Event #12: No-Limit Texas Hold 'em Championship Event
Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Number of Entries: 173
Total Prize Money: $1,643,500
Lake Tahoe's main event attracted 173 entries. It took three days of play to eliminate 164 players. At the conclusion of Day Three, Alan Goehring was the last player to be eliminated, leaving only nine players to play in the Day Four finale. The final table included three former WSOP gold bracelet winners - Phil Ivey (with 4), David Pham (with 1), and Joe Awada (with 1). The six remaining players were each seeking their first WSOP win. The finalists took their seats under the bright lights and ESPN cameras, rolling inside the third floor grand ballroom at Harveys Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada. Players were eliminated as follows:
9th Place: Joe Awada, $32,870
Phil Ivey took the chip lead about 45 minutes into the action when he moved in and won a huge uncalled pot without showing his hand. Finally, after nearly three hours of play, the first player was eliminated. Joe Awada, the reigning seven-card stud world champion (he won the $5,000 buy-in stud event at last year's WSOP) was getting low on chips and moved all-in with A-Q, which was called quickly by Tommy Reed, holding J-J. Awada failed to hit a pair.
8th Place: George Saca, $49,305
With eight players remaining, murmurs began to circulate that this would be either a long night or an early morning. Approaching the fourth hour of play, Ivey was still the chip leader. George Saca was lowest in chips and made his final stand with 8-8. Ivey had plenty of chips and quickly called Saca's modest all-in raise. The flop came 10=4=3, rocketing Ivey into a big advantage and leaving Saca only two outs. Two blanks fell on the turn and river, which put Saca out in 8th place.
7th Place: David "the Dragon" Pham, $65,740
Pham wasn't able to seize the momentum that might have meant yet another major tournament victory. Pham, who has won 14 majors in the last three years - quite possibly the most of any tournament player - suffered the disadvantage of sitting in the worst seat at the final table, with Ivey on his immediate left. Pham was low on chips and moved all-in on a semi-bluff when his K-Q connected with a flop that came J=10=4. Ivey covered the raise holding K-J (good for top pair). Desperately needing a 9 or an ace for the straight, Pham missed everything.
6th Place: Salim Batshon, $82,175
Entering the eighth hour of play, Ivey's dominance continued. Salim Batshon (a.k.a. "Sam B") looked like he might make a run when he was dealt 7-7 and was all-in against Ivey's A-K. On the turn, Batshon was in great position to double up. But an ace on the river crushed Batshon's dream of winning his first major tournament.
5th Place: Tommy Reed, $98,610
Reed made the biggest leap up the prize money ladder. He started the day dead last in the chip count, but moved four spots up in the money. Reed's final chips were committed after a flop of 6=6=4. James Van Alstyne checked after the flop and Reed moved in, hoping to steal the pot with two overcards -- A-K. But Van Alstyne had 6-7 and hit a set of 6s. That pretty much ended the night for Reed.
4th Place: Jonathan Shecter, $131,480
Shecter was short on chips and moved all-in with his last 90K on a club flush draw. Shecter had 5-6 of clubs and watched as the flop came A=K=10, with two clubs, triggering his final bet of the night. Unfortunately, the glass slipper did not fit, as Shecter missed his flush draw. Shecter, a 1990 graduate of Harvard University with one lone final table appearance on his poker tournament resume, survived ten long hours and ended up as the 4th-place finisher.
3rd Place: James Van Alstyne, $164,350
Van Alstyne started out with 10-8 and flopped two pair. Ivey had A-5 and flopped top pair with an ace. The turn showed A=10=8=2 and for an instant it looked like Van Alstyne might double up near Ivey in the chip count. Then, disaster struck. Van Alstyne's two pair was hammered by a higher two pair when a second deuce rained down on the river, blasting Van Alsyne off the final table.
Runner up: Phil Ivey, $299,360
1st Place: Jeffrey Lisandro, $542,360
The heads-up duel between Ivey and Lisandro began with Ivey holding a 1,296,000 to 435,000 chip advantage - about 3-to-1. With all due respect to the other seven competitors, many in the audience foresaw that in the final hour it would all come down the two highest-limit cash players. Both men routinely play in the biggest games in the world, experiencing six-figure wins and losses in a single session.
After being down 6 to 1 in chips at his low point, Lisandro staged a strong comeback. On hands when just about any other player (even very good players) might have decided to gamble hoping to get chips, Lisandro made all the right moves at the right times. Although he was one mistake away from elimination for two hours and forty-five minutes, Lisandro might have been one of Phil Ivey's toughest adversaries.
Just as Lisandro was close to drawing even in chips, on one big hand Ivey came over the top with an all-in move, forcing Lisandro to surrender his hand. The result of that loss was a 4-to-1 chip disparity. After another half hour, one of the most dramatic hands of the tournament took place when Lisandro was dealt Q-Q and moved all-in after the flop came K=10=4. Ivey, holding Q-J, had an open-ended straight draw and called after a period of deliberation. Two blanks on the turn and river gave Lisandro the 850,000 pot. That put Lisandro into the chip lead for the first time in heads-up play, and the first time since the very first hour of the tournament.
The final hand came literally out of nowhere. In fact, no in the audience quite knew what had happened when the winning hand was announced. Observers rushed towards the table and everyone stood up trying to see the final hand. Lisandro was dealt J-10 against Ivey's 9-2. The flop came 5=3=2. Ivey had bottom pair. Both players checked. A ten fell on the turn. Now, Lisandro had top pair. He bet 70,000 and Ivey called. A queen fell on the river. Lisandro bet 150,000 and Ivey moved all-in with his remaining 500,000 hoping to pull off a bluff. Lisandro read the situation perfectly. He called in what can only be described as seconds, leaving Ivey in stunned silence. Lisandro's pair of 10s scooped the final pot of the night and the longest final table in WSOPC history had ended just shy of 3 am.
View final results.