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Day 7: Star-studded winner's circle
The 2008 World Series of Poker is in full swing now with several events in various stages playing each day.
Wednesday saw two events play to a winner, two other events right smack in the middle of play and two more events get started. The two winners were the big news of the night, as two pro players walked away with their first bracelet wins.
Two relatively well-known pros made it to the final table of the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em event. Joe Tehan was high in the chip count while David Singer was clinging to life at the bottom when final-table play began on Wednesday.
It only took a little more than an hour for those roles to be reversed as Singer started building back his stack and Tehan started falling.
Glen Bean, Al Barbieri and Zachary King were the first few players to get booted from the table, and then Tehan's number was up as he took sixth place. Singer continued to battle hard as Russel Harriman, Robert Lipkin and Gregory Alston were knocked out, leaving just Jacobo Fernandez to take him on.
When Tehan had started to falter at the table, Fernandez was the player who took his spot at the top of the chip count. He held that position until he started heads-up play with Singer.
The two players battled for five hours, trading the chip lead back and forth more than a couple times before Singer was finally able to finish the game.
The pivotal hand of the game came when Fernandez bet $80,000 pre-flop only to have Singer reraise to $160,000. Fernandez moved all-in and Singer called.
It was a classic race between a pocket pair and two overcards as Fernandez flipped up pocket fives to Singer's big slick. The flop dropped A♦ K♠ T♠, giving Singer a monster lead in the hand, and Fernandez couldn't catch another five as the turn and river brought 8♦ 4♥.
Fernandez just barely had Singer covered and was left with $400,000 to Singer's now $1.7 million. On the very next hand, Singer added those last chips to his stack as well to end the game.
On a board of 7♦ 6♣ 5♠ 3♦, Fernandez shoved all-in with 7♣ 3♥ for two pair, but Singer had Q♠ 4♠ for the straight. The river brought a harmless J♥, and Singer was able to strap on his first WSOP bracelet.
"I'm thrilled. I couldn't be any happier," Singer said in his post-tournament interview.
When this event started Singer was actually more involved in trying to stay in Event 2, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. He was running back and forth between the two tables and made his first cash of the 2008 season in that event before settling in for the rest of the Pot-Limit event.
Along with the gold bracelet, Singer takes home more than $200,000 in cash.
"Well, it's not the most money I've ever made in a poker tournament, but it has probably made me the happiest," he said.
The final-table results were:
The $5,000 Mixed Hold'em event drew a 332-person playing field, which is relatively small compared to the massive fields for some of the No-Limit events, but the field was also stacked with players of fairly high caliber.
Several professional players made it into the money, including Andy Black, Patrik Antonius, J.C. Alvarado, Phil Laak, Robert Williamson, Chau Giang and Andy Bloch. One might think that all the big names would have been out already then, but the final table was stacked with quite a few more familiar faces as well.
David Rheem may have walked into the final table as the chip leader, but most of the attention was on how Bodog Poker pros Justin Bonomo and David Williams, Full Tilt Poker's Erick Lindgren, and pro players Isaac Haxton, Howard Lederer and Roland De Wolfe would do.
Haxton was the first to exit the game, followed by Pat Pezzin. The two former bracelet winners were next out as Williams and Lederer headed to the rail in seventh and sixth place.
Rheem was unable to hold onto his starting chip lead and took fifth place, and behind him was De Wolfe when he ran into Bonomo.
De Wolfe started the action in the hand, making it $48,000 from the button, and got a call from ZeeJustin in the small blind. The flop came 8♠ 6♠ 2♥, and Bonomo checked, but then reraised all-in after De Wolfe bet $85,000.
De Wolfe made the call, betting his tournament life on K♣ 8♦ to Bonomo's A♠ 9♠. De Wolfe was still ahead when the turn brought a J♣, but the river washed in a Q♠ to give Bonomo the flush and the hand.
That left Bonomo, Lindgren and Andrew Robl in three-handed play. Robl was out next, leaving just the two online-turned-live poker pros to battle it out in heads-up play.
