$10k Omaha/8 - Sammy Farha Wins!


It's been an epic heads-up contest and ideally the final hand would have had more gravitas about it, but in the end Sammy Farha overcame James Dempsey in an anti-climactic, almost comical fashion.

This is how.

Farha Wins Third Bracelet

With the blinds a whopping 90k 180k and the limits 180k 360k, it would only take a few hands strung together to find a winner and that's what we saw.

Farha had managed to win several hands to leave Dempsey desperately short, with the result that Dempsey felt forced to go with a weak hand in search of a double-up.

He and Sammy got their chips in preflop - Dempsey holding J 8 6 5 whilst Farha held J 9 7 4 - hardly two powerhouse hands.

The flop looked good for Dempsey - T 4 3 offering him the best low draw and an open-ended straight draw.

The turn was a relative blank, the T. "That's a good card for me," said Sammy as it kept him just ahead for now.

The river fell...the T!

Another ten meant both players played trip tens and incredibly Farha's J-9 was ahead of Dempsey's J-8 by just a smidgen. It was enough though, and Farha had sealed the victory after the hardest fought heads-up game we've seen in a long time.

2nd place was worth $301,790 for Dempsey but he sat on the sidelines, his head in his hands chewing on a sausage sandwich - clearly shattered after having fought so hard only to come up just short of his second bracelet.

Meanwhile Sammy Farha wins and takes down $488,237 and the coveted WSOP bracelet!

"It is very special," said Farha. "The field is amazing!"

So that brings an end to what has been an intense and superbly contested Omaha/8 Championship. Congratulations to both Dempsey and Farha for fighting for the bracelet so competitively.

We'll have winner shots and a full re-cap of the day up shortly but for now thanks for following.

It's been emotional.

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$10k Omaha/8 - Marathon Race For The Bracelet

This makes it all worthwhile.
This makes it all worthwhile.

The epic heads-up match continues.

There's been a recurring pattern during the four hours Sammy Farha and James Dempsey have played. Dempsey will become low as a result of several big pots and look just about to succumb.

Then he will come storming back, bolstered by a chorus of "He's the doctor" and various other chants from his vociferous rail.

The announcer actually kicked two of the English fans out of the arena a moment ago which dampened spirits momentarily but things soon returned to normal - Dempsey was knocked down to just over a million before once again he came storming back to close to parity.

Right now there appears to be no separating these two but realistically with the blinds 75k 150k and the limits 150k 300k, a few big pots in a row should see one man rise to victory.

No sign of that yet though!

Right now Sammy Farha has a 3.5 million to 2.5 million chip lead.

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$10k Omaha/8 - Dempsey In Danger

Dempsey (and his rail) refusing to go down quietly.
Dempsey (and his rail) refusing to go down quietly.

Sammy Farha has wrested control of this heads-up match and is currently in the ascendant, having won a number of pots in the confrontation.

He ground Dempsey down and then had several shots to take him out, but so far every time Dempsey has managed to pull it out of the bag and get himself back into contention.

Moments ago, there was a little controversy as Farha claimed not to have made a bet, but the tournament director ruled he did, then Dempsey raised all-in and Farha made the call.

Dempsey had a set of sevens and an 8-2 low that improved to a house on the river and when Farha could only table a flush, a big pot headed Dempsey's way.

He's battled back into it, with his support giving him regular chants and now Farha has just a 2:1 advantage with approximately 4.2 million to Dempsey's 2.1 million chips.

It's anyone's game...

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$10k Omaha/8 - Heads-Up For The Bracelet!

Zhu closed.
Zhu closed.

Yes, there are now just two players playing out for the bracelet as a result of a further elimination. No surprises who the man to drop out next was - Zhu's flirting with elimination finally becoming a reality.

Zhu Shut Down

Rich Zhu saw 4-5-T-T and it must have looked like the nuts to him with his micro-stack, so went to war with Dempsey, who held A-K-5-4.

