Although there was a great deal of action around the 2012 World Series of Poker tournament rooms, many of the eyes of the railbirds were focused on the action in one of the most prestigious tournaments of the tournament poker year. Add in two bracelets being awarded and there was something for everyone yesterday at the Rio.
Event #41 – $3000 No Limit Hold’em – Final Day
After suspending play early Monday morning, two players came back yesterday afternoon to determine the champion of the event. Although Australia’s Jackie Glazier came back with a more than 3:1 lead over her opponent, Greg Ostrander, he was able to work his way back into the event and took down the title over Glazier.
“I am pretty good with a short stack,” Ostrander understatedly said to WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla following the heads up fight. “What I needed was that break last night. Obviously it turned out the way I wanted it to. Just when I started making my way back after Jackie got me down, I thought here we go again and fortunately I came out on top.”
For taking down this bracelet Ostrander, a former New York police officer, earned a payday of $742,072. Glazier, after being among the leaders for much of the tournament, had to settle for $458,996.
Event #43 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – Day Three
With no Canadian players among the 20 players remaining for the title, some might have overlooked this event. That would have been unfortunate, however, as it proved to be an interesting fight into the Vegas night.
Zach Clark led the runners to the line yesterday afternoon, with two top European players in Balazs Botond and Neil Channing in pursuit. Channing wasn’t satisfied with his position and was quite active in the early going to push towards the lead. Clark, on the other hand, bled chips as the field worked its way down, going out in tenth place to miss the official WSOP final table. When the nine men converged for the determination of a champion, Henry Lu (who had eliminated Clark when his pocket Queens flopped a set against Clark’s pocket Kings) was atop the table with Channing only 10K in chips behind him.
Channing continued his symphony of destruction at the final table, eliminating six of the seven players (Botond got the other one) on his way to heads up play against Lu with nearly a 5:1 lead in the match. Many were ready to crown the Brit the champion of the tournament, but Lu had other ideas. He doubled up early in the heads up match to pull within 2.5 million in chips and eventually would take over the lead. Channing was undeterred, fighting back to retake the lead after an hour of play.
For another hour and a half, the players jousted and exchanged the lead. Eventually, Lu was able to work Channing’s stack down to take a sizeable 5.5 million chip lead of his own. On the final hand, Channing made a bet and Lu moved all in, which Channing called. It was a classic race, Channing’s A-J of diamonds against Lu’s pocket fours; when the board ran with nary an Ace, Jack or three diamonds, Lu had knocked off the popular U. K. pro to take home the gold.
1. Henry Lu (Brooklyn, NY), $654,380
2. Neil Channing (London, the United Kingdom), $406,409
3. James Mackey (Las Vegas, NV), $286,633
4. Tom Alner (Bristol, the United Kingdom), $207,019
5. John Nelson (Curtice, OH), $151,338
6. Hovan Nguyen (Pasadena, MD), $111,961
7. Balazs Botond (Budapest, Hungary), $83,802
8. Francois Dur (Lons Le Saunier, France), $62,802
9. Jared Rosenbaum (Detroit, MI), $48,614)
Event #44 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Day Two
The 297 players who came back on Monday to continue the fight in Event #44 were all guaranteed the minimum payday ($1937), but everyone had their eyes on making it to today’s Day Three play, where the champion will be determined. Several Canadian players put a WSOP cash on their resumes while two of them will have aspirations of winning the title this evening.
Joshua Norris, Trevor Bodenham and Pascal LeFrancois all took home the minimum for their finishes, while Joe Gualtieri ($2123), Matt Wilkins, Sebastien Roy and Clayton Mozdzen ($2336) put a bit more in their pockets. Other Canadian finishers included Jeremy Dann ($2601), Feizal Satchu ($2920), David Cairns and James Wall (each with $6104).
