2010 WSOP Reflection Part 11 – The tournament takes shape in Day 5
8 days into the Main Event, you began to see the tournament really take shape. On day 5, players had logged 33 hours of play into this event, and were guaranteed a payday of at least $24,079. But the attraction now of the 574 remaining players was clear: How do I now make the November 9?
The man that stood the best chance was the one with the most chips, and that honor belonged to the smoothly dressed Tony Dunst. Nicknamed “Bond” because he’d wear a suit and tie to the office (aka the Amazon Room) and put his skills to work at the table, properly stacking chips en route to a $1.5 million chip count. But for many other players, it was all about figuring out how to survive just one more day, and figure the rest out from there.
Jack Effel announced “shuffle up and deal” and again the cards were in the air. Table 352 sat the chip leader in Dunst alongside another great story from the year, Matt Affleck who was 4th in chips. Affleck had built himself a gigantic stack in the 2009 Main Event with 180 players remaining, but blew up completely en route to busting in 80th place. This year, Affleck had a different look about him as he was much more focused, and clearly drawing from the experience of the year before. You could really sense that another really deep run was coming from him.
I spent a good portion of the first parts of the day hovering over Bernard Lee’s table. He began the day with about 8 big blinds, and his first all in of the day was good one. The money went in pre-flop and Lee showed two 6’s to his opponents A-Qos. It wasn’t a race for very long as Lee flopped a set of 6’s en route to doubling up to $100k. I’d hope that this was the first of several of those to come, and was happy that he was able to avoid some of the names that were early exits.
Speaking of early exits, some names that would find the rail quickly would include the lovely Lauren Kling (which made every guy in the world sad), Karina Jett, Shannon Shorr, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, and 2009 November Nine’er Eric Buchman. Each of these players would find their way out of the Amazon Room a little heavier in the wallet, but saddened by their loss in the first level of play.
In a hand that will certainly make television, I showed up to see Jason Mercier 4-bet shove on Robert Mizrachi, and Mizrachi make an immediate call with K-K. Mercier looked dejected as he tossed over 5-5 and Mizrachi found himself a double up. The chip swing gave Mizrachi new life in the tournament as he now held $690k after the double up, while Mercier was back to the grind with just $133k chips.
Shortly after that, Jack Effel stopped the clock and placed the remaining 470 or so players on break so that they could catch up with the rate of bustouts and record players properly. I ran into Bruce Buffer as he was leaving and asked him what happened as he was now out. “I got aces in, but he flopped quads,” Bruce said, and the MMA Announcer left clearly upset that his main event was over.
But the day was kind to a few others including Phil Galfond, who’d, soared to the chip lead while at the ESPN featured table. I knew that would make for some really great TV. Vanessa Selbst and Adam “Roothlus” Levy were seated next to each other at the ESPN Secondary featured table, and that too was proving to be an interesting matchup. However, shortly after the 20 minute break, Selbst was gone. She’d moved the last of her stack with A-2 vs. K-J, and the board ran out K-J-2-4-4 and the NAPT Mohegan Sun champ was vanquished from the main event. She was followed shortly by Jason Mercier who moved with A-T, and ran into A-A. Then the man who finished runner-up to Chris Moneymaker in the 2003 Main Event went bust. Sammy Farha lost the vast majority of his stack calling an all in with A-Q to his opponents A-T. But a Ten on the flop left Sammy with just $20k chips, and he’d go broke a couple hands later with A-2 to someone’s 7-7.
The bust outs continued as Brandon Cantu found his exit, followed by Evelyn Ng, Dean Hamrick, Jason Somerville, and recently retired CardRunners Instructor, Cole South. Then the WSOP-Circuit star Dwyte Pilgrim made his final hand getting the last of his chips in with Q-J vs. his opponents K-K. But the bustout that I’ll remember the most of day 5 will be the one that KO’d not 1, not 2, but 3 players in one mighty blow.
In a 4-way pot, the flop came out Ac-Ah-Jd, and Bernard Lee began by moving all-in for his final $64k. Steve Billirakis made the call, then someone else re-shoved for about 130k. A third player moved all in for about $300k, and Billirakis made the call having everyone covered. When the hands were revealed, it was A-4 for Lee vs. Billirakis’s flopped full house with J-J. The other two guys had T-T and A-K respectively, so they had draws to a bigger full house, but the 7 hit the turn and an 8 on the river, and Bernard Lee was eliminated along with 2 other players, while Billirakis began stacking all of the chips.
The field continued to grow shorter with the eliminations of Hoyt Corkins and Vitaly Lunkin before the dinner break. The pace was much easier to follow now as the bustouts were happening at a much slower pace. I learned while at dinner that Jonathan Tamayo, who’d finished 21st in the Main Event in 2009, had gone broke as well, as had Danny Mizrachi which left Robert and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi as the only 2 brothers remaining in the event.
There wasn’t really a lot of action in the next 2 hours of play, and virtually the only story that came out of it was an elimination of Dorothy VonSachsen, which is relevant because it left 1 woman in the field of the remaining 242 players. Breeze Zuckerman had outlasted all of the ladies to earn the honor of last woman standing and was sitting well with $1.1 million in chips, which was around the average. Steve Billirakis had lost all the chips that he’d gained in that big all in hand, and was now out of the tournament, as well as Will “The Thrill” Failia, whom I must say that I was sad to see go.
In the last level of play for the day, Praz Bansi would go broke losing his flip when his A-K failed to improved vs. his opponents 4-4. But it was in the last 3 hands of the day that we lost a main event champion. Scotty Nguyen moved his remaining $300k in with As-Js and ran into K-K and Scotty was eliminated from the Main Event. It was a roller coaster ride for the champ, and he battled like crazy, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Play ended on Day 5 with 5 players over the $3 million chip mark. They were led by Evan Lamprea who held $3,564,000 chips, but he was followed closely by Michael Skender ($3,527,000), Joseph Cheong ($3,357,000), Duy Le ($3,186,000), and high stakes cash gamer Theo Jorgensen who held $3,088,000. Jorgensen was simply on fire having just recently won the €10,000 WPT Grand Prix de Paris Main Event where he booked $850k for that performance. Now, he was sitting 5th in chips with just 205 players left in the field. Other players surviving the day included Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin, who lost a big pot to end the day, and was only on about $200k now, Scott Clements, Alexander Kostritsyn, David Benyamine, and the most colorful character in the event, Jean-Robert Bellande also survived. Phil Galfond survived his day under the lights and in front of the camera’s to return on day 6, as did the last two Mizrachi Brothers (Robert and Michael). But the name that was on the tips of everyone’s tongue was 2 time Main Event Champion, Johnny Chan. Chan was the last person (and probably will hold that distinction forever) to win back to back titles in 87’ and 88’ and gunning for his 3rd Main Event Bracelet while holding onto 2,559,000 in chips, which was good for 9th most in the tournament. The tournament was shaping up quite nicely with everyone’s thoughts being “Make the November 9.” But before those thoughts could become reality, the remaining 204 players would have to make it though day 6, which I’ll write about next time.