The flop of 2-4-8 favored Dempsey and when a 3 dropped in on the turn to give him a wheel, he was almost home and dry.

A blank river was all that was required to send Rich Zhu to the rail in 3rd place, collecting $225,326.

So heads-up it is!

James Dempsey is vying for his second bracelet which would put him in the lead for the Player of the Year title, whilst Sammy Farha has all the experience in the world and the chip lead.

It will be an intriguing battle.

Here's how they stand.

Sammy Farha  4,300,000
James Dempsey  2,100,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Sammy,Sammy Give Us A Wave

Does this look like a nit to you?
Does this look like a nit to you?

The game continues three-handed although Rich Zhu remains on the cusp of elimination.

He had rallied for a while winning two double-ups to drag himself back from the brink of elimination, but moments ago, Sammy rivered two pair and a low to scoop a big pot off him and he's back on life support again.

Indeed right now it is Sammy Farha who has taken the lead - James Dempsey slipping just behind him. The rail have really come to life as well - predictably thronged by enthusiastic English supporters, the cheering is in full flow as is the beer.

Even Sammy Farha is getting his fair share of cheers.

Moments ago though, Sammy fell foul of the rail...like so.

Sammy The Nit?

Sammy Farha is a popular character and everytime he wins a pot, sometimes even against Dempsey, the English rail cheer him. The latest pot he took down saw the crowd chanting, "Sammy, Sammy, Give Us A Wave!" and although Sammy acknowledged the crowd with a smile, he didn't wave.

"NIT NIT NIT NIT NIT" yelled the crowd.

"That's the first time anyone's ever called Sammy a nit," piped in Dempsey.

Here's how they stand right now.

Sammy Farha  3,500,000
James Dempsey  1,900,000
Rich Zhu  300,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - The Three Braceleteers


Well we've had one more elimination and the three players left move incrementally closer toward being crowned the $10k Omaha/8 Champion.

The players are so close they can taste it now. The English rail has come to life with the re-invigoration of James Dempsey who was suffering for some time.

Here's how we got to three-handed and how we stand right now.

Russian To The Rail (Altbregin - 4th)

Sergey Altbregin has been all-in multiple times on this final and has surfed the waves of variance with great aplomb, staying afloat each time.

Finally though his balance slipped and his surfboard was crushed under a giant white plume of frothy water as the sea came crashing in on his tournament life.

Firstly Dempsey took most of his chips, the pair warring on a T 6 5 board, Dempsey holding A 2 3 4 for a massive low, flush and wrap draw, whilst  Altbregin just had the low draw.

A low spade turned to give Dempsey the high and when the river blanked out the pair chopped the pot unevenly - 75% to Dempsey, 25% to the already short-stacked Altbregin.

Rich Zhu finished the job taking on the Russian with A-K-9-9 which fitted the A-K-Q-9-A board significantly better than his opponent's A-7-5-4.

Goodnight Altbregin, he picks up $169,368 for 4th place.

The Braceleteers!

These are the three men left contesting the title, along with their chip counts.

James Dempsey  2,800,000
Sammy Farha  2,000,000
Rich Zhu  1,400,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Four Handed For Glory

Merksick runs out of chips.
Merksick runs out of chips.

Well one more brave min-raising gladiator has fallen, unable to conquer the other four lions circling him. It was a booming pot that sent him on his way, although that will be of little consolation as he trudges to the rail.

Here's how it went down.

Merk-sick Beat (5th)

Sergey Altbregin raised it up and James Dempsey re-raised to isolate. [ ] That happened.

Instead we saw Richard Zhu call from the small blind, Tony Merksick re-raise from the big blind, Altbregin cold-call and now Dempsey cap the betting at four bets, which all the players called.

The flop fell K T 7, and small blind Zhu liked it enough to bet out. Everyone called.

The turn was the 6 and again Zhu bet, this time Merksick calling all-in. Again Altbregin and Dempsey made the call.

