Thursday was a huge day for Canadian poker players at the WSOP, as Mark Radoja battled to the championship of the Shootout tournament. Friday marks another opportunity for a Canadian player to make a run at a title as Daniel Idema is in the running for the Limit Hold’em World Championship, although Daniel Negreanu fell a bit short after leading Day One of the tournament.
Event #24 – $5000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout – Final Day
Ten men were poised for battle on Thursday for the championship of Event #24, with Guelph’s Mark Radoja battling a horde of American players, including defending CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year Tom Marchese, 2011 WSOP bracelet winner Sean Getzwiller and veteran pro Todd Terry, for the right to claim the title of WSOP bracelet winner.
All ten players started the final table with 1.5 million in chips and they spent the first hour of play feeling out the table. Pre-flop aggression was rewarded as, in most cases, a three bet prior to any board action was enough to take down a hand. In one instance, however, it cost Radoja, who went to the river on a 10-K-10-10-2 board against Nicholas Fierrogottner. Mark called a river bet of 400K against Nicholas and was dismayed to see Fierrogottner display the case ten for quads and a large pot early on.
Radoja recovered from the early setback, however, and worked his way back to his starting chip stack by the end of the first level of play. Junglen used the elimination of Dan Smith in tenth place to take an early lead over Scott Baumstein and then extended that lead by ending the dreams of a double bracelet win at the 2011 WSOP of Getzwiller. It wouldn’t last long, however, as Junglen and Baumstein ended up knocking heads, with Baumstein doubling through Junglen to seize the advantage approximately three hours into play.
After his early troubles, Radoja stayed out of the fray until meeting up with Marchese. After a raise from Junglen and a three bet from Mark, Marchese moved his stack to the center. Junglen dropped from the action, but Mark made the call and tabled Big Slick, which dominated Marchese’s Big Chick (A-Q). A King on the flop added insult to injury and, once the turn and river ran dry, Radoja had eliminated Tom Marchese in eighth place and moved up around two million in chips.
Radoja maintained his spot in the middle of the pack when the dinner bell rang but made arguably the tournament winning move immediately following that break. In a three way pot with Terry and Junglen, Mark held pocket Kings that dominated the pocket tens of Junglen and the Q-9 of Terry. An innocuous board meant Mark’s Kings stood, catapulting him to the top of the leader board, chopping a huge portion of chips from Junglen and eliminating Terry in seventh place.
From that point on, Radoja seemed to get on the roll he needed to take home the title. Although he would once again run into quads from Fierrogottner and lose the chip lead, Mark exacted revenge on Fierrogottner when his A-K rivered an Ace against the pocket nines of Fierrogottner. Mark would then take on Junglen in the biggest hand of the tournament, with Mark’s pocket Queens dominating Adam’s pocket nines. Once no nine came on the board, Mark jumped to the chip lead once again on a seven million chip stack.
Mark finally eliminated his nemesis, Fierrogottner, in third place to enter heads up play against Jeffrey Gross with an 11-4 lead. Gross had basically one move to stop Radoja – all-in – but Mark patiently waited for the right time to end the festivities. On the final hand, Radoja used a K-10 against Gross’ A-J and fortuitously flopped a ten, then turned one to shut out Gross (although Gross had a draw at a straight if a King came on the river, it would have given Mark a boat).
As the final card fell, the rail erupted in celebration as Mark Radoja had captured Canada’s second bracelet of the 2011 WSOP. For the championship, Mark will bring back to Guelph a prized WSOP bracelet and the $436,568 first place prize money. Congratulations from CanadaPoker.com to Canada’a latest poker hero, Mark Radoja!
Event #25 – $1500 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo – Final (?) Day
It was expected to be an audacious task for the 23 players remaining to work down to a champion on Thursday and, because of the WSOP ten round rule, it proved to be impossible. Two men will return on Friday to determine the champion of this event, but one of them wasn’t very pleased about it.
Three ladies – Karina Jett, Kristy Gazes and Ming Reslock – were eliminated in the early going of what was supposed to have been the final day, leaving Cyndy Violette to carry the banner for the fairer sex against the men. Cyndy would have a tough go of it, however, eventually dropping out in sixteenth place.
Following Violette’s elimination, one of the confrontations expected by the railbirds materialized. ESPN announcer Norman Chad was assigned to the same table as WPT announcer Mike Sexton, leading Chad to comically state, “We finally meet.” “We aren’t exactly wielding big swords,” Sexton deadpanned back, noting that both their stacks were among the shorter ones left in the tournament.
