Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:45 PM Local Time
Event #16 is over here just shortly after the midnight hour in Las Vegas. John Juanda has just been handed a WSOP gold bracelet for the fifth time in his career, overcoming a big heads-up chip disadvantage to claim the title in what is arguably the most entertaining event of the Series.
Some would say it was meant to be Phil Hellmuth's 12th bracelet party today, four years to the day after he snagged number eleven. Doubters flocked to the rail from the start of play, but Hellmuth stood tall as seven players fell by the wayside. His play was mostly stellar through the first half of the day, and he amassed a huge chip lead as the players dropped one by one. Among them were the 2009 and 2010 champions of this event, Nick Schulman and David Baker, exiting in fifth and sixth places, respectively. The 2004 champion of the whole darn WSOP, Greg Raymer made it to this final day too, but he would fall in ninth place even before the last eight were relocated to the main stage.
Today's story truly was a memorable one, and you'd do well to read back through the blog if you missed any of the action. At the dinner break, Hellmuth had more than 2.6 million of the 3.8 in play with three players left. Juanda knocked Richard Ashby out in third place shortly after they returned, though, and he had his sights fixed firmly on Hellmuth's stack.
When heads-up play began, Hellmuth still had about a 3:1 chip lead, but Juanda's edge in skill soon began to show through. He picked away at Hellmuth's stack with methodical precision, and the two locked horns in an hours-long tug of war. Many in the poker world consider Juanda to be one of the best 2-7 no-limit players in the world, and he proved that reasoning valid tonight, pressing Hellmuth into a corner as the levels wore on.
It was more than three hours of heads-up play before the final series of hands began to unravel. Hellmuth was showing signs of increasing frustration over the last hour or so, and Juanda thrived on the opportunity to quietly get under his opponent's skin. After fighting with such a strong pose for so long, Hellmuth began to look a bit downtrodden and unpleasant, sinking in his chair and mumbling under his breath. In the final hand, he got his money in pat with a queen, and Juanda drew live to his jack to lock up the bracelet. Hellmuth was sincere in his congratulations, it appeared, admitting he was scared of Juanda's heads-up game.
John Juanda finished in fourth place the last two years in this event, and he began this final day dangerously short on chips at the bottom of the heap. Apparently the third time's the charm. Nine hours later, he sits alone at the table with all 3.78 million chips in play. And a shiny new bracelet. It's number five in his career, and it comes with the extra bragging rights of denying number twelve for Mr. Hellmuth.
We hope you've enjoyed the spectacle from the Rio tonight. For now, this night stands alone as the marquee scene thus far in the 2011 World Series of Poker. But there are still another 40 events to be played, and we can nearly promise more moments like tonight.
Until tomorrow, then, all that's left is goodnight! Oh, and a huge congratulations to our new champion, John Juanda!
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:29 PM Local Time
From the button Phil Hellmuth moved all in for his remaining 555,000. Juanda looked at his hand several times before finally making the call.
Juanda drew one and Hellmuth tabled his cards, standing pat with
Juanda flipped up and determined that he was the favorite. Juanda slowly squeezed the cards, his hands shaking feverishly with anticipation.
"It's not paint", Juanda remarked. He looked at the card fully and then slapped the on the table, completing his jack low and officially marking the defeat of Phil Hellmuth heads up.
The crowd erupted into cheers and Juanda waved to audience, expressing his gratitude for their support. In stopping Hellmuth's quest for a 12th bracelet, Juanda was able to grab his 5th.
After the match, Hellmuth shook Juanda's hand and said " Well played buddy, well played. You're just so f***king scary."
Hellmuth won't be leaving the Amazon Room with a 12th bracelet today, but he will be pocketing $226,907 for his efforts.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:23 PM Local Time
Phil Hellmuth raised to 125,000, and John Juanda made the call to proceed.
Hellmuth took two new cards, and Juanda just one again. Once again, he led out -- 275,000 this time. Hellmuth didn't waste any time with the call, and they were chips he'd not get back.
Juanda showed , and Hellmuth nodded slowly. He's reached the quiet, resigned stage of frustration now, quietly mucking and looking down scornfully at his stack.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:20 PM Local Time
John Juanda raised to 115,000 at the new level, and Phil Hellmuth made the call.
Hellmuth needed two cards, and Juanda took just one. Hellmuth knocked the table, and Juanda fired out 250,000. It was plenty enough as Hellmuth quickly folded, down now under the million-chip mark.
After the hand, he started complaining about some small issue with the automatic shuffler.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:18 PM Local Time
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:18 PM Local Time
John Juanda opened to 85,000, and Phil Hellmuth three-bet to 350,000 with a hint of frustration on his face. That's not exactly unique to right now, though. In any event, Juanda let it go without much incident.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:16 PM Local Time
John Juanda raised it up to 85,000, and Phil Hellmuth called. We missed the drawing round (sorry), but we saw Hellmuth lead out with a bet. Juanda shoved on him, and Hellmuth could not call. He flung his cards muckward, and he's down to 1.05 million as the slide continues.
Juanda ha really picked up the pace here.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:11 PM Local Time
John Juanda popped it up to 90,000 and was called by Phil Hellmuth. Both men drew one card and the action went check-check.
Hellmuth turned up a winning .
"Here! Show him! Show him what I threw away!" Hellmuth said to the dealer, reaching into the muck. Hellmuth picked out and showed it to Juanda. "You were supposed to bust me there! Tournament over! Anyone else shoves there with jack low, then you pull the ten and tournament over! I just had a bad feeling about the jack!"
"The great Phil Hellmuth instincts" said Juanda with a smile.
But Hellmuth wasn't done with his jubilation there.
