Oberlin started the day with a better-than-$40k advantage on his nearest competitor, Jamin Stokes. But while the blinds and antes were being stolen left and right, a card-dead Oberlin sat stoically through the first level and a half barely playing a hand. All he could do was watch as his monster stack dwindled and before he'd even seen his first face card, Oberlin was suddenly staring up at Stokes.
But Oberlin's inactivity aside, there was some early action, including a triple-up from the extremely short-stacked Ray Lynn, who magically made trips after shoving short with garbage. It seemed as though all Lynn would need was one more double-up to vault back into contention, but it was not to be, as he finished ninth pushing into a dominating Joey Couden.
The next to go was Dean Schultz, who tried a few overshoves with his short stack before Jerry Martin found a way to dominate his weak ace and rail him eighth.
Newfie Derek Whelan came into the day in the bottom third of the final nine and the Canadian came to gamble. In between bouts of folding out of turn every time he ran out of the poker room to grab a quick smoke, he convinced Martin to make a bad call and gamble with him, doubling up when his A♣ Q♥ held against Martin's K♠ J♠.
But he lost just about every one of those chips against a suddenly awake Oberlin a little later when Oberlin flopped trips against his king-high flush draw and was able to fade that and the open-ender Whelan picked up on the turn.
The Newfoundlander got the last few chips and his chair in with a weak ace a few hands later, failed to connect and was gone seventh.
While Oberlin had struck back, Jamin Stokes still looked like his stiffest competition until he ran into David Kopacz. In just two hands, including doubling Kopacz with tens under kings and getting his sevens cracked by a weak Kopacz ace, Stokes went from hero to zero and hit the rail sixth.
Down to five with Kopacz leading and both Len Ashby and Joey Couden short, those two decided it was time to tangle, with Ashby coming out on the winning end of an A-7-versus-pocket fives tussle by spiking an ace.
Couden was crippled, but within minutes he was back in it, quadrupling up when he miraculously hit trips, and then doubling that when he turned rags into two pair. Unfortunately, the comeback fell a little short when he limped aces and Ashby flopped trip fives to bust him fifth.
Kopacz looked poised to follow up his $1k prelim win here in Indiana, but apparently he wasn't. Suddenly and without warning, the Phil Hellmuth boot-camper inexplicably handed his sizable chip lead over to Jerry Martin in some kind of post-river brain spasm.
He called a $31k raise from Martin in the small blind protecting his big, and then joined Martin in checking down the T♥ 9♠ 7♦ 3♠ 8♠ board until the river fell. At that point, Jerry lead out for $45k and David sent what amounted to a min-raise in the middle, making it $100k.
Martin shoved what looked like $150k more and after tanking for a minute and admitting he was probably beat, Kopacz made the crying call. He showed K♥ 6♠, and Martin gladly grabbed the pot and the lead with his A♠ K♠ runner-runner nut flush.
The completion of the Kopacz meltdown would have to wait as Louisville local Len Ashby shoved into Martin's top pair with an open-ender that never came and he exited fourth, but it was just around the corner.
In just the first few hands of three-handed play Kopacz shoved with Q-6 off facing a $46k small blind raise from Martin and Jerry snapped him off with queens, sending him home a disappointing third and leaving us all to wonder just what the Poker Brat is teaching his devotees.
Once again it seemed there was a ton of action happening all around and none of it involved Samuel Oberlin, as he headed into heads-up with just $230,000 to Martin's $1 million plus. However, he picked up queens and doubled through Martin's K♣ J♥ in just the first few hands to draw close to even.
Within the next few hands he took the lead, forcing Martin to pay him off when he flopped top pair aces and bet it the whole way. Then when Oberlin picked up those pocket queens again a few minutes later and Martin flopped a pair of jacks, all the money went in the middle, all the glory was his and a blindsided Martin was left wondering what happened.
From the rather disappointing 84 runners who started this thing two days ago on the banks of the Ohio River just a short swim from the Indiana-Kentucky border, we were left with just one very happy Michigan-born champ who promised not to spend all $140k+ in one place.
Applauding that kind of financial responsibility in these troubled economic times, PL.com now says goodbye to the Midwest and the WSOPC as well, only to return when it does, a few short weeks from now in Hammond, Ill., just outside of Chicago, where we're told hundreds of Cubs fans have been saving their nickels for their very own chance to become lovable losers.