Today At The 2011 WSOP, Day 24: Mike McDonald Makes Final Table Of PLO Event, Shawn Buchanan Deep In H.O.R.S.E. Action

Mike “Timex” McDonald 2011 WSOP

As the 2011 World Series of Poker enters into its fourth week of play, Canada has had several success stories in winning four bracelets. With twenty events left to play, however, there are many more opportunities for players from North of the Border to have a significant impact on the remainder of the schedule.

Event #35 – $2500 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha – Final Day

Of the fifteen men who started play on Wednesday, Waterloo’s Mike “Timex” McDonald and Toronto’s Peter Jetten were among those in the hunt for the title. Jetten would go down early in the action, however, a victim of a double knockout at the hands of Jason Mercier. With the United Kingdom’s David “Devilfish” Ulliott in the hand with them, Peter got his chips to the center with A-A-9-5 on a 2-J-8 board. First Mercier (Q-9-10-6, double suited) made the call, then the “Devilfish” (J-J-7-7) put his remaining chips at stake. Befitting the nature of one of the most dramatic games in poker, Mercier ran down Ulliott when a Queen came on the turn, with Peter never having much of a chance to win the pot. After the river blanked, Mercier catapulted to the top of the leader board and left Ulliott (13th) and Peter (14th) headed for the rail.

“Timex” kept on ticking through the action of Wednesday, however. Mike would work his way to the six-handed final table, albeit on the short stack, but could not muster a drive at the title. McDonald (Q-10-9-8) would get his chips in pre-flop against David Chiu (A-A-9-8) early during the final table and couldn’t have been happy to see the flop come up a 6-6-5 blank. Another six on the turn left Mike drawing dead and he left the Amazon Room with the sixth place slot and a $73,965 payday.

Although he would lose the lead to Steve Merrifield after “Timex’s” elimination, Mercier used the chips from his double knockout to slowly work back into contention. He hit quad tens in a key hand against Merrifield to retake the lead, only to see Hans Winzeler eliminate Merrifield to move into the top slot as heads up play began.

Over the span of almost the next two hours, Mercier and Winzeler would swap the lead back and forth, with neither man able to pull out to a dominating position. The final hand would be dramatic when, on a 9-4-3-10 flop and turn, Winzeler (A-K-K-J) held the lead with a pair and straight draw over Mercier’s (Q-6-5-3) straight draw. The lightning came on the river, when a seven struck one of Mercier’s sixteen outs and gave Mercier a hard fought victory over Winzeler.

This is the second WSOP bracelet for Jason Mercier, who has added another prestigious title to his ever growing poker resume. The victory Wednesday night adds $619,575 to Mercier’s bank account, but the bracelet could be more important as it makes Jason a multiple WSOP bracelet winner.

308 players came back on Wednesday for their shot at the Event #36 bracelet and, by the end of play, only 39 runners would remain standing. Unfortunately, none of those players are Canadian, but there were several that cashed in the tournament.

Topping the list of Canadian cashers in the tournament was Hamilton’s William Hamilton, who ended his tournament stay in 53rd place. Joining William in the Canadian cashing squad were Montreal’s Belley Philippe (54th), Guelph’s Gavin Smith (65th), Silverbridge’s Peter Murphy (68th), Mississauga’s Aadam Daya (69th), Mississauga’s Jason James (82nd), Toronto’s Matt Marafioti (96th), Abbotsford’s Steven Goosen (100th) and Vancouver’s Terrence Chan (105th).

Thomas Miller ended Day 2 as the chip leader with 1.35 million in chips. He is the only player who has eclipsed the one million mark and holds over a 2-1 advantage over his second place opponent, Randy Dorfman (566K). Eddy Sabat, Dwyte Pilgrim, Nam Le, Tom Marchese, Lars Bonding and David “The Dragon” Pham are the top professionals that will be in pursuit of the title, which may or may not be determined this evening. At stake for the 39 men remaining is the WSOP bracelet and a $749,610 bankroll boost.

Event #37 – $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship – Day 2

After two days of play in the H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, 23 men remain from the original 240 player starting field. Making another deep run in a WSOP event, Abbotsford’s Shawn Buchanan is currently among the leaders in holding 479,000 chips, good for sixth place on the leader board.

Michael Binger and Fabrice Soulier are sitting 1-2 when play begins on Thursday, with each player holding 743K and 560K in chips, respectively. As expected with the World Championship events, there are a plethora of top flight pros remaining in the field, including Ram Vaswani, Frankie O’Dell, Chau Giang and Max Pescatori. Among the bottom stacks, Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Robert Williamson III have a good deal of work if they are going to earn something above a min-cash.

It is possible that this championship could be determined this evening, with the eventual winner taking home the World Championship of H.O.R.S.E., the WSOP bracelet and a $609,130 cash payout.

Event #38 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – Day 1

2192 players came out for the first day of play in this particular $1500 NLHE tournament, with 320 coming back on Thursday to continue the fray. Two Canadians are currently sitting in the Top 30 and, during this WSOP, they have become familiar names to many people.

Montreal’s Gabriel Alarie currently is listed on the official WSOP leader board as second in chips, with his 122,800 stack only bested by the United Kingdom’s Jonathan Spinks’ 133,600 stack. On down the board, Lorraine’s Guillaume Rivet is healthy with a 66,400 in chips, good for 28th place. 28 other Canadians, most notably the defending World Champion Jonathan Duhamel, are arranged over the remaining players.

Plans for Thursday are to burst the money bubble (only 216 players will take home cash) and get the field to a workable level to determine a champion on Friday. The players are vying for a nice memento, the WSOP bracelet, and perhaps more importantly the $540,136 in first place prize money.

Event #39 – $2500 Pot Limit Hold’em/Omaha – Day 1

A stunning 606 players emerged from the crowd at the Rio to contend for the championship of Event #39. This vastly outpaced the numbers for the tournament in 2010, when “only” 482 runners came to the line. By the end of action on Wednesday, 130 of those players remained, with two Canadians in the Top Ten in chips.

Coquitlam’s Ashkan Razavi currently is in the third place slot on the WSOP leader board, holding an 115,000 chip stack. He is joined in the Top Ten by Westmount’s Sean Grover, who is currently sitting with 72,000 in chips. They are looking to move ahead of 2004 WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams, who will start Day 2 with 137,700 in chips.

Plans for Thursday in this tournament are to work down to the 63 players who will cash in the tournament (likely) and potentially determine a final table for play on Friday (unlikely). The eventual champion of this unique event, which rotates rounds of Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em, will take home the WSOP bracelet and a $310,225 payday.

STARTING TODAY:  Event #40 – $5000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em

Day 1 play in Event #40 kicks off at noon today, with three days of play expected to whittle the field down to its champion. The WSOP has exceeded expectations over the course of the schedule, with field sizes either meeting or passing the numbers from 2010. In last year’s version of this tournament, Jeffrey Papola denied Men “The Master” Nguyen his eighth career WSOP bracelet (and second of the 2010 WSOP) by defeating him during heads up play for the $667,433 first place money. The 568 players from the 2010 event will, at the minimum, be met for the 2011 version of this tournament.

After the start of Event #40 today, there are only eighteen tournaments left on the 2011 World Series of Poker schedule. There are still several big tournaments, including two World Championship events and the Poker Players Championship, left to run before the $10,000 Championship Event takes center stage on July 7th. Between now and then, there is plenty of time for Canadian players to continue to take down WSOP bracelets!



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