WSOP | Tournaments | Event Updates
Auto Refresh Rate:

2011/12 WSOP Circuit - PALM BEACH KENNEL CLUB (Florida)

Saturday, February 25, 2012 to Monday, February 27, 2012

Event #10A: No-Limit Hold'em Main Event

download official reportdownload official winner photo
  • Buy-in: $1,600
  • Prizepool: $1,131,990
  • Entries: 778
  • Remaining: 0


view updates for day:
Monday, February 27, 2012 9:36 PM Local Time

Jim Harnden

It could well have been a long day of poker here at the WSOP-C Palm Beach Main Event if not for a dominating performance by Jim Harnden. The gregarious Canadian has just conquered the 778-player starting field here at the Kennel Club to collect his first gold ring, nearly a quarter-million dollars, and a seat in the National Championship this summer.

The final day began with 21 players vying for their seats at the final table, and it took less than four hours to shrink that down to the requisite nine. Harnden was well above the chip average by that point, and his day would only improve from there.

You might not guess it from your first peek at Harnden, but he is one aggressive, crafty player, and he really put the hurt on what was a talented final table. Early on, he took a big pot from Drazen Ilich in a four-bet pot that had Harnden leading the action. He fired again on a       flop, then insta-shoved when the   hit the turn. Ilich was forced to surrender, and Harnden moved across the 3-million-chip mark.

Just a short while later, he was approaching 5 million after another four-bet pot. This time it was Matthew O'Brien doing the heavy lifting, but Harnden led out into him on the       flop. O'Brien raised to 1.1 million, but Harnden shoved his     right down O'Brien's throat, drawing a snap-muck and moving the eventual champion into the chip lead.

Harnden lost a big flip with     to double Rob Williamson and his    , but he rebounded very quickly. Jamil Wakil fell to him in fifth place in a whale of a pot that's certainly worth retelling. Wakil was the preflop raiser, and Harnden defended his big blind with    . He led out again on the       flop, then fired a second bullet on the   turn. Wakil shoved on him in response, and Harnden made a fantastic call with his small pair to snap off the airball    .

Harnden went on to KO Roman Valerstein in fourth place, then Matthew O'Brien in third place in the biggest pot of the tournament. O'Brien tried to run a big bluff with     on a           board. It's hard to bluff a man with a full house, though, and Harnden's     earned him the knockout and a pot containing close to 80% of the total chips in play.

The heads-up duel was a quick, two-hand series that saw Rob Williamson dented and then eliminated. The short stack got his money in good with     against Harnden's    , but a timely queen on the flop was the card that slipped the ring onto Harnden's finger.

The 58-year-old contractor has thusly become the newest WSOPC Champion, and he was beaming with smiles as he fielded a few congratulatory phone calls and posed for the winners' shots. His first prize is worth $226,395, more than quadrupling his previous combined career cashes. The bragging rights are priceless, though, and Harnden will be the toast of the town tonight.

From our dynamic duo here in Palm Beach, we want to thank you for reading along with us, and we hope you'll join us in sending our congratulations to Jim Harnden, the champ!

Monday, February 27, 2012 9:16 PM Local Time

Rob Williamson opened to 180,000 on the button and Jim Harnden re-raised all in from the big blind. An immediate all-in call from Williamson with    put him in good shape to double against the    of Harnden.

However, the flop came down     and gave Harnden the lead with a pair of queens. The   hit the turn, leaving Williamson just one card left to hit the seven outer to prolong his tournament life.


The short stack with six players left, Rob Williamson made a valiant effort. In the end he came up just short, finishing runner-up for $139,574.

Jim Harnden15,565,0002,195,000
Rob Williamson0-2,195,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 9:07 PM Local Time

Jim Harnden opened to 130,000 on the button and Rob Williamson re-raised to 375,000 from the big blind. Not done with the hand yet, Harnden four-bet to 800,000. A quick call from Williamson landed a     flop to the board.

Williamson led out 500,000, but was instantly met with an all-in raise from Harnden. A quick fold from Williamson gave Harnden the first pot of heads-up play.

Jim Harnden13,370,0001,310,000
Rob Williamson2,195,000-1,310,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 9:05 PM Local Time

In a battle of the blinds, Jim Harnden opened to 125,000 from the small, and Matthew O'Brien reraised to 265,000 in the big. Harnden made the call to see the flop.

