2010 WSOP Main Event Reflection Part 15 – Playing to the November 9
When Michiel Sijpkens was eliminated in 19th place by John Racener, there was about an hour and a half of play left on the clock till the dinner break. But tournament officials paused the clock as the last 18 players were redrawn to 2 tables. We were now just 9 players away from crowning 9 poker superstars, and the November 9 looked as if it would be right around the corner. Every hand from here on out would be heavily scrutinized and reviewed on ESPN for the world to see. And we’d make these 18 players household names for years to come.
After the players had their cards redrawn, tournament director Jack Effel got back on the mic to welcome everyone back, and proclaimed “18 players remaining. We’re playing down to the November Nine! Wish you all the best of luck. Dealers, shuffle up and deal,” and the race to the November 9 began again.
Shortly after the play resumed, it was Michael Mizrachi who opened to 485k, and Scott Clements 3-bet all in for roughly 4.9 million. Matthew Jarvis then re-shoved all in, and Mizrachi got out of the way. When the cards were turned over, Clements was drawing to 3 outs holding A-Q, while Jarvis had the dominating A-K. The board ran clean for Jarvis and The two-time bracelet winner Scott Clements was eliminated in 18th place. He’d receive $396,967 for his finish, bolstering his resume to roughly $4.4 million in career poker tournament earnings, and was greeted by a standing ovation by the tournament spectators and most of the media. A recognizable pro, it was a sad moment to see Scott go.
The outer table produced the next knockout, and it was another named pro that would find the rail. Jonathan Duhamel opened the pot for 500k, and Matt Affleck and David Baker made the call. The flop produced a Qs-4s-4c which prompted a check from Baker in the Big Blind. Duhamel laid out a 1.1 million chip bet inducing a fold from Affleck, but Baker opted to check-raise all in for 5 million, and Duhamel snap called with Kd-Kh. Baker wasn’t in terrible shape with the Js-7s, but he needed some help with nothing but a flush draw. The turn card lessened Bakers outs when the Qh appeared, but the 4h on the river ended Baker’s Main Event in 17th place as he also booked a $396,967 cash.
Matthew Jarvis eliminated then next player at the ESPN Featured table, as a short stacked Benjamin Statz moved in for just under 5 million. Jarvis went for the jugular making the call with Kd-Qh as Statz tabled a hand that was slightly ahead in Ah-5h. The flop ended things quickly however as it came down Kh-Ks-Qd leaving Statz drawing dead to running aces. The turn improved Jarvis’ hand even further with the case Kc giving Jarvis quads, and sending Statz home in 16th place with his $396,967 finish, as the players would go on their dinner break shortly thereafter.
90 minutes later, the cards were in the air as we were 6 eliminations short of calling it a night. Full bellies have led to shove happy players throughout the event, and it proved to the case at this stage as well. This time it was Michael Mizrachi who open shoved his stack, and was called by the shortest stack of the tournament, Hasan Habib. Mizrachi tabled Ah-8s while Habib held K-K. The flop hit a K, and Habib found a precious double to around 2.7 million, still very short for the 120k/240k blinds with a 30k Ante.
The 15th place finish produced perhaps the tale of the World Series of Poker, and is worthy of a post in itself. The gut-wrenching hand was for a gigantic pot, and produced tears at the main event like I’d never seen before. Jonathan Duhamel got things going by raising to 550k from the cutoff, and was met by a 3-bet by Matt Affleck from the button to 1.55 million. The blinds tossed their cards in, passing the action back to Duhamel who 4-bet the pot to 3.925 million. Affleck just called to see the flop. 8 million chips were now in the pot.
The flop came out Td-9c-7h, and Duhamel slowed down, checking his hand from out of position to Affleck, who wasted no time in firing a 5 million chip bet into the pot, which Duhamel called, making the pot 18 million. On the turn, the Qd came out and again Duhamel checked his option. Affleck immediately moved all in for 11.6 million chips. Duhamel asked for a count and was faced with a gigantic decision, just having Affleck covered by about 8 million chips. He slipped into the think-tank for what seemed like forever, but really was about a full 5 minutes of sighing, checking his hole cards, and sitting and staring at an unmoved Affleck, before Duhamel called. Duhamel showed Jh-Jc while Affleck tabled Ac-As. The pot was now a monster 42 million chips, not only giving the winner of the pot a virtual lock on the November 9, but also giving the winner the chip lead on the tournament and perhaps giving the biggest edge to a player with a shot at winning this tournament. The only card to wait upon now was the river, and after much anticipation, the dealer flipped the 8d.
