WSOP Win For Oleksii Kovalchuk
Oleksii Kovalchuk claimed the second World Series of Poker bracelet of his career by taking down the $2,500 Omaha/Stud Hi/Lo tournament in Las Vegas yesterday. The Ukrainian earned himself $228,014 for the feat, overcoming a host of notable poker players in the process.
The final day began with twenty-two players in contention for the title, with quite a few big names still in the field. However, Allen Bari, Bryan Devonshire, Perry Friedman and overnight chip leader Jeff Lisandro all exited the tournament before the final table was reached. Kovalchuk started the final table fifth in chips, and he didn’t begin to make strides up the leaderboard until the tournament was down to the last four players. But by eliminating Daniel Ratigan and Mark Gregorich he entered the heads-up against George Danzer with nearly a 2:1 chip advantage. Danzer soon turned the tables, however, and Kovalchuk looked in danger of becoming very short before he managed to stop the rot. A round of omaha hi/lo was helpful to him, as he won three out of four sizeable pots to give himself a massive lead. The next hand saw Danzer all in; Kovalchuk led before the flop and was never behind in the hand, and he took down the title.
The final table payouts were as follows:
1. Oleksii Kovalchuk – $228,041
2. George Danzer – $140,825
3. Mark Gregorich – $90,829
4. Danny Ratigan – $65,812
5. Yuval Bronshtein – $48,347
6. Norman Chad – $36,093
7. Wing Wong – $27,313
8. Tim Burt – $20,966
The $3,000 NL Hold’em tournament was also due to crown a champion on Sunday, but play was halted for the evening with Greg Ostrander heads-up with Jackie Glazer for the title. Both players had the option of playing a further level, but decided to return today to complete the match. Glazer looks a strong favourite; with a 3:1 chip advantage she will seek to become the first female player to win a WSOP bracelet in an open event since Vanessa Selbst in 2008. Since Paul Vas Nunes busted in third place, Glazer has slowly built her advantage; going into the heads up she was leading by around 5:2, but some aggressive play, including forcing Ostrander off what he claimed was QQ on a board of JJ2 with a big all-in, has seen her extend her lead.
Thirty players had resumed at the beginning of the day, making it perhaps inevitable that a fourth day would be required to finish the tournament. Shannon Shor, Dan Shak, Elio fox, Jason Koon, Fabrice Soulier and Mario Puccini all crashed out before the final table was formed, while JP Kelly was the first player to leave once it had.
The $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship is one of the most eagerly anticipated of all WSOP events, and it held its first day on Sunday. Just over a hundred players stumped up the hefty entry fee, although more are anticipated as registration in the five-day tournament does not close until into Day 2. Almost everyone who registered will be returning, as the day’s only casualty was David Singer, who departed at the hands of Bruno Fitoussi, when his set of aces were outdrawn by a straight in a hand of omaha. Matt Glantz finished the day atop a leaderboard strewn with big names; he closed on 310,700 chips. Looking down the list David “ODB” Baker, Jeff Lisandro and best-of-the-Brits Jon Spinks all bagged the right side of a quarter of a million chips, with Daniel Alaei, Chad Brown, Viktor Blom, Huck Seed and Jason Mercier all above 200,000. The short stacks include Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Cory Zeidman, Barry Greenstein, Scott Siever, Matt Hawrilenko and John Juanda, who all closed between 50,000 and 100,000. Bertrand Grospellier (33,000) and Justin Bonomo (13,000) will need some immediate help in the early stages of Day 2 to make much further progress.
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