Mike Sexton came painfully close to his second WSOP bracelet this afternoon in Las Vegas but Chris Viox had other ideas.
The two returned to the ESPN stage to battle it out heads-up in the $1,500 Stud Hi-Low event and we've got the story for you right here in picture form.
Look at the photos and read the captions underneath for a little context.
As Chris Viox unbags his chips, Miami John Cernuto (center) and ESPN Commentator Norman Chad wish him good luck. Cernuto finished 43rd in this event, while Chad finished 12th -- his second cash in this event in the last three years.
Meanwhile, Mike Sexton poses for photos with fans on the rail. Sexton is known for being one of poker's greatest ambassadors.
The gold WSOP bracelet waits for the eventual winner. Viox may not be well known, but this is his 14th WSOP cash, and his third WSOP final table. This was Sexton's 21st WSOP final table (with many more cashes), and he won a bracelet in this exact same event back in 1989. Could he win it again 22 years later?
Sexton could neatly fit all of his 640,000 in chips in two stacks, small enough to be concealed by his hands. Sexton waits patiently while Viox stacks his 2,090,000 in chips.
After a quick good-luck handshake, play begins.
The ESPN final table arena wasn't packed, but there was a much larger crowd today than there was last night at 3:00 am. Most of the stadium was rooting for Mike Sexton, though Chris Viox had the support of about a dozen friends on the rail.
On sixth street, Sexton checked his 6♠ J♠ 6♦ 9♠ (pair of sixes showing), and Viox bet his 5♠ 10♦ 7♥ 6♥. Sexton tanked for a long time before he folded, leaving himself with just 360,000 -- just three big bets.
Things were not going Sexton's way early. When Viox picked up a pair of tens and bet on fifth street (showing 4♥ 10♥ 10♠), Sexton tanked once again before he folded his (Q♠ 2♦ 5♥). Sexton was critically low on chips at this point.
Practically down to the felt, Mike Sexton got it all in on third street with the 7♥ showing to Chris Viox's 3♥. Sexton turned over a split pair of sevens, while Viox had A-8-3 rainbow. Viox improved to a pair of aces on fourth street, putting Sexton in a hole, but Sexton caught two pair (queens and sevens) on his last card to stay alive and double up.
With Sexton showing the 3♦ and Viox showing the 6♣, they reraised each other a few times until Sexton was all in, once again putting himself at risk. Sexton showed pocket eights in the hole, which put him ahead of Viox's split sixes.
On sixth street, Sexton still had the eights but no draws, while Viox picked up a diamond flush draw to go with his sixes. When the dealer dealt seventh street, Viox followed etiquette and showed first -- he caught the lowly 2♣ to give him two pair, sixes and deuces. Sexton would need to pair one of his cards to stay alive.
Sexton's last card was the J♣, which didn't help him, and Viox won the final hand with two pair. Viox was overwhelmed by the moment, dropping his head down for a few moments before standing up to receive a congratulatory handshake from Sexton.
Mike Sexton quietly discusses things with Thor Hansen (left), while Chris Viox celebrates in the background with his friends on the rail.
Chris Viox shows off his first bracelet in 14 WSOP cashes, along with a photo of his kids, as his friends chant "Three-one-four! Three-one-four! Three-one-four!" in the background. Viox's nickname is "PiMaster," and his friends were chanting the first three digits of pi (3.14159 … etc.) in his honor.
Chris Viox won $200,459 and his first WSOP bracelet.