Although Chad would be eliminated in twelfth place, Sexton would use his considerable Stud skills to work his way to the final table. Once there, Mike continued to work his way up the leader board, eventually working to a heads up battle against Chris Viox. As the duo worked into the early morning hours on Friday, the younger Viox chafed at the WSOP ten round rule, commenting to the TD, “That’s really ridiculous…What’s the rationale behind the rule?”
Although he may not have liked it, Viox and Sexton will return to battle on Friday, with Viox holding slightly more than two million chips against Sexton’s 640K. Whoever takes home the victory will earn the WSOP bracelet and the $200,459 first place bonanza.
Event #26 – $2500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em – Day 2
Several Canadians cashed out during Day 2 action in Event #26, but there will be none that will be in action on Friday as the champion is determined.
Taking the top honor of highest Canadian casher is Westmount’s Sean Grover, whose 45th place finish will mark the high water mark for Canadian players in this event. He was joined by Saint-Nicolas’ Gylbert Drolet, Kamloops’ Gordon Johnson, Niagara Falls’ Nenad Medic, Rosemere’s Pascal LeFrancois, Toronto’s Sorel Mizzi and Thunder Bay’s Franco Cupello in cashing in the tournament.
When the 22 survivors of Event #26 return on Friday, Anthony Ruberto and Chris Moorman sit above one million each in chips on the top of the leader board. At stake for these men will be the $689,739 first place bounty and the valued WSOP bracelet.
Event #27 – $10,000 Limit Hold’em World Championship – Day 2
Although Day 1 chip leader Daniel Negreanu failed to make the money in this World Championship event (Daniel suffered several bad beats to decimate his stack), Vancouver’s Daniel Idema will carry the Canadian flag to what looks to be the final day of this tournament on Friday.
Daniel is in second place behind Matthew Gallin with fourteen players remaining in the tournament. Other notables who will be vying for the title include Barry Greenstein, Nick Schulman and the short stacked Hoyt Corkins and Isaac Haxton. The winner of this event will be crowned the World Champion of Limit Hold’em and earn the WSOP bracelet and $378,642 prize money.
Event #28 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – Day 1
2500 players made their way to the Amazon Room to take part in this tournament, with 349 of them able to say they will be back today to continue the action. Making another impressive run at this year’s WSOP, Calgary’s George Jalkotzy is reported by WSOP statistics to be in sixth place in the tournament. Only last week, George barely missed a final table appearance in the $1500 Six Handed NLHE tournament, finishing in seventh place.
There is still a great deal of work left to do in this tournament on Day 2, as only 270 players will take home cash from the event. The plans are for the final table to be determined today, which will most likely not happen, and for the champion to be determined on Saturday. Up for grabs is the WSOP bracelet and a $599,153 payday for the victor.
Event #29 – $2500 Six Handed Ten Game Mixed Event – Day 1
A surprising total of 431 players stepped up to take on the challenges of the Ten Game Mixed Event, with 162 of those players coming back on Friday to continue the fray. Three Canadians are making their mark through the first day of action.
Coquitlam’s Ashkan Razavi is currently the highest ranked Canadian, sitting in fourteenth place, while Toronto’s Alexander Wice, who continues to have an impressive 2011 WSOP, is reported in nineteenth position. Following up her outstanding run at the EPT San Remo in April, Mississauga’s Xuan Liu is in the mix, currently holding down the 35th place slot.
It will definitely be a long day for those who come back on Friday. Scheduled as a three day event, making the final table before the WSOP curfew tonight will be a dream scenario for WSOP officials. We do know this tournament will eventually crown a champion, with that person earning their WSOP bracelet and a $254,955 payday.
STARTING TODAY: Event #30 – $1000 Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship and Event #31 – $3000 Pot Limit Omaha
One of the events that do not count towards the WSOP Player of the Year race, the $1000 Seniors’ Championship is still one of the most popular events during the tournament schedule. In 2010, a massive field of 3142 players attended this tournament, which is for players over 50. Expect the same for this year’s version of the tournament when it starts at noon, as Harold Angle attempts to repeat as its champion.
A new event, as far as buy in, for the 2011 WSOP, the $3000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament takes to the felt at 5PM. The closest comparison for this event would be a $2500 buy-in version from last year, where many Canadians will remember Quebec’s Miguel Proulx’ run to the championship over the 596-player field. A field of 450 runners wouldn’t be out of the question for this size of buy in.
Although the confetti may have been cleaned up from the celebration, Canada can still bask in the glow of its second bracelet winner of the 2011 WSOP, Mark Radoja. Congratulations once again to Mark for his championship, which will not be the last by a Canadian at the 2011 World Series of Poker!