Today's table was rich with storylines, featuring as it did the two finalists from the Harrah's New Orleans 2006 final table, Gavin Smith and Feldman, as well as two other Canadians in Davidson Matthew and Erik Cajelais. Joining them at the felt was WSOP bracelet winner Gavin Griffin, as well as respected Internet pro and blogger Shane "Shaniac" Schleger.
With low blind levels compared to the average stack, general consensus was that this final day would last late into the night, but Day 3 managed to continue the trend of wild play, with players moving chips around with a quickness that soon saw Jerry Renfroe and Yoon Kim hit the bricks. (Kim was the victim of a terrible beat that saw Gavin Griffin flop a set with pocket kings to crack his pocket aces.)
Following Kim and Renfroe was Gavin Smith, who fell to nemesis Peter Feldman when "Nordberg" flopped a set of sevens and rivered quads to take down Smith's A♠ Q♣. Smith, who had repeatedly found himself on life support early on in the tournament, managed to parlay his tenacious play into a $34,674 payday - although how much of that he lost in prop bets to Griffin on Day 1 remains undisclosed.
Shane Schleger was the next to fall, the victim of Davidson Matthew, who appeared to blindside the Shaniac after Schleger pushed all-in on a 9♠ 9♥ 7♣ 9♦ board. Matthew was quick to call, saying, "I've got a nine," and Schleger, despondent, could only watch as his opponent turned over 9♣ 3♥ for quads, sending the Shaniac to the rail and whittling the field down to five.
Soon after Shaniac's premature departure, the field got a little less Canadian with the elimination of Erik Cajelais, who pushed his short-stack into the middle with top two pair on a board of J♣ T♦ 7♦ and ran into Danny Wong, who had flopped the nuts with 9♠ 8♠.
Cajelais was unable to fill up on the turn or river and instead filled his pockets with the $52,011 fifth place prize - another solid cash for the young French-Canadian, who has torn up the tournament circuit since the USPC last fall.
With five players eliminated before the first level break, the stage was set for a quick conclusion to the day, and with Gavin Griffin and Danny Wong virtually on life support, it was not long before both men were dispatched.
Danny Wong was the first of the two to visit the paymaster, cashing out after moving all-in with K♥ Q♥ and finding his hand dominated by Peter Feldman's A♥ Q♠. Feldman paired his ace on the turn, and that was all she wrote for the young Internet pro from California.
After Wong, it was only a matter of time before Gavin Griffin logged off. He picked the right spot to push, however, moving all-in with pocket sevens against Davidson Matthew's A♦ 3♦, and only falling once Matthew hit running diamonds to flush the 2004 WSOP $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha bracelet winner to the rail.
With the short-stacks properly taken care of, Peter Feldman and Davidson Matthew settled down to settle their own score. Matthew's maniacal style of play, combined with both players' extensive tournament experience, led most to believe that the heads-up match would be quick and exciting.
After about twenty hands, however, memories of the excruciatingly long heads-up match in the last WSOPC event in Council Bluffs started to surface, and eyes began to glaze over, as play settled into a slow and predictable rhythm.
Just when members of the tournament media were starting to get terrifying flashbacks of Iowa, the dinner break came around. Afterwards, thanks to the magic of the after-dinner rush, it only took about six hands for the tournament to wind itself down.
The climactic hand occurred when Feldman raised to $36,000 pre-flop and was called by Matthew. The flop came A♠ K♦ T♠ and Matthew checked to Feldman, who bet out $50,000. Matthew re-raised to $100,000 and Feldman popped it again, making it $200,000 to go.
Matthew stood up from the table, and with a strangled voice announced he was all-in. Feldman asked for a count, and after hearing it was a $485,000 raise, decided to call, showing A♣ K♥ for top two pair, which basically blew Matthew's A♥ 4♣ out of the water. The sole surviving Canadian needed to hit running cards to stay alive, and after the turn brought the 9♥, he was drawing dead, giving Feldman the title.
Peter Feldman takes home $280,859 for his first-place finish, along with a WSOPC ring and entry into the 2007 Main Event at the World Series of Poker. He also becomes only the second player in WSOP history to win two different main events in circuit competition, an honor he shares with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. Matthew takes home $147,694 as a runner-up prize.
PokerListings.com now packs up from Harrah's Rincon and heads up the road to Los Angeles for the World Poker Tour's Los Angeles Poker Classic. You can catch me and Matthew Showell at the Commerce Casino and online starting Feb. 24, which gives you one day to get your affairs in order before settling down with that "refresh" button for some more live update action. Make haste, and see you in L.A.