The river was the 6 and when Zhu bet out, this time Dempsey was the only one to sigh-call the river, although he must have suspected his A A 8 5 was beaten and indeed Zhu flipped up K-K-J-J for the nut full house.

Those kings have been the bain of Dempsey's life on this final.

Merksick meanwhile couldn't table pocket sixes to win the pot, meaning he busts in 5th spot for $128,097. Now that might be some consolation...

The game continues 4-handed, Richard Zhu and Sammy Farha pulling away from the other two challengers.

Here are the current standings.


Counts courtesy of worldseriesofpoker.com.

Sammy Farha  2,860,000
Yueqi Zhu  2,650,000
Sergey Altbregin  775,000
James Dempsey  330,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Five Stars

Sam missile launched.
Sam missile launched.

Yes, we're just five-handed for the bracelet right now, having seen two more eliminations in recent times. Sammy Farha has taken a big chip lead right now, and has to be considered the favorite for the title.

Meanwhile, erstwhile chip leader James Dempsey has seen his stack plummit to precarious levels. Can the Brit turn round the decline?

First though, news of those eliminations.

Katchalov Caught Out (7th)

Katchalov has done well to last this long really. Short-stack ninja style is his preferred form of combat and he has ducked and dived for more hours than his smallish stack looked likely to last for.

Finally though, he ducked in a right hook from Altbregin, although the Russian landed with a lucky shot.

Katchalov had the goods when he fired all in preflop with A A Q 5 and up against Altbregin's A K 7 2 the flop of K 8 8 looked very inviting - his aces up way ahead of Katchalov's kings-up.

The turn blanked and Katchalov must have been confident of a double through, but then a cruel K on the river was enough to give the big Russian the edge with trips.

So Eugene Katchalov bows out in 7th place for $75,000. Applause, well done and goodbye.

Chow Down! (6th)

It didn't take too long for Michael Chow to get involved with his stack dwindling also. A series of raises with James Dempsey saw him get his stack in the middle with A 7 6 4, Dempsey taking him on with A K 5 2.

A board of Q 9 3 helped no one and the turned 3 again was not relevant to either hand.

Finally the J appeared and although neither hand had connected in any way with the flop, Dempsey's final hand was the better by virtue of his ace-king kicker.

So Chow was out, he shook hands wtih his fellow competitors and went off to have what will be a pretty pleasant conversation with the cashier, given he is $97,508 richer for his sixth place finish.

James Dempsey
Needs more fist-bumping.

Frustrated Dempsey

A series of bad pots and unlucky situations have seen Dempsey's stack decimated and the young English player is looking more and more frustrated.

Moments ago, he went heads-up to a flop with Russian Altbregin, who called a bet on a 9-9-x board, only to check-raise Dempsey on a king turn.

Dempsey called the bet, then called another on the river.

Altbregin showed down K-K for pocket kings(the nut full house) whilst a steaming Dempsey slammed down a 9, showing he had been two outed on the turn and ran to the rail to bemoan his bad luck.

"He's the Doctor," his rail threw out in sympathy at the man they like to call Dr. Demps and two of his fans appeared to be bumping fists for some reason.

Maybe a strange ritual of support.

Whatever, here's the standings with the fight for the bracelet now five-handed.

Sammy Farha  2,860,000
Tony Merksick  1,150,000
Sergey Altbregin  1,000,000
Richard Zhu  900,000
James Dempsey  490,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Mosseri Muzzled (8th)

How the heck did that happen?
How the heck did that happen?

Well, the play has slowed down somewhat although several players have been on the cusp of elimination for some time now.

One man who looked incredibly unlikely to be the next out when we returned from the dinner break was Abe Mosseri.

Well what a difference an hour makes. Read on for details.

Hero To Zero

Returning from dinner with over a million chips, Mosseri must have felt it was extremely improbable that he would be next out but that's just what happened.

In reality the blinds being 15k 30k and limits 30k 60k, it doesn't take that many pots played down the streets and lost to account for a million chip stack, and Mosseri just learned that the hard way.

