Phew! That’s it, folks. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is over for another year. Well, actually, it’s not as the nine remaining players in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship main event will have to return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in about four months to finish off this titanic battle to collect the gold bracelet and a $8,711,956 top prize.
Day 8 began in Las Vegas with just 22 players left in the main event, but it was the Czech Republic’s Martin Staszko who emerged from the pack to head the chips leaderboard – and November Nine – on 40,175,000.
The Trinec native holds a healthy lead over second-placed Irishman Eoghan O’Dea (33,925,000), while Vegas-based Matt Giannetti (24,750,000) is a good distance back in third place as they all chase the top spot from a prize pool of $64,531,000 that was created by a starting line-up of 6,865 players.
The final table of nine was reached in the Amazon Room of the Rio when Costa Rica’s John Hewitt was eliminated in 10th place for $607,882.
O’Dea, in middle position, opened for 1.1 million, with the action folding to big blind Hewitt, who then went all-in for his last 3.875 million. The Dubliner quickly called to show K♠ J♦, while Hewitt held 3♠ 3♣.
The Q♣ 10♦ 7♠ flop did not put O’Dea ahead, but it did leave him with an open-ended straight draw to enhance his chances with two over-cards.
However, Hewitt was hitting the rail when the turn showed the A♥ to give O’Dea a Broadway. The dealer turned over the unimportant K♦ on the river, but the November Nine bubble had already been burst as the whole table offered Hewitt their commiserations.
Day 8 started with Ukrainian 21-year-old Anton Makievskyi as our chip leader as the first level witnessed the exit of seven players to leave us with 15.
Makievskyi was still in front at this point, but O’Dea was closing in on him fast as both chipped up to more than 30 million – to be approximately double the nearest challengers in Hewitt and Tulsa’s Ben Lamb.
However, following the completion of another level, the field had tightened up as South Africa’s Konstantinos Mamaliadis (13th for $478,174), Scott Schwalich (14th for $478,174) and Andrey Pateychuk (15th for $478,174) exited ahead of the lunch break.
Not long after the remaining 12 players returned from the break, we were down to 11 survivors as Nevada’s Bryan Devonshire crashed out for $607,882. The unfortunate Devonshire lost most of his chip stack on two hands when holding K-Q and failing to catch any help against opponents holding an ace.
Makievskyi was still chip leader, with Lamb – WSOP Player of the Year points leader – Hewitt and O’Dea moving along nicely, as well.
Next to go, though, was Canadian Khoa Nguyen, when his pocket 10s ran into Staszko’s kings to exit in 11th for $607,882.
The final 10 then redrew for seats as the pace slowed significantly, with very few big pots played out. Even so, Staszko and O’Dea moved ahead of the field as Badih Bounahra, of Belize, and Giannetti came under increasing pressure as the short stacks.
The next hand of any great significance thereafter arrived on the first of level 36, when Giannetti went all-in after finding J♠ J♣ to get a call from Hewitt, who showed A♠ 10♥. Giannetti survived the community cards to double-up.
Sixty more minutes passed with little action before Giannetti – who had again become the short stack – moved all-in with J♠ J♦ to face Lamb’s K♥ 9♠. Giannetti again survived as the board gave Lamb no help.
Not long after, Bounahra shoved all-in with K♥ K♠, with Hewitt again calling to show K♣ Q♠. The board provided just a single queen, and Hewitt was suddenly the short stack on just over four million – which was not even nine big blinds at the time.
The action was hotting up now as Hewitt placed his tournament life at risk when holding 3♠ 3♣ against the K♠ J♦ of O’Dea. The flop showed Q♣ 10♦ 7♠ to give the Irishman an open-ended straight draw. The A♥ on the turn sealed Hewitt’s exit – and the November Nine was established as the Costa Rican left with $607,882 in 10th place.
Incredibly, the November Nine will be made up of a truly international field, with players returning from the USA, Belize, Germany, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Britain.
There will be 34 minutes and 57 seconds left of level 36 to complete when play resumes on November 5, with the button starting at Staszko after a four-month hiatus in the action.
Ninth place will pay $782,115, while the million dollar barrier will be broken when eighth place is awarded $1,009,910.
Roll on, November…
The November Nine, with seat placings and chip counts, from the WSOP 2011 Main Event:
Seat 1: Matt Giannetti (USA) – 24,750,000
Seat 2: Badih Bounahra (Belize) – 19,700,000
Seat 3: Eoghan O’Dea (Ireland) – 33,925,000
Seat 4: Phil Collins (USA) – 23,875,000
Seat 5: Anton Makievskyi (Ukraine) – 13,825,000
Seat 6: Samuel Holden (UK) – 12,375,000
Seat 7: Pius Heinz (Germany) – 16,425,000
Seat 8: Ben Lamb (USA) – 20,875,000
Seat 9: Martin Staszko (Czech Republic) – 40,175,000
Places 10-18 and payouts from the WSOP 2011 Main Event:
10. John Hewitt (Costa Rica) – $607,882
11. Khoa Nguyen (Canada) – $607,882
12. Bryan Devonshire (USA) – $607,882
13. Konstantinos Mamaliadis (South Africa) – $478,174
14. Scott Schwalich (USA) – $478,174
15. Andrey Pateychuk (Russia) – $478,174
16. Ryan Lenaghan (USA) – $378,796
17. Sam Barnhart (USA) – $378,796
18. Kenny Shih (USA) – $378,796