2012 World Series of Poker Day 41: Viacheslav Zhukov and Greg Merson Win Bracelets



Day 41 of the World Series of Poker came to a close Friday with two more bracelets awarded, two tournaments reaching their final few tables, and one new tournament playing down to 39 players. In Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed, Gregory Merson and Keith Lehr ended the tournament in just one hand. It took a little longer to close out Event #58: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better, but Viacheslav Zhukov ebentually collected the gold bracelet. Event #59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em combined the two Day 1 flights and leading the pack after Day 2 was Alex Cordero. Event #60: $10,000 2 – 7 Lowball (No Limit) played down from the final 54 players to 10 and Ashton Griffin pulled ahead of the pack. Still alive to defend his title, as well, is John Juanda. The World Series of Poker National Championship also began Friday and 157 players showed up to play. Leading the pack at the end of Day 1 was Brian Rast.

Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed

Day 4 of Event #57 looked to be a long one with both players coming back to play heads-up with good stacks relative to the blind structure. But in the end, it only took one hand for Gregory Merson to defeat Keith Lehr and take down the title.

On the final hand, Merson opened to 280,000 from the button. Lehr made it 915,000 from the small blind. Then, Merson moved all-in with his covering stack. Lehr snapped it off with {A-Spades}{Q-Diamonds} and Merson was holding the {K-Spades}{9-Spades} and needed to catch up to bag the elimination and the tournament. The flop came {10-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{10-Clubs}, giving Merson the lead with a pair of nines. The turn changed things when the {Q-Spades} fell, giving Lehr the lead with a pair of queens; however, the river brought the {J-Hearts}, giving Merson the winning straight to the king.

With that hand, Merson became the champion of Event #57, collecting a gold bracelet and $1,136,197. Lehr fell in second but was still able to collect $701,757 for his runner-up finish. Here is a look at all the payouts from the final table:

Place Player Prize
1 Gregory Merson $1,136,197
2 Keith Lehr $701,757
3 Shannon Shorr $455,362
4 Eddy Sabat $300,753
5 Christopher Brammer $200,502
6 Andrew Lichtenberger $140,351

To see all the action from the final table of this tournament and more, make sure you check out the live reporting blog for all the updates.

Event #58: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better

It didn’t take long to end Event #58 either as only three players remained to fight for the title: Roch Cousineau, Viacheslav Zhukov, and Chris Bell. Zhukov came into the final three as the chip leader and used his lead to seal the deal and win his second bracelet.

Chris Bell was first to hit the rail after coming into the day as the shortest stack. On his final hand, he and Zhukov got all the money in preflop. Bell was holding {A-Spades}{10-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{3-Clubs} and Zhukov was holding {A-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{3-Hearts}. The board fell {A-Clubs}{K-Spades}{3-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{6-Clubs}, giving Zhukov a better two pair, and with Bell’s elimination it was on to heads-up play.

Heads-up action fierce as the two players exchanged the chip lead numerous times. It took nearly three hours, but Zhukov finally managed to grind Cousineau down to a short stack. On the final hand, Zhukov raised the button for 250,000. Cousineau moved all-in for 755,000, and Zhukov called putting him at risk. Cousineau held {A-Diamonds}{A-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}, and Zhukov held the {A-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}. The flop came down {4-Spades}{2-Spades}{5-Clubs} giving Zhukov two pair for the lead. The {K-Hearts} on the turn, though, was a brick, as was the {8-Spades} on the river. With that, Cousineau was eliminated in second place but still collected $204,436 for his finish. Zhukov was able to walk away with the win, his second gold bracelet, and $330,277 for first place. Zhukov’s first bracelet came from winning the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better Championship back in 2011.

Here’s a look at the payouts from the final table:

Place Player Prize
1 Viacheslav Zhukov $330,277
2 Roch Cousineau $204,426
3 Chris Bell $135,858
4 David "ODB" Baker $100,820
5 Randy Ohel $75,662
6 Yuval Bronshtein $57,339
7 Jack Ward $43,840
8 Scotty Nguyen $33,789
9 Juan Ramirez $26,235

To see what else you missed from the final day of play and earlier, make sure you check out the live reporting blog for all the updates.

Event #59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em

Alex Cordero held the chip lead when the remaining players from Day 1A and Day 1B combined in one room. Cordero carried that momentum late into Day 2, finishing as chip leader again with 822,000 chips.

Several players manage to survive to the money bubble but fell shortly afterward. Among them were Jeff Madsen, Tony Dunst and Konstantin Puchkov. Puchkov was able to make history Friday, cashing for the 11th time this series, breaking the record of the late Nikolay Edvakov. Puchkov’s was only able to secure a mincash, but it was still good enough to break the record.

Still alive in the field is Jake Cody who managed to move into Day 3 with a healthy stack of 302,000. In one hand we watched him play, a player opened from the button to 5,000 and Cody called from the big blind. The flop fell {Q-Clubs}{K-Spades}{4-Diamonds} and both players checked. On the {6-Spades} turn, Cody bet out 15,000 and his opponent tanked a bit before announcing he was all-in for 30,000 more. Cody snapped called with {K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds} for top two pair, and his opponent was already drawing dead holding the {K-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}. The river was the {3-Hearts}, adding a little more sting to his opponent.

