Today At The 2011 WSOP, Day 22: Canadians Dominate Event #32 As Kirk Caldwell Wins Canada’s Fourth Bracelet

Kirk Caldwell

After winning two bracelets prior to the weekend, Canadian players came out on Monday in full force for the final table of Event #32, the $1500 No Limit Hold’em event, with Orangeville’s Kirk Caldwell emerging from the fray as the fourth Canadian bracelet winner of the 2011 WSOP.

Event #32 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – Final Day

35 players returned on Monday to determine the champion of Event #32, with several Canadian players sitting in position to make an impact. Six men – Vancouver’s Michael Whitfield, Saint Jean’s Marc McLaughlin, Orangeville’s Kirk Caldwell,Edmunston’s Marco Lang, Montreal’s Gabriel Morin and Grand Prairie’s Kyle Bonazzo – represented Canada when play began on Monday, making for a strong likelihood that at least one of the men would reach final table play.

Lang would be the first to depart when he ran Big Slick into Ben White’s pocket Aces. Once the board presented no surprises, Marco departed the tournament in 29th place. Soon after Marco’s elimination, Kyle Bonazzo met the same fate. Pushing for his tournament life with an A-9, Kyle was surprised to see a call from Randy Haddox, who tabled a dominating A-J. The board came with an Ace and two Kings, but Haddox’s Jack played and Kyle was eliminated in 24th place.

Marc McLaughlin

_The four remaining Canadians decided they wanted to spend more time at the Rio as they battled their way to the final table. They didn’t take it easy on each other, either; down to ten handed play, McLaughlin and Whitfield battled it out for the right to move on to the official WSOP final table. After an innocuous 3-K-2 (two heart) flop, the duo saw their chips go to the center, with McLaughlin’s A-J of hearts battling Whitfield’s pocket nines and McLaughlin’s tournament life on the line. A third heart appeared on the turn, giving the hand to Marc and sending Michael spiraling to the bottom of the leader board. Soon after losing this race, Michael Whitfield would be the final table bubble boy, finishing in tenth place.

Locking up three of the nine seats at the final table, there was an excellent chance that a Canadian would take this latest WSOP bracelet. Caldwell and McLaughlin were sitting 2-3 in the chip counts, while Morin was back in seventh place. From the start of final table action, however, it was obvious the Canadians were going to have a good night.

Morin doubled up to move to the top of the leader board, while McLaughlin administered a double knockout to Alan Stevens and Kyle Cartwright when Marc (A-Q) rivered a Queen against Stevens’ pocket tens and Cartwright’s pocket Jacks. The hand catapulted McLaughlin into the chip lead with well over 3.5 million in chips.

McLaughlin was caught for the chip lead by Caldwell (pocket Queens), who fortuitously flopped a Queen against Randy Haddox’s pocket Kings, eliminating Haddox in sixth place. As play reached four-handed, Caldwell, McLaughlin and Morin sat 1-2-3, while Ben White looked to stave off the Canadian rush.

The Canadians took turns beating up on each other before heads up play was determined. McLaughlin eliminated Morin in fourth place, and then Caldwell knocked off McLaughlin in third. Meanwhile, White was looking for a place to get in the game but, down nearly 3-1 in chips against Caldwell heads up, could never get anything going. On the final hand, White committed the remainder of his chips to the center pre-flop with A-Q, only to see he was off to the races against Caldwell’s pocket eights. No Ace or Queen came on the flop or turn and an “insult to injury” eight came on the river, sewing up the tournament for Kirk Caldwell!

The impressive 1-3-4 finish by Caldwell, McLaughlin and Morin caps off what was an excellent display of poker from the gentlemen North of the Border. For his efforts, Caldwell earned his WSOP bracelet and $668,292 in first place prize money, but congratulations must be handed out not only for Kirk, but also for Marc and Gabriel’s deep finish from Canada Poker and its readers!

Event #33 – $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo World Championship – Final Day

Eighteen players came back on Monday to determine the World Champion of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, but only sixteen of those players would be able to take away cash from the tournament. Once Jon “PearlJammer” Turner and Justin “BoostedJ” Smith were eliminated, the survivors were at least assured of a $27,888 payday. (No Canadians earned cash in this event.)

Eric Rodawig came to the start of the day’s action with the chip lead and never looked back, even though he had to face some of the biggest names in the game to earn the championship. Facing such players as Ted Forrest, Joe Tehan and David Benyamine, Rodawig was undaunted, even when getting to heads up play against a twelfth-bracelet hunting Phil Hellmuth. Rodawig was adequately stacked for the challenge of facing the “Poker Brat” and defeated him in heads up play to take home the World Championship, the WSOP bracelet and a $442,183 payday.

Event #34 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Day 2

When play begins on Tuesday, the 27 players who survived the massive 3144 runner field will be in contention for the championship. Two Canadians will be looking to bring home Canada’s fifth bracelet, with North Vancouver’s Jonas Mackoff (12th place, 363,000 in chips) and Surrey’s Glen Bertelson (26th, 122K) having some work to do to catch chip leader Michael Souza’s 650,000 chip stack.

To this point, the highest Canadian cash has been taken by Montreal’s Adam Cader, who finished in 34th place. Montreal’s Christopher McClung, who began Day 2 second in chips, would eventually be dismissed from the tournament in 49th place for his second WSOP cash.

The plan for Tuesday is for the 27 remaining players to play to the championship, with the WSOP bracelet and $488,283 going to the victor.

Event #35 – $5000 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha – Day 1

507 players came to the line for Day 1 action in this tournament, with only 110 making it to the end of the day. The early action has been notable for the play of Waterloo’s Mike “Timex” McDonald, who is making his first foray into the WSOP (in Las Vegas, at least). Mike would end Day 1 in an impressive fifth place, holding 181,000 in chips. Two sons of Toronto, Peter Jetten (11th place) and Mike “SirWatts” Watson (33rd place), will also be battling for their share of the $2.38 million prize pool.

Only 48 of the 110 players who come back today will earn money for their efforts. After the money bubble bursts today, it is expected that the players will work down to the final table, which is scheduled for play tomorrow. On the line for those in action today is the WSOP bracelet and a $619,575 payout.

STARTING TODAY – Event #36 – $2500 No Limit Hold’em and Event #37 – $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship

After two days where only one tournament started each day, Tuesday will mark a return to the normal WSOP schedule of starting two events during the afternoon.

Event #36, another $2500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, will be starting at noon today. Although there hasn’t been another full table NLHE tournament of this buy in at the 2011 WSOP, it is extremely likely that the field will at least meet the 1378 players that last week’s Six Handed tournament drew.

Another World Championship is up for grabs at 5PM this afternoon, as the world’s best mixed game players will be taking their shot at the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship. 241 players showed up in 2010 for this tournament, with Ian Gordon taking down Richard Ashby for the title. The numbers for this event could fall anywhere in the neighborhood of 200-250 players.

It was an outstanding Monday for Canadian poker, with the performance of all the gentlemen in the $1500 NLHE tournament, and it moves Canada into the second slot behind the United States on the bracelet count leader board. It may be impossible to catch the U. S., but it could be possible for Canada to eclipse last year’s bracelet performance at the WSOP!



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