2012 WSOP, Day 32: Greg Mueller Eliminated From $50K; Jaspal Brar, Paul Sokoloff Earn Deep Finishes In $1000 NLHE


Believe it or not, the days for the 2012 World Series of Poker are actually on the downhill side of the count, with only about three weeks left on the clock. That means that many of Canada’s best are going to have to step it up a bit if they are going to take down some more jewelry at the Rio in Las Vegas!

  • Event #44 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Final Day

Rocco Palumbo

The 20 players who came back from the second largest field of this year’s WSOP were looking to put the crowning touch on by determining a champion. Two Canadian players, Jaspal Brar and Paul Sokoloff, were looking to work their way to the final table, but were battling off short stacks in the face of Thomas Conway’s 880K in chips.

Sokoloff, who was worse off in chips than Brar, found that necessary double up through Conway when his pocket tens flopped a set against Conway’s Big Slick. That would only delay the inevitable for Sokoloff, however; after about an hour of Day Three play, Sokoloff would three bet Conway, only to see David Forster make the call and Conway get out of the way. It was bad timing for Sokoloff, as his A-J was dominated by Forster’s A-Q. The 2-K-Q flop added some outs for Sokoloff, but the running eights sealed the hand for Forster and eliminated Paul Sokoloff in fourteenth place ($20,941).

Brar began to run into some issues right around this time also, having to fold a hand on a 4-3-K flop after Niel Mittelman pushed out enough chips to put Brar all in. Brar did show a King, but not the other card as he pushed his hand to the muck. Moments later, Brar would push his last chips in with A-10, only to find Darren Rabinowitz willing to play with his A-Q. Once no ten came to the rescue, Jaspal Brar was out in thirteenth place ($20,941).

The field worked its way down quickly to the final table (within three hours of the start of play on Tuesday) and settled the issue of champion within six hours. Rocco Palumbo was able to end the dreams of Nelson Robinson in taking down the championship, earning the WSOP bracelet and the $464,464 in first place money.

1. Rocco Palumbo (Italy), $464,464

2. Nelson Robinson (Winston-Salem, NC), $288,448

3. Thomas Conway (Palatine, IL), $203,437

4. Niel Mittelman (Libertyville, IL), $146,931

5. Jason Everett (Charlotte, NC), $107,411

6. Kevin Elia (Edgewater, MD), $79,464

7. Anke Berner (Cologne, Germany), $59,478

8. Patrick Karschamroon (Los Angeles, CA), $45,040

9. David Forster (Alameda, CA), $34,503

  • Event #45 – $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship – Day Three

The 62 men (for the first year ever, no female players entered the Poker Players’ Championship) who came to the felt on Tuesday for battle were looking to push the number down to a respectable level, perhaps even make the money before the night was over. While they didn’t quite get to the money bubble, there will be only 26 players remaining when they come back on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, none of those players will be representing Canada. Greg Mueller was the final combatant left from the Great White North, but he would be gone in a rather cruel fashion before two hours of play were completed. After a raise from John Hennigan in NLHE, “FBT” popped him up to 33K. Hennigan wouldn’t back down, pushing in his stack and Mueller made the call, putting his tournament life on the line. “FBT” had a great hand, pocket Queens, but Hennigan had the better one in pocket Kings. An unnecessary King on the turn ended the $50K for Mueller, way short of where he would have liked to have been.

Mueller wasn’t the only one taking the long walk from the Rio’s Amazon Room. Barry Greenstein, David Benyamine, Jason Mercier, Matt Glantz, Patrik Antonius, Alexander Kravchenko and Michael Binger were dismissed from the proceedings (among others) and Phil Hellmuth nearly was a casualty, although he will come back on Wednesday with a miniscule amount of chips.

The leader of the $50K wasn’t determined until one of the last hands of the evening. Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom was facing the possibility of elimination in Pot Limit Omaha, his flopped set of nines outdone by Joe Cassidy’s flopped set of tens, until a lightning bolt hit on the river. The case nine peeled off to give Blom his one-outer and a pot that catapulted him into the lead (Cassidy will still be around, although he may not want to be, holding 50K in chips):

Viktor Blom 2012 WSOP

1. Viktor Blom, 1.262 million

2. David Oppenheim, 1.165 million

3. Daniel Alaei, 1.058 million

4. David Baker, 1.025 million

5. John Hennigan, 992K

6. Bill Chen, 984K

7. Stephen Chidwick, 874K

8. Mike Wattel, 870K

Although 26 will return today, only 16 of them will receive anything for the $50K that they laid down on Sunday. The eventual champion (crowned tomorrow) will take home the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, the WSOP bracelet and $1,451,527, the largest first place prize to this point of the WSOP.

