Saturday, June 19, 2010 4:28 AM Local Time
It's been a long and gruelling day, and as a new day dawns over Vegas, Event #30 has come to an end.
21 players returned today and one by one they trudged off to the payout desk - all of them taking home a little something for their troubles, but we suspect none of them feeling as though they'd really achieved what they'd come in to do.
Mike Ellis outlasted an incredible field of almost 2,400 players to take home the biggest win of his poker career. He first made his presence felt on the poker circuit back home in the UK when he took down the GUKPT Grand Final for £197,600 ($407,700) in late 2007. Since then he's added five WSOP cashes to his record, and now he gets to take home not only the biggest poker payday of his life but also his first WSOP bracelet.
The heads up battle between Ellis and his more than worthy opponent Christopher Gonzales was nothing short of epic, lasting almost three hours and seeing the chip lead change hands several times. Both players played stellar poker, and both deserved to win. In the end though, there can only be one winner, and this is Ellis' moment.
Many congratulations to Ellis and indeed all the other finalists. From PokerNews.com at the Rio, very early on a Saturday morning, it's over and out.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 4:15 AM Local Time
Mike Ellis raised from the button, and this time Christopher Gonzales re-popped for another 500,000. Ellis called, and they saw a flop.
Shouted Ellis' buddy Paul Parker, the sartorially daring British poker pro, "It's over now Mikey! This is it!"
Gonzalez bet out 1,255,000. That was a very big bet. Ellis paused for a few moments, while Parker continued to call over encouraging things. After a while, he called.
Gonzales announced all in. Ellis announced call.
Gonzales: for, well, aces
Ellis: for the nut flush
River: an irrelevant
Ladies and gentlemen, at long last, we have a winner.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:58 AM Local Time
...Or what passes for it at the moment.
The relatively short-stacked Christopher Gonzales announced all in from the button, and Mike Ellis folded.
The heads up continues.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:49 AM Local Time
A very large pot indeed had formed by the river of the board when Christopher Gonzales turned over for two pair - and discovered that Mike Ellis' two pair had him pipped.
With that, the stacks look roughly like so:
Ellis - 8 million
Gonzales - 3 million
However we have, if you recall, been here before...
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:45 AM Local Time
After that excitement, our players have reverted to extreme caginess. They are seeing a lot of flops, but nothing terribly exciting is happening on them.
For instance, our two heads-uponauts saw a limp/checked flop. Chris Gonzales checked to Mike Ellis, who min-bet. Gonzales folded.
It is most heartening that these two gentlemen both so fervently want that precious gold bracelet - but at the same time this is not really a spectator sport. The few railers who remain are mostly sleeping now.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:33 AM Local Time
Mike Ellis limped on the button and Chris Gonzales announced a raise from the big blind. Ellis insta-shoved. Gonzales insta-called.
Ellis duly doubled up. The stacks are now exactly even, with both players sitting on roughly 5.4 million. We could still be here next week at this rate.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:26 AM Local Time
After that promising start to the level, everything's gone a bit slow again.
For example, just now Christopher Gonzales limped in on the button and Mike Ellis checked his option. They proceeded to check down the flop and turn, before Ellis bet the 160,000 minimum on the river. Gonzales called, but mucked when Ellis showed him a for two pair.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:20 AM Local Time
First hand back and Mike Ellis raised to 500,000 from the button. Christopher Gonzales, however, announced all in, and Ellis folded.
Ellis dropped again, to 3.5 million or so.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 3:03 AM Local Time
There's 20 minutes on the clock for it, but it might be a bit quicker than that.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:59 AM Local Time
A large pot had amassed in the middle of the table by the river of the board when Mike Ellis bet 600,000. The action moved back to Chris Gonzales, who announced all in. Various people with cameras and the like materialized out of the ether and crept up to the table. Ellis tanked up, standing over the table. Gonzales stared blankly at the felt, mouth agape.
Eventually Ellis folded and the camera people evaporated back into the air. With that, Gonzales was back in the lead on 6.7 million. Ellis dropped back to 4 million.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:42 AM Local Time
Since then, play has tightened up considerably. Most notably the two players checked a board all the way down, when Christopher Gonzales (out of position) turned over for a straight - he had presumably hoped that Mike Ellis would at some point bet but was disappointed.
With the stacks still very deep - around 38 big blinds for Gonzales and around 52 for Ellis - we're just going to have to wait for two big hands if we want to see some serious action.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:33 AM Local Time
The hand became interesting on the turn of the board, when Mike Ellis bet 500,000. Chris Gonzales called.
They saw a on the river and this time Ellis bet a nice round million. Gonzales called again, but mucked when Ellis turned over for a flopped set.
Ellis took the lead for the first time during the heads up match - he's now playing 6.3 million to Gonzales' 4.5 million.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:30 AM Local Time
Chris Gonzales raised his button and then called the reraise to 500,000 from Mike Ellis. Ellis bet out another 500,000 on the flop and Gonzales laid it down, to a murmur of approval from the now rather subdued and sleepy Ellis rail which now includes reigning Irish Open champion James Mitchell and British circuit pro Chaz Chattha.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:26 AM Local Time
Mike Ellis opened for 260,00 on the button and Chris Gonzales called. They saw a flop.
Gonzales checked, and then called 250,000 from Ellis. They saw a turn.
Gonzales checked again and Ellis made another bet. This time Gonzales folded, and Ellis was, if not exactly even, back up to 3.5 million.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:17 AM Local Time
Mike Ellis checked the flop and Chris Gonzales bet 120,000. Ellis called and they proceeded to the turn.
Both players checked the turn, but come the river Ellis bet out 300,000. Gonzales decided to take it no further, and Ellis took the pot.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:13 AM Local Time
Since doubling up to 4 million, Mike Ellis has taken a series of very small hits - but everything is relative, and with the blinds this big a small hit is bigger than you think.
There have been no big pots, but Ellis has slipped down to 2.3 million against Chris Gonzales' 8.4 million.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 2:03 AM Local Time
Our heads-upsers saw an flop and Mike Ellis bet 325,000. Christopher Gonzales announced all in, Ellis called, and they were on their backs for Ellis' tournament life.
Gonzales: for two pair
Ellis: for trips
"Nice hand," said a dazed-looking Gonzales as he paid up. Ellis is now at 4 million and Gonzales at 6.7 million. The end could still be a long way off.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:59 AM Local Time
After a few minutes of back and forth, Mike Ellis raised to 275,000 on the button and Christopher Gonzales made the call.
They saw a flop, and Gonzales unexpectedly announced all in. Ellis thought about it for perhaps 10 seconds before folding.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:41 AM Local Time
Christopher Gonzales opened for 275,000, and David Wilkinson announced all in. Gonzales, by now chip leader by a considerable margin, quietly announced call.
Wilkinson: behind, but very live with
Wilkinson flopped a flush draw and had picked up a double belly buster straight draw by the turn too, but none of his outs came in on the river. He shook hands and headed for the rail. He now has 254,996 things that might console him.
Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:32 AM Local Time
David Wilkinson limped in on the small blind and Mike Ellis checked his option; they saw a flop.
Both players checked the flop and Wilkinson check-called 150,000 from Ellis on the turn. He check-called another 250,000 on the river and it was time to turn the cards over.
Ellis revealed for two pair, and Wilkinson mucked, shaking his head.
We could be here for a long while yet.