New York’s Henry Lu claimed his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet after taking down the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event #43 in Las Vegas.
Lu – in his first cash of this 43rd annual staging of the WSOP – outlasted 2,769 other Day 1 starters to bag the $654,380 winner’s cheque from a prize pool of $3,739,500 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
What was even more incredible was Lu’s amazing fightback that saw him battle from less than two big blinds at one point on the final day to claim the glory and reinforce that old saying that a player just needs “a chip and a chair” to be in with the chance of poker success.
Popular Brit Falls Short…Again
However, it was sad to once again see popular British pro Neil ‘Bad Beat’ Channing almost live up to his nickname by falling short of his first bracelet from 27 cashes at the series following a marathon heads-up clash.
The long-suffering Channing now has two runner-up finishes from four final tables, but will be most disappointed with this latest result – particularly after dominating the final table to be a huge chip leader before losing out to Lu when heads-up.
Hopefully the consolation prize of $406,409 as runner-up will ease the Londoner’s pain, even if just a little, as he strives to fulfill his ambition of claiming at least one WSOP bracelet.
Short Stacked, But Determined
Having started their heads-up clash with a massive chip lead of more than 4 to 1, Channing was favourite to finally land that first bracelet in Vegas, but Lu was in no mood to capitulate – even if down 10,200,000 to 2,250,000 in chips.
Lu doubled-up early on before taking down a massive pot to see wrest the chip lead from Channing. Thereafter, the players swapped the lead several times, with Channing actually regaining his enormous chip lead on more than a few occasions.
In fact, Lu was all-in twice but doubled-up both times as this epic encounter topped the three-hour mark, before the event’s last hand played out with a classic coinflip that Channing lost.
Lu’s Fours Good Enough For Glory
On the button, Channing opened to 250,000 and Lu shoved all-in. Channing made the call to show A♦ J♦, while Lu tabled 4♣ 4♥. The gathered railbirds got to their feet to see a flop of 2♥ 3♠ Q♠ that changed little. The K♦ turn gave Channing several additional outs, but the 3♣ river was no help to the Englishman.
Lu’s supporters charged the stage to celebrate with their friend, while – in stark contrast – Channing stayed motionless in his chair, obviously in shock that he had failed in his gold bracelet goal. However, the likeable and well respected Channing did eventually get up from his seat to shake Lu by the hand and leave the table to a generous round of applause.
This latest cash takes Channing’s lifetime tournament earnings beyond $3 million – but we at Poker News Report expect to see this skilled pro challenge for more jewellery in the very near future.
Randy Lew Exits in 12th
The third and final day began with 21 players aiming to win the title, but exits arrived thick and fast early on, with Michael De Gilio the first to leave for $18,735, followed by Andres Ibarguen (20th for $18,735), Adam Foster (19th for $18,735), Carl DiVeglia III (18th for $23,372), Daniel Zeihen (17th for $23,372), Michael Morgousky (16th for $23,372), Cary Marshall (15th for $29,505), Mark Ketteringham (14th for $29,505) and Michael Judge (13th for $29,505).
California’s Randy Lew – who had started Day 3 with a good sized stack – was next to hit the rail in 12th place for $37,657 after struggling to get any foothold in the game. His tournament came to an end when all-in showing 6♣ 6♦ against Lu’s A♣ J♣. The 9♣ A♥ Q♣ 4♣ Q♥ board gave Lu an ace-high club flush for the elimination as the ‘unofficial’ final table approached.
Lu was now on 1.4 million chips after being as low as 40,000 – and he increased his stack once again when sending Maryland’s Jess Yaginuma out in 11th place for $37,657.
Zach Clark Leaves in 10th
Vegas’ Zach Clark left in 10th place for $37,657 when his K♥ K♦ were out-flopped by the Q♥ Q♦ of Lu to hand the latter trips. Amazingly, that was Lu’s third successive knockout and saw him begin the official final table just 10,000 chips behind leader Channing.