Having seen his stack depleted in a sequence of somewhat unfortunate hands, the exit hand saw Richard Zhu and Mosseri go to war on a A 9 4 board - Zhu holding A Q 6 2 for top pair and a low draw versus Mosseri's A K J 5 for a marginally better high hand with no low draw.

When turn and river ran out 9 then Q, Zhu just nipped past Mosseri on the river and the 2009 2-7 $2.5k bracelet-winner was busted in 8th for $57,552.

Mosseri looked shell-shocked at his dismissal having been in apparently so strong shape.

That's poker!

7-handed for the bracelet, here are the counts.

James Dempsey  1,640,000
Sammy Farha  1,600,000
Tony Merksick  1,200,000
Richard Zhu  1,200,000
Michael Chow  1,000,000
Sergey Altbregin  665,000
Eugene Katchalov  305,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Back From Dinner

Don't count me out yet!
Don't count me out yet!

We return from dinner with 8 players having fought their way through a tough Omaha/8 field to contend this Championship bracelet.

There's some way to go before we crown a victor - as it stands James Dempsey continues to lead the chip standings and although the blinds are high, the nature of the split pot game means we could be in for an extended war over that prized piece of WSOP gold - as well as the near half million dollar first prize.

Here are the chip counts as we return.

James Dempsey  1,630,000
Yueqi Zhu  1,335,000
Abe Mosseri  1,150,000
Tony Merksick  780,000
Sammy Farha  585,000
Michael Chow  375,000
Eugene Katchalov  305,000
Sergey Altbregin  225,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Wong Move (9th)

Great performance - but no bracelet.
Great performance - but no bracelet.

The players will be taking a one hour dinner break any moment now, but when they return they will be eight, not nine-handed.

The reason being is that we have lost a player, and it was the shortstack Steve Wong who has succumbed - here's how.

It's All Gone Wong (9th)

Steve Wong would have needed some divine intervention to avoid being the first man out, given his minute stack.

Well the poker gods are saving up their fairy dust and magic for another occasion as he busted moments ago - the irrepressible Sammy Farha the man who delivered him to the rail.

The hand opened with a Sammy Farha raise, which James Dempsey also called. Steve Wong re-raised, although the raise was nominal - an extra 6k over the 50k opening raise.

Both active players called and the flop fell K 6 5, leading Farha to bet out and Dempsey to call.

The Q turn and T river were checked behind by Dempsey and Farha and when the cards were flipped, Farha had the best hand - a mere pair of tens with A T 9 3 - which was enough with no low to sen Wong and his A 8 6 3 packing and slightly improve everyone's payday and chances of winning a bracelet.

Well, the players are now packing away for dinner - we'll be back in one hour and we'll see you there for the playdown to the bracelet.

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$10k Omaha/8 - The Final Table

Dempsey gunning for 2nd bracelet.
Dempsey gunning for 2nd bracelet.

We've reached the final table! There's a very useful line-up out there, Abe Mosseri, Sammy Farha, Michael Chow all very capable players who can pose a threat to the bracelet.

However the big story could be James Dempsey who enters the final table a dominant chip leader, having collected one bracelet already this series.

It's turning into quite a series for Dempsey and if he can somehow find a way to victory here, he will be the forerunner for Player of The Year.

We're moments away from the start so let's just run over how we came to reach the final table berths.

Mike Goes Dead

Mike Sexton was the unfortunate man to miss out on the final and the experienced commentator's presence will be a sad absence.

Sammy Farha took Sexton out, Sexton making trip aces on a A-A-8-3-x board, which was no good versus the A-3 of Farha - his full house scooping to leave Sexton on the rail with $34,814.

That leaves the following nine men vying for the bracelet.