"Honey!" Phil shouted into the crowd toward his wife. "I just saved my life! He was supposed to bust me there but I just saved my own life!"
Hellmuth is now sitting with 1,000,000 in chips to Juanda's 2,800,000.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:05 PM Local Time
John Juanda opened to 90,000, and Phil Hellmuth made the call.
Hellmuth drew one, and Juanda patted the table with his knuckles. Check-check.
Hellmuth called, "Jack," and Juanda nodded as Hellmuth tabled .
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:02 PM Local Time
It's back to shoving time for John Juanda.
Phil Hellmuth opened the last pot to 80,000, and Juanda three-bet shoved. Hellmuth had about 1.15 million left in front of him, and he spent some time mumbling and wincing, and he was forced to fold his cards.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:01 PM Local Time
John Juanda raised to 80,000, and Phil Hellmuth three-bet to 280,000. Juanda flatted, and he stood pat while Hellmuth drew two cards. It went check-check, and Juanda's was good. Hellmuth is sliding a bit, down now to about 1.4 million. Maybe just a tick less, even.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:52 PM Local Time
After Hellmuth raised it to 90,000 from the button, Juanda made the call and both players took two cards at the draw. Juanda checked to Hellmuth who led out for 215,000. Juanda made the call quickly and Hellmuth practically jumped out of his chair tabling .
Juanda threw his cards into the muck and Hellmuth smiled as he raked a pot that brings him up to 1,700,000. Juanda is still leading the match with 2,100,000.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:49 PM Local Time
As we expected, the rail has filled in nicely as the night has progressed. The entire bottom bowl is filled in with fans, and there are a couple dozen in the standing-room-only top tier. Even better, maybe 50 people are stacked up along the far rail that's open to the Amazon Room, with security keeping a wide perimeter around the table. A few minutes ago, T.D. Robbie Thompson spotted a familiar face up on the perch.
"Well, they must have lifted the prohibition, because I see Gavin Smith is here."
The reference was to a new rule banning drinks and food from the ESPN featured table area. Smith appears to be holding a frosty beverage of some sort.
We've seen a number of pros come and go including Chino Rheem, Tom McEvoy, and Allen Kessler. It's actually a bit sparse on pro railbirds, now that we think about it, as most of the faces in the crowd are unknowns, as far as we're aware. Randos, if you will. The entirety of the poker media is camped out here, though, and most of the senior members of the WSOP staff are also here watching history unfold.
A few of them were here back when Hellmuth won bracelet number one. That's quite an achievement on both sides of that equation, and it's doing this 2011 Series good to have a marquee heads-up matchup on the main stage tonight.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:49 PM Local Time
After John Juanda took two at the draw and Hellmuth drew one, Hellmuth pushed out a bet of 250,000 into the pot. Juanda repopped Hellmuth, making it 650,000 total And Hellmuth folded a ten low face up.
"F***king wheel!" exclaimed Hellmuth. "You beat a lot of seven draws, don't you JJ?"
It was at this point that Hellmuth took his glasses and hat off and paced around the tournament area, throwing his arms up in the air.
"If I pull a three or four, match over! No, I hit a ten and lose 250!"
"You shouldn't have bet 250. Bet less." retorted Juanda with a smile.
This hand brings Juanda up to 2,400,000 and Hellmuth down to 1,300,000.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:41 PM Local Time
Phil Hellmuth raised to 80,000, and John Juanda was the one doing the three-betting this time. He made it 240,000 straight, and Hellmuth called. He needed two cards, while Juanda took just one. Action was on Juanda, and he has been acting a bit more carefully this level. He paused to ponder, scratching his chin and turning the gears. Eventually, he put out 475,000, and Hellmuth couldn't call it.
He spun his cards into the muck, and Juanda flashed with a wry smile.
Juanda pulls in front once again, stacking up about 2.2 million chips.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:39 PM Local Time
John Juanda opened to 80,000 from the button, and Phil Hellmuth three-bet to 230,000. Juanda spent a long while staring a hole through the felt, then called and took two cards. Hellmuth took just one. Hellmuth checked quickly, and Juanda eventually checked it back.
Hellmuth announced his, "King," and Juanda nodded in acknowledgement. The hand opened , and Hellmuth draws the match back to even once again.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:38 PM Local Time
Phil Hellmuth opened to 110,000 on the button, and John Juanda called for a draw. He and Juanda both took one card, and Juanda fired out 250,000. Hellmuth quickly called, and he announced his cards first. "Ten-nine-five," he called, and he'd not like what he saw next. Juanda tabled , and his better ten-nine drew a brief, frustrated reaction from Hellmuth.
The Brat falls back to about 1.7 million now.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:30 PM Local Time
The past two hands:
Hellmuth raised to 110,000 on the button and was called by John Juanda. They both stayed pat during the draw and Juanda checked to Hellmuth who fired out 150,000. Juanda mucked and Hellmuth took the pot.
In the next hand, Juanda made it 90,000 from the button and Hellmuth went into the tank for a while before flat calling. Both players stood pat at the draw again and this time Hellmuth fired out 200,000. Juanda made the call and tabled which was ahead of Hellmuth's .
Both player are about even in chips at 1,900,000 each.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:22 PM Local Time
From the button, Phil Hellmuth raised to 105,000 only to be three-bet by John Juanda for a total of 310,000. Hellmuth wasted no time announcing that he was all in and Juanda sent his cards sailing into the muck. The crowd erupted into cheers and Hellmuth scooped a pot that brings him up to 2,300,000 while Juanda falls to 1,500,000.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:17 PM Local Time
In an exchange of small pots, John Juanda has drawn the match back to dead even. Right to the chip, it appears.
|John Juanda||1,890,000||190,000 |
|Phil Hellmuth||1,890,000||-190,000 |