It took three days and almost 28 hours’ play to find a winner of the WSOP 2011 $1,500 Triple Chance No-Limit Hold’em tournament, but the Memphis-based David Diaz finally emerged victorious from the 1,340 players who entered event No.12 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas last night.
Diaz faced some tough competitors with only four tables remaining on day two as the likes of Dan Smith, Getty Mattingsly, JC Tran, Andy Black, Bill Chen, Cliff Josephy and Sam Trickett were all still in with a chance of victory.
However, Diaz, showing great patience and wonderful skill, outlasted everyone on day three – eventually beating talented Norwegian Anders Meli in their heads-up battle to lift his first WSOP gold bracelet and $352,808.
Incredibly, Diaz is not content to take just one WSOP bracelet this year. Having been asked if he had anticipated his success, the American responded by saying: “Actually, I expected to win two. I don’t know why, but I just did.” Well, that goal is well and truly in sight now.
Only 10 players started the final day, with Diaz way down in ninth place on chips. Displaying his patience, he avoided the heavy early action, biding his time to find the right spots to accumulate chips – even securing a pot when holding nothing more than 10-3 with a well-timed bluff.
Diaz did finally take the chip lead, however, when going all-in against day two chip leader and fellow American Nicholas Rampone. His Ad-Qc got there on the turn against the 6d-6c of Rampone.
The flop showed 4d-5c-10c to keep Rampone in front. But the turn gave Diaz what he needed with the Qh. Then the river came 5d to double Diaz up to 1.25 million and put Rampone down to 795,000.
Diaz was back in trouble soon after, but stayed in the title race when chopping two pots after coming from behind on all-in pre-flop situations.
However, Diaz – who had just doubled-up to hit the one million mark again – flopped the nut flush against Chen’s second nut flush draw. They both got all their chips in and Diaz regained the chip lead, which he never gave up again.
Chen was out a few hands later to Diaz’s two jacks and we were down to three. Diaz applied pressure on Andrea Dato and Meli – and it was the Italian who attempted a fightback, only be overwhelmed by the forcefulness of Diaz.
Dato moved all-in pre-flop for a little more than 800,000 and Diaz called. Dato was in a great position with Ah-Kh as Diaz – hoping for a knockout – held Qc-4s.
But the board came 2c-6h-4c-Jd-3h to give Diaz two fours and send Dato out in third place for $138,044.
Meli had been slowly building up his chip stack before Dato was eliminated, but never made any inroads on Diaz’s lead once heads-up play began.
Diaz remained aggressive to force Meli lower and lower in chips – until the final hand arrived when, with the Trondheim native holding 4s-4d, he went all-in. Diaz showed Ah-10d when making the call as the event ended on a coin flip.
The board came 3d-10s-5c-7h-3c to give Diaz a pair of 10s and his first WSOP bracelet.
Top 10 finishers at the WSOP 2011 $1,500 Triple Chance No-Limit Hold’em Championship:
1. David Diaz (USA) – $352,808
2. Anders Meli (Norway) – $218,183
3. Andrea Dato (Italy) – $138,044
4. Bill Chen (USA) – $100,200
5. Corey Hastings (USA) – $73,915
6. Richard Trigg (UK) – $55,355
7. Justin Sternberg (USA) – $42,059
8. Nicholas Rampone (USA) – $32,381
9. Matthew Henson (USA) – $25,253
10. Steven Watts (UK) – $19,953