Event #6: No-Limit Hold 'em Championship Event
Location: Las Vegas
Number of Entries: 222
Total Prize Money: $2,109,000
The championship event attracted 222 entries. It took three days of play to eliminate 213 players. At the conclusion of Day Three, Rene Angelil from Las Vegas - the manager and husband of international singing superstar Celine Dion - was the last player to be eliminated, leaving only ten players for Day Four finale. The final table included three former WSOP gold bracelet winners - Phil Ivey (4 titles), Jennifer Harman (2 titles), and Tony Ma (2 titles). The seven remaining players were seeking their first WSOP win. The ten finalists returned to the Rio Convention Center on Wednesday, March 23rd and were eliminated as follows:
10th Place: Hieu "Tony" Ma, $29,525
On the 11th hand of finale, Ma moved in with his last 70K with A-J, suited. He was steamrolled by Jean-Robert Bellande's A-K.
9th Place: Tom Macey, $42,180
Ten minutes later, Macey busted out with A-K. Macey re-raised all-in with his last 80K with Big Slick, but it was Bellande again who came down with a sledgehammer. Bellande had pocket Sevens and the middle-pair held up to drag the 200K pot.
8th Place: Phil Ivey, $63,270
Ivey was clearly one of the crowd favorites. But the four-time gold bracelet winner failed to deliver a much-anticipated winning performance. Getting low on chips, Ivey made the wrong move at the wrong time, hoping to steal. From the bottom, he moved in with 9-5, and was called by (you guessed it) Bellande. Ivey knew instantly he had made the wrong play. Bellande flipped over A-10, which held up.
7th Place: Dennis Perry, $84,360
Bellande now had a decisive chip lead, about 2 to 1 over everyone else at the table. The shortest stack coming into the finale was Kentuckian Perry. His two hour stay at the table turned out to be bittersweet. He managed to move up three spots on the money ladder, worth an extra 60 grand, but didn't soothe the disappointment of going out next. Perry moved his last 35K into the pot with A-4 suited which was dominated by Gabriel Thaler's A-K.
6th Place: Kevin Keller, $105,450
Keller made his final stand with K-6 and made a pair of Sixes, ultimately losing to Thaler with A-J when an Ace fell on the river.
5th Place: Grant Lang, $126,540
The chip leader coming into Day Four enjoyed some clear advantages at the start, but was never able to use his stack size or position to pose a serious threat for the championship. It didn't help that Bellande won several key early pots and built up enough chips to cover Lang, effectively handcuffing his aggressiveness. Lang was gradually blinded and anted down to under 100K and lost a four-way pot on his final hand of the night.
4th Place: Gabriel Thaler, $168,720
Blinds were 6K-12K and Thaler initially raised with A-K. Bellande moved over the top for 310K more, enough to put Thaler all-in. Bellande had K-K and was thrilled to see Thaler call. Thaler needed an Ace badly, but a case King rained down on the turn.
3rd Place: Jean-Robert Bellande, $210,900
At this stage, Harman was grinded down to less than 300K and it appeared she might be next to hit the rail. But Bellande might as well have been standing at a railroad crossing tied to the tracks with a roaring freight train rumbling straight for his forehead. Bellande was dealt 6-4 and raised all-in with his last 310K when the board showed A=4=3=2 on the turn. But as it turned out, Doug Lee had a Five in his hand for a made straight. A blank on the river sealed Bellande's fate.
Runner up: Jennifer Harman, $383,840
1st Place: Doug Lee, $695,970
The heads-up duel between Doug Lee and Jennifer Harman began with the clever Canadian holding a 3 to 1 chip advantage -- 1,694,000 to 527,000. Lee won seven consecutive pots, and it looked like the "Canadian Super Bomber" was outplaying the far more experienced Harman.
Then Harman raised 50K and Lee moved all-in. Tired of his ceaseless raising, Harman reluctantly called with a less than stellar hand. The audience was horrified to see the players show their hole cards: Q-9 for Lee versus Harman's Q-7. The flop came J=4=2 and it looked like the night was over. But a Seven fell, giving Harman nearly 700K and she was back in the running. For a little while, at least. On Hand 149 there was 320K in the pot before the flop. Harman moved all-in with Q-Q after the flop came K=10=2. Lee called, holding 10-9 -- good for a second pair. A harmless Three came on the turn and Harman appeared to be one card away from seizing a 2 to 1 chip advantage.
The final card, however, was a Ten, giving Lee the victory.
View final results.