05/31/09 10:41:20 PM PDT
After four hard-fought days of play, Vitaly Lunkin made it through one of the toughest fields ever assembled for a no-limit hold'em tournament, outlasting exactly 200 other competitors to take the gold bracelet for Event No. 2, the $40,000 buy-in Special 40th Annual No-Limit Hold'em Event. The win marks Lunkin's second WSOP bracelet.
Isaac Haxton was the chip leader when the day began, with Ted Forrest and Noah Schwartz sitting on the short stacks. Both Forrest and Schwartz went out early, then Lex "RaSZi" Veldhuis followed them to the rail after pushing all in with
only to run into Greg Raymer's pocket kings. That hand gave Raymer the chip lead, and the Fossilman was still in the top spot as Alec Torelli fell in sixth. Then Lunkin gradually began chipping up past Raymer and toward the eight million-chip mark, winning almost all of his pots without showing a hand.
Justin Bonomo was the next to fall after shoving his stack on a ten-high flop with pocket jacks and getting called by Haxton who held
. The remaining four battled through the dinner break and for more than forty hands altogether before Dani "Ansky" Stern was bounced when his
couldn't catch up to Haxton's
After a few hands of three-handed play, Raymer, Haxton, and Lunkin all had almost exactly 8 million-chip stacks. With all three having almost exactly 50 big blinds each, it appeared we might be seeing a lot more poker before losing another player. But suddenly a huge pot developed between Haxton and Raymer, with all of their chips going in the middle on the strength of Haxton's pocket nines and Raymer's pocket fives. No five came to save Raymer, and the Fossilman hit the rail in third.
When heads up play began, Haxton had a bit more than a 2-to-1 chip advantage over his Russian counterpart. But it only took Lunkin seven hands to wrest the advantage away from Haxton. About an hour later, Haxton won nine straight hands and retook the lead. A sequence of huge, dramatic hands followed. First Lunkin doubled up to take the lead. Then Haxton hit a five-outer on the river to top Lunkin's pocket aces and retake the advantage. Then Lunkin doubled again. Finally, a short-stacked Haxton ran into Lunkin's aces, and this time couldn't catch the needed cards to crack them.
Congratulations to Vitaly Lunkin, champion of Event No. 2, the Special 40th Annual No-Limit Hold'em Event. Besides the gold bracelet, Lunkin earns a cool $1,891,012 for his efforts.
Thanks for following along with our coverage, and be sure to come back to PokerNews to follow the fifty-plus more bracelet events yet to come.
05/31/09 10:39:23 PM PDT
Hand #167 -
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He limps in and Haxton raises an additional 600,000. Lunkin makes the call.
The flop is
. Haxton leads out for 1,200,000, Lunkin moves all in and Haxton calls all in for 5,635,000.
The turn is the
, no help for Haxton, who needs a diamond, an eight or a three to keep his bracelet hopes alive. The river, though, is the
and Vitaly Lunkin wins the tournament, his friends rushing the table to embrace him. They wrap Lunkin in a Russian flag as they celebrate.
Haxton earns $1,168,566 for his runner-up finish while Lunkin takes home $1,891,012 and his second WSOP bracelet.
05/31/09 10:27:54 PM PDT
Isaac Haxton has the button. He limps in and Lunkin checks his option.
The flop is
and Lunkin check-folds to Haxton's 325,000 bet.
05/31/09 10:25:22 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He makes it 500,000 to go, Haxton moves all in for 5,475,000, and after asking for a count, Lunkin folds. Haxton wins the pot.
05/31/09 10:23:09 PM PDT
Isaac Haxton has the button. He limps in and Lunkin raises to 600,000. Haxton folds and Lunkin wins the pot.
05/31/09 10:22:25 PM PDT
We've now seen exactly 50 hands of heads up. Safe to say the last 10 have been somewhat more exciting than the previous 40.
Vitaly Lunkin -- 18,360,000
Isaac Haxton -- 5,735,000
It has been about three hours since heads up play began.
05/31/09 10:21:14 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He limps in and Haxton raises to 600,000. Lunkin folds and Haxton wins the pot.
05/31/09 10:17:23 PM PDT
Talk about a suck/re-suck...