The sound that the room made at this point can be described best as somewhere between a gasp and a groan. Sheer shock filled the room immediately as Duhamel filled a Queen-High straight, and Matt Affleck realized his fate, removed his PokerStars baseball cap, and placed it over his face as he wept. Removing the cap from his face, he left the tournament area as Jonathan Duhamel began stacking 51 million chips, the runaway chip leader.
A few minutes passed by and Affleck returned to the table to shake hands with everyone. His face was bright red, a clear evidence of the tears and sheer emotion that had just taken place. Several people in the audience wept with him, and everyone applauded his efforts as he made his way around the table, shaking everyone’s hand. He’d officially exit the tournament in 15th place for $500,165, but the half million earning was clearly short of his goals and expectations for this tournament.
Play continued on, and it was still the short stacks that were in the most trouble. Hasan Habib went to the well one more time, open shoving his last 1.8 million, and John Racener came along. Habib had the worst of it this time with Ad-9d while Racener was worlds ahead with Ac-Kc. Things would improve for Habib however as the flop produced the Tc-9c-3s, and the pair of 9’s gave Habib the lead. But Racener’s flush draw was still looming. The turn card paired the board with the Th, meaning that Habib would have to dodge a club or an Ace, as another Ace would give Racener’s kicker the winning hand. And sure enough, the As fell the river, and Habib’s short stack ninja performance was finally ended in 14th place, where Habib would finally exit the Amazon Room with $500,165. Habib’s exit also left just 1 bracelet winner in the field, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi who had all of the attention now really thrust on him. Could he pull the biggest double of all time? Winning the $50k Players Championship and the Main Event in the same year might qualify.
Duy Le was the next short stack to get it in. Action had folded to John Dolan in the small blind, and Dolan did what he was supposed to, moved in on the shorter Le. Le snap called it though and tabled Ah-Qd to Dolan’s Kd-6d. The flop would put Dolan in the lead when it hit Kc-4c-Jh. Le would not improve with the 5h on the turn, and the 5d on the river, and he would exit the main event in 13th place for his $500,165 pay day.
One of the biggest rails at the secondary featured table belonged to that of Adam Levy. The sole representative of UltimateBet.net, Levy was a recognizable pro. UB had sent a few girls with UB swag handing out UB hats and shirts and patches along the rail, and the fans were excited when Roothlus finally put his last 3.9 million in the middle. The excitement was short lived when Jonathan Duhamel snapped a call with A-A, and Levy tabled just K-Qos. The flop produced even less for Levy fans to cheer about as it was T-6-3, but the K on the turn offered some short lived hope. The 2 on the river dashes it quickly and the DeepstacksU Pro was eliminated in 12th place, for a $635,011 pay day.
From that point on, play slowed to an absolute crawl. Pots took 10 to 15 minutes each to get through on certain instances, and every decision was a long drawn out process. It seemed as though it would take a long time to get to the final table of 10, but we had no idea how long we’d be here into the morning. Michael Mizrachi used the opportunity to increase his chip stack, as did Jonathan Duhamel, while Fillipo Candio headed the opposite direction. With 11 players left, Brandon Steven was dangerously short stacked, but fighting vigorously to make the final table. As was the last hope to have a recognizable pro, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. It was hard to not cheer for the short stacks. Steven found a double early on in 11 handed play when his AK beat out Jason Senti’s K-T. And Jonathan Duhamel sensed the tightness of the other players, playing small ball to perfection, and steadily increasing his stack.
After what seemed like a never ending sea of small pots, the big fish landed. Joseph Cheong and Pascal LeFrancois were the culprits as Duhamel again opened to 750k. LeFrancois called the raise from the button, and Cheong 3-bet from the small blind to 2.5 million. Duhamel stepped aside, but LeFrancois made his stab, moving all in for the last time. Cheong made the easy call with Kh-Ks and LeFrancois looked disgusted as he tabled Qs-Js, utterly crushed. The flop produced a 6h-Jd-2h, giving LeFrancois 1 of the cards he’d need to catch up, but he was drawing dead to the river when the Kd fell the turn, and gave Cheong the winning set of Kings. Pascal LeFrancois was our 11th place finisher for $635,011, and action halted and people cheered as the tournament clock was paused for the break up to the final table of 10. Maybe we would get out of there before midnight.
