The 2012 World Series of Poker Championship Event has reached its penultimate day (at least before the final table plays in October) and a Canadian player is atop the leaderboard with three tables left in action.
At the start of Day Six, five Canadian players were in contention for the championship among the 97 runners still alive for the title. Canadian pro Gavin Smith was among those contenders, but was on the short stack with only 675K in chips to play with. He was joined by fellow pro Erik Cajelais (1.205 million), Stephane Bisson (1.445 million), Marc Ladouceur (1.48 million) and Dung Nguyen (1.88 million), but they were all looking up to the monstrous stack of chip leader Kyle Keranen, sitting at 6.935 million.
While he received the honor of starting at one of the ESPN Feature Tables, Smith couldn’t get anything going to revive his depleted stack. On the button, Gavin would push his remaining chips to the center and get Eric Legoff to move all in over the top from the small blind. When the cards were revealed, Smith was in a race with his A♦ Q♦ against the pocket Jacks of Legoff. Once the board ran ten high, Smith was out of the Championship Event, taking home a $62,021 payday for his efforts.
Nguyen would be the next to head to the payout window when he ran his pocket tens into the pocket Aces of Jordi Martinezalonso. Before Nguyen could even get the paperwork done, he was joined by Bisson after his battle against Day Two chip leader Gaelle Baumann.
Baumann – who has either been running like God or is one of the secret jewels of the European poker community – three bet Bisson from late position and got Stephane to push his remaining stack in against her. She called and showed an A-K off suit against Bisson’s pocket Jacks, which held up on the 10-2-K flop. A Queen on the turn made things interesting, but the river six ended the day for Bisson, earning him $73,805.
In almost as rapid a fashion, Cajelais would meet his demise in the Championship Event. After pushing in his last 700K in chips, Cajelais saw Jean Malherbe make the call and table pocket Queens against Erik’s pocket tens. A Queen on the turn had Cajelais drawing dead and, after a meaningless river card, he joined Bisson in taking home $73,805.
Only an hour and a half into the Day Six proceedings, 80% of the Canadian contingent had been cut down, leaving Marc Ladouceur as the Last Canadian Standing. While the others may have met their tournament maker in a very short time frame, Ladouceur instead mounted a charge that raises the hopes of Canadian poker fans.
Ladouceur quietly increased his stack during the early afternoon hours, breaking the two million chip mark after the first break and while on a featured table that made it difficult to account for how he did it. By the time the sun started to drop on Sin City’s horizon, Marc had treaded water with those chips and, following a break for dinner, exploded during the night session of play.
It all started with a double knockout for Ladouceur. A short stacked Bobby Law plopped his remaining chips in the center of the table and David “ODB” Baker decided to move his stack in over it. Up to Marc, he made the call from the small blind and tabled pocket Kings. He was in a dominant position, albeit a precarious one, over Law’s Big Chick and Baker’s Big Slick. The board brought no stunning surprises, coming down seven high, and Ladouceur was back in the hunt over the three million mark.
This lit the afterburners for Marc as he stormed through all challengers as he climbed the leaderboard. He made a huge bluff against Amit Makhija to reach 6.6 million in chips and kept the momentum going as he closed in on nine million by the midnight hour. It was a big hand against Shahriar Assareh that would catapult him to the top of the mountain.
With four tables left, the board read 3♠ 3♥ 6♥ 8♥ as Ladouceur bet 600K into an 800K pot with Assareh and Danny Wong. Assareh made the call to see a Queen come on the river and checked his option to Marc, who bet out 1.3 million in chips. Assareh called only to see Ladouceur table J♥ 9♥ for the turned flush and mucked his hand while Marc bumped his stack up to eleven million.
As the players worked down to the final three tables, Ladouceur would rake in even more chips. He hit trip sixes with A-6 against Robert Corcione to move over the 15 million mark and would ride that stack to end the night as the overall chip leader.
1. Marc Ladouceur, 15.875 million
2. Daniel Strelitz, 12.79 million
3. Robert Salaburu, 10.915 million
4. Russell Thomas, 9.985 million
5. Elisabeth Hille, 9.77 million
6. Yuval Bronshtein, 9.735 million
7. Jamie Robbins, 8.75 million
8. Robert Corcione, 8.745 million
9. Cylus Watson, 8.5 million
10. Jeremy Ausmus, 8.3 million
While we can avidly cheer Ladouceur’s efforts through Day Six, it doesn’t get any easier for the Montreal native. Hille has been playing outstanding poker and is looking (with Baumann) at becoming only the second (or third?) woman to ever make the WSOP Championship Event final table. That has only occurred once, when Barbara Enright finished fifth in 1995 in the Championship Event.
Other contenders that could provide some fits for Marc include Bronshtein, a veteran pro, Ausmus, who cut his teeth on the online game and 2012 bracelet winner Greg Merson; all of these men can inflict significant damage if they clash with Ladouceur.
The chips hit the air this afternoon at roughly 2PM (Pacific Time) and play will continue until the “October Nine” have been determined. There is a good chance that one of Canada’s own, Marc Ladouceur, could very well be one of those nine by the end of Day Seven tonight!