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Londoner Bord Keeps WSOPE Title at Home
Backed by the loudest crowd of supporters the Casino at the Empire has likely ever seen, James Bord took down the WSOP Europe main event title in London early Wednesday morning.
A Londoner himself, Bord was ecstatic to finally claim his first World Series of Poker bracelet after coming so close this summer with a sixth-place finish in a 2010 WSOP Lowball event.
“I feel more relief than anything,” he said. “It was a great feeling; amazing feeling.”
“I think I showed a bit of heart. I've been there before and blown up, so I had it in my head that I was just going to play well and whatever happens, happens. That's what I tried to do every day here and I got a good result.”
With a smaller field containing a high concentration of big name pros, the World Series of Poker Europe main event is widely considered one of the toughest tournaments to win, but Bord never doubted it was possible.
“I knew I could win or I wouldn't have bought in,” he said. “There were some great players in the field; Phil Ivey and Viktor Blom are amazing players, but at the same time, not every live player is that good. It's as simple as that.”
After short stacks Brian Powell and Marc Inizan hit the rail first, the start-of-day chip leader was next.
Victory Poker CEO Dan Fleyshman said he was going to come in aggressive, but that strategy backfired as he went from hero to zero rather quickly busting seventh.
Daniel Steinberg was out next, becoming a victim of Ronald Lee when he lost a coin flip.
Then, after an up and down day that at times made it appear as if he might make a run at WSOPE glory, Nicolas Levi dropped out fifth.
Roland De Wolfe came in to the final with a shot at becoming the UK’s all-time leading money winner with a win, but the WPT, EPT and WSOP title holder could do no better than a fourth-place finish for £278,945, leaving him still trailing David “Devilfish” Ulliott in that department.
Lee was literally dominating the final table for most of the way and by the time they went three-handed, he held 6,830,000 in chips to Italian Fabrizio Baldassari’s 2,480,000 and Bord’s 1,120,000.
The Italian started three-handed play with his foot on the gas until Bord finally stepped up to the plate shoving ace-three.
Lee looked him up with king-queen and the rather raucous hometown crowd behind Bord began chanting “two-four-five” hoping for the dream flop.
There was a four on the flop, a five on the turn and as they begged for an unnecessary deuce, the river bricked. Bord doubled and his entourage simply went bananas, making the Empire sound more like a football stadium than a card room.
Lee pushed Baldassari off a rather sizeable pot soon after and the Italian suddenly looked to be in shove or fold territory.
As expected, he was all in against Lee with ace-four versus ace-king a few hands later, but spiked a four on the flop to double up.
The two were back at it again minutes later, with Baldassari flopping a set to help him collect the biggest pot of the tournament to that point and take the chip lead.
Pot after pot was pushed to the Italian as he ramped up the aggression and after a raising war with Lee ended with Baldassari dragging yet another monster pot; it seemed he was running away with it.
A suddenly short Lee then ran pocket fives into Bord’s ace-king all in pre-flop and a king on the flop did him in third.
Baldassari went into heads up with 6,260,000 in chips to Bord’s 4,120,000.
The two battled back and forth for a while before Bord got it in with ace-king against Baldassari’s queen-eight for his tournament life. The board bricked, Bord doubled and took the lead for the first time.
He extended that lead dragging a big pot soon after and before long, he had tens versus fives all in pre-flop for the title against the Italian.
The board blanked and the crowd roared in approval as the WSOPE main event title and £830,401 first prize was Bord’s.
“It was fantastic,” he said. “I’ve been deep before, but never like this. This crowd was amazing. This is my home town, I'm a Londoner, I was born here and I love this town. What can I say?”
The £10,350 WSOPE Championship drew a total of 346 players to the Casino at the Empire in London’s Leicester Square creating a £3,460,000 prize pool.
Here’s how the final table finished up:
1 James Bord £830,401
2 Fabrizio Baldassari £513,049
3 Ronald Lee £376,829
4 Roland De Wolfe £278,945
5 Nicolas Levi £208,119
6 Daniel Steinberg £156,530
7 Dan Fleyshman £118,643
8 Brian Powell £90,617
9 Marc Inizan £69,754