Thursday, July 1, 2010 11:07 PM Local Time
Event #51 began on Tuesday with 965 players taking to the felt for this $3,000 Triple Chance No-Limit Hold'em event. Just before the stroke of midnight local time three days later, Ryan Welch has finally collected every chip in play, climbing to the top of the score sheet to take home his first gold bracelet and more than a half-million dollars in cash.
It certainly was no simple feat for Welch, and after two full days of battling, he still had 11 tough players to face coming into this third and final day. Beginning play fifth in chips, Welch picked his spots carefully as sharks like Tad Jurgens (9th place), Tommy Vedes (7th Place), and Will Failla (4th Place) were run out of the pool.
Finally, about two hours ago, Welch got himself heads up with Jon Eaton for the title, facing about a 1.5-1 chip deficit. Our two online grinders rocked each other with big body-punching pots back and forth, and the lead was changing hands with nearly every pot. With the chips flying around the felt, it wasn't long before Welch found himself comfortably out in front. He even had Eaton down to his final river card during one hand in the last level, but Eaton caught his out card to double up and bring the match back to all square.
It took about another hour of jabbing back and forth for Welch to finally close out Eaton. The two men were virtually even in chips when the final hand began, and a big river shove from Welch got the rest of Eaton's stack into the pot just slightly covered.
When Welch flipped over the nuts, he shot out of his chair and into the arms of his wife on the rail, and that brought out the lights and the tape recorders for the winner photos and interviews.
Today, the doors of the Rio opened with just six bracelets still on display in the big case on stage, and that number has now been reduced by one as Ryan Welch has had his name engraved on one of those treasured pieces of jewelry. We send our congratulations to him on his win here tonight, and you can do the same over on his [URL="http://my.pokernews.com/RyanWelch/blog/"+]PokerNews blog[/URL].
We're all done here for tonight, and it's time to head to the bar and have a toast to our new champion. Until tomorrow, all that's left is goodnight!
Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:58 PM Local Time
It was an anti-climactic ending for Jon Eaton.
On the final hand of the tournament, Ryan Welch raised pre-flop and Eaton called. Both players checked the flop. When the turn came , Eaton tried a bet of 225,000. Welch called.
The river was the . Eaton fired out for 525,000, then was faced ith a tough decision when Welch pushed all in. The amount of the bet wasn't counted down but it was definitely in excess of 3.0 million, a massive over-bet given the roughly 1.9 million in the pot (including Welch's call of the initial 525,000).
Eaton tanked for several minutes. We could see him mouth the words, "Queen-jack?" but he was clearly unsure what to do. Normally when players take that long to make a decision, they fold, but not this time. After about two minutes Eaton called. Welch was instantly out of his chair to turn over for the nuts, a king-high straight.
It took a few minutes to count down the stacks and to determine, definitively, that Welch was the winner. The rail waited anxiously, and once the tournament director announced that Eaton was eliminated, Welch's new wife Kristin came running into the feature table area to give Welch a big hug and a kiss.
A dejected Eaton will leave with $344,830.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:44 PM Local Time
It's a busy night inside the Rio, and our final table is buried over here in the Orange section of the Amazon Room. It's the only final table in play today, though, and these two players are pretty well liked amongst their poker circles.
Those two factors are evidenced by the sizable (and rather boisterous) cheering section that has assembled itself along the L-shaped rail surrounding the table. Kevin MacPhee, Richard Grace, Matt Stout, Alex Bolotin, Chris Moorman, Carter King, Billy Kopp, and Welch's dashing (and dancing) wife Kristin have all been spotted bouncing back and forth around the outskirts of the featured table here.
Also, it's worth noting that Ryan keeps a blog here on PokerNews, and you can check out what he had to say heading into today's Day 3 [URL="http://my.pokernews.com/RyanWelch/going-for-wsop-gold.htm"+]right here[/URL].
Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:36 PM Local Time
Ryan Welch, after being so close to a bracelet earlier, is back to grinding it out. He called a raise from Jon Eaton and took a flop of . Welch checked, then called a bet of 160,000 from Eaton. When the turn came , Welch checked and folded to a bet of 335,000.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:29 PM Local Time
We feel like we've seen a similar line before. Jon Eaton raised the button and was called by Ryan Welch. Welch chek-calld another bet on an all-small, paired flop of . When the turn came , Welch led out for 250,000. Eaton called to the river. That's where Welch made a slight over-bet, betting 1.5 million into a pot that had about 1.2 million in it. Eaton tanked for about two minutes before finally giving his cards one last peek and then tossing them into the muck.
Welch has the chip lead again.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:08 PM Local Time
Wow! Despite the fact that Ryan Welch had been building a lead, we weren't expecting an all-in quite so soon. But a series of pre-flop raises (and quick ones at that) led to an all-in from Jon Eaton and a call from Welch. Welch's was behind Eaton's , but not by a whole lot. Anything could happen on the board, and did it ever. A flop of gave Welch a pair of queens, but also made a double inside straight draw for Eaton. Eaton could improve to the best hand with any ace, nine or king. He picked up even more outs when the turn came to give him the nut flush draw. Would the river blank out?
No it would not. The river came to fill Eaton's straight. He doubled up from 2,275,000 to about 4.55 million, making the stacks almost dead level again.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:04 PM Local Time
Ryan Welch fired on every street against Jon Eaton. It was the final bet that produced a winner. Welch raised pre-flop to 130,000 and was called by the out-of-position Eaton. Eaton check-called 150,000 on the flop and 275,000 on the turn. At the river, with the board showing , Eaton checked again. Welch made a pot-sized bet of 1,000,000, drawing a long preiod fo reflection from Eaton. Eaton eventually folded his hand, allowing to extend his lead.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:56 PM Local Time
Our two men took a flop of in what would develop into the biggest pot of the head-up duel thus far. Jon Eaton checked, and Ryan Welch bet 150,000. Eaton called, and he checked again when the hit fourth street. Welch fired another 275,000 chips, and Eaton made a quick call once again.
That brought them to the river, and Eaton faced one last bet from Welch, a big one this time, 725,000. He slowly cut out the calling chips, eying up Welch as he stacked out the correct amount. After a moment of self-convincing, he slid them into the pot.
"Full house," Welch said, and Eaton sunk in his chair. He watched his opponent table for sixes full, good enough to win him the pot and the chip lead.
Welch - 5.48 million
Eaton - 3.21 million
Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:44 PM Local Time
For probably the first time in heads-up play, Jon Eaton folded his button. Ryan Welch, of course, had two aces.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:42 PM Local Time
How'd you spend your twenty-minute break? We bet it wasn't as enjoyable as the way Ryan Welch spent his, each of his limbs occupied by one of his five massage therapists.
He's not quite asleep, but Welch has returned to the table looking a little more relaxed than he was a half hour ago.
At $10/hour, Welch's pricey rub was a strong contrast to the [URL="http://www.pokernews.com/live-reporting/2010-wsop/event-54/post.157174.htm?page=2"+]low buy-in massage[/URL] a player recently received in Event #54.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:23 PM Local Time
With Level 26 just concluded, the last two players are taking a short break.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:12 PM Local Time
The button in the last hand was Jon Eaton, which meant it was his turn to raise pre-flop. Ryan Welch did his part by calling out of the big blind. He then checked a flop of to Eaton, who fired out 135,000. Welch called. Both players checked the turn and the river. Eaton called, "King," but that was no good against Welch's small straight, .
Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:07 PM Local Time
The heads-up match has settled into a nice rhythm of pre-flop button raises, with the player in the big blind calling. Few hands, however, have gone past the flop. Usually a single bet has been enough to end the hand right there. As both of these players have displayed an extreme amount of patience and skill to get this far, we could be in for a lengthy heads-up battle.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 8:47 PM Local Time
Guillaume Darcourt opened to 125,000 from the small blind, and Jon Eaton called from the big to see a flop. It was an action flop of , and Darcourt continued out with a bet of 195,000. Eaton raised to 600,000, Darcourt shoved all in for about 1.6 million total, and Eaton quickly called with the covering stack to put the Frenchman at risk. Cards up, gents:
Darcourt: (middle pair)
Eaton: (open-ended straight flush draw)
Bink, as they say in the parlance of our times. Darcourt stood from his chair with a sour look on his face, and his once-rowdy rail fell dead silent. Eaton's straight flush left him drawing dead, now resigned to his third-place fate. The filled out the board, and that's going to be the last card of Darcourt's day. He's out two places shy of his goal, but he'll take just about a quarter-million-dollar consolation prize home with him instead.
We're now heads up for the bracelet, and either Jon Eaton or Ryan Welch will be notching their first WSOP title this evening.
"Who turns a straight straight flush three-handed at the WSOP?!" Eaton was heard saying to his friends on the rail.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 8:37 PM Local Time
Our last three players -- Ryan Welch, Guillaume Darcourt and Jon Eaton -- each paid 100,000 in chips to see a flop of . Action checked to Eaton, whose bet of 150,000 was called only by Welch. Both players then checked the turn and river . It was clear at showdown why there had been no further action: Welch's won the pot with aces and sixes, king kicker.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 8:26 PM Local Time
If you've got our new iPhone app, you're going to need to manually refresh for updates as the auto-refresh function seems to not be functioning properly. We're on it and there will be an update released as soon as possible in order to correct this, but until then, manual refresh it'll have to be.
We hope you're enjoying the app and if you haven't heard about it already, read about it [URL="http://www.pokernews.com/news/2010/07/pokernews-launches-live-reporting-iphone-app-8507.htm"]here[/URL]. We will be constantly working to tweak and improve it as we move forward with is. Hope you're enjoying it!
Thursday, July 1, 2010 8:24 PM Local Time
Nothing is going right for Guillaume Darcourt since the players returned from the dinner break. His stack is under relentless attack from Jon Eaton and Ryan Welch. Welch checked and called a bet from Darcourt on a flop of . Both players checked when a big card, the , hit the turn. Things got even hairier on the river. Welch checked again, inducing a bet of 150,000 from Darcourt. Welch then check-raised to a total of 475,000. Darcourt gave the matter some thought but ultimately released his hand.
Darcourt's stack has fallen all the way to 1.2 million.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 8:12 PM Local Time
Jon Eaton raised to 105,000 before the flop and Ryan Welch called to go heads up with him.
The dealer spread out a flop of , and Eaton continued out with a bet of 135,000. Welch called quickly, and the drew check-checks from both players on fourth street. On fifth, the cued another bet from Eaton, 240,000 this time. Welch called quickly.
Eaton showed up for nines and sevens and that was the best hand. He drags the pot, increasing his chip lead over Welch just a bit.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 7:53 PM Local Time
Guillaume Darcourt has been dictating play at this final table, but in the last pot Ryan Welch pushed back at him. Welch opened pre-flop with a raise that Darcourt called form the small blind. Darcourt checked a flop of to Welch, who bet 104,000. Darcourt tried a check-raise to 260,000, but had to fold when Welch then four-bet him.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 7:43 PM Local Time
From the button, Guillaume Darcourt raised to 100,000 to open the pot. Small blind Jon Eaton three-bet to 280,000, and Darcourt quickly called the remainder to see a flop.
It came out , and Eaton continued out with a bet of 350,000. Darcourt didn't waste any time calling that bet either, and the landed on fourth street. Eaton checked this time, and he was the one calling quickly when Darcourt fired a bet of 375,000.
That put more than 2 million chips in the pot heading to the river , and both men were content to check it down. Eaton showed first, turning up . Darcourt double-checked his cards before sliding them to the muck, and Eaton's two pair are good for that big pot and thic chip lead.
Eaton - 3,350,000
Darcourt - 2,790,000