WSOP Bracelet Wins For Porter, Akkari And Griffin On Busy Tuesday
Brazilian Andre Akkari won his first WSOP bracelet after an epic heads up battle with Nachman Berlin. The Sao Paolo man took down the $675,117 first prize for winning the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event.
The two had battled for an hour and half on Day 3, and when they resumed Berlin held around a 3:1 chip advantage, and the stacks changed little during a cautious first hour. Slowly Akkari began to battle back, but he barely closed before slipping back again. It took three hours before a really significant hand was played; Berlin with KQo forcing Akkari, who held A8 all in. The flop could barely have been kinder to the Brazilian, handing him top two pair and leaving Berlin hoping for an improbable runner-runner trips. When that failed to materialize, Akkari had narrowed his deficit to just over half a million chips. The cautious play continued, and Berlin was able to rebuild some of his advantage as the heads up battle headed towards its sixth hour. It had passed that point when the next massive hand came; a pre-flop clash between Berlin’s ATo and Akkari’s pocket kings. When the board missed both players, Akkari surged into a huge lead.
The final hand came a quarter of an