Mike Gordinsky Takes Down The Poker Players Championship
Event #44: The Poker Players Championship is arguably the most prestigious bracelet at any WSOP. While the Main Event is the World Championship, as a 10-game mix The Poker Players Championship (PPC) is seen by elite players as the true test of all-around poker skill. With the buy-in pegged at $50,000, the PPC is the place where the elite of the poker world come out to show off their skills.
When Day 1 began, 84 runners took their seat at the table, looking for one of 12 paid spots. After four days of intense action, six players still had chips in front of them, and it would take a fifth day to decide the winner.
The final table reflected the elite nature of the event. Led by David 'ODB' Baker, the final six were nearly all household names in the poker world. Mike Gordinsky was looking for his second bracelet in 12 cashes after a summer that has already seen him take second and third, along with two other cashes. Dan Kelly, also having a strong 2015 season with a third place in the recent seven-card stud championship, was looking to score his third bracelet.
Ben Sulsky came to the table with perhaps the shortest live resume of the group. With only three WSOP cashes to his name, Sulsky might appear to be a novice, but aficionados of the online game will recognize him as 'sauce123', arguably one of the best online heads-up players of all time. Perennial underdog Jean-Robert Bellande was hungry for his first bracelet in 19 cashes worth over $1 million. Chris Klodnicki rounded out the final table, also looking for his first bracelet despite bringing over $5 million in WSOP earnings to the table.
Klodnicki, who has a wealth of mixed-game experience, had high hopes coming into the final table, but ran into an ugly badugi beat at the hands of Jean-Robert Bellande early on to exit in fifth place. Klodnicki open-raised from the button and was called from the big blind by Bellande. Klodnicki drew two to Bellande’s single. Bellande led out and Klodnicki called, with the draws again going two for Klodnicki and one for Bellande. Bellande once again led, and Klodnicki raised for the remainder of his 245,000 chips. Bellande called and both player patted third draw. When cards were revealed, Klodnicki’s eight badugi was behind Bellande’s six badugi. Klodnicki earned $251,314 after the tough beat.
Heads-up for the bracelet came down to Jean-Robert Bellande and Mike Gordinsky. With nearly $3.5 million in WSOP earnings between them, the battle was as heated as expected. The two players would fight for the title for nearly four hours, each of them, at various times, holding commanding chip leads and seeming on the verge of victory. Each time, the other fought their way back into contention.
Gordinsky seemed to excel in the seven-card games, taking several key stud and razz pots, while Bellande was a beast in the draw games, especially badugi. Eventually, however, it would be a pot-limit Omaha hand that would decide it. Bellande made it the minimum raise and Gordinsky called to see a flop of . Gordinsky checked and Bellande made a pot-sized bet of 600,000. Gordinsky re-potted for nearly everything Bellande had left, which Bellande put in as a three-bet. Gordinsky called, showing against Bellande’s . When the turn and river came two kings, Bellande was eliminated in second for $784,828. Along with his second bracelet and the coveted Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, Gordinski pocketed $1,270,086.
Firsau is Second-Ever Bracelet Winner from Belarus in Pot-Limit Omaha
Event #46: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed was supposed to be finished in three days of play. The players and schedule had other ideas, however, and as Day 3 got longer and longer and longer, the final four players bagged up their chips for the night to return for an unscheduled Day 4 on Thursday.
The extended play on Day 3 led to a relatively short Day 4, as play was finished within three hours of cards going in the air. The first elimination came quickly, with short stack to start the day Numit Agrawal finishing fourth for $112,717. Andreas Freund hung on a bit longer, but fell in third, collecting $171,626.
Vasili Firsau earned his first bracelet in just his third time in the money at WSOP in a heads-up battle with American Nipun Java. Firsau took a commanding two-to-one chip lead early in heads-up play, and never really looked back. Despite hanging on for nearly an hour, Java was never able to regain the chip lead and ultimately settled for the second-place prize of $270,509. Firsau’s first bracelet win was worth $437,575.
Hellmuth Falls Short of 15th Bracelet in $2,500 Hold’em
Could Phil Hellmuth win his 15th bracelet? That was the question leading Day 3 of Event #47: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em with the most successful WSOP player of all time among the final 41 still in the tournament.
The answer was “no.” Hellmuth will not be earning his next bracelet in this event. He was eliminated in 16th place for $20,263. It happened in a hand that began with Andre Akkari raising to 50,000, Hellmuth three-betting to 80,000 with less than that behind, and Jeff Gross four-betting to 150,000. Akkari let go of his cards and Hellmuth called for his tournament life.
Gross had two beautiful aces to dominate Hellmuth’s pocket nines. The board ran out predictably and Gross eliminated Hellmuth from the tournament.
What was supposed to be the final day of the event was not enough time to determine a winner. Five players will return for an additional day to decide who will be taking home the top prize of $551,941. The final players still in contention for the title are Timur Margolin, Andrew Dean, Brandon Wittmeyer, Andy Black, and Matthew O’Donnell.
Elezra Wins Third Bracelet in Stud; Drolet Takes Fourth for Canada
When the final eight players sat down at the table for Day 3 of Event #48: $1,500 Seven Card Stud, Eli Elezra was the clear chip favourite. Starting the day with a better than 200,000 chip lead, Elezra clearly had his sights set on his third bracelet.