Bonomo had the lead going into heads-up, but Lindgren ground it out to eventually overtake Bonomo and then get the win.
This is Lindgren's first bracelet win, though he's come as close as second in the past and has a Professional Poker Tour win and two World Poker tour titles already.
Lindgren commented during his post-tourney interview that finally winning a WSOP bracelet was like getting a monkey he hadn't really realized was there off his back.
"I didn't really feel it that much, but when I finally won and I put that bracelet on ... there's a lot of history in this bracelet and that meant a lot," Lindgren said.
The final-table results were:
|4th||Roland De Wolfe||$117,030|
More than 760 players are now down to nine in the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Rebuy event of the 2008 WSOP. Play will resume at 3 p.m. today with the following players:
- Michal Banducci: $1,500,000
- Alan Jaffray: $1,150,000
- Lyric Duveyoung: $700,000
- Peter Gould: $670,000
- Jeff Williams: $640,000
- Jamie Rosen: $490,000
- Jonathan Aquiar: $386,000
- Steve Gross: $170,000
- Michael Binger $152,000
Binger is currently the leader in the PokerListings Player of the Year race, and a win in this event could help keep him at the top as players such as Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Erick Lindgren and Andy Bloch have become serious threats to his status with their World Series success so far.
Speaking of success, there are a few pros who made it into the money even if they aren't at the final table in this event. Billy Baxter, Mark Vos, Lee Watkinson, Chad Brown, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Nenad Medic and Clonie Gowen all picked up some money in this event.
The second event to play down to a final table on Wednesday was the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight-or-Better. The big news from this tournament is that Scott Clements is in the mix to try to add a third WSOP bracelet to his collection.
Clements won his first gold bracelet in 2006 and followed that up with a win in 2007. It will be three years running if he can pick up another win in 2008. That would put him on track with Allen Cunningham, who picked up a bracelet in each of the last three years of the World Series and is looking to extend his run to a fourth year in 2008.
The players set to return to play at 4 p.m. today are:
- Thang Luu: $640,000
- Chris Falconer: $331,000
- Greg Jamison: $275,000
- Mark Wilds: $225,000
- Spencer Lawrence: $222,000
- Scott Clements: $220,000
- George Guzman: $195,000
- Craig Sabel: $160,000
- James Pritchard: $155,000
The $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em ushered in another crazy day of poker on Wednesday as it began its Day 1 at noon to start the action at the Rio. Nearly 1,600 players anted up for the day, and it was no small undertaking to play down past the bubble for the day.
When all was said and down, however, 152 players were left to return today at 2 p.m. for a second day of play.
Theo Tran is leading the way into today's action, and joining him are Leif Force, Aaron Kanter and more.
Shorr gives the highlights of his day in his blog, if poker fans are interested in some more details. He's sitting just below average in chips coming into today and wrote that he has his work cut out for him.
Play resumes at 2 p.m. today to work down to a final table.
When all the heads were finally counted for the first-ever World Championship Mixed Event on Wednesday, 192 players with deep pockets had put in their $10,000 each to play.
The high buy-in generally means that only the best and most successful players have the cheddar necessary to get in without worrying about putting a huge dent in their bankrolls. That makes for another star-studded event, and plenty of famous names left to keep an eye on in their second day of play today.
Sitting at the top of the chip count when play resumes at 3 p.m. today is two-time bracelet winner Tom Schneider. However, the list that falls behind him is pretty impressive.
The players still in it trying to fight for a seat in the final table today are Greg Mueller, Phil Ivey, Mark Vos, Marcel Luske, Amnon Filippi, Mike Sexton, Michael Mizrachi, Gavin Griffin, Doyle Brunson, Bill Chen, Chris Bell, Lee Watkinson, Greg Raymer, John Hennigan, David Ulliott, Vanessa Rousso, Andy Bloch, Katja Thater, Barry Greenstein and many, many more.
Event 9 and Event 10
Two more events will start action today as well. At noon, players will ante up for the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed event, and play will start in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better event at 5 p.m.
To catch all the action with live updates, reports, photos, videos and more, head to the PokerListings Live Tournaments section.