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WSOP Main Event final table has European flavor

20 July 2011

LAS VEGAS - The final table for the World Series of Poker Main Event is set and the Europeans are coming. The Czech Republic's Martin Staszko is the tournament's chip leader with 40.175 million in chips. And he leads a contingent of five Europeans to the final table. Ireland's Eoghan O'Dea is second in chips with 33.925 million. Germany's Pius Heinz is seventh with 16.425 million. Ukraine's Anton Makiievskyi is eighth in chips with 13.825 million. And England's Samuel Holden is ninth with 12.375 million.

Three Americans made the final table -- the fewest ever. In 2007, the United States had four players at the final table. Matt Giannetti is third with 24.750 million. Phil Collins (not the singer) is fourth with 23.875 million. And Ben Lamb is fifth with 20.875 million.

Belize's Badih Bounahra is fifth in chips with 19.7 million.

The November Nine take a bow after reaching the WSOP Main Event final table.

The November Nine take a bow after reaching the WSOP Main Event final table. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

This is the first time since the inception of the November Nine that no player at the final table will begin with fewer than 10 million in chips.

It is also the first time since 2008 that there has not been a runaway chip leader entering final-table play. Last year, Jonathan Duhamel had 65.975 million entering 2010 final-table play, which was almost 20 million more than his nearest competitor. Darvin Moon had 58.93 million as he entered final-table action in 2009, putting him ahead of his nearest competitor by about 14 million.

The Main Event champ will win $8,711,956. Each of the final nine players (November 9) is guaranteed $782,115 in prize money.

The final table will be played in early November, allowing ESPN's taped coverage to catch up with the tournament. The final table is scheduled to play out between November 5 and 7. ESPN has not announced its television schedule for the final table.

After play wrapped up for the night, Staszko was still a bit awed by what had just happened.

"I came to the Main Event, and I just wanted to take it day by day. But this, this is just a dream."

For Ben Lamb, who finished 14th in the 2009 Main Event, tonight was a chance at redemption.

"I didn't think I was going to have another chance to get back to the final table, especially this soon," Lamb said. "So as Days 4 and 5 wore on, I was completely dedicated to making the final table."

"Now that I'm here, it's amazing," Lamb added.

Rest is next on the agenda for Lamb.

"I have plane tickets to the Turks and Caicos for tomorrow," Lamb said. "I actually had them for last night, but missed my flight, so we rebooked and we're headed out for some rest."

O'Dea was just happy 10-handed play ended after a grueling three and a half hours.

"It [10-handed play] wasn't going great for me there. It wasn't going my way at all," O'Dea said. I was enjoying the five-handed play on the other table better. I was pretty happy to get through that and to the final nine."

"In the end, it was a relief, because things can change quickly," O'Dea added.

It took more than three hours for the Main Event to move from ten players to nine players.

It took more than three hours for the Main Event to move from ten players to nine players. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Costa Rica's John Hewitt finished in tenth, when he pushed all-in pre-flop for 3.875 millions with pocket threes. O'Dea called the bet with Ks-Jd. O'Dea hit the straight on the turn with a board reading Qc-10d-7s-Ah and Hewitt's night was done.

Hewitt was crippled earlier when he called an all-in bet from Bounahra worth 9.3 million. Bounahra had pocket kings and Hewitt couldn't catch up with his Kx-Qx.

Hewitt, who didn't voluntarily enter a pot during the first 70 minutes of 10-handed play, will win $607,882 for finishing in 10th.

When play began at noon on Tuesday, 22 players remained. But four players were eliminated in the first 62 minutes of play.

Lars Bonding, Chris Moore and Gionni Demers were among the seven players entering play with fewer than 6 million in chips. But with the blinds at 100,000/200,000 and 30,000 antes, they were feeling some pressure to move. And as a result, they were the first to bust out Tuesday.

Bonding finished 22nd, Moore finished 21st and Demers finished 20th. All three players won $302,005 apiece.

Aleksandr Mozhnyakov headed to the rail next. Mozhnyakov started the day with 7.075 million, but he lost most of his chips when he called an all-in pre-flop bet of more than 5 million with pocket kings. His opponent, Scott Schwalich, had pocket aces and Mozhnyakov couldn't catch up. Mozhnyakov's chip stack fell to 1.38 million and he busted out about 15 minutes later when his Kh-Qh couldn't crack Sam Barnhart's As-10h.

Kenny Shih, who started the day with 4.53 million, was the next to exit the tournament. He just couldn't gain any traction, but he did manage to survive long enough to see a pay bump. He won $378,796 for finishing in 18th.

Sam Barnhart was the next to fall, with about 20 minutes left in the first level (levels are 2 hours long).

Barnhart, who began the day with 4.935 million, found himself all-in with pocket nines against Pius Heinz, who began the day with 7.51 million. Heinz had him covered -- and he had the better hand, with pocket kings. The kings held up easily with a Jc-3h-4s-10h-8s board and Barnhart was out of the tournament, while Heinz climbed to just over 10 million in chips.

Barnhart won $378,796 for finishing in 17th.

Two minutes after Barnhart exited the tournament, Ryan Lenaghan followed suit. Lenaghan, who was the first player in this year's Main Event to crack the 12-million-chip mark, began today with 10.415 million. But he was leaking chips for most of the level in smaller pots, and found himself with about 4.6 million left near the end of the first level when Holden raised in front of him to 400,000.