The competition he faced was anything but easy, however. Second in the counts was Allen Cunningham who started the day with 414,500. Perhaps better known for his hold’em results, Cunningham is also a serious threat on the stud table. Rounding out the top three to start the day was Canada’s own Gylbert Drolet.
It was a gruelling day, taking nearly 10 hours for the final hand to be dealt. Drolet fell about six hours in when he got his very short stack in with a second bet over Eli Elezra’s completion. Drolet revealed deuces to Elezra’s three clubs. When the boards ran out // for Drolet versus Elezra’s //, Drolet’s deuces couldn’t hold and he was out in fourth for $32,495.
Elezra didn’t have an easy path to the bracelet. His opponent in heads-up play, Benjamin Lazer, started the day near the bottom of the chip counts, but managed to claw his way up the list, going into heads-up play the clear chip leader with a better than two-to-one advantage.
It took Elezra only 20 minutes of heads-up play to battle back into the chip lead. In short order, Elezra hit trip twos, followed by Broadway to take two large pots from Lazer and regain the lead. He would never give up the lead again, hammering away at Lazer’s stack for the next hour until Elezra managed to outdraw Lazer’s buried queens, hitting the four-to-eight straight on seventh street for the rest of Lazer’s chips.
Lazer’s second place, worth $69,532, was only his fourth WSOP cash, and his second-biggest after another second-place finish in the 2012 $2,500 deuce-to-seven triple draw. Elezra’s third bracelet win worth $112,591 marks his sixth cash for the summer of 2015.
Galen Hall, Connor Drinan, George Danzer Lead $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
There were eight Canadians among the 162 players who returned for Day 2 of Event #49: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. By the end of the night, just 21 players remained. Leading the field is Galen Hall with 776,000 chips, and no Canadians are still in play.
The money bubble burst when 90 players remained, and there were three Canadians still in the hunt at that point. Phillip Riley was the first to go, collecting $2,728 for 75th place. Quentin Krueger was next to go in 53rd for $4,268. The best Canadian result came from Thomas Taylor, collecting his fourth cash of the series in 25th for $7,217.
Joining Galen Hall for Day 3 are other notable players like Connor Drinan, George Danzer, Mark Dube, Erik Seidel, and Vanessa Selbst. They resume play at 1 p.m. for the final day of this event, and one of them will walk away with $231,102 and a shiny new bracelet.
Terrence Chan Returns for Final Day of Limit Championship
Event #50: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship kicked off on Wednesday and returned for Day 2 with 74 players remaining on Thursday. Some of Canada’s best players were among those returning, including Sorel Mizzi, Daniel Idema, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Leah, Jonathan Duhamel, and Terrence Chan.
By the end of the day, just 11 players remained with some big names in the list. Justin Bonomo leads with 910,000 chips, and Anthony Zinno will return for Day 3 as well. Our final Canadian, Terrence Chan, bagged 241,000 for the night.
The money bubble burst when 18 players remained, and two Torontonians earned a min-cash. Anh Van Nguyen was the first player eliminated in the money, and Sorel Mizzi wasn’t far behind when he lost his chips to collect $15,606 for 16th place.
The 11 players will return at 2 p.m. with their hopes on becoming the next limit champion, collecting $291,456 for the title.
A Dozen Canadians Bag $3K 6-Max Day 1
Thursday saw 1,043 players take a seat in Event #51: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed with a starting stack and a hope to still be playing two days later. That hope was only still alive for 285 players when the day ended, and Ismael Bojang is the most hopeful, bagging the chip lead with 181,900.
There were 12 Canadians who made it through the day. Here are the stacks they bagged at the end of play:
|Gareth Struivig De Groot||122,000||Mike Watson||53,600|
|Timothy Adams||106,400||Noah Vaillancourt||51,400|
|Ami Barer||105,900||Carter Swidler||37,900|
|Griffin Benger||99,300||Nenad Medic||36,200|
|Max Greenwood||80,700||George Billiouras||32,800|
|Matt Jarvis||62,100||Adrian Thomas||8,600|
The 285 remaining players will return to the felt on Friday at 1 p.m. for another 10 levels of play with the money bubble to burst when 108 of them remain. The eventual winner of this tournament will win $640,711.
Greg Mueller, Mike Leah, Ken Lo Survive Dealer’s Choice Day 1
WSOP unveiled their first-ever dealer’s choice event last year, and it was received with praise by poker players and fans who found the format a refreshing concept for a bracelet event. It returned to the schedule this year, boasting 19 games to choose from, and it kicked off on Thursday as Event #52: $1,500 Dealer’s Choice.
Last year, Robert Mizrachi proved his mixed-game prowess once again by winning the title and $147,092 for being the last player standing (or sitting, to be accurate) out of 419 entries. When registration closed in this year’s Day 1, the numbers had dropped significantly, as only 357 players wanted to play a tournament where the dealer picked the game each orbit.
When the day concluded, just 75 players remained and Scott Blackman bagged the most with 97,000 chips. For the Canadian contingent, Greg Mueller will return with 54,775, Mike Leah will be playing 17,000, and Canada’s mixed-game author Ken Lo is hanging on with just 2,300.
The fun resumes at 2 p.m. on Friday and the players will be in the money when only 36 of them remain.
Details and photo courtesy of the WSOP Live Blog.