Cordero bagged the most chips after winning a sizable pot midway through the day. With 50,000 chips already in the pot, on a {J-Hearts}{6-Spades}{10-Spades}{8-Clubs}{2-Clubs} board, Cordero had moved all-in, putting his opponent to a touch decision. After tanking for a bit, his opponent put in the call, and Cordero showed {Q-Clubs}{9-Clubs} for the nut straight. From there, Cordero moved up to 320,000 chips and never looked back.

The final 51 players will return Saturday at 1300 PST (2100 BST) and attempt to make it down to a final table. If not, the players will play down ten levels and halt play when they reach it.

To make sure you don’t miss any of the action from Saturday, check out the live reporting blog.

Event #60: 2 – 7 Lowball (No-Limit)

Fifty-four players returned for Day 2 of Event #60, but many fell on the way down to the final ten players. Leading the way at the end of play was Ashton Griffin, who bagged up 638,000 chips. Also still in the mix is last year’s champion of this event, John Juanda.

The field was still filled with big names on Friday, so it was no surprise that many hit the rail before the money. Among them were Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, David Williams, Phil Galfond and Barry Greenstein. It wasn’t until Jim Bechtel was eliminated that the money bubble was burst and the players locked up a payday. On his final hand, Bechtel moved all-in for 20,500 from under the gun. He was called by Bob Bright in the big blind. Bright took one card holding {10-}{8-}{4-}{3-} and Bechtel took two holding {5-}{4-}{2-}. Bright pulled a {9-} giving him a ten-nine low, meaningBechtel would have to improve to stay alive, but he pulled a {j-} and a {7-}, eliminating him from the tournament.

Busting after cashing were Jason Mercier, Erik Seidel, and Daniel Negreanu, all earning themselves a mincash. On Negreanu’s final hand, he called an all-in from Andy Bloch and drew two holding {7-}{6-}{2-}. Bloch took one holding the {9-}{8-}{7-}{4-}. Negreanu first drew a {Q-}, but Bloch pulled a {K-}, meaning there was still hope for Negreanu. On his second draw though, Negreanu pulled a second {Q-} pairing him and eliminating him from the tournament in 13th place for $19,272.

The final 10 players will return Saturday and play down to a winner starting at 1400 PST (2200 BST). The players will reach an official final table at seven players.

To make sure you don’t miss any draws from the final table and more, follow the live reporting blog where we will bring you all the updates.

World Series of Poker National Championship

There were 100 qualifiers and 57 buy-ins for the World Series of Poker National Championship. To be eligible for the event, players either had to qualify on the circuit by winning the main event at a stop, or collect enough Player of the Year points. You could also enter the event if you were a member of the top 100 club for the World Series of Poker Player of the Year points list for the last two years. With the 57 buy-ins, and the $1,000,000 added from the World Series of Poker, the prize pool stood at $1,570,000, creating a $416,051 first prize.

The field was filled with notables, as well as World Series of Poker Circuit standouts such as Aaron Massey, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, Amanda Musumeci, Jamie Kerstetter, and Drazen Ilich, all of whom are still alive. Leading the way after Day 1 was Brian Rast, who bagged up 248,000 chips.

Plenty of players didn’t survive Day 1, including Allen Bari, John Racener, Matt Glantz, Freddy Deeb, Kurt Jewell, AP Phahurat, and Tuan Phan. Another player who did not make it through: Phil Hellmuth. On Hellmuth’s last hand, Nikolas Stone opened the pot for 4,500 and Hellmuth called, as well as another player. On the {A-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} flop, all three players checked. On the {4-Spades} turn, Hellmuth led for 5,000 chips and was called only by Stone. On the {J-Spades} river, Hellmuth check called Stone’s all-in shove, and mucked when Stone showed {A-Spades}{K-Hearts}.

One player who was able to build a big stack on Day 1, though, was Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier. In one hand, Jeff Fielder raised under the gun for 3,500, and only Grospellier made the call. On the {K-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} flop, both players checked. On the {10-Spades} turn, though, Jeff Fielder bet out 4,500, which Grospellier called. The river was the {Q-Spades} and Fielder bet again for 8,000, but this time, Grospellier shot back with a raise to 23,000. Fielder called, and Grospellier showed {A-Spades}{J-Spades} for a rivered straight. That hand moved Grospellier among the chip leaders, and he finished the day second in chips behind only Brian Rast.

Players will return Saturday at 1300 PST (2100 BST) in the Brasilia Room with 60-minute levels. Play will end until a final table of eight is reached. The final table will be filmed by ESPN and aired at a later date.

To make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting action, check out the live reporting blog for constant updates throughout the day.

On Tap

On Saturday, Event #59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em will play down ten more levels or until a final table has been reached. Event #60: $10,000 2 – 7 Lowball (No-Limit) will play until a winner is crowned. The World Series of Poker National Championship will also play down until a final table of eight has been decided. Also beginning Saturday, the event we’ve all been waiting for, the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event.

To make sure you don’t miss the beginning of road to Main Event glory, follow the live reporting blog on Saturday for all the updates.

Video of the Day

In the video of the day, Lynn Gilmartin caught up with the winner of Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed, Greg Merson, just after his victory. In the video, Merson talks about his excitement after just winning a bracelet and the more than $1 million first prize.

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