When the final table began play, the chip counts were announced one by one. Here they were when play began:
Jonathan Duhamel – 49,350,000
Joseph Cheong – 39,305,000
John Racener – 32,625,000
John Dolan – 24,550,000
Matthew Jarvis – 20,075,000
Soi Nguyen – 17,415,000
Fillipo Candio – 13,260,000
Jason Senti – 12,495,000
Michael Mizrachi – 7,780,000
Brandon Steven – 3,305,000
Now that the November 9 bubble was upon us, we found out just how tight poker players could become. As virtually every pot began with a raise, greeted by folds around. Or it was 3-bet by someone, inducing folds around. We saw virtually no showdowns. Very few flops, and small changes to the chip counts. This lasted for hours.
Until, Brandon Steven moved all in for his last 1.8 million, and he was called by Michael Mizrachi on a flop of 8h-Jd-6s. Steven tabled Qc-Jc, and Mizrachi As-8s, putting Steven in position to double up with his top pair. The board ran out clean, and our first attempt at an elimination came up short as Steven found his double up.
Players continued to battle, and the three players that were taking the most advantage were Michael Mizrachi, Jonathan Duhamel, and John Dolan. Each was steadily and methodically increasing their chip stacks without taking their hands to showdown. But the play was getting long as the hours ticked passed 2am, then 3am, then 4am…and they just kept going. The players were now not only fighting each other, and trying to stave off just 1 more elimination, they were fighting fatigue. Exhaustion began to creep into the Amazon room with spectators falling asleep at various areas throughout the room. And then, BANG….it happened.
Brandon Steven opened for 1.1 million, and Matthew Jarvis shoved all in behind him. Steven made the call and we had a possible elimination. But everyone groaned when the cards were tossed up as both players showed AK, and the chop was inevitable on the rainbow flop. Play continued.
We wouldn’t be waiting long though until our next all in, as on the very next hand, Michael Mizrachi opened the pot, and John Racener quickly 3-bet him to 2.5 million. Then Fillipo Candio 4-bet shoved 8.8 million all in, prompting an insta-fold from Mizrachi. Racener however called it, and again everyone rose to their feet to see the hands. It was Ac-Kc for Racener, which was way behind As-Ah for Candio. A King on the flop gave us some hope that the evening was going to end, but alas, the Aces held, and Candio found his double.
At 5:40am, almost 6 hours after Pascal LeFrancois found the exit in 11th place, fireworks happened again. Jonathan Duhamel opened for 1.2 million, and Brandon Steven moved all in for his tournament life with just 4.4 million in total. Matthew Jarvis then called, and Duhamel stepped out of the way. Our best chance for a KO was now, as Steven was in a flip for his life with AK to Jarvis’ Q-Q. Everyone was calling for different cards, yelling at the top of their lungs as the dealer placed out a flop of 4h-3d-Tc. The crowd cheered loudly as the end looked near. The board paired with the 4c, and the November 9 was just 1 card away. The dealer burned, and turned, and delivered the river card…..
The 5 of hearts.
The crowd roared as Matthew Jarvis had eliminated Brandon Steven in 10th place, collecting $635,011 and the title of the worst bubble in all of poker. He fell just one spot shy of achieving the mark that poker players dream of, a shot at the November 9.
But for the remaining 9 players, it was a time of celebration. Hugs, and high fives culminated the jubilation and the interview and photo process began for the world’s biggest poker celebrities. Out of 7,319 players, 7,310 had been dispatched, and one of them would emerge the World Champion when play resumed on November 6th at the Rio.
I’ll have a deeper look at each of the November 9 of Jason Senti, Joseph Cheong, John Dolan, Jonathan Duhamel, Matthew Jarvis, John Racener, Fillip Candio, Soi Nguyen, and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, easily the headliner for the final table. I’ll write a little bit on each of the players in an upcoming post, but for now, we have our November 9.