It was the day poker fans and players wait all year for as the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event officially got under way with the first of three starting days. While the final event of the series had its official launch, three other events were still going on. In Event #59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em, Dominik Nitsche won his first bracelet. Nick Schulman repeated his 2009 feat by winning Event #60: $10,000 2 – 7 Lowball (No Limit). Finally, The World Series of Poker National Championship saw the field narrow to the final eight.
Event #59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
Fifty-one players started the day in the race for the $654,797 first-place prize and one of the last bracelets to be handed out this summer. Alex Cordero entered Day 3 as the chip leader and he was joined in the field by the winner of Event #1, Chiab “Chip” Saechao, and 2011 bracelet winner Jake Cody. Saechao and Cody busted in 39th and 35th place, respectively, while Cordero made it to third. But in the end, it was Germany’s Dominik Nitsche who took down the bracelet and the top prize.
Cody’s run ended when he shoved for 154,000 chips with and Daniel Eichhorn called with . Cody failed to improve and was out, while Eichhorn moved into the chip lead. But Cordero took the lead back after knocking Sohale Khalili. Khalili was ahead going to the flop with versus until the board ran out with four hearts and Khalili was out in 29th.
Nitsche eliminated Yoav Tanenbaum in 14th place with a set versus top pair to take the chip lead with 13 left. The unlucky final table bubble boy was Iakov Onuchin. Onuchin three-bet all in from the cutoff with pocket aces and was called by Randolph Lanosga who had open-raised from under the gun with . Iakov was in excellent shape to double, but the board ran out and Lanosga’s two-pair and sent Onuchin to the rail in ninth place. With the final table set, Nitsche had extended his lead, going into the final table with 3 million chips, followed by Jonathan Hilton with 1.8 million.
Nitsche knocked out Eichhorn in ninth place with against to move up to 4.5 million. He also eliminated Miller in eighth place when his pocket kings held up against Miller’s ace-queen. Jonathan Hilton took pocket kings against Martin Vallo pocket sixes, sending Vallo to the rail in seventh place. Then Nitsche again woke up with pocket kings when Frankie Johnson was unfortunate to shove with pocket queens, finding himself out in sixth place.
Nitsche continued to run over the table, taking pocket jacks against pocket sixes to knock out Randy Lanosga in fifth place. Then Nitsche’s pocket nines held up against Sebastien Comel’s ace-queen, and there were just three left. Nitsche had 10.5 million of the 14 million chips in play. After Hilton knocked out Cordero in third place, Nitsche had almost a 3-to-1 chip lead.
Hilton battled for well over an hour, although never was able to add much to his stack, and soon found himself down below 1 million.
Hilton managed to stay alive with back-to-back double ups and looked in good shape to double up again when he called Nitsche’s all-in with . Nitsche was behind with , but the board ran out and Nitsche’s king gave him the better straight, sending Hilton out in second and giving Nitsche his first gold bracelet and the $654,797 prize.
Here are the full results of the final table:
To make sure you don’t miss any of the action from Saturday, check out the live reporting blog.
Event #60: $10,000 2 – 7 Lowball (No-Limit)
Ten players returned to crown a winner on Saturday, including two players who had previously won this event. John Juanda, the reigning champion, was looking for a repeat of his come-from-behind win of last year. But in the end it was the 2009 winner of this event, Nick Schulman, who took down the gold bracelet and top prize of $294,321.
Two players were knocked out early during the first level of play. Andy Bloch (10th place) and Larry Wright (9th place) were the only two left in the field who had a chance to win their second bracelet of the 2012 WSOP. But they made quick exits, bringing the field down to one unofficial final table of eight. Ali Eslami was the official final-table bubble boy when he was eliminated in eighth place.
Down to the final seven, Schulman was the chip leader. Bob Bright was the short stack with only about three times the big blind. He was eliminated shortly after the final table was set when his ace-low wasn’t able to beat Mike Wattel’s king-low.
The next player sent to the rail was Juanda. He had lost a substantial amount to Schulman on one hand where Juanda made a 97 against Schulman’s 96. He went all in on the next hand and drew one card against Ashton Griffin who stood pat with a . Juanda showed and had several outs to double up. Unfortunately, he pulled the and had to settle for sixth place.
Griffin was knocked out in fifth place by Wattel, who stood pat with . Griffin was drawing thin with the and failed to improve when he pulled a . A short-stacked Benjamin Parker was the next to go when he moved all in against Schulman’s pat . Parker stood pat, but his low was not good enough and we were down to the final three.
For a while, there were no showdowns and predraw raises were enough to take down the pots. Then Schulman and George Danzer got into a raising war that ended with Danzer four-betting all in for 785,000 and Schulman calling. Danzer stood pat, and Schulman, after hesitating, decided to stand pat, as well. Danzer turned over and Schulman had him beat with and it was down to heads up between Schulman and Wattel for the title.
Schulman had more than a 6-to-1 chip advantage and it took just ten minutes for the match to be over. In the final hand, Schulman raised from the button enough to put Wattel in. Wattel called and each player drew one card. Wattel looked in good position with his draw against Schulman’s . Schulman held on to his ninety-eight when he drew the , but Wattel still had plenty of outs. Unfortunately for him, he pulled the and it was all over.
Mike Wattel fell short of taking home his second WSOP bracelet. But he earned another second place finish in a 2-7 draw event, matching his 2010 finish in the $1,500 version. Nick Schulman had his second bracelet, three years after winning his first in the very same event, and crossed the $1 million mark in WSOP winnings.