Isaac Haxton has the button. He makes it 400,000 to go and Lunkin reraises to 1.4 million. Haxton calls and they go to the flop.
The flop is
. Lunkin leads out for 2,000,000, Haxton moves all in and Lunkin calls.
Haxton is in dire shape here and needs to hit an eight or running non-club straight cards to survive.
And the turn is... the
Even Haxton can't believe it, his jaw hanging open in amazement.
However, the river is the
and the room explodes as Lunkin makes his flush, decimating Haxton's stack. He's left with 5,505,000 while Lunkin has the rest, 18,590,000 in all.
05/31/09 10:10:00 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He limps in and Haxton raises to 800,000 total. Lunkin calls.
The flop comes down
and Haxton checks. Lunkin checks behind. The turn is the
and both players check again. The river is the
and wins the pot.
05/31/09 10:04:46 PM PDT
Isaac Haxton has the button. He opens for 400,000 and Lunkin calls.
The flop is
and Lunkin check-raises Haxton's 525,000 bet to 1.45 million. Haxton calls and they go to the turn, which falls the
. Lunkin leads out with a 1.5 million bet, Haxton moves all in and Lunkin calls.
Haxton needs a king or a ten to survive.
"This would be a good time to use my 'one time'" he says, echoed by a chorus from his railbirds.
One time indeed-- the river is the
and Haxton thrusts his fists into the air.
"ONE TIME! ONE TIME!" screams Haxton's half of the audience.
With that hand, Haxton doubles to 13,970,000 while Lunkin is down to 10,125,000.
05/31/09 10:02:55 PM PDT
After busting in 17th in the Champions Invitational event earlier this evening, Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston has made his way over to watch some of this heads up battle.
Play has concluded in that event, with the top ten finishers slated to return tomorrow at 3 p.m. Vegas time to play out the final table. You'll once again be able to [url=http://www.pokernews.com/live-reporting/2009-wsop-champions-invitational/toc/]follow the action in that one[/url] here on PokerNews.
05/31/09 09:56:15 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He gives Haxton a walk in the big blind.
05/31/09 09:55:16 PM PDT
Isaac Haxton has the button. He raises to 400,000 and picks up the blinds and antes.
05/31/09 09:54:45 PM PDT
There was a dealer change after that last hand. "He's my man," said Isaac Haxton with a smile, hopeful to retake the momentum once again.
05/31/09 09:53:20 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He raises to 400,000, Haxton three-bets to 1.4 million and Lunkin moves all in. Haxton folds and Lunkin takes the pot.
Lunkin is now up to 17,470,000.
05/31/09 09:51:22 PM PDT
Isaac Haxton has the button. He raises to 400,000 and Lunkin calls.
The flop is
and Lunkin check-folds to Haxton's 600,000 bet.
05/31/09 09:49:45 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He raises to 500,000 and Isaac Haxton calls.
The flop is
and Haxton check-folds to Lunkin's 500,000 bet.
05/31/09 09:46:29 PM PDT
Isaac Haxton has the button. He raises to 400,000 and Lunkin comes in with a three-bet to 1.4 million. Haxton moves all in and Lunkin calls all in for 7,940,000. Haxton has him well covered.
The flop is
and the Russian contingent explodes on one side of the room as Lunkin flops top set. The turn is the
, leaving Haxton drawing dead. The river is the meaningless
and Lunkin earns a huge double-up, completely reversing the chip counts.
Lunkin is currently up to 15,940,000 while Haxton is left with 8,155,000.
05/31/09 09:44:11 PM PDT
It has been over two hours since Greg Raymer's sudden elimination and the start of heads up play.
Isaac Haxton held a little better than a 2-to-1 chip lead over Vitaly Lunkin at that point, but it only took Lunkin seven hands to take the lead away. But after a lengthy bit of back-and-forthing, Haxton has now retaken the momentum and has built his way close to that 2-to-1 chip advantage once again.
Neither player appears to be in any huge hurry to gamble it up. And the stacks are still deep -- Haxton has about 75 big blinds to Lunkin's 45.
But wait... something big is brewing...
05/31/09 09:42:07 PM PDT
Vitaly Lunkin has the button. He makes it 500,000 to go and is met with a reraise to 1.6 million from Haxton. Lunkin folds and Haxton takes it down.