  • Event #46 – $2500 No Limit Hold’em – Day Two

22 Canadians were among the 233 who came back on Tuesday to continue festivities in this latest $2500 NLHE event. By the time they had worked their way down to the final 171 players who would earn something for showing up at the Rio, fifteen would have something in their pockets and two Canadians would still have a shot at the top prize.

At this point, Jason Duval is the top casher in this event, taking down 35th place for a $16,781 bank. David Elfan almost picked up that amount for his 37th place finish, but he will have to settle for $14,039. The other cashers from Canada include Pascal LeFrancois, Tyler Bonkowski, Jonas Mackoff, Evan Jarvis, Henry Strasser, Mike McDonald, Roger Hardy, Gregory Hartwick, Steven Kerr, Ryan Smith, Oliver Gergely, Guang Lu and Kyle Menne.

Although one of the sons of Canada left in the tournament has some work to do on Wednesday, the other is in a nice spot to make a deeper run. Woodbridge’s Joe Gualtieri (228K) is looking way up the leaderboard to Joey Weissman’s 1.239 million in chips. While Gualtieri is in tough runnings, Jimmy Fradettedufour is sitting in the fifth slot at this point with 778K in chips, right behind Vanessa Selbst.

Today’s play will determine the champion in the event, who will take down the WSOP bracelet and $694,609 for his (or her) well-deserved victory.

  • Event #47 – $1500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo and Event #48 – $3000 Limit Hold’em – Day One

Two tournaments held their Day One welcoming parties on Tuesday, with one of the tournament’s showing a massive casualty rate and the other a more subdued clashing of players.

In Event #47, 978 players eventually made up the field for the challenge of PLO Hi/Lo, up from the numbers for last year’s running of the event (946). By the end of the night’s play, only 149 of those players would be around to count their chips for Wednesday’s action.

The Top Ten of the event is populated with Canadian players. Roch Cousineau is in second place with 95,500 in chips. He’s behind only Alexandre Gomes, who has been able to build a stack of 143,300 for Day Two. Joining Cousineau in the Top Ten of this event are Nicholas Verkaik (71,600, 8th place) and Nital Jethalal (65K, 9th). While these three men have their eyes set on the big prize, six others Canadian players will join this triumvirate in attempting to make the money bubble (117th).

For taking down this WSOP championship, the gold and $267,345 await the winner on Thursday.

In Event #48, the Limit players might have been a bit slower on the eliminations but will still face the same challenges as their Omaha counterparts. 247 runners put their $3K on the line and, by the time chips had been shuffled around for eight rounds, 126 of those players were left. Five Canadians will come back on Wednesday for play, including the former World Champion.

Jonathan Duhamel, who has been having a great 2012 despite a not-so great run at the WSOP, picked up chips left and right in the latter half of the night. He would be responsible for eliminating the defending champion of the tournament, fellow Canuck Tyler Bonkowski, and knocking another Canadian pro, Daniel Negreanu, around for more chips. According to the WSOP chip counts, Negreanu will have only 1200 for play today; Duhamel leads the Canadian players with 25,700 (29th place), while Jason Tam, John Vlassis and Greg DeBora are looking to climb with Negreanu.

2011 WSOP National Champion Sam Barnhardt will hold the pole position at the start of play today (58,900). The field will be chopping itself down to the money (27 players) and try to get as close to tomorrow’s final table as possible before calling it quits for the night.

  • Event #49 – $1500 Ante Only No Limit Hold’em – STARTING TODAY

One of the more unique events will come to the WSOP tournament halls today. Although it is “another” $1500 buy in NLHE tournament, this one will offer a break from the usual knockout format.

Instead of having blinds posted, each player at the table will ante up a particular amount of chips (25 in the first two hours, 50 second two, etc.). If a player wants to play his hand, they have the option of bringing in for the minimum amount or raising all-in. The players following this action have the same options that they face in a normal game – fold, call or raise.

It will be interesting to see how this format works out and who can pick up on the nuances of this new form at the WSOP. If it brings in a crowd, expect to see it come back next year (or perhaps in Europe or Australia). If it doesn’t pack the Brasilia Room, it might go the way of several other poker derivatives!





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