Here are the final table payouts for Event #60:
To read up on all of the final day’s action, make sure you check out the PokerNews live reporting blog.
World Series of Poker National Championship
One of only three events that will be televised on ESPN, the second annual WSOP National Championship drew a wide-ranging field of 157 players on Friday, comprising both WSOP POY and WSOPC leaders. On Saturday, the remaining 39 players returned to play down to the final table of eight. When the dust settled, Yung Hwang emerged as the final table chip leader with 1.224 million, the only player to pass the million-chip mark. His closest competitor is Matt Keikoan with 957,000.
Hwang vaulted to the top of the leaderboard after knocking out both Josh Tieman and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier in the same hand when his pocket kings held up against ElkY’s pocket tens and Tieman’s ace-queen. They and 21 of the day’s starting field went home empty-handed, as only the top 18 finishers would end up in the money.
The money bubble took almost three hours to break and the very unlucky bubble boy was Mitch Schock, who was out-flopped by Keikoan. Keikoan raised to 18,000 from the hijack and Schock moved all in from the big blind for 34,000 total. Keikoan called and showed , which was way behind Schock’s — until a queen fell on the flop. The board ran out and the remaining 18 players were guaranteed at least a $22,278 payday.
Brian Rast had led the field at the start of the day but ended up eliminated in 14th place by Sam Stein, queen-ten versus Stein’s ace-queen, after going all in on a queen-high flop. The final player eliminated, just missing out on the televised final table, was Justin Gardenhire. He was ahead of Stein with versus until the flop came and he fell behind. The turn and river blanked, coming , and he was out in ninth place for $39,030.
Aside from Keikoan, there are three other notables at the final table including the last woman standing, Amanda Musumeci, vying for her first bracelet and the fourth for a woman this year, and David “ODB” Baker who is trying to be the first player this year to win a second WSOP bracelet.
Going into the final table, here are the chip counts and seat assignments:
|1||David “ODB” Baker||WSOP POY Entrant||281,000|
|2||Amanda Musumeci||At-Large Qualifier||322,000|
|3||Sam Stein||WSOP POY Entrant||651,000|
|4||Huy Nguyen||At-Large Qualifier||331,000|
|5||Yung Hwang||At-Large Qualifier||1,224,000|
|6||Nikolas Stone||Harrah’s St. Louis Casino Champ||471,000|
|7||Matt Keikoan||WSOP POY Entrant||957,000|
|8||Ryan Eriquezzo||Caesars AC Main Event Champ||474,000|
The final eight will return on Wednesday, July 11th, at 1300 PST (2100 BST) to compete for the title, the bracelet and the $416,051 first prize. This final table will filmed on the ESPN Main Stage to be aired in August.
But you don’t have to wait to find out what happens. To follow all the action live, make sure you don’t miss any of the hands we bring to you on our live reporting blog all day Wednesday.
Event #61: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event
This is it, the one everyone waits all year for, the start of the Main Event. As Doyle Brunson famously said, "the day you bust out from the Main Event is the worst day of the year." But before then, there is excitement and anticipation that you will be the one to join the pantheon of winners. Saturday’s field included the last player to see his name added to that list and his banner raised in the Amazon Room, 2011 winner Pius Heinz. Joining him were 1,065 others including some of the biggest names in poker, as well as amateurs of every walk of life all competing for the ultimate gold bracelet.
Day 1a saw five two-hour levels of play. The chip leader at the end of the day was William John, sitting on top of a massive 266,700 stack, more than 100,000 than that of his closest competitor. Gerardo Lubas (165,800), Daniel Strelitz (164,125), Dane Lomas (157,600), and Cary Katz (154,850) round out the top five.
Lost along the way were former Main Event winners Phil Hellmuth, Joe Hachem, Jim Bechtel and Berry Johnston, as well as PokerNews’ own Kristy Arnett, actor Ray Romano, pros Allen Bari, Justin Schwartz, Greg Mueller, David Chicotsky, Matt Glantz, Lee Markholt, Frank Kassela, Poker Hall of Famer Billy Baxter, and former main event final-table finishers Raymond Rahme, Soi Nguyen and Ivan Demidov. Hellmuth originally planned to play Day 1c but instead registered to play on Saturday, only to be knocked out when his top pair lost to an opponent’s set of threes.
While some players made early exits, a number of notables will be returning on Day 2a to continue their march toward the bracelet. Eric Baldwin (123,150), Faraz Jaka (115,775), Filippo Candio (85,000), Amanda Baker (80,900), JJ Liu (78,800), Brock Parker (61,025), Pius Heinz (39,775), Barry Shulman (35,275), Mike Matusow (28,450), Allen Cunningham (25,373), Mike Sexton (15,200), Allyn Jaffrey Shulman (13,800), Kevin MacPhee (9,850), and David Williams (9,100) all made it through Day 1a, with varying success.
Do not miss one exciting minute of the biggest event in poker. Follow the PokerNews live reporting blog for the best the main event coverage.
On Sunday, there will be just one event taking place but don’t expect the Rio to be quiet. Day 1b of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event will get started at 1200 PDT (2000 BST) and over a thousand players are expected for the second of three starting days.
To make sure you don’t miss all the action, follow the live reporting blog on Sunday for all the updates.
Video of the Day
In the video of the day, Sarah Grant caught up with Nick Schulman after his win in Event #60: $10,000 2 – 7 Lowball (No-Limit). He talked about the first person he called after the win, the stacked final table he faced and some tough decisions that led him to victory.
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