
3. Mark Gregorich (Las Vegas, NV), $90,829
4. Daniel Rattigan (Seattle, WA), $65,812
5. Yuval Bronshtein (Charleston, SC), $48,387
6. Norm Chad (Los Angeles, CA), $36,093
7. Wing Wong (Rowland Heights, CA), $27,313
8. Tim Burt (Grenada , MS), $20,966
Kovalchuk now joins the pantheon of players who have won multiple bracelets (this is Kovalchuk’s second), but the win also puts him in the WSOP history books. As the festivities for Event #41 look to be continuing on beyond today’s bracelet ceremony, when Kovalchuk picks up his bracelet this afternoon, he will receive the 1000th bracelet in WSOP history, a truly momentous occasion to be marked by the venerable tournament.
Event #43 – $1500 NLHE – Day Two and Event #44 – $1000 NLHE – Day One
These two tournaments were in action on Sunday but didn’t receive a good deal of attention (you’ll see why in a moment). Event #43 wrapped up its Day Two play with 20 players left in pursuit of a bracelet, none of them hailing from Canada. Zach Clark leads two Europeans, Balazs Botond and Neil “Bad Beat” Channing, when the cards fly on Monday.
The top Canadian finisher for Event #43 was Brantford’s Martin Feijo, who walked away from the Rio in 54th place for $10,284. He was joined by Thunder Bay’s Kevin Ramchandar (58th, $8601), Mississauga’s Ramesh Puradchihasan (70th, $7255), Toronto’s Daniel Mansoor (75th) and Poole’s Benjamin Dobson (81st, $6208), London’s Jeffrey Mahoney (87th, $5347), Victoria’s Shawn Aronson (94th, $4674), Blainville’s Marc Carpenter-Perrault (100th), Toronto’s David Elfan (102nd), Orangeville’s Alan Claridge (112th, $4113), Vancouver’s Jonas Mackoff (136th), Kamloops Gordon Johnson (159th, $3665), Etobicoke’s Jean LeDoux (181st), Toronto’s Philip Nguyen (196th), Stratford’s Matt Wilkins (203rd, $3291), Winnipeg’s Crystal Sloan-Wallace (208th), Kerrobert’s Bradley Neumeier (214th), Quebec’s Philippe Boucher (226th), Montreal’s Sebastien Boisvert (233rd), Toronto’s Matvey Tevlin (237th), Gatineau’s Roch Cousineau (243rd), Richmond Hill’s Rocco Iannacchino (244th, $2992), North York’s David Westerveld (261st) and Ajax’s Michael Neuber (273rd, $2730) as Canadian players taking down a WSOP cash for their resumes.
In Event #44, a 2949 player field turned out for another of the $1000 NLHE events. By the end of the night’s play, only 297 were remaining on the tables with nary a Canuck in the Top 25. In 30th place, Edmonton’s Jaspal Brar is the highest placed Canadian at this time with his 58,400 in chips, but it is a long look up to chip leader Tony Welds’ 131,900 stack. David Cairns, James Wall and Paul Sokoloff will be those in the top 60 players who might have a chance to drive deeper into the event from the dozen other Canadians remaining in the field.
Event #45 – $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship – Day One
THIS was the tournament that drew the most attention around the Rio on Sunday as the crème of poker’s royalty stepped up for the crowning of its latest all-around champion. By the time late registration had ended, 104 players had come to the line (impressive as there is no television for this tournament and the final table will continue to be the eight-game mixed format) and only one of those players, two time $50K final tablist David Singer, would not be around by the end of the day (burning through a 150K chip stack, it must be noted).
There are three Canadian players who chose to put their $50K where their mouth is and all are still sitting rather nicely in the event. Leading the way is Greg “FBT” Mueller, coming off just missing his third bracelet earlier this week, who will be in 49th place with slightly more than what he started with (159,200) when Day Two begins this afternoon. Daniel Negreanu (naturally) has chosen to take part in this tournament, finishing off Sunday’s action with 137,200 in chips (good for 63rd), while Shawn Buchanan rounds out the Canadians in the field with his 126,100 in chips (sitting 68th).
Event #46 – $2500 No Limit Hold’em – STARTING TODAY
While poker’s royalty holds court with the $50K, the masses have to settle for another $2500 NLHE tournament in the Brasilia Room at noon today. The numbers have been steady for the NL events, albeit they have dropped some from their 2011 levels. You have to figure, however, that there won’t be many watching what is going on there in Brasilia while the Poker Players’ Championship rages on in the Amazon Room at the 2012 WSOP!