Chip Counts

James Dempsey  1,535,000
Yueqi Zhu  997,000
Abe Mosseri  914,000
Tony Merksick  764,000
Sammy Farha  608,000
Michael Chow  570,000
Sergey Altbregin  550,000
Eugene Katchalov  320,000
Steve Wong  92,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - The Smell Of Victory

Nice catch buddy.
Nice catch buddy.

There are some tense and intense players out there right now as they approach this Championship final table.

The players have just taken a 20 minute break and some of those really need it as the pressure builds.

Need to vent anyone?

Farha Escapes From The Zhu

Sammy Farha is cutting a classic pose right now, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips as he eyes up his table like a greedy man might eye up a hamburger and chips.

Moments ago, he became entangled in a pot with the intriguingly-named Yueqi Zhu.

The pair went heads up to a flop of J 6 2, Zhu led out for 18k and Sammy called on the button.

The turn was the 6 and again Zhu bet out, only for Farha to tank a while and study the board, his cigarette hanging precariously as he contemplated his next move.

He called.

The river was the 3 and now Zhu checked and Farha bet. Zhu called and was pretty upset when Farha announced "Nut low, jacks up."

"Man, I knew I had you the whole way, I knew it!" lamented Zhu who showed down a counterfeited A-A-3 for aces up and the nut low draw (until the river came.)

"Hehe, take it easy," said Farha as he disappeared on the break.

"Better than losin' 'em buddy!" yelled out an eager railbird.

Farha Doubles Katchalov

Eugene Katchalov is flirting with elimination but is just about managing to stave off defeat so far. Moments ago, he raised pre-flop, which was much of his small stack - holding just 6-6-4-3.

Farha made the call and when the flop fell what must have seemed to Katchalov to be an unpromising Q T 4, he nevertheless threw the last of his chips in the middle seemingly hopelessly.

Farha made an obligatory call but lo and behold, he had a worse hand in 8 3 3 2!

Katchalov's tiny but crucial pair of sixes held over turn and river and he doubles through to 120k...short but giving himself a shot at redemption.

The Chips

Here are the players and just to the right of them, you will find the number of chips currently in their possession.

Enjoy! (Counts courtesy of worldseriesofpoker.com)

Yueqi Zhu  1,070,000
James Dempsey  1,039,000
Abe Mosseri  975,000
Sergey Altbregin  735,000
Tony Merksick  675,000
Michael Chow  460,000
Steve Wong  402,000
Sammy Farha  350,000
Mike Sexton  349,000
Eric Baldwin  233,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Baker's Double Bracelet Bid Ends... For Now

Baker will have to wait for bracelet number two.
Baker will have to wait for bracelet number two.

Hour number two of today's Omaha/8 is in the books and we've seen a handful of eliminations.

Players who have been eliminated include David Baker, Chino Rheem, Steve Zolotow and John D'Agostino.

Drawing Dead

John Robert Bellande was mercifully knocked out after being unable to get anything going and having his aces cracked twice. He made a silent and aggravated exit after steaming for a good portion of his appearance.

Abe Mosseri appeared to be puzzled upon seeing the hand Bellande got all his chips in with. "He had no chance," Mosseri said. "His hand was dead when he called on the turn-he had a deuce to win half."

While today is one to forget for Bellande, he walks away with $21,582.

Speaking Sammy

One of our favorite players to cover is Sammy Farha. He is constantly talking and interacting with those around him, which makes for a lively atmosphere. Here are a couple of classic Sammy moments we've witnessed today.

"That's the only card I didn't want to see," one player said as he contemplated calling a river bet from Farha.

"It's ok," Farha said matter-of-factly. "You saw it now." Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny to see the empty reassurance from Farha who clearly wanted to be paid off.  

In another pot with the same player Farha threw down the gauntlet. "You play hard with me, I play hard with you," said Farha.

It's not all fun and games, however. After losing a large pot that was bet on every street, Farha scolded the dealer for pushing certain cards up to show which were in play. "Stop playing with the board, I can read it myself," said an angry Farha.

Sam Farha
Never a dull moment with Sammy in the house.

