The $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em final table played out turbo-sit-and-go style this evening in front of the Milwaukee's Best Light No-Limit Lounge.
Duncan "Pumper" Bell, a 32-year-old professional poker player from Vancouver, Canada, claimed the bracelet at the end of the shortest final table of this year's WSOP. His triumph was only his second career cash, his first having come in the 2005 Main Event.
"Every poker player's dream is to win a bracelet," Bell said afterward. "Some people have 11 of them. I'll be happy with just one."
Also playing down to a winner today was the $10,000 World Championship Seven-Card Stud event. Eventual winner Eric Brooks outlasted a strong final table that included Full Tilt Poker pro Erik Seidel, Minh Ly, David Oppenheim and 2008 Aussie Millions champ Alexander Kostritsyn.
It was the Russian Kostritsyn who took charge as players fell by the wayside, employing a highly aggressive style to pick up pots and put his opponents on the defensive. One big pot made all the difference in his finish, though, when his trip nines fell to Brooks' kings full of queens.
That swing gave Brooks, who had never before cashed at the WSOP, the momentum he needed. He took out Kostritsyn a bit later, and then outlasted Fu Wong to claim the bracelet. In a move even more stunning than his win over a tough field, Brooks announced he would be donating his entire first-place cash prize to the Decision Education Foundation.
Two events were set to restart and play down to final tables today: Event 13, the $1,000 World Championship Ladies No-Limit Hold'em event, and Event 16, the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight-or-Better.
The Ladies Event managed to play down to the final nine as planned without much of a problem. Among the better-known players who cashed leading up to the final table were Linda Johnson (23rd), Evelyn Ng (48th), Kathy Liebert (47th), and Olga Varkonyi (37th).
When the tournament was down to two tables there was a large crowd gathered around to see who would make it down to the final nine.
Svetlana Gromenkova had bludgeoned the rest of the field most of the day and she will enter tomorrow with the chip lead, but Christine Priday snuck up to within $105,000 by the end of play.
Event 16, the Omaha Hi-Lo event, was scheduled to play down to the final nine tonight, but the tournament staff made an executive decision to end play at 3 a.m - much to the chagrin of players like former O8 bracelet winner Scott Clements, who prefer to play through and use their opponents' fatigue to get an edge.
Clements, Ted Forrest, Ralph Perry, Pat Poels, and Jimmy Fricke are among the 18 players who will come back to fight it out for the bracelet tomorrow.
Event 17, the two-day $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Shootout, began with a field of 1,000 players on 100 tables, each one playing down to a winner before the second round began. Unfortunately for the tournament staff, a few of the tables had very long heads-up matches that pushed the start of Round Two back to after 9:00 p.m. That delay pushed the tournament into the wee hours of the morning, and at publishing time there were still multiple tables in play.
The other event of the day was one of the most prestigious tournaments on the schedule this year: Event 18, the $5,000 No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw with Rebuys. Only 85 players turned up, but they were among the most skilled and successful poker players in the world. After eight levels only 39 players remained, including Phil Ivey, who reportedly is into the event for $60,000.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for more 2008 WSOP coverage here at PokerListings.com.