One of the keenly watched events at the World Series of Poker this week was #20 - the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em competition - for two reasons; veteran player Erik Seidel was going after his ninth WSOP bracelet, and he had promisd to donate his winnings to children's charity.
It looked as if he was on track to achieve his goals, starting the last day around third in chip counts, but it was not to be and he busted out in seventh place - still a useful $24,000 donation for charity.
Before he did so, Seidel set up the final table by eliminating Phil "USCphildo" Collins in tenth place, resulting in the formation of a final table for the event that comprised: Englishman John-Paul Kelly holding the lead at 627,000, followed by Jason Dewitt on 476,000, Erik Seidel on 337,000, Kyle Carlston (320,000), Marc Tschirch (268,000), Andrew Radel (250,000), Kirk Steward (231,000), Aaron Virchis (191,000) and Ravi Raghavan (145,000).
Although young and mostly unknown, many of the survivors are talented Internet players and the final table proved to be an entertaining affair despite being dominated by UK pro player John-Paul Kelly from the get-go. They had survived an original field of 663 players which generated a prize pool of $864,045, giving a winner's prize of $194,434 and a gold WSOP bracelet, and cashes right down to the 63rd finisher. In the field were well known names like John Duthie, Justin Scott, Mike Sexton, Joe Sebok, Roland de Wolfe, Mark Seif, and Kathy Liebert.
Heads up it was John-Paul Kelly, a 23-year-old pro from Aylesbury in England against Marc Tschirch of Germany following the elimination of Jason DeWitt in third place. Kelly held a 550,000 chip lead going in, but his opponent quickly narrowed the deficit, although he was not able to overtake a rampant Kelly and he was bundled out in second place for a payday of $120,102 - an improvement on his performance last year when he cashed but did not make the final table.
Kelly won the respect that comes with any WSOP bracelet, and a winner's check for $194,434 at the end of the five hour final table, significantly boosting his career winnings from live tourneys in Europe and Australia. Kelly has been playing WSOP for the last three years, cashing thrice and making a final table in 2008, but this week's win was his best result yet.
Event 21 - the $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. attracted an entry field of 452 players, up 9% on last year and generating a $1,247,520 prize pool that put players right down to 43rd position in the money and guaranteed a first prize of $311,899.
The field included many top players, among them Gavin Smith, Chau Giang and Steve Billirakis, altough none of these made the final table.
The winner was Zac Fellowes, a 25-year old affiliate marketer from Vancouver in Canada who had the experience of one previous WSOP final table behind him. Fellowes entered the last day of play with a good chip lead which he largely managed to maintain through to the heads up against James Van Alstyne, although the latter entered final table action in the lead. However, an aggressive Fellowes managed to grow his stack as the table progressed and ultimately picked up the title, the bracelet and the $311,899 main prize. Van Alstyne had to be content with a still useful second placing reward of $192,866.
Other final tablers were Gabriel Nassif, Timothy Finne, Chris Amaral, Stewart Yancik, Michele Limongi, Martin Eikeng and Matt Hawrilenko.
The explosive Finnish player Ville Wahlbeck, who is having an extraordinarily successful WSOP thus far and must be in contention for the WSOP Player of the Year kudos, managed not only another final table this year, but a second placing in Event 23 - the $10,000 buy-in 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship (No-Limit).
The competition pulled in an entry field of 96 despite the expensive buy-in, building a prize pool of $902,400 for the competitive likes of David Benyamine, Justin Smith, Roland de Wolfe, Steve Sung, Michael Binger, Jean-Robert Bellande, Jason Gray, Chris Bjorin, Greg Raymer, Vince Musso, Archie Karas and 2008 lowball champ Mike Matusow.
Railbirds were anticipating a dream finish between Wahlbeck and Steve Sung, both of whom were in the hunt for their second WSOP bracelets, but in the end it was Sung who was eliminated in third place to make way for a hard fought heads up between Wahlbeck and Nick Schulman, with the latter holding a 2 to 1 advantage.
The duo slugged it out with Wahlbeck on the brink of elimination several times, only to fight his way back into contention, but Schulman managed to control the game and was victorious, collecting his first WSOP bracelet and $279,742 for his effort, whilst Wahlbeck collected the runner-up's check for $172,864, adding to his very profitable WSOP run this year.
Source: InfoPowa News