The 2012 World Series of Poker has reached full swing as it enters its second week with the wrap-up of a tournament that had to be extended one day. While that bracelet was being awarded, three Canadians are making a deep run in an event that will have the biggest first place prize yet in the barely-week old schedule.
Event #6 – $5000 “Mixed Max” No Limit Hold’em – Final Day
Instead of finishing off the tournament on Sunday as scheduled, Joseph Cheong and Aubin Cazals decided to come back on Monday for play. The reason: Cazals record-breaking heads up match against Warwick Mirzikinian took so long that Cheong decided to jump into the $1500 NLHE Re-Entry tournament. After a great deal of discussion Sunday night, the twosome decided to come back on Monday to complete the tournament.
Even that rescheduled final table heads up battle had a difficult time getting started. Originally scheduled to take place at the ungodly hour – for poker players, at least – of 9AM (Pacific Time) because of Cheong’s play in the other tournament, it was moved to noon after Cheong busted out of that event. Once play began, it looked as if there would be another marathon in the making.
Neither player was able to eke out much of a lead through the first three hours of the tournament. Comfortable with jabbing at each other, neither Cheong nor Cazals ever pulled out to more than a million chip lead at any point. When the end came, however, it came in stunning fashion.
After opening up the betting, Cheong saw Cazals three bet the action to 130K. Undaunted, Cheong pushed back with a four bet to 350K and Cazals answered back by making the first five bet of the bout to 730K. Cheong suddenly made his move, pushing his remaining chips to the center (the stacks were almost even at the start of the hand) and Cazals made the call.
Cheong had to be disappointed with what he was shown when the cards were tabled. His pocket fours were crushed by Cazals’ pocket Kings and, with a King on the flop, the hand was virtually over. Once the board paired on the turn, Cheong was drawing dead and Aubin Cazals had captured one of the more bizarre bracelets of the 2012 WSOP.
1. Aubin Cazals (Vallesvilles, France), $480,564
2. Joseph Cheong (La Miranda, CA), $296,956
3. Warwick Marikina (Mosman New South, Australia), $162,443
Hugo Lemaire (Sceaux, France)
5. Marvin Rettenmaier (Leonberg, Germany), $68,151
Fabrizio Baldassari (Principality of Monaco)
Randy Haddox (Kingwood, TX)
Adam Geyer (Austin, TX)
The only Canadian player to cash in the tournament was Gavin Smith, who was eliminated back on Saturday in 38th place for a $10,984 cash.
Event #9 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em Re-Entry – Day Two
The field for the massive (3404 entry) $1500 Re-Entry tournament came back on Monday for the first full day of action with the combined Day One fields. 514 players stepped back into the breach to push towards the 342 players that would cash with Giorgio Medici atop the field with his 106,500 chip stack. Before the day started, however, there was some controversy, the first official flub at the WSOP this year.
As Day 1B played out on Sunday, some of the players attempted to rebuy back in again. 81 players made the questionable move and three of them, including professional Will “The Thrill” Failla, were able to do so. WSOP officials were quick to act on this delicate matter, removing two of them from the tournament (including Failla), but the third player had busted again before he could be removed.
Caesars Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky blamed the mistake on new entry software being used during the WSOP that allowed the three players back into the event. To correct the situation, any player who can prove they were busted by one of the three men would receive a refund of their buy in, Palansky stated (The two caught in action had their chips removed and were refunded, the eliminated player’s chips and money stayed in the prize pool). For his part, Failla was on the mea culpa bandwagon, writing to his followers on Twitter, “I want to apologize to the poker community. I thought (you) could re-buy in the first four levels in today’s event. I was extremely embarrassed.”
Anyway, there was some poker to be played on Monday and the survivors continued to slug it out. It only took slightly more than three hours to pop the money bubble, guaranteeing a $2895 payday to the remaining 342 players. Earning that minimum cash was Saint-Laurent’s Michael Gabriel (336th place), while Vancouver’s Terrence Chan, Moose Jaw’s David Arnold, Calgary’s Christopher Sweetland, Edmonton’s Loc Tu took the next step up the ladder ($3216).