Jared Rosenbaum exited in ninth for $48,614 as Channing scored the elimination when his Q♥ Q♠ were too good for the Detroit player’s A♣ 4♦, while the Englishman increased his lead still further when sending Frenchman Francois Dur to the rail in eighth for $63,459. This time, Channing’s Q♣ Q♦ overcame the 10♥ 10♣ of Dur.
Hungarian Balazs Botond left in seventh place for $83,802, when he shoved his short stack with 6♦ 6♥ but lost out to the 9♣ 9♦ of Ohio’s John Nelson. But Channing still had the chip lead and again added to it by eliminating Pasadena’s Hovan Nguyen in sixth place for $111,961.
Channing Takes Control
The Englishman was on a roll now and broke Nelson’s resistance when the former’s K♠ Q♥ flopped top pair on a 3♥ Q♠ J♣ board to best the latter’s A♣ 10♦. Nelson was gone in fifth for $151,338.
Channing had over half the chips in play after the dinner break and he continued that dominance by knocking out fellow Brit Tom Alner in fourth place for $207,019. The Bristol player open-shoved with J♦ 8♦ but failed against the A♦ 9♦ of Channing, who now started three-handed play with three-quarters of the chips.
Vegas-based James Mackey doubled-up through Channing, but was dramatically knocked out on the next hand in third place for $286,633. Mackey was all-in and showed K♦ Q♣ to face the 5♦ 5♣ of Channing. The K♣ 3♥ 4♣ 3♠ board kept Mackey on course to double-up again, but the 5♠ on the river ensured that the heads-up clash would be between Channing and Lu.
Andy Frankenberger Cashes
Day 2 started with 320 survivors, with the money bubble bursting to allow Ohio’s Cory Huston to claim $2,730 in 297th place.
Other, more notable, exits included Carter Phillips (27th for $18,735), Marvin Rettenmaier (42nd for $12,415), Sadan Turker (47th for $10,284), Huy Nguyen (83rd for $5,347), Sam Barnhart (89th for $5,347), Sam Razavi (108th for $4,113), Matt Affleck (139th for $3,665), Andy Frankenberger (152nd for $3,665), Chino Rheem (155th for $3,665), Andrew Lichtenberger (197th for $3,291), Cherish Andrews (207th for $3,291), Tommy Vedes (228th for $2,992), Pius Heinz (236th for $2,992), Angel Guillen (259th for $2,730), Alex Masek (270th for $2,730) and Amir Lehavot (282nd for $2,730).
Barry Greenstein Out On Day 1
Meanwhile, Day 1 ended just 23 places short of the money – with the field being so swiftly cut down to just 770 survivors after the dinner break that at one point players were being eliminated at the rate of three every 60 seconds!
Off course, as always, many big-name pros hit the rail without cashing, including Barry Greenstein, Andre Akkari, Joe Cada, Kara Scott, Jake Cody, Darryll Fish, David ‘Doc’ Sands, Phil Collins, David ‘Doc’ Sands, Vanessa Rousso, Bernard Lee, Carlos Mortensen, Faraz Jaka, Liv Boeree, David Williams, Christina Lindley, Tom Marchese, Erik Cajelais, Hoyt Corkins, Matt Marafioti, Lauren Kling, Jonathan Little, Nam Le, Joe Serock, JC Tran, Ari Engel, Chris Moorman, Tony Dunst, Jon Aguiar, James ‘Flushy’ Dempsey, Ylon Schwartz, Soi Nguyen, Maria Ho, Melanie Weisner, McLean Karr, Amanda Musumeci, Matt Stout and Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen.
WSOP 2012 Event #43 Top 10 Payouts
- Henry Lu (USA) – $654,380
- Neil Channing (UK) – $406,409
- James Mackey (USA) – $286,633
- Tom Alner (UK) – $207,019
- John Nelson (USA) – $151,338
- Hovan Nguyen (USA) – $111,961
- Balazs Botond (Hungary) – $83,802
- Francois Dur (France) – $63,459
- Jared Rosenbaum (USA) – $48,614
- Zach Clark (USA) – $37,657