When the cards fly this afternoon, two of Canada’s sons will be attempting to take down the fourth bracelet of the year for the country. Jaspal Brar will be in the Top Ten when play begins today with 551K in chips (good for ninth place) while Paul Sokoloff – who already has a final table to his credit at this year’s WSOP – used a late elimination to push his stack over the 200K mark (209K). He will have his work cut out for him as he is currently the short stack of the sixteen men remaining in the tournament.
Thomas Conway will hold the pole position when play begins this afternoon, not far ahead of Brar’s stack with 880K. The eventual survivor from this 2949 player field will take down the WSOP bracelet and a nice $464,464 payday.
Event #45 – $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship – Day Two
Only one player was eliminated from the 105 player field on Sunday, leaving a host of top names battling it out for arguably one of the biggest championships in tournament poker. Four Canadians – Greg “FBT” Mueller, Daniel Negreanu, Shawn Buchanan and Jonathan Duhamel (an early entry on Monday) – were among those back for Day Two yesterday but, by the end of the night, only one would be standing.
Buchanan never could get anything to work for him on Monday, his stack slowly slipping away from him as the eight-game mix rotated around. In Triple Draw Lowball, he would get his chips to the center against Lyle Berman and, after taking two cards on each draw while Berman stood pat on the second and third, couldn’t muster anything against Berman’s 9-6-4-3-2. It ended what has, to this point, been a rather disappointing WSOP for Buchanan, with only three cashes (for slightly less than $31K) versus last year’s eleven.
At the dinner break, Mueller, Negreanu and Duhamel would still be in contention, but two of them would be gone by the end of the evening’s battles. Duhamel never got above his starting stack (150K) during the day of play and would fall against David Oppenheim in Seven Card Stud. Negreanu would depart just prior to the end of action on Monday, commenting over Twitter, “Pretty disgusted. One Omaha8 pot, 2 Razz pots then limit Holdem T-9 flop 7-8-4 and I’m out.” He was reflective on his elimination, however, stating, “Hard to ignore that I am lucky in life but this WSOP has been harder to take than most (Negreanu has two cashes for over $47K). Trying my best but cards are spitting in my face.”
Holding the Canadian flag high when the 62 players remaining return on Tuesday will be Mueller, who had a tough day in his own right. He was only able to add about 50K to his stack through Monday’s play and will be sitting in 35th place (204,200) when the remaining players reconvene today. He’s looking up at a stacked leaderboard (of course) with Andy Bloch leading the way with 687K in chips. The defending champion of this tournament, Brian Rast, is also still in contention, holding down 20th place with 303,900 in chips.
Event #46 – $2500 No Limit Hold’em – Day One
By the time everyone who wanted to play in this event worked their way through late registration, 1607 players had plunked down their $1500 for a chance at WSOP gold. As has been usual for these smaller buy in events, the field was drastically cut on Day One, with 233 returning today to continue the pleasantries.
22 Canadian players will be back, looking to make it to the 171 players who will earn at least $4826 for their two days of work. Currently the top Canadian is Jason Duval, stacked with 94,400 in chips (good for 23rd place), with Steven Kerr, Jimmy Fradettedufour and Gregory Hartwick also in the Top Fifty. Ryan D’Angelo is atop the mountain after Day One, holding 190,300 chips and looking to pull off the rare “wire to wire” tournament championship.
On Thursday, the champion will be decided in this tournament, taking home the WSOP bracelet and the $694,609 first place bounty.
Event #47 – $1500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo and Event #48 – $3000 Limit Hold’em – STARTING TODAY
Amid the din of the clacking chips and shuffled cards in the tournament rooms at the Rio, two more tournaments will come to the felt for their Day One action. The $1500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament should draw several of the “action junkies” at the WSOP for its noon start (Negreanu has already given the impression that he will be in that tournament), while the $3000 Limit Hold’em tournament steps up at 5PM. Along with the other action around the Rio, it’s another busy day at the 2012 World Series of Poker – or maybe it’s better to say it’s “business as usual”!