The final day of the WSOPC Atlantic City began with Dan Hicks and Eric Haber jostling for the chip lead and Soheil Shamseddin breathing down their necks.
Although Nick Binger, brother to 2006 Michael Binger, entered play with $546,000 - only good enough for sixth place in the chip counts - he played a fearless game that saw him on the aggressive early.
The constant betting from Binger seemed to entice a great deal of action from the entire table and bets started coming quickly.
The first casualty would be Marc Morris who shoved with A♥ 5♦ and got called by Sumeet Batra with 9♦ 9♥. The pair of nines was good and Morris was shown the way to the door. Still, Morris had to be happy with his $26,946 payday, considering he was on the brink of elimination several times on Day 2.
Haber got to Hicks early and won a huge pot against the chip leader while holding J♣ J♠. Haber won the pot and took over first place in the chip counts with approximately $1.5 million.
Steve Merrified was unceremoniously busted in eighth place when his K♥ 2♦ failed against Sumeet Batra's 8♥ 8♠. Merrifield must have been somewhat merry to receive $40,419 for coming in eighth, however.
Rochester, N.Y., native Scott Blackman was the next to go when his A♣ K♦ was not enough against Shamseddin's Q♥ Q♦. On the bright side, by coming in seventh Blackman was able to improve on his ninth-place finish at this year's Borgata Winter Open. Blackman received $53,892 for his poker-related efforts.
During this portion of the day both Shamseddin and Batra started dominating. Winning pots left and right, Shamseddin had the chip lead with approximately $1.8 million. Batra was right behind him with $1.6 million.
Binger's aggressive play at the final table finally got the better of him and after losing several key pots he got all-in with A♠ 2♠ against Hicks K♣ J♦. Hicks hit a jack and that was it for Binger, who finished sixth for $67,365. Both Nick and brother Michael have had incredible results in the last year of poker events and it seems like just a matter of time before one of them takes down a major event.
It was around this time that Dan Hicks starting taking some hits. First he had to make a costly lay-down versus Soheil Shamseddin and then he doubled up Eric Haber (who had also seen his chip stack dwindle).
Steven Greenberg was eliminated in the 22nd level when he shoved with K♠ Q♠ versus Batra's A♥ 8♠. An ace on the flop sealed Greenberg's fate and he finished fifth for $80,838. It should be noted that Greenberg did extremely well to make it that far, as he had entered the day as one of the short stacks. He doubled up several times and got several thousand more than he'd probably banked on.
In a surprising turn of events the onetime chip leader Shamseddin was eliminated fourth. Shamseddin lost a number of small pots and made a perhaps marginal all-in call with K♣ J♦. Batra held pocket eights and when nothing occurred on the board Shamseddin was bounced right out of the tournament. Shamseddin did receive $94,311 but he probably felt he could have done better.
Thee-handed action between Hicks, Batra and Haber was an interesting beast. All three players were willing to play monster hands against each other and there was so much fluctuation in the chip stacks it was hard to keep track.
Eventually Batra was the first player to be eliminated from the three-way all-in extravaganza. Batra went all-in with A♦ 7♥ and Haber called with A♥ 5♠. Haber hit a five on the board and that was it for Batra. Not the best way to exit a tournament but he did receive $121,257 for his efforts.
Hicks entered heads-up play with approximately $2.9 million to Haber's $2.5 million. With those similarly sized stacks one had to wonder how Hicks' relentless aggression would fare against Haber's unconventional style.
It all came down to one hand that very likely decided the entire tournament. Hicks opened for a standard $200,000 bet and Haber called instantly. The flop came 5♣ 3♠ 3♦ and Haber bet $300,000 but Hicks re-raised all-in.
Haber thought for several minutes but eventually made the call, and what a call it was. Haber had 6♦ 5♥ for pair of fives plus the pair of threes on the board, while Hicks had A♠ J♦ and was looking for some help. He didn't get it and suddenly Haber held a 4-1 chip advantage.
A few hands later Hicks shoved on a J♣ 9♠ 5♥ board with 10♦ 9♦ but ran head-on into Haber's J♦ J♠ for the set. Haber is the WSOPC Caesars Atlantic City champ. Way to go Sheets!
We here at PokerListings.com congratulate both Haber and Hicks for their efforts at the WSOPC Caesars Atlantic City. Special thanks to all the tournament staff at Caesars who held a truly exceptional tournament.
With just three more events remaining in this year's WSOPC we'll see you next time at Caesars Indiana!