Aaron Steury “was confident” of a first Las Vegas victory in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event the moment he followed through on a belief that he held the winning cards against Adam Friedman when just three-handed.
H.O.R.S.E. must surely be the most difficult of WSOP bracelets to earn – and Indiana’s Steury rose to the challenge brilliantly when reckoning that “there was a pretty good chance I had the best hand” while under pressure to call after Freidman fired out at the river in hold’em.
He “was right”, of course, “and was confident for the rest of the tournament” as he saw off 35-year-old Honolulu native Michael Chow in heads-up play, having dominated him 3.5 million chips to 835,000 as battle commenced, to collect $289,283 and that most sought-after of poker jewellery – a gold bracelet.
Back to that game-changing hand, though. Ohio’s Freidman had called every one of Steury’s bets all the way to the turn card, before the Fort Wayne native suddenly witnessed his opponent change tactic to bet out.
Steury’s call with queen high proved “spot on” as he busted Friedman’s nine high that had failed to complete a draw.
The 24-year-old – whose best WSOP result had been a 14th in the $3,000 version of H.O.R.S.E. two years ago – never had cause to doubt himself after that call, believing “that was the turning point” on his path to glory at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and a first bracelet.
Steury picked up $14,209 for his money finish in 2009, but his confidence and skills at all five games – Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or better, Razz, Seven-card Stud and Seven-Card Stud 8 or better – this year secured the biggest prize of his pro career at a final table that lasted over five hours.
That’s now nine money finishes he’s worked hard at achieving in the Rio, but it appears Steury was not too surprised to clinch his first title as he believes this was “one of the softest WSOP fields” he had been involved in.
With a massive 963 players entered, Steury reckons there were “a lot of players who don’t know what they’re doing”, with day one – “as you would expect” – being “easier”, while day two” got a bit tougher” and day three became “very tough”.
No matter the quality early on, though, the new champion made numerous brave calls at the final table – and what was most impressive was he was almost always right.
The final table showed quality in David Baker, Jonathan Tamayo, Friedman, Chow – who finished 13th in last year’s $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event – and Denis Ethier, although only the last two named had won bracelets.
Chow cashed once more, of course, for $178,691, but there was to be no gold again following the Vegas resident’s 13th-place finish for $26,108 in the $10,000 Omaha high-low split 8 or better event last week.
For Baker, it was another good event for seventh, although, after 22 WSOP cash finishes, it seems he has claim to the crown of the best player never to win a bracelet.
It’s a tough deal for the Louisiana pro – who also managed a 17th in last year’s main event – following a third cash in H.O.R.S.E., as well as five WSOP final tables for $947,587 in earnings.
Texan Jonathan Tamayo, who claimed 21st in 2009’s main event, went out in fourth for $84,516, while other big-name finishers included Pat Pezzin in 28th, Eli Elezra in 21st, Todd Brunson (19th), David Bach – the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. champ two years ago – in 14th and Victor Ramdin (ninth).
Top 10 finishers in WSOP 2011 $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event:
- Aaron Steury (USA) – $289,283
- Michael Chow (USA) – $178,691
- Adam Friedman (USA) – $121,437
- Jonathan Tamayo (USA) – $84,516
- Ron Ware (USA) – $60,036
- Denis Ethier (USA) – $43,512
- David Baker (USA) – $32,150
- Paolo Compagno (Italy) – $24,219
- Victor Ramdin (USA) – $18,577
- Tristan Clemencon (France) – $18,577
WSOP 2011: Brilliant Brit Darren Woods takes $2,500 six-handed limit hold’em event
British player Darren Woods took down Kim Nguyen in their heads-up battle to leave with $213,431 and a gold bracelet after lifting the $2,500 six-handed limit hold’em event in the Amazon Room in Vegas.
A field of 354 started out on Saturday, but that was cut down to 12 by yesterday evening as the competition grew fierce and the chip lead changed hands regularly.
However, it was Lincolnshire’s Woods who outlasted players such as Matt Matros – the only surviving WSOP bracelet winner come day three – online star Richard ‘nutsinho’ Lyndaker, last year’s 107th-place main event finisher Matthew Schreiber, Nguyen, Russian pro Alexander Kuzmin – who won January’s World Poker Tour (WPT) Southern Championship – Gabriel Nassif, Samuel Golbuff and another Russian, Andrey Zaichenko.
The first final-table elimination came quickly as Parisian pro Nassif’s Ah-9s failed to improve against the As-Qd of Golbuff as the board showed Jh-Ad-8d-Ac-2c.
Next to go was the short-stacked Zaichenko, who went all-in pre-flop with Kd-9s against Woods’ Ad-Ks. The board came Jd-Qh-3h-7s-Kc, and Zaichenko was out in fifth for $39,317.
The fourth-placed finisher was Kuzmin ($57,236), who saw his stack slowly cut down before being gobbled up by Woods and Nguyen as they chopped the Muscovite’s final hand.
