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It's congratulations to backgammon and poker ace Arkadiy Tsinis, who is one of the newest World Series of Poker bracelet winners after taking down event 38: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em and collecting the first prize check for $540,136 Saturday.
This was another event that over-ran into a fourth day following high levels of skill and determination among the field, which started out with 2,192 registrations and was down to 23 players entering the third day. The survivors played down to a lively final table, which eventually produced a heads up between Tsinis and Michael Blanovsky, with the former holding the advantage on 5.9 million to Blanovsky's 3.96 million.
However, Blanovsky managed to hang in until level 10 and the end of the day's play, necessitating the return of the finalists on Saturday, by which stage Tsinis had increased his lead to around 7 million, whilst Blanovsky was holding around 2.76 million.
Saturday's midday start on the fourth day saw Blanovsky stage a remarkable comeback, doubling to take the lead and igniting the competition as Tsinis battled to take it back with a further double before eventually - at level 32 - turning the nut-straight in an all-in preflop clash to send Blanovsky to the cashier to collect his runner up's prize of $336,253.
The fourth day clash had lasted almost three hours, full of aggressive but disciplined poker.
Tsinis celebrated with the bracelet, the cash and the knowledge that he had bested a field that had contained many of the best players in the world.
Mitch Schock was also celebrating on Saturday night after claiming the jewellery and the first prize of $310,225 on the third day of event 39: $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em/Omaha.
The first day of the event saw 606 players taking their seats, a 21% rise in registrations over 2010, but by the last day only 22 competitors remained, and that was soon reduced to a final table.
When the action was down to five survivors, Schock suddenly ignited, staging an exciting series of moves and double ups that saw him soar from a low chip count to significant chip leader in a relatively short space of time.
Maintaining his advantage, Schock tore through the remaining players to face Rodney Brown in the heads up, where his lead was wrested from him by a talented and determined Brown, almost ending Schock's tournament life before the cards turned and he again managed to first equal and then surpass his opponent's chip stack on the last level of the third day.
It looked at that point as if this was going to be another four day event, with Brown still holding an impressive stack despite Schock's lead, but the cards continued to favour Schock, and combined with his savvy play it was too much for Brown to beat.
Schock took the victor's spoils, leaving his very worthy opponent with a $191,618 payday.
In event 40: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed, 20 players from an original field of 732 took their seats Saturday for the third day, with Justin Filtz holding a convincing chip lead. Still in the field at that point were formidable players like Shane Schleger, 2010 WSOP main event champion Jonathan Duhamel, and four-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu, none of whom survived the day.
Following the dinner break, the elimination of Dan O'Brien in seventh place at level 25 saw the last six players around the table: Justin Filtz, Matthew Vengrin, Robert Merulla, Wesley Pantling, Matt Jarvis and Tore Lukashaugen, with Merulla in charge. His dominance was not to last however; he busted out a little later in fourth place.
Wesley Pantling's elimination in third place set the scene for the heads between Matt Jarvis and Justin Filtz, with Jarvis holding a 3 million chip lead at level 28.
By just after midnight Saturday the two were still battling in the level, with Filtz taking back the lead and some 2.6 million up on his opponent.
10 players were left in event 41: $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout when the second day's play ended after eight levels Saturday, with Eugene Katchalov heading the final ten survivors: Adam Tyburski, Justin Pechie, Jordan Rich, Stephen Bass, Dale Eberle, Mathieu Jacqmin, Christoph Kwon, Ari Engel and Dom Denotaristefani.
60 players started on the second day of this competition, all that remained of an original entry field of 538, and the day claimed names like Noah Boeken, Brock Parker, Hoyt Corkins, Victor Ramdin, Al Barbieri, Randy Lew, Bryan Huang, Jameson Painter and Todd Witteles among the casualties.
Katchalov looks to be the favourite to win and claim his second bracelet in this Series.
Event 42: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship was down to 170 players from a starting field of 361 when the second day of action commenced Saturday, with many top players still in the running, including Sami Kelopuro, Ben Lamb, Tom Dwan, Max Pescatori, Vanessa Selbst, Peter Jetten, Tom Marchese and Matt Glantz.
By the small hours of Sunday morning Vegas time there were 42 players still in action at level 17 with the top ten comprising: Sami Kelopuro (chip leader on 725,000), Ben Lamb (587,000) Aaron Schaff, Justin Schwartz, Will Failla, Felipe Ramos, Jared Bleznick, Matt Glantz , Christopher King and Tristan Clemencon.
Recent eliminations going into the small hours of Sunday morning included Vanessa Selbst, Tom Dwan, Gregory Brooks and Dave Ulliott.
Approaching midnight Saturday, the first day of event 43: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em was declared done at level 10, with players bagging their chips for the day and Norwegian pro Age Spets well ahead in the chip stakes.
The day had started with another huge entry field of 2,857, generating a prize pool of $3.85 million.
The current high profile politician in attempts to legalise online poker in the United States, Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton, travelled to Las Vegas to give the "shuffle up and deal" call for the event, and took the opportunity to talk about his new measure, which he hopes to have passed by this session of Congress.
Play was halted at level 10 Saturday night with a strong contingent of female aces still in contention, including Maria Ho, Kathy Liebert and Erica Schoenberg, along with former WSOP bracelet winners Joe Cada, Gavin Griffin, David Baker, Thomas Keller and James Mackey.
440 players will return for the second day of play Sunday.
Event 44: $2,500 Seven Card Razz started late Saturday afternoon Vegas time with an entry field of 363 creating a prize pool worth $825,825 and a liberal sprinkling of star-power scattered among the tables.
By the early morning hours of Sunday the competition had reached level 7 and 217 players were still at the felt, with a top ten in chip counts list comprising: Jimmy Fricke (chip leader on 31,000) Tim Fiorvanti (28,900), Rep Porter, Shannon Shorr, John Monnette, Greg Dyer, Alexander Kostritsyn, Julie Schneider, Shawn Buchanan and Calvin Anderson.
Source: InfoPowa News