The dealer spread out      , and Harnden checked to the raiser. When O'Brien bet 325,000, though, Harnden check-raised to 750,000. O'Brien made the call there, and he called another 500,000 behind the   turn. The river came the  , and Harnden wasn't slowing down now. He stacked up 1.1 million and slid it into the pot, but his bet drew an all-in shove from O'Brien. It was 4.485 million total, and Harnden snap-called.

"You're good," O'Brien lamented, and he was forced to show his    . Harnden's     had filled up on the river. When the stacks were counted down, Harnden had O'Brien covered by just 20,000 lonely chips.

In that monster pot, we've bid farewell to Matthew O'Brien in third place. He'll pocket six figures with a check for $102,898, and we're heads-up with a huge chip discrepancy.

Jim Harnden12,060,0006,560,000
Matthew O'Brien0-6,520,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 8:46 PM Local Time

Under the gun, Roman Valerstein shoved all in for what looked to be 1 million on the nose. Next door, Jim Harnden made the call, and the blinds ducked out to let the two go at it in a coin flip for Harnden's tournament life.


The       flop was not at all good news for the at-risk player, and he suddenly had two outs or running cards as his only sources of salvation.

The turn   opened up that straight possibility, but it would never come through. The river was the blank  .

That's the end of the line Roman Valerstein, eliminated in fourth place. The start-of-day chip leader will cash a check for more than $75,000 as his consolation prize, by far the largest score of his live career.

Jim Harnden5,500,0001,135,000
Roman Valerstein0-1,175,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 8:35 PM Local Time

In the small blind, Jim Harnden raised to 125,000, and Matthew O'Brien defended his big blind to go heads-up.

The flop came out      , and it checked through to the   turn. Harnden stared at the board for about thirty seconds, then flicked a blue T100,000 chip off his stack and into the pot. O'Brien quickly called. The river came the  , and now Harnden slowed back down with a check. O'Brien checked it back instantly, and that was not what Harnden was hoping for.

"Jack-high," came the call from O'Brien as he prepared to muck, and Harnden let a smirk cross his face. He rolled over     for the full house, and he'll add a few chips to his stack with that win.

Monday, February 27, 2012 8:25 PM Local Time
Level: 30
Blinds: 30000/60000
Ante: 10000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:58 PM Local Time

The remaining players are on a half-hour dinner break.

Matthew O'Brien6,520,000120,000
Jim Harnden4,365,000-65,000
Rob Williamson3,505,00055,000
Roman Valerstein1,175,000100,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:55 PM Local Time

Our final four have reached the dinner break. It was supposed to be a full hour, but they agreed that a half hour was more logical, and they'll be back around 8:25pm local time to finish it off.

Monday, February 27, 2012 7:51 PM Local Time

Jamil Wakil opened to 110,000 from the hijack and Jim Harnden defended his big blind.

The flop fell     and Harnden led out 260,000. A call from Wakil landed the   on the turn. Harnden kept up the heat with a bet of 500,000,. but Wakil quickly announced all in for what looked to be about 650,000 more.

Harnden sat motionless for about three minutes before announcing call, showing   .

"Wow, how can you call?" asked a stunned Wakil. He tabled    and had nine outs to survive. The   was not one of them, ending his tournament in fifth place.

Jim Harnden4,430,0001,530,000
Jamil Wakil0-2,100,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:49 PM Local Time

Under the gun, Rob Williamson came in for 125,000, and Jim Harnden three-bet shoved from the button with his big stack.

"Wow!" Matthew O'Brien said as he followed the action in front of him. "One time!" he said, looking at his cards from the big blind.

He mucked, though, and Williamson spent a while in the tank before calling all in for 1.675 million. Cards up, gents.


O'Brien was less than thrilled that he'd been forced to fold king-queen, and Williamson was pleased to know that one of his death cards was gone from the deck.

The flop came out a very friendly      , and Williamson secured his double one card early as the   turn left Harnden drawing dead. The river   was meaningless, and it's another huge double for Williamson.