Markham’s Ricky Tang earned a $3584 payday, while Hamilton’s Ryan Hall (147th, $4043), Edmonton’s Vincent Lam (131st, $4595), Regina’s Bret Schneider (121st, $4595), Lethbridge’s Jason Pecht (95th, $5284), Winnipeg’s Clayton Mozdzen (61st, $10,201) and Christopher Dinson (57th, $10,201) rounded out the cashers from Monday’s play.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Canada’s sons to cheer for yet in this event and some are poised for a drive at Wednesday’s final table. Jonathan Duhamel (5th, 840K), Greg Mueller (9th, 615K), Ashkan Razavi (10th, 614K), Domenico Scalamogna (14th, 452K) and Daniel Idema (28th, 199K) are among the 33 survivors. They are looking way up, however, at the dominant player from Day Two, Brian Rast, and his 1.498 million in chips.
Event #10 – $5000 Seven Card Stud – Day Two
91 players came back on Monday, looking to work their way down to the sixteen players who would take home some money from the biggest Stud event on the WSOP calendar. Mike Leah came into the fight in the Top Ten at the start of the day, but he could never gain any traction in the difficult field. Leah would fall at the hands of Cyndy Violette after about five hours of play when his Queens up were run down by Violette’s Seventh Street Kings up to knock out the 2004 bracelet winner.
In fact, there will be no Canadians who will be among the money earners in the Stud event, but there are a host of big names with visions of the WSOP bracelet in their minds. Nick Schulman, Mike Sexton, Perry Friedman, Max Pescatori, Eugene Katchalov and Violette are all in contention, looking up at chip leader and former WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Lisandro. The champion will be determined today, with the eventual winner walking off with the WSOP bracelet and $190,826 in cash.
Event #11 – $1500 Pot Limit Omaha – Day One
The players packed into the Amazon Room for the first day of the $1500 Pot Limit Omaha event, continuing the success of non-No Limit Hold’em tournaments in the early WSOP schedule. 970 runners came to the line and, by the end of their night’s labor, they had worked their way down to the 117 players who would cash in the tournament for the minimum $2488.
Charles Tonne will lead the pack as they head into Day Two play this afternoon, holding 191,700 in chips for ammunition. In the Top Ten is Aurora’s James Morgan, who will be sitting on 90,200 (good for a seventh place tie), and Lachine’s Martin Leclerc is in the Top Twenty. Other Canadians to watch in this event are Caledon’s Scott Greenhill, Sorel Mizzi, Edmundston’s Marco Lang, Ottawa’s Sean Patrick, Ontario’s Brian Garbe, Langley’s Jeffrey Brown, Victoria’s Calen McNeil, Terrence Chan, Calgary’s Ryan Stauffer and Kamloops’ Aaron Duczak.
Event #12 – $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em World Championship and Event #13 – $1500 Limit Hold’em – STARTING TODAY
Two tournaments will join the masses in the Rio on Tuesday. The $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em World Championship will be the first to start at noon, with the field capped at 512 players. Last year’s version of this tournament was a $25,000 buy in, drawing out a field of 128 players and capping poker’s “Triple Crown” for eventual champion Jake Cody. Matt Marafioti made a run at this title by making it to the quarterfinals in 2011; expect him to take another stab at it today.
At 5PM this afternoon, the $1500 Limit Hold’em event will take to the felt. The tournament drew in 675 players for last year’s festivities and was won by Harrison Wilder, who defeated Thomas Jamieson in heads up play. The Limit game draws out some excellent players well versed in the nuances of the game; look for Daniel Negreanu and Xuan Liu (who cut their teeth on this discipline of poker) to put their money down on this tournament.