Phil Ivey just missed out on collecting his ninth World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet after a thrilling three-handed encounter in event #24 in Las Vegas.
The poker legend from New Jersey – who had finished as runner-up in the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em event #17 for $275,559 – exited in third place during the $5,000 buy-in Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8-or-Better this time to add $136,046 to his live tournament earnings.
However, the 36-year-old – who is based in Vegas – will be seriously disappointed with this outcome as he aims to close the gap on 12-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.
Three Final Tables, But No Bracelet
That’s three final table appearances within slightly more than a week for Phil Ivey without success after he also picked up $34,595 for finishing seventh in the $5,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better event #15. So expect many more determined displays from the superstar between now and the conclusion of the 43rd annual series at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
In case you’re wondering – and why wouldn’t you? – two players are still alive in this latest event, with Joe Cassidy and Scotty Nguyen preparing to start their heads-up battle later today in the Rio’s Amazon Room for the $294,777 top prize, as well as that gold bracelet.
A total of 27 players made it into Day 3 from the original 256 starters, with Ivey leading the way. California’s Raymond Davis was the first to exit in 27th place for $10,348. He was soon joined at the rail by players such as California’s Matt Lefkowitz (24th for $10,348), Ukrainian Alex Dovzhenko (23rd for $10,348) and Britain’s Stephen Chidwick (22nd for $10,348).
2011 Winner Viacheslav Zhukov Out in 17th
Defending champ Viacheslav Zhukov, of Russia, stayed in contention for quite some time, but eventually crashed out in 17th place for $13,031. Thereafter, several other big-name pros hit the rail before the nine-handed final table was established, including Pennsylvania’s Brian Hastings (16th for $13,031), Pasadena’s Brendan Taylor (13th for $16,544), Maryland’s Dan Kelly (12th for $21,020) and Arizona’s Mike Wattel (11th for $21,020).
Cassidy began the final table as chip leader, although Ivey was close behind – with these two players accounting for approximately half the chips. There were still some other dangerous players in contention, too, including Nguyen, Hollywood’s Bart Hanson and Nevada-based Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow.
Ryan Lenaghan, of New Orleans, was the first to leave the final table in ninth place for $26,940. Matusow (eighth for $34,748) and Hanson (seventh for $45,084) were next to leave, while New York’s Elie Doft exited in sixth for $58,873 and Vegas’ Gregory Jamison went out in fifth for $77,342 to herald an extended four-handed clash before Meng La, of California, fell in fourth for $102,260.
Thrilling Three-Handed Play
La’s exit set up a fantastic three-handed clash, with Cassidy on top with 1,615,000 chips, followed by Ivey on 1.39 million and Nguyen on 840,000.
It looked as though Ivey would run away from the others at one point, but – after a break – he seemed to lose all momentum to quickly drop down to only a few hundred thousand. However, Ivey somehow stayed in contention by winning some unexpected pots.
The first ‘miracle’ hand saw Ivey, with A♣ K♦ 10♦ 2♠, shove all-in on a 9♥ 4♠ 3♥ board against Nguyen, who showed A♥ 10♠ 4♦ 2♥. Nguyen looked poised to send Ivey to the rail, but the 3♠ turn and 5♣ river gave Ivey the wheel for a split pot.
Ivey Shows Some Passion
But the most amazing hand arrived when Ivey and Cassidy were all-in on a J♦ 10♠ 3♠ flop. Ivey showed A♥ 5♣ 2♥ 2♠ while Cassidy held Q♦ 9♠ 8♠ 5♦. The 10♣ turn and 10♦ river gave Ivey a full house, prompting the superstar to surprisingly exclaim:
Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
Ivey dropped away again after that hand, but fought back to move above 800,000 chips – only to see his run at gold bracelet glory end when all-in against Cassidy on a flop of Q♥ J♣ 8♦.
Ivey revealed K♦ Q♣ 8♥ 6♥ for two pair, while Cassidy showed K♣ K♠ 10♦ 2♣. The 5♣ turn ensured that Ivey stayed ahead, but the J♦ river gave Cassidy a better two pair of jacks and kings to send the star to the rail in third place for $136,046.
A very tired Nguyen was keen to end play for the day, although Cassidy insisted they should continue. However, with no agreement, it was decided that they should return today – with Cassidy on three million and Nguyen holding 845,000 as the blinds begin at 50,000/100,000.
WSOP 2012 Event #24 Places 3 to 10
3. Phil Ivey (USA) – $136,046
4. Meng La (USA) – $102,260
5. Gregory Jamison (USA) – $77,342
6. Elie Doft (USA) – $58,873
7. Bart Hanson (USA) – $45,084
8. Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow (USA) – $34,748
9. Ryan Lenaghan (USA) – $26,940
10. Andreas Krause (Germany) – $21,020