Thursday, July 1, 2010 1:20 AM Local Time
After three intense days of poker, countless bad beats and lucky rivers, a champion in Michael Linn has been crowned in Event #49: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em!
Another Monday in Las Vegas saw 2,543 players take to the felt for the last $1,500 donkament of the series with a number of veterans, tournament junkies and amateurs alike making up the all-star field.
Unfortunately, for over two thousand of them, they would find themselves on the rail over the course of the day as only 290 players returned for day two action; or the money day!
The bubble burst early as play was fast and action-packed as players such as JP Kelly (208th), Matthew Matros (194th), Allen Kessler (191st), Ari Engel (184th), George Lind (166th) , Shane Schleger (146th), Marc Naalden (134th) and David Pham (80th) were just a few of those that exited shy of a day three berth.
For the twenty-three still in contention for the Event #49 bracelet, Michael Linn held the overnight chip lead with only Mihai Minole snapping at his heels as we arrived at the final table just a few minutes shy of the fifth hour of play.
Throughout the early parts of day three it would be the quiet assassin Taylor Larkin who would steam-roll himself into the chip lead as the final nine was reached.
It would take no longer than twenty minutes until we lost Tyler Cornell before Erle Mankin, Justin Zaki, Alexander Kuzmin and Chadwick Grimes all fell during the course of two levels.
With play now at four-handed, Larkin still retained the lead, but the gap had been bridged by both Mihai Manole and Michael Linn, as Benjamin Smith tried to peddle the short-stack, but would be unsuccessful as he fell next.
Linn then put his foot down and stepped up both his aggression and chip accumulation skills as he surged out to a two-to-one chip lead over his two opponents before dispatching of Manole in third place when he outdrew his deuces.
Heading into heads up play, Linn held over a two-to-one lead against Larkin as an intense near two-hour heads up match would begin. Linn kept his aggression up as he extended his lead to over a four-to-one one before doubling up Larkin twice to keep him in the match.
With a rail that featured friends, family and random onlookers, Linn would eventually dispatch of Larkin as we approached hour twelve when his Ace-Deuce remained in the lead to send Larkin to the rail. As the dubbed silent assassin now culled, Linn's third victim of the final table would be an extremely memorable one.
PokerNews would like to congratulate Michael Linn on an excellently played tournament full of timely aggression, patience and composure along with great awareness to see him crowned the Event #49: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Champion, owner of a coveted gold bracelet and $609,493 in prizemoney!
Thursday, July 1, 2010 1:15 AM Local Time
After Taylor Larkin's latest setback, it was inevitable that the chips would be flying in once again, and soon - the only question that remained was: could he survive for a third time?
Unfortunately for Larkin, the answer was no, Michael Linn in front preflop with versus and staying ahead through the board to finally tear the finishing tape after a dogged heads-up battle.
Previous final tables may have witnessed raucous support from drunken youths and rowdy patriots, but today's rail saw both of Larkin's grandparents cheering from the sidelines, whilst Michael Linn boasted family member and poker pro Barry Greenstein.
In the end, it was the latter combo that prevailed, a paltry pair of deuces enough to force Larkin into second for a highly credible $378,905, and Linn into the elite bracelet-winning circle where his uncle currently resides.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 1:14 AM Local Time
Taylor Larkin made it the standard 200,000 from the button and Michael Linn called from the big blind.
The board was checked through to the river to see Linn fire out 300,000 and Larkin make the call.
"You gotta Ace?" asked Linn.
"Nup" was the blatant response from Larkin as he cut the chips necessary to call.
Linn tabled his to collect the pot and move to just under ten million as Larkin slipped to 1,530,000 in chips.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 1:12 AM Local Time
After a long period of raise-fold, we eventually witnessed only our second all-in showdown of this encounter, and again it was short stack Taylor Larkin who had his nose in front. With Michael Linn raising to what I understand was 200,000 (although they appear to be whispering their raises), Larkin announced all-in and Linn made the call.
The flop improved Larkin's hand, but had Linn still in search of one of six outs, one of which emerged on the turn. But just as your blogging team were ordering pints at the bar, a deuce from Belarus ( ) hit the river to double Larkin up.
The final figure sliding across the baize was 1,175,000, meaning Larking is now back up to around 2,400,000.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 1:01 AM Local Time
Taylor Larkin shot a sneaky grin towards Michael Linn and then limped in for 100,000 as Linn checked his option.
The flop fell down and Linn fired out 200,000, which was enough to prompt a fold from Larkin as Linn flashed his .
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:55 AM Local Time
There appears to be an understanding at the moment between the two players. One only has to reach for chips for the other to fold, and every raise appears to be an automatic 200,000.
On their last encounter, Taylor Larkin made their standard minimum raise from the button and Michael Linn flat called, a rarity in a heads-up encounter which has, thus far, been played almost entirely preflop.