Rob Williamson3,450,0001,500,000
Jim Harnden2,900,000-1,600,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:38 PM Local Time

Matthew O'Brien opened a can of worms with a raise to 110,000 from the hijack seat, and Drazen Ilich three-bet to 300,000 in the cutoff. O'Brien came right back over the top to 665,000, Ilich shoved in for about 2.6 million total, and O'Brien made the call to put a five-million-chip pot in the middle of the table. Monster flip for a third of the chips in play, anyone?


The       flop was a good sweat as O'Brien added another four outs to the win with the gutshot straight draw. The turn brought the   and a big lead for O'Brien with one to come, and Ilich was drawing dead to the last two nines in the deck. The river was an upside-down nine, but the   was a miss for Ilich.

That's the end of his day in sixth place, and he'll snag nearly $45,000 for his efforts here in Palm Beach this long weekend.

Matthew O'Brien5,600,0002,200,000
Drazen Ilich0-2,450,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:30 PM Local Time

From the hijack seat, Jim Harnden opened to 105,000, and Drazen Ilich called along from the small blind to go heads up.

The flop came out      , and it checked through to the   turn. Now Ilich took the lead with 120,000, and he fired another 220,000 after the   river. Harnden called both bullets, but Ilich's     was the winner at showdown.

Jim Harnden4,500,000-450,000
Drazen Ilich2,450,000400,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:18 PM Local Time

Drazen Ilich raised to 110,000 from the hijack and Roman Valerstein shoved on the button. Jamil Wakil asked for a count from the big blind and folded upon learning it was 860,000. Ilich folded, too, and Valerstein took the pot.

Roman Valerstein1,075,000175,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 7:06 PM Local Time
Jim Harnden4,950,000-350,000
Matthew O'Brien3,400,000400,000
Jamil Wakil2,100,000500,000
Drazen Ilich2,050,000-250,000
Rob Williamson1,950,000-515,000
Roman Valerstein900,000-180,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 6:49 PM Local Time
Level: 29
Blinds: 25000/50000
Ante: 5000
Monday, February 27, 2012 6:49 PM Local Time

Under the gun, Jamil Wakil opened to 85,000, and he found action from Rob Williamson who came along with a flat on the button.

The dealer rolled out      , and it would prove to be quite the action bringer. Wakil continued out with 125,000 before Williamson raised to 400,000, and the bettor came right back with an all-in shove to put Williamson to the test for his last 1.095 million total. The call came quickly, and the cards were on their backs.


Williamson was on the come, and he needed to find a jack or some running help cards to stay alive.


Well, that'll do. Williamson, who had been standing, took a seat back in his chair as he'd turned his lucky Broadway to put himself one card from the double. Now he just needed to fade the remaining queens and aces in the deck, and the river   was just fine.

After that double, Williamson has put himself back around the chip average with 2.465 million, setting Wakil all the way back to about 1.6 million in the process.

Rob Williamson2,465,0001,665,000
Jamil Wakil1,600,000-1,400,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 6:26 PM Local Time
Jim Harnden5,300,000550,000
Matthew O'Brien3,000,000-100,000
Jamil Wakil3,000,000-625,000
Drazen Ilich2,300,000500,000
Roman Valerstein1,080,000-70,000
Rob Williamson800,000130,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 6:08 PM Local Time

The table folded around to the blinds where Jamil Wakil opened to 100,000. Matthew O'Brien defended his big blind, and off they went to the flop.

Wakil bet 105,000 on the       flop and another 225,000 when the   hit fourth street. O'Brien called both of those bets, and he was faced with another 525,000 after the   river. There was no call this time. O'Brien shoved instead, and Wakil quickly uncapped his cards and flicked them muckward.

Jamil Wakil3,625,000-905,000
Matthew O'Brien3,100,000900,000
Monday, February 27, 2012 6:02 PM Local Time

Jamil Wakil opened to 85,000 under the gun and found calls from Matthew O'Brien in the hijack and Drazen Ilich in the cutoff.

The flop came down     and Wakil bet 130,000. Only Ilich came along to see the   turn. Wakil bet again, this time 265,000. Another call from Ilich delivered the   on the river.

Wakil came out with a third bullet, this one for 500,000. Ilich called after a few moments and was not at all happy with what he saw. Wakil tabled   , besting Ilich's    to take down the pot.

Jamil Wakil4,530,000930,000
Drazen Ilich1,800,000-850,000