26-year-old Las Vegas professional player Eric Baldwin took home his first World Series of Poker bracelet and the main prize of $521,932 in Event 34 - the $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em competition, besting an entry field of 2,095 players that included aces like the UK's Roland De Wolfe and Internet and live tournament star Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. The prize pool for the event was $2,859,675.
In the end it was none of these whom Baldwin faced in the heads up, which saw him pitted against Jonas Klausen, a professional poker player from Denmark.
The departure of Young Phan engineered by Ben Scholl formed the final table, which featured Klausen with a clear chip lead on 2,535,000. His closest rivals were Baldwin on a chip count of 1,586,000 and Benjamin Scholl n 1,075,000, followed by Steven Bradbury (942,000), Andrew Youngblood (895,000), James Taylor (859,000), Martin Jacobson (686,000), Roland de Wolfe (419,000) and Eric DeFontes (385,000).
In the end, Baldwin and Klausen used their dominating stacks to dismiss the rest of the final table, leaving them in the heads up.
Klausen - an aggressive and highly successful Internet poker player, usually on Pokerstars, was a formidable opponent although Baldwin went into the heads up a little ahead on chips. The lead changed hands several times but the deciding hand was a real cooler which saw Klausen flop top two pair on a Q-10-4 board, only to find that Baldwin had pocket fours for bottom set and managed to fade queens and tens to double up and take a commanding 7 to 1 lead in the match. The game ended in a Baldwin victory a few hands later in a preflop race with Baldwin holding a pair of tens that held against Klausen's A-Q.
Jonas Klausen's second placing was worth $322,371.
A former college basketball player from Wisconsin, Baldwin may be young but he's no stranger to live tourney action, having previously cashed in the Venetian Deep Stack and Bellagio tournaments.
"I was coming out here (to Las Vegas) several times a year for some tournaments so I figured I would just buy a place out here," he said, explaining his move to Vegas. "Plus I hate shoveling snow!"
The win this week is his biggest poker achievement in terms of the gravitas of the competition, the quality of his opponents and the size of the paycheck.
"It's head over heels above anything else I've done in my life," a delighted Baldwin said. "The bracelet is the measuring stick that most people look to in judging poker players."
Event 35 - the $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha competition ended in victory for Richard Austin in a spectacular double elimination with millions on the table before the flop.
The event attracted 363 players who generated a prizepool of $1,706,100, and going after the money were Internet and live tourney aces like Jesper Hougaard, Sorel Mizzi, Cliff Josephy, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Fabrice Soulier, Isaac Baron, Van Marcus, Sandra Naujoks, and David "Devilfish" Ulliott.
Entering Day 3 of the event it looked as if Mizzi might carry the day; he was playing strongly and held a good chip lead. However, when it came to the final table Cliff 'Johnny Bax' Josephy was leading the pack on 1,027,000, followed by Rifat Palevic (989,000), Sorel Mizzi (869,000), Richard Austin (563,000), Van Marcus (544,000), Felipe Ramos (452,000), Peter Jetten (430,000) and Dan Hindin (282,000).
Down to three-handed action it was Josephy and Mizzi ahead with Austin contending strongly, when the game came to a spectacular and totally unanticipated end. Austin knocked out both of his rivals in a single hand where each player had wagered around a million chips before the flop. Mizzi and Josephy proved that talent counts but you need good cards too when they were busted out with some bad luck on the final hand - Mizzi's aces were outflopped by Josephy's kings....and Josephy's kings fell to Austin's gutshot and flush draw combination.
Austin will be boosting his bank account by $409,484 thanks to his victory, and of course he will be the proud recipient of a WSOP bracelet - his first.
A surprised Josephy left the table with a third placing and $166,771, whilst Mizzi claimed the second spot and $253,048.
Source: InfoPowa News