Canadian Mark Radoja has lifted the $5,000 no-limit hold’em shootout event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2011 in Las Vegas.
Radoja beat American Jeffrey Gross in their heads-up battle of event No.24 to collect the $436,568 top prize, as well as his very first gold WSOP bracelet in the tournament that started three days ago with 387 competitors.
Radoja more than doubled his WSOP winnings, having last year finished third in the $5,000 six-handed hold’em event for $262,902.
The event started with 40 tables of nine or 10 players at each, with those playing having the straightforward goal of winning their particular table. That is simple, but also makes for many disappointed players on day one as the tournament structure means those losing their heads-up battle are sent to the rail with no prize money.
Day one witnessed numerous big-name casualties, including David Benyamine, Oliver Busquet, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier and Jeffrey Lisandro.
Day two started with 10 short-handed tables of four each, resulting in 30 more eliminations, However, at least those out in 11th-40th place were guaranteed $13,368.
Again, some high-profile players failed to make the final day and included the likes of JP Kelly, Justin Bonomo, Erik Seidel, Tommy Vedes and Gavin Smith.
That left 10 for the final table as they eyed up the big cash prize and gold bracelet, with the lead changing hands countless times before the final five battled it out in what appeared to be an endless round of double-ups for the short stacks.
But, as the blinds rose, three more players – Chile’s Nicolas Fierrogottner ($198,096) and American duo Scott Baumstein ($146,639) and Adam Junglen ($109,406) – headed to the rail to leave us with Radoja and Gross.
Ontario’s Radoja started heads-up play with a 2 to 1 chip lead over Gross, of Michigan, as their vociferous fans cheered every pot won or lost.
However, Radoja never lost his lead – even though Gross doubled-up once – to leave with the title, although his defeated opponent did pick up $269,742 as a consolation prize.
The final hand saw Gross push 500,000 chips into the pot from the button and was met with an all-in declaration from Radoja. Gross made an instant call, then slammed down his cards, As-Jc, to be thrilled to see his opponent’s Kh-10d.
However, Gross’s excitement – as well as his supporters, including Matthew Waxman, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak – was soon tempered when the flop showed Qh-10h-2s flop to give Radoja a pair of 10s.
Gross needed an ace, king or jack to move back in front, but the turn showed the 10c to send Radoja’s supporters wild with joy as Gross was left drawing dead. The Ah meant nothing on the river as Radoja’s rail ran to congratulate the new champion, before busting into their famed chant lifted from 1979 hit song My Sharona by The Knack.
They sang: Ooh, my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Mark Radoja?
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin’ off the line, Mark Radoja!
Top 10 final placings and payouts from the WSOP 2011 $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout event:
1. Mark Radoja (Canada) – $436,568
2. Jeffrey Gross (USA) – $269,742
3. Nicolas Fierrogottner (Chile) – $198,096
4. Scott Baumstein (USA) – $146,639
5. Adam Junglen (USA) – $109,406
6. Nikita Lebedev (Russia) – $82,287
7. Todd Terry (USA) – $62,370
8. Tom Marchese (USA) – $47,636
9. Sean Getzwiller (USA) – $36,669
10. Daniel Smith (USA) – $28,447