Following the Russian to the rail was American Golbuff in third spot for $85,616 to leave Nguyen – just the third woman to make a final table at this year’s WSOP – on 1.5 million and heads-up with Woods, who had 1,150,000 in chips.
However, Nguyen was unable to emulate Vanessa Selbst’s 2008 open event success in the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha tournament as Englishman Woods started the heads-up clash impressively by seizing the momentum to take the chip lead.
Woods continued to pick his spots to collect pot after pot and, following about 90 minutes of heads-up play, the final hand arrived when Nguyen – on the button – raised. Woods re-raised before Nguyen put the remainder of her chips in and the Brit called.
Nguyen appeared to be in great shape as she showed Kc-2c and was faced by Woods’ 4h-2h.
A Kh-4d-6s flop kept her in the lead and the Js on the turn changed nothing as Nguyen appeared set to double-up – only for the 4c to arrive on the river to give Woods trip fours.
It was all over as Nguyen was eliminated as runner-up to take home $131,900.
Top 10 finishers at the WSOP 2011 $2,500 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em event:
- Darren Woods (UK) – $213,431
- Stephanie Nguyen (USA) – $131,900
- Samuel Golbuff (USA) – $85,616
- Alexander Kuzmin (Russia) – $57,236
- Andrey Zaichenko (Russia) – $39,317
- Gabriel Nassif (France) – $27,720
- Richard Lyndaker (USA) – $20,053
- Scott Stanko (USA) – $20,053
- Jay Pinkussohn (USA) – $14,866
- Joe Gualtieri (Canada) – $14,866
WSOP 2011: Foster Hays heads final six in $1,500 no-limit hold’em event
The $1,500 no-limit hold’em event has been going three days now, with the field cut from its original 3,157 competitors to just six.
Foster Hays, of New haven in Connecticut, leads the sextet on 3,620,000 chips, although – following 10 levels of play last night – there have been 19 double-ups and one chopped pot to give the railbirds something to scream about as they support their favourites.
Second-placed Casey Kelton, from Austin, Texas, will be his main early challenge this evening after quietly grinding his stack up to 3,385,000, although Stanley Tavanese, Jeffrey Lavelle, Robert Koss and Allan Le will no doubt still be eyeing up a gold bracelet and the $735,400 top prize.
Final six players and chip counts at the WSOP 2011 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event:
- Foster Hays (USA) – 3,620,000
- Casey Kelton (USA) – 3,385,000
- Jeffrey Lavelle (USA) – 2,135,000
- Robert Koss (USA) – 2,015,000
- Stanley Tavanese (USA) – 1,735,000
- Allan Le (USA) – 1,315,000
WSOP 2011: Jason Somerville on top in $1,000 no-limit hold’em event
American Jason Somerville leads the 27 remaining players in the $1,000 no-limit hold’em event after two days’ play with 749,000 chips.
Somerville showed great patience during the day, biding his time to grab some late pots to move clear atop the leaderboard – ahead of the likes of Tim West, Shane Rose, Yashar Darian, James Schaaf, Brent Shaffer, Lex Veldhuis, Sybe Smit and Valdemar Kwaysser.
Leading 10 chip leaders after day two of the WSOP 2011 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event:
- Jason Somerville (USA) – 749,000
- Tim West (USA) – 677,000
- Brett Shaffer (USA) – 646,000
- James Schaaf (USA) – 625,000
- Yashar Darian (USA) – 604,000
- Shane Rose (USA) – 547,000
- Dejuante Alexander (USA) – 464,000
- Steven Miller (USA) – 417,000
- Jeffrey Norman (USA) – 369,000
- Maximilian Lehmanski (Germany) – 367,000
WSOP 2011: Steve Landfish takes chip lead in $10,000 seven-card Stud championship
Steve Landfish has secured the chip lead on 780,000 after the second day of the $10,000 seven-card Stud championship.
The 87 players who started out yesterday – following the original entry of 126 – has been reduced to 14 for the final day’s play this evening.
John Hennigan is second on 688,000 chips, while there is then a big drop off to third-placed Bertrand Grospellier on 336,000. However, players of the calibre of Alexander Kostritsyn, Chad Brown and Sorel Mizzi remain in contention, as do defending champion Men Nguyen and Team PokerStars Pros Ville Wahlbeck, Jason Mercier and Bertrand Grospellier.
Final 14 for day three of the WSOP 2011 $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship:
- Steve Landfish (USA) – 780,000
- John Hennigan (USA) – 688,000
- Bertrand Grospellier (France) – 336,000
- Kevin Tang (USA) – 273,000
- Chad Brown (USA) – 212,000
- Jason Mercier (USA) – 210,000
- Alexander Kostritsyn (Russia) – 208,000
- Sorel Mizzi (Canada) – 198,000
- Maxwell Troy (USA) – 185,000
- Men Nguyen (Vietnam) – 153,000
- Nick Schulman (USA) – 118,000
- Christopher George (USA) – 114,000
- Chris Tryba (USA) – 111,000
- Ville Wahlbeck (Finland) – 99,000