The final two preliminary event bracelets were awarded on Friday at the 2011 World Series of Poker after both tournaments were suspended on Thursday night. While those events wrapped up, another pack of players came to the felt in the Rio for their shot at the $10,000 Championship Event.
Event #56 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – Conclusion
Three men came back to the final table on Friday to determine the champion of the massive Event #56. 3389 players began the tournament on Tuesday, but only three – Hasan Anter, Nemer Haddad and Andy Philachack – would have the opportunity to win the bracelet.
Anter came to the felt with more than half the chips in play and quickly bolstered his stack by chopping away a large portion on Philachack’s stack only a few hands into Friday’s action. Philachack could not overcome this early setback, falling at the hands of Haddad barely thirty minutes into play.
Anter held a 3:1 chip lead over Haddad at the start of heads up play, but Haddad would prove to be a formidable opponent. Haddad would grind his way back into the match and took a lead about a half hour into play, his pocket sixes holding up against Anter’s A-3. Anter, however, quickly took the lead back on the next hand and would never look back.
On the final hand, Anter made a raise to 500K only to see Haddad move all in over the top. Anter went into the tank and grudgingly made the call, turning up only an A-4, with the Ace of spades. He was ahead, however, as Haddad could only muster an A-2 for his tournament life. The board ran out Q-K-10-4-J, all spades, and Haddad played the board. With his Ace of spades, however, Anter had made a royal flush to not only win the hand but also to take down the tournament.
It is believed that this is the first time in WSOP history that a royal flush won one of the events. For his four days of work, Hasan Anter takes home the WSOP bracelet and the first place prize of $777,928.
Event #57 – $5000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo – Conclusion
The two men who came back on Friday – popular pro Nick Binger and former $50K Poker Players Champion David Bach – had some unfinished business to take care of. Binger and Bach would decide who would win the final preliminary bracelet of the 2011 WSOP and they wasted little time in getting to work.
Binger started play with slightly less than a 2:1 lead, but Bach would take the lead only thirty minutes into the action. Befitting the nature of a split pot game, the duo would joust back and forth for a few hands before Binger retook the lead. It turned out to be enough of a lead to take home the championship.
On the final hand of the tournament, Bach raised on the button only to have Binger pot him for 900K. Bach responded with his own pot bet, putting him all in, and Binger made the call. Bach held an excellent hand for PLO Hi/Lo, A-K-K-4 (two hearts), while Binger pinned his hopes for the championship on A-5-3-3 (double suited, diamonds and clubs).
Looking for the board to come with something that matched him, Binger saw the flop come 7-5-2 (two clubs) to give him the best low but not the high, as Bach’s pocket Kings were still best. A nine of clubs on the turn changed that, however, as Binger now had an unbeatable Ace high club flush and was looking to scoop the pot and the tournament. Only the two threes remaining in the deck could save Bach (making him the Wheel for the low half of the pot) but, once the five of clubs peeled on the river, Nick Binger was the champion of Event #57.
Binger will take home the final preliminary bracelet of the 2011 WSOP and, perhaps just as important, a bankroll boost of $397,073 for his winning effort.
Event #58 – $10,000 Championship Event – Day 1B
There is a little consternation regarding the numbers that are coming out of the first two Day Ones of the 2011 WSOP Championship Event. Day 1A pulled in 897 and while it was expected that Day 1B would be bigger, it was only marginally larger. 978 players stepped to the tables on Friday for the action, bringing the two day total to 1875 and leaving some wondering how the next two days will play out.
It is common knowledge that the last two days of the current four Day One setup usually prove to be the more popular starting day. Professionals can get a look at the field and know what they are up against, while the amateurs who couldn’t get away from their jobs on Thursday or Friday are now out in full force. Still, it will take roughly 1600 players each for Days 1C and 1D to crack the 5000 mark for the Championship Event.
Several Canadian pros were in action for Day 1B, including Mike “SirWatts” Watson, Mike “Timex” McDonald and Guillaume Rivet, who all survived the day to come back on Tuesday next week. Guillaume would have a decent day, finishing up Friday’s action with 80,000 in chips, and “Timex” was ticking right behind him with 76,000 in chips. “SirWatts,” however, went the opposite direction, finishing up the Day 1B play with only 19,500 remaining from his original 30K stack. Still, all three players will be back for play on Tuesday.
Leading the way for the Day 1B players is 2011 bracelet winner Ben Lamb, who finished off the day with 188,925 in chips. Also among the Day 1B leaders are popular online pro Kevin Saul (130,650) and former World Champion Carlos Mortensen (105,025). By the time Friday’s play ended, 626 players had survived, with 2010 November Niner Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Nicholas Levi, Justin “BoostedJ” Smith and Noah Schwartz among those who can make tee time reservations on one of Las Vegas’ multiple golf courses.
What will the weekend bring for the 2011 WSOP Championship Event? Will the crowds that have been flooding the preliminary events come out for the weekend action in poker’s premiere event, or will the numbers continue to be flat and the final field a fraction of what it has been in past years? Those questions will be answered by Monday morning, but the 2011 WSOP Championship Event has a long way to go before the final battles are fought.