Day 21 at the World Series of Poker brought us two starkly different final tables; one featured a heads-up match with a seasoned L.A. card room player against a man who had never played in a poker tournament in his life. The other table featured a guy named "Jesus" taking on the likes of Annie Duke
, Marcel Luske
and the guy with one of the loudest rails of 2008. Event #32’s ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘em) final table featured a complete field of first timers who were made to feel like stars as their tournament was on the Milwaukee’s Best Light Stage. One superstar emerged from the pack by the name of Luis Velador
as he took his giant chip lead and steamrolled his way to his first ever WSOP bracelet and the $574,734 top prize. The other final table of the day Event #33 ($10,000 Seven Card Stud Eight-or-better) featured a tired yet experienced field battling for a World Championship. Also caught in the hallway was a normally shy Lee Watkinson
talking with fans and signing copies of the July issue of Bluff Magazine in which he is featured on the cover.
Here is a brief rundown of the events from Day 20:
Event #37 ($10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi-Low Spilt 8 or Better)
Event #37 has the honor of being the longest title of an event in this year’s WSOP. However long titles do not breed long fields as only 235 players attempted to see duke it out to see who is the best at Omaha Hi-Low. With the $1,500 No Limit event taking up a good portion of the Amazon Room, the small field that assembled for this World Championship was forced to share space with the amateur heavy No Limit field for the first handful of levels. Early knockouts included Gus Hansen
, Phil Hellmuth, Jean-Robert Ballande
, Michael Binger
and Howard Lederer
. Speaking of Lederer, his sister Annie Duke
had the honors of being early chip leader and is still in the hunt to take home the bracelet and top prize of $535,678. Other hopefuls making it on to Day Two include chip leader Erick Lindgren
, Mike Matusow
, Daniel Negreanu
and Doyle Brunson
Event #36 ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘em)
The "Nationwide" series of poker once again filled the Amazon and Brasilia rooms as amateurs from all over came to take a shot at the $610,278 top prize or just to have a nice "I sat at this table with this pro" story. Even though the field was larger than the previous $1,500 No Limit Hold 'em event, the tournament staff should be commended as their were no real registration issues to mention and all players looked to have made it to the table with plenty of time to be able to bring home some quality stories. Owen Crowe
, who is no stranger to final tables in cyberspace, made some heads turn as he will be taking nearly a two to one chip lead in the second day hoping to better his previous best WSOP finish of nineteenth place in a similar event in 2005. Notable players still with a chance to catch Crowe are Freddy Deeb
, Issac Haxton
, Alex Jacob
and Dunstin Dirksen
Event #35 ($1,500 Seven Card Stud)
While the star "studded" World Championship final table was taking most of the railbird’s attention, there were quite a few well rested players playing another stud game over in the Brasilia Room. Going into the day, the eyes of the few onlookers checking out this event were focused on Los Angeles Laker’s owner Jerry Buss who one day after his team was eliminated from the NBA World Championship was on track to make up for his teams shortcomings with a win of his own. However, the gods of luck must not be smiling down upon him this week as an impressive first night of action turned sour and Buss was sent to the rail. Other players who had a rough going of it in day two included early chip leader Chip Jett and Men "The Master" Nguyen. Leading the pack into the final table is Michael Rocco with 109,000 chips.
Event #35 Chip Counts and Live Updates.
Event #34 ($1,500 Pot Limit Omaha with Re-buys)
With the crazy play of the re-buy period and the first day of action behind them, the remaining competitors soldiered on to the Brasila room to compete in more traditional and methodical poker warfare. When the dust settled, Kyle Kloeckner
emerged with the chip lead. He will take his 845,000 chips into tomorrows final table action against a field of season veterans including Ted Forrest
, Layne Flack
, Jacobo Fernandez
and Tim West
, all of whom will be nipping at his heels in hopes of grabbing the $577,725 top prize.
Event #33 ($5,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud Eight-or-better)
When Day 2 action finally wrapped up this morning just a little after 7 am with Howard Lederer
’s elimination, the remaining field knew that they would be entering this final table with weary eyes. Tournament officials were nice enough to push the starting time of this event back to 5 PM to allow the players a couple of extra hours of rest and relaxation. In the end it came down to Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
playing heads-up with German Sebastian Ruthenberg
. Ruthenberg may not have had the largest rail of this year’s WSOP but it was certainly the loudest as every major pot Ruthenberg was followed by cheers and applause that could be heard down the hall in the Brasila room. For the next four hours these two would trade pots with Jesus taking a major chip lead only to see the German double up twice through him. In the end, with the support of many of his country mates on the rail, Ruthenberg pulled off the upset and took down the five time bracelet winner, in the process collecting his first ever WSOP bracelet and honors of being 2008 Seven Card Stud World Champion.
To read about Ruthenberg's World Championship run check out Gold for Deutschland
.Event #32 ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em)
Coming into the final table, the question on everyones mind was whether or not Luis Velador could hold on to his gargantuan chip stack. Right out of the gate, Velador seemed as if he wanted to silence any critics he might have by immediately bullying the table and more than doubling his chip stack to just fewer than five million of the seven million total chips in play. With such a dominating chip advantage he slowly grinded away until he was heads-up with Anthony Signore. Signore, who has never played in a poker tournament in his life, put up a tough fight and at one point nearly erased Velador’s seemingly insurmountable lead, but the cash game pro proved to be too much and Velador wore Signore down and scored his first career bracelet and a check for $574,734.
For more on Velador's win see One for the Old School.