On the flop, Linn checked, Larkin bet 275,000, and Linn threw away his hand. This gave Larkin around the 1.5 million mark, and Linn 9,900,000.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:40 AM Local Time
It felt like it was just a matter of time before we had a showdown, as with just one million in chips, Larkin had reached the stage where he was open-shoving the majority of his buttons, and his opponent doing likewise.
In the end, Larkin got his chips in ahead with versus , and after a board, found himself back over the two million mark.
However, with the blinds having recently increased, Larkin still only has around 20 big blinds and will be looking for opportunities to get his stack in and double up again.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:33 AM Local Time
Michael Linn opened to 200,000 from the button and Taylor Larkin made the call.
The flop fell down to see Linn's 225,000-chip bet check-called by Larkin as the landed on the turn.
Both players checked as the dealer burned and turned the on the river to prompt a check from Larkin before a bet of 300,000 followed from Linn.
Larkin shaked his head in frustration before flicking his cards into the muck to slip to 1,275,000 as Linn soars further ahead to 10,125,000 in chips.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:27 AM Local Time
Although a break is scheduled, the two remaining poker Trojans have opted to play on through.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:25 AM Local Time
Most hands are going raise, reraise, fold at the moment, but we did see one rare flop where Michael Linn opened to 175,000 and Taylor Larkin called. The community cards were , which triggered Larkin into a bet of 225,000, but as soon announced raise, Larkin made the fold. Larkin still fighting but in desperate need of a double through with just 2,000,000.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:12 AM Local Time
Just a few hands of heads-up played so far. It doesn't look like it'll take too long though (gulp - that might come back to haunt me).
On one hand, Taylor Larkin raised to 175,000 only to fold to a three-bet to 480,000 by Michael Linn. Then, on the very next deal, Larkin returned the favor by reraising Linn's button open of 175,000 to 500,000. Linn made the fold.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:08 AM Local Time
Michael Linn is currently dominating this heads up battle at the moment.
Whether it is just a simple preflop raise, or a raise after a Taylor Larkin open, Linn is taking down the majority of pots here at our final table.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:06 AM Local Time
Michael Linn opened to 175,000 from the button and Taylor Larkin made the call to see a flop fall.
Larkin checked and Linn fired out 235,000 only to have Larkin check-raise to 625,000 total. Linn made the call to see the land on the turn and Larkin check the action over to him.
Linn slid in a small - relative to the pot size - bet of just 250,000 which was enough to prompt a fold from Larkin to see him slip to 2,850,000 as Linn climbs to 8,550,000 in chips.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:03 AM Local Time
Taylor Larkin limped in and Michael Linn checked his option in the big.
The flop fell down and Linn's 90,000-chip bet was enough to draw first blood in this heads up duel.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:58 PM Local Time
Mihai Manole's exit was a rather simple affair in the end, the shortest of the three stacks pushing all in from the button for around 1,500,000 and small blind Michael Linn, who was still stacking his chips from the previous hand, making an immediate call.
"Deuce!" commanded a member of the rail.
"Three!" came the latest request.
The blank river meant that Manole picked up third, whilst Romania - if my assumed statistic is correct - missed out on their first ever bracelet by just a couple of spots.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:53 PM Local Time
Michael Linn opened to 175,000 from the button and both Taylor Larkin and Mihai Manole made the call from the small and big blind respectively.
The flop was checked to Linn who opted to fire out a bet of 370,000 as Larkin called and Manole folded.
The turn fell the , and following a check from Larkin, Linn fired out 950,000.
Larkin deliberated for a while before opting to muck to see Linn collect the pot and move to over six million in chips.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:50 PM Local Time
Mihai Manole opened the button to 175,000 only to have Taylor Larkin successfully force a fold when he three-bet to 500,000 from the big blind.
Just two hands later, Larkin would receive a taste of his own medicine when he opened to 175,000 only to have Michael Linn three-bet to 485,000.
Larkin tanked for nearly a minute before flashing the to see Linn collect the pot.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:47 PM Local Time
Benjamin Smith was down to just several hundred thousand when he made his move, but when the chips went in he found himself in need of divine assistance with versus the of Michael Linn.
Sadly for the American, the Poker Gods had their fingers in their ears and were singing "lalalala" as the board came to send him out in fourth place. Still, a mighty fine performance, and one that has earned him $193,418, which should put bread on the table for a few weeks at least.
Michael Linn, on the other hand, could be eating caviar for years to come as he now has 3,800,000 in chips and is second to only Taylor Larkin who has 4,600,000.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:39 PM Local Time
Mihai Manole opened to 275,000 from the small blind and Michael Linn made the call from the large.
Manole fired out 350,000 on the flop and Linn made the call to see the land on the turn and checks follow from both players.
The river fell the , and following a check from Manole, Linn fired out 650,000 to prompt a fold from the Romanian.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:37 PM Local Time
Taylor Larkin opened to 200,000 form the small blind and Maihai Manole made the call from the big blind.
The flop fell down and Larkin fired out 225,000 only to have Manole raise to 525,000.
Larkin released his hand to slip to 4,025,000 as Manole collected the pot to climb to 2,780,000 in chips.