From the Felt

"Why did you raise, Abe?" Farha asked Abe Mosseri after Mosseri raised the big blind of Farha.

"I see your blind and I know it's easy to take," Mosseri said with a grin.

Chip Count

Abe Mosseri  785,000
Michael Chow  785,000
Sergey Altbregin  710,000
James Dempsey  693,000
Yueqi Zhu  670,000
Steve Wong  465,000
Oleg Shamardin  450,000
Eugene Katchalov  390,000
Mikael Thuritz  325,000
Tai Nguyen  305,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Bellande Ain't Happy

Earmuffs, kids. Bellande's throwing around F-bombs.
Earmuffs, kids. Bellande's throwing around F-bombs.

Just over an hour into day three of the Omaha/8 event and we've already seen three eliminations.

Miami John Cernuto was the first to be eliminated as he lost a big pot with trip queens. Mike Watson and short stack Jose De Paz were next out and we're down to 20 players.


It didn't take long for John Robert Bellande to get worked up this afternoon. He is currently spewing expletives and slamming around chips.

Twice he has seen aces and twice they have been beaten. One of the bigger pots he lost was three-way between Sammy Farha, Bellande and Russian Oleg Shamardin. The flop came Q J 6, Farha led out with 15k, Bellande raised to 30k and both players quickly called.

The turn brought a 9, both Bellande and Farha checked to the Russian, who bet out 30k. An exasperated Bellande folded and showed his pair of aces that was almost certainly beaten. "Every time I have aces and every time they get shoved in my ass."

The Cat's Still Alive

Miami John Cernuto got into a preflop raise-off with Tai Nguyen early in the day. Nguyen was nearly eliminated multiple times yesterday and was down to 7k at one point.

"Maybe I can eliminate the man with nine lives," Cernuto said before seeing a flop. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case as Nguyen ended up winning a large pot which left Cernuto on life support. He was eliminated minutes later.

From the Felt

"You think you get a good river card and it's actually the worst card you can see," Mike Sexton said to no one in particular as he lamented losing a large pot to Oleg Shamardin at the beginning of today's action.

Chip Count

Abe Mosseri  750,000
Michael Chow  600,000
Sammy Farha  512,000
Steve Wong  476,000
Mike Sexton  470,000
Eugene Katchalov  463,000
Sergey Altbregin  444,000
Tony Merksick  312,000
Oleg Shamardin  300,000
James Dempsey  218,000

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$10k Omaha/8 - Champ Will Be Crowned Today

Sammy Farha currently sits third in chips.
Sammy Farha currently sits third in chips.

We're back along with 23 players competing for the 2010 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better World Championship.

Four players made the money last night before play stopped for the evening: Huck Seed, Dan Heimiller, Pat Pezzin and Jeffrey Lisandro each took home $17,138.

Now just three tables remain along with a number of top pros vying for the bracelet. Michael Chow, Sammy Farha and Abe Mosseri are the three chip leaders headed into today's action. Chow sits on top with 600k in chips. Mike Sexton and recent bracelet winner David Baker are two more names to keep an eye on.

Jose De Paz and John D'Agostino are the short stacks, trying to get lucky with around 40k in chips. We'll be on hand all evening as the final table is set and we play down to a 2010 Omaha/8 champ.

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Event Name Event 25 - $10k Omaha Hi-Low Championship
Venue Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Date 12 June 2010
Final Day 14 June 2010
Buy In $10,000
Entrants 212
Prize Pool $1,992,800
First Prize $488,241

Sammy Farha

Event 25 - $10k Omaha Hi-Low Championship

Top Money Finishers Prize
1. Sammy Farha $488,237
2. James Dempsey $301,790
3. Yueqi Zhu $225,326
4. Sergey Altbregin $169,368
5. Tony Merksick $128,097
6. Michael Chow $97,508
7. Eugene Katchalov $74,670
8. Abe Mosseri $57,552
9. Steve Wong $44,619
10. Mike Sexton $34,814