Thursday, June 4, 2009

WSOP Day 8 - Three Times the Charms

Day 8 produced three champions, Event #4 – Steve Sung, Event #5 – Jason Mercier, and Event #6 – Freddie Ellis. I couldn’t be more proud of Steve for this take down, and the way that he played, this may be the first of a couple pieces of jewelry that he’ll have to add to his collection.

In Event #4, Steve Sung would just flat out dominate the final table. It seemed that whenever there was a large pot brewing, Steve was right in the middle of it. He came here to play, and to win, and that’s exactly what he did. It started out rough for Sung, who began the day 2nd in chips, only to see the first few hours give him a terrible run. He was spewing chips around the table, and saw himself fall to under $1 million chips. He needed a re-bound, and re-bound he did. With a strong push over about 1 hour, Steve chipped up to our chip leader, eliminating 3 players en route to getting there. By the time 4 handed poker began, Steve was holding onto roughly 60% of the chips in play, and he’d never look back. In the Final hand, Steve held pocket K’s for the long awaited 1st bracelet of his career. I predict that it will be one of a few that he’ll have by the time his career is done. A special Pablosplace congratulations to Steve, who is a Pablosplace follower.

Here is how the final table played down, and the money won:

1st – Steve Sung, Champion ($771,338)
2nd – Pete Vilandos ($473,282)
3rd – James Matz III ($313,826)
4th – Larry Sidebotham ($227,253)
5th – Nathaniel Mullen ($175,851)
6th – Dan Heimiller ($145,009)
7th – Jeffrey Oakes ($126,612)
8th – Phong Huynh ($117,414)
9th – Daniel Fuhs ($114,167)

In Event #5, it was the Jason Mercier show. Day 1 of this event saw Mercier storm to a giant chip lead, and Jason would have to slow down some in day 2. But his giant stack was really able to carry him the entire way to the final table, where when we’d reach the last 9 players, Jason was 4th in Chips. But his experience really shined through as, eventual short stacks panicked and threw their chips around, Jason calmly side stepped the land mines, and took advantage of the good opportunities. When heads up play began, the stacks were relatively close between he and eventual runner up Steven Burkholder. But about 30 minutes in, Jason asserted himself, and took over the match completely. This was also Jason’s first bracelet, and his 5th overall cash in his WSOP career. But I love when one of the good guys of poker takes down a prize like this.

Here is how the final table finished out:

1st – Jason Mercier, Champion ($237,462)
2nd – Steven Burkholder ($146,748)
3rd – Kevin Iacofano ($96,128)
4th – Matt Giannetti ($66,544)
5th – Chris Biondino ($48,533)
6th – Jonathan Tare ($37,192)
7th – Dario Alioto ($29,881)
8th – An Tran ($25,122)
9th – Vic Park ($22,052)

Congratulations again to Jason Mercier.

In event #6, a World Champion was crowned. The $10,000 buy in events are really the pinnacle events of their related game, and the 7-Card Stud championship is a bracelet that any poker player would covet. This one would end up being shipped to the affable Freddie Ellis, who really controlled the rail, the media, and everyone else at the Rio, as he was able to use his jolly demeanor and overall pleasant attitude to win over the casino. Then he would use his cards to win the table that he was sitting at. It was a well played event by Freddie, who got the exact cards that he needed at exactly the right times that he needed them to take down this prize, his first bracelet as well. Here’s how the final 8 players finished:

1st – Freddie Ellis, Champion ($373,751)
2nd – Eric Drache ($231,013)
3rd – Ville Wahlbeck ($152,914)
4th – Max Pescatori ($107,958)
5th – Hasan Habib ($80,968)
6th – Ivan Schertzer ($64,297)
7th – Greg Mueller ($53,885)
8th – Tim Phan ($47,532)

Congratulations to the man who has the best last name in all of poker, Freddie Ellis (not that I’m biased).

The plan for Event #7 and Event #8 were to play down to the final table. And with 9:51 remaining on the clock in level 15, Event #8 was able to achieve that when Layne Flack busted in 8th place. Event #7 however, had different ideas.

In what began as a mass genocide, Event #7 started this day with a field of 337 remaining players, half of which would be gone by the dinner break. But players must have come back sleepy from the food, as play slowed to an absolute crawl. When play stopped at 3AM, 33 players removed themselves from their chairs, bagged their chips, and returned to their beds for some much needed rest. Play will resume again today at 1pm. Leading the pack at the moment with the largest stacks would be Steven Karp (990k), Jacob Kalb (950k), and Craig McConville (900k). But really, all of my hopefuls have fallen, including my main hopeful Lee Childs, who fell victim to the 2 outer. A pre-flop all in with QQ (or Fleapowder as it is more commonly known) was called by a player with JJ. The turn would deliver the dagger J, and Lee would leave much earlier than hoped for. I still think that there are a couple of final tables for Acumen53, and that this is only the first of many cashes for Childs.

In Event #8, the Deuce to Seven Lo-Ball tournament reached their final table. When play resumes today, here’s how the players will be stacked:

1 – John Monnette (259,000)
2 – Raphael Zimmerman (238,000)
3 – Yan Chen (159,000)
4 – Elia Ahmadian (136,900)
5 – Eric Kesselman (119,400)
6 – Phil Ivey (106,300)
7 – Rodeen Talebi (94,500)

The favorite to win this event has got to be Ivey, who despite being 6th in chips, is never out of a tournament until he has zero. Phil is also responsible of the best quote of the day, as he showed up casually late to the tournament, sat down and glanced at his cards awkwardly, and said “What game is this?” The players all laughed it up as the dealer informed him. He then commented “Where did all my chips go?” and the dealer had to explain about the add-on’s. Ivey replied “Oh, I want to re-buy.” And the dealer informed him that he’d have to wait till the hand was over. So Ivey raised that hand, and took the pot. Classic.

The other two events that got underway yesterday were Event #9 (the No-Limit Hold’em 6 Max tourney) and Event #10 (the Pot Limit Omaha Tourney). After ten levels of play, Event #9 came to an end with nearly 1,300 players failing to make it to day 2. Play was not surprisingly frantic as the stakes continue to grow as the pay scales move up faster and faster. 105 players will get underway today, as the intent is to play this event down to a final table. I don’t see that being much of an issue. The top 5 chip counts at the end of the day belonged to Doug Lee (200k), David Fox (175k), David Squires (170k), Ken Aldridge (135k), and Jeremiah Smith (131k).

And in Event #10, 104 players remain from the starting field of 453. They were only allowing players behind the ropes as the players bagged their chips, so I don’t really have any counts to report. But players that are still alive in this event include the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Alex Kravchenko, Hevad Khan, and Adam Levy (who survived the day with just 4,500 chips). I’ll be able to get more information on who’s left later today.

That’s a wrap from day 8. Today’s events under way will include the Final table of event #8, and the likely play down to the final table of Event #7, #9, and #10. In addition to those 4 events, 2 more get under way. Event #11 is the $2,000 buy in No Limit Hold’em event, a 3 day monster that should see several Top Name pro’s. And Event #12, the World Championship $10,000 Mixed Event, which should really bring out some huge names. It will be an entertaining day yet again at the Rio.

Congratulations again to the champions, and see you again tomorrow. Cheers

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