World Series of Poker Day 33 Recap
July 02, 2008 - 10:47:43 AM EST
Day 33 of the World Series of Poker featured two of the greatest final tables this year. Event #50 ($10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Omaha) was an international affair that featured an Australian, a Canadian, an Irishman and a “Grinder”. Just feet away from the ESPN Main Stage, coming down the stretch in their own tournament, was Event #51 ($1,500 H.O.R.S.E.). People from all over the poker universe were changing dinner and party plans, as one of the greatest poker players of all time was seeking his record 12th bracelet.
In other news, the last major tournament before the Main Event kicked off today with Event #53 ($1,500 Limit Hold ‘em Shooutout) while Event #52 ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘em) was played down to a final table in the Brasilia Room. Also, seen walking through the Amazon Room today, Event #45 ($50,000 H.O.R.S.E.) bracelet winner Scotty Nguyen was celebrating by handing out varying amounts of $5 chips to dealers as a sign of appreciation for their hard work over such a long period.
Event #53 ($1,500 Limit Hold ‘em Shooutout)
More than 800 players took to the felt today in the last major tournament before the Main Event. Typically major tournaments with this many entrants are scheduled for three days, but with the Main Event being scheduled for Thursday, this event is being consolidated into just two days. By the time most of the other events of the day were getting back from their dinner break, the first round of action had played from 832 players down to 90. By 2:30 Wednesday morning, the event finished the 10th level, and there had only been 15 additional eliminations, leaving 75 players tomorrow with a chance to make the final table and pick up the top prize of $278,180. A few notables who will be back for the second day of play include Jean-Robert Bellande, Hoyt Corkins, and Kenna James.
Event #53 Chip Counts and Live Updates.
Event #52 ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘em)
Day two action took place in the Brasilia Room. Only a few notable pros joined the throngs of amateurs looking to make the last live broadcast of the year on ESPN360.com. Heading into today’s play, Cody Slaubaugh, Mimi Tran and Vanessa Russo were the top pros that still had a chance to make the final table, however none could survive the unconventional play that the amateurs brought and must wait for the Main Event to extract revenge. Those who did make it on to the final table are Corwin Cole, Matt Matros, Dan Heimiller and six other people who have a chance to capture the $625,443 top prize.
Event #52 Chip Counts and Live Updates. Watch the final table live on ESPN360.com.
Event #51 ($1,500 H.O.R.S.E.)
The action began with 20 players vying for the top eight and a chance at final table glory. One of the top 20 who started the day was Phil Hellmuth, looking to capture his 12th and record extending WSOP bracelet. One by one through the afternoon players were eliminated and Hellmuth kept adding to his chip stack. With each player eliminated the crowd around the green tables grew as fans at the Rio jockeyed for position on the rails, hoping to witness Hellmuth’s trek toward his eventual date with history.
When news broke that Hellmuth had made the final table, both pros and fans alike rushed to the rail of the side stage. Top pros including 2005 Main Event winner Joe Hachem, Humberto Brenes, Bill Chen and Alex Kravchenko joined both Hellmuth’s mother and father who flew in for a chance to witness their son make history. In all, nearly 200 people jammed all rails at the Milwaukee’s Best No Limit Lounge to catch a piece of the action.
The final table was an up and down adventure for Hellmuth. He found himself, at varying times, the chip leader and at one point, when play was down to five handed, seemed in control and on his way to winning his 12th bracelet. Then, with the loud cheers from the ESPN Main stage ringing in all players heads, Hellmuth’s stack began to shrink and eventually he found himself all in against James Schaaf. Hellmuth was able to pull a double up and went into the capacity crowd for high-fives and handshakes.
However, the run at history was cut short as Hellmuth made it to three-handed action. There, his stack ran dry and Tommy Hang was able to knock Hellmuth out in third place. With Hellmuth, and the 12th bracelet quest behind them, Schaaf and Hang provided an exciting show for the remaining fans in attendance, going back and forth, trading the chip lead on several occasions. In the end, it would be Schaaf taking home the bracelet and the top prize of $256,412.
For a full recap of the final table of Event #51 read The Navigator.
Event #50 ($10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Omaha)
With Hellmuth seeking to rewrite the history books just mere feet away, the World Championship of Pot Limit Omaha would be decided on the ESPN Main Stage. Early action tended to favor Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi as he was able to eliminate the first four players on his way to building a comfortable chip stack. Play remained somewhat tight until the table reached four handed play. Joining the Grinder was Australian Billy “The Croc” Argyros, Canadian Peter Jetten and Irishman Marty Smyth, who provided the only other knockout of the tournament when he eliminated Richard Harroch in fifth place.
After the dinner break, play loosened up as the Grinder and the Croc found themselves in a heads up battle on a couple of different occasions. The Croc managed to double up twice, but on the third opportunity, the Grinder did his best “Crocodile Hunter” impression and sent Argyros packing. Jetten, with the rest of his faithful Canadians, were in full celebration of Canada Day. He gave his fans a treat as he knocked out the Grinder, denying the Mizrachi family the opportunity to keep the bracelet in the family, as brother Robert Mizrachi won this same event last year.
With all other competitors out of the way, an epic heads up showdown took place between the Canadian and the Irishman. Another battle was going on in the stands as the Canadian faithful battled the Irish faithful on who could be the loudest. Combined, most observers agree that these two rails set the record for loudest crowd at a 2008 WSOP final table. In the end the chant of the Irish fans - “You'll Never Beat the Irish” - rang true as Smyth caught a flush on the river and sent Jetten packing in second place.
For a full recap of the final table of Event #50 read Irish Eyes are Smiling.