Lenaghan looked down at his cards, saw Ah-8h and reraised all-in. Holden, who had Lenaghan covered, called with As-Qs. Holden hit the nut flush on the turn when the eight of spades joined 2s-7c-6s on the board, and Lenaghan was out of the tournament.

Holden, who began the day with 4.74 million, climbed past the 11-million-chip mark with that hand. Lenaghan won $378,796 for finishing in 16th.

Heinz struck again 39 minutes into the second level of play (level 33). With blinds at 120,000/240,000 and the antes at 30,000, Andrey Pateychuk pushed all-in for 4.33 million with Ac-Qs. Heinz, who had a little more than 20 million at this point, made the call with pocket jacks.

The board missed both players and Heinz moved up to a little more than 25 million while Pateychuk exited the tournament.

Pateychuk, who started the day with 16.245 million, won $478,174 for finishing in 15th.

After Pateychuk's elimination, the tournament took a one-hour break to allow ESPN's almost live (30-minute delay) coverage to come on the air.

When players returned from their break, Humberto Brenes had joined the crowd in stands surrounding the main television table to follow fellow Costa Rican Hewitt.

Hewitt began the day with 13.625 million and was in fourth place with 19.76 million following the TV timeout. And about an hour after play resumed, Hewitt gave Brenes something to cheer about when he won a 17.87-million-chip pot.

The massive pot was a result of serious betting between Heinz and Hewitt. After a flop of 2c-4h-Kc, there was 4.82 million in the pot. After a six of diamonds hit on the turn, Heinz bet 2.125 million. Hewitt called and out came the 10 of clubs on the river. Heinz then bet 4.4 million and Hewitt called. Hewitt showed pocket queens to win the pot (Heinz mucked).

The hand gave Hewitt close to 30 million, while Heinz dropped to around 15 million.

While the big stacks -- except for O'Dea -- were battling in relative peace and quiet at the featured TV table, the remainder of the field was playing in front of loud, tone-deaf fans at the secondary TV table.

Every time Collins won a pot, his fans would start singing "In the Air Tonight" lyrics from the more famous Phil Collins. Unfortunately, staying in tune while singing "I can feel it coming in the air tonight" was not their strong suit.

Collins fans also celebrated winning hands with a chorus of "yaah, yaah."

It was the secondary table that saw the next elimination from the tournament, when Konstantinos Mamaliadis pushed all-in with his remaining 4 million while holding 8h-2c. O'Dea called with pocket sevens. After a board of 5h-Jc-9d-6c-8c gave O'Dea a straight, Mamaliadis's tournament was over. O'Dea moved up to about 33 million in chips.

Mamaliadis won $478,174 for finishing in 13th place.

With the field down to 12 players, tournament officials moved Makiievskyi off of the featured table and onto the secondary table. Lamb thought they were pausing the tournament to move the chips and wandered over to the secondary table to check out the action. But because of the live ESPN coverage, there was no break. Tournament officials announced that cards would be going in the air even if players were not at the table. Lamb didn't hear the announcement, and ended up missing the first hand after Mamaliadis's elimination.

Just prior to the dinner break, Lamb and Giannnetti tangled in another big pot. With 7.14 million already in the pot, and a board reading ah-2d-9h-3c-2h, Giannetti spent several minutes trying to decide whether to call a bet of 4 million. Giannetti finally called, and Lamb turned over 3c-2s for two pair. Giannetti mucked his hand, and Lamb now had a chip stack of around 26 million. Giannetti dropped down to around 9 million.

After the dinner break, Bryan Devonshire busted out of the tournament in 12th place. With about 3 million in chips remaining, Devonshire pushed all-in with Kd-Qd. O'Dea, sitting on a chip stack of around 36 million, called the bet with Ad-Qh. A queen on the turn was no help for Devonshire. And not even his fans chanting "Devo, Devo" could produce the king he needed to stay in the tournament.

Devonshire won $607,882 for finishing in 12th.

Within minutes of Devonshire's elimination, the shortest remaining stack in the tournament exited the tournament in 11th.

Khoa Nguyen, who started the day with 16.435 million, had about 9 million in chips when Devonshire left the tournament. A few hands later, he was dealt pocket tens, and the gambling began. Staszko, who had about 21 million at the time, opened the betting by raising it to 675,000. Nguyen reraised to 1.75 million and Staszko pushed all-in. Nguyen called and saw he was facing pocket kings. The kings held up, and Nguyen was out of the tournament.

Nguyen won $607,882 for finishing in 11th.

After Nguyen was eliminated, the tournament moved all ten players to the main television table, and play resumed.

About 40 minutes into 10-handed play, the crowd still had not seen a flop and started to become restless. The Collins fans tried to rally support behind their guy, and get some noise going, by offering free beer to anyone who sang "In the Air Tonight" with them. Much of the crowd joined in, but the beer never appeared.

After yet another hand failed to move the flop, one fan tried to get people singing "I Can't Dance." That effort failed miserably and no one joined in.

Two minutes after the failed "I Can't Dance" effort, the crowd roared as players saw their first flop. Heinz and Lamb were tangling, and Lamb took down the pot without a showdown.


WSOP Main Event final table has European flavor is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.