Timetable overruns requiring an extra day of play, games diversity and fiercely competitive action characterised the World Series of Poker events over the weekend, with three more events in the record books and millions of dollars distributed to successful entrants.
Event 39 was a $3,000 buy-in NLHE competition that pulled in 992 players and created a prize pool of $2,708,160. It also ran over schedule, with officials having to take the last three players into a fourth day to decide the winner, thanks to a highly skilled and competitive final table that comprised (in finishing order) Sean Dempsey, Ryan Jackonetti, Jacob Schindler, Ryan Olisav, Ryan LaPlante, Nam Le, Layne Flack, Takashi Yagura and Andrew Becker.
The elimination of Schindler at third for $212,373 set the scene for the heads up with Ryan Jackonetti holding a 2 to 1 chip lead over Sean Dempsey, who remained unruffled and played a disciplined, canny game.
That enabled him to overcome the disadvantage, seize the lead and ride it to a victory worth $548,460 and his first WSOP bracelet, leaving a disappointed Jackonetti with a still impressive second placing check for $339,440.
25-year-old Davide Suriano claimed a first prize of $335,553 and his first bracelet in event 40, a $10,000 buy-in NLHE championship contest in which 136 players registered, generating a prize pool of $1,198,400.
The structure of the event saw several rounds before the finale was reached, with the first round a bye for the young Italian, and the remaining rounds won as follows:
Round 1 (136 players): Bye
Round 2 (128 players): Scott Seiver
Round 3 (64 players) : Daniel Cates
Round 4 (32 players) : Shane Moran
Round 5 (16 players) : Serkan Kurnaz
Round 6 (8 players) : Ankush Mandavia
Round 7 (4 players) : Daniel Colman
Round 8 (2 players) : Sam Stein
That brought Sam Stein and Suriano to the heads up stage virtually even on chip stacks – a remarkable achievement for the Italian, who won through in seven matches against some truly daunting opponents that included aces like Scott Seiver and Dan Cates.
The heads up was a short 36-hand affair and took merely an hour to complete, with Suriano in almost complete control and emerging victorious after lengthening an early lead to a 6 to 1 chip advantage to claim the $335,553 main prize and his first WSOP bracelet.
Stein scored a well-earned runner up prize of $207,347, whilst semi-finalists Daniel Colman and Scott Davies won $111,942 apiece for their time and trouble.
Event 41 was the inaugural $1,500 buy-in Six Handed Dealer’s Choice event, which attracted a professional-rich field of 419 eager for a crack at the $565,560 prize pool.
The unusual format of allowing players to choose their favoured genre of poker from a selection of 16 variations when dealing ensured a high interest level and plenty of excitement in this event, introducing new games to a WSOP competition like five card draw, badeucey and badacey.
It certainly underscored the versatility and skill of the entrants, who were required to switch from one variation to another throughout the competition, assessing their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and amending their player strategies on the fly.
Three days in, Shane Abbot headed for the exit and a third place pay-out of $58,414, leaving Robert Mizrachi to face Aaron Schaff in the heads up.
Schaff looked like a certain winner after bulldozing his way through the final table and eliminating most of the players around it, and he started with a serious advantage in chips as the heads up unfolded.
Mizrachi kept his cool, and carefully selected limit games when he had the choice, favouring a careful tactical plan that steadily eroded his opponent’s stack.
Schaff appeared to favour a generally PLO-oriented approach, but it was Mizrachi’s relentless strategy that worked better, giving him the chip lead and enabling him finally to win the closely-contested match.
Mizrachi proudly displayed his second WSOP bracelet and collected the winner’s check for $147,092, whilst Schaff claimed the well-earned runner-up prize of $90,854 for his performance throughout the event, and the seven-hour final table.
Other final table pay-outs were;
Bill Chen $38,735
Danielk Idema $26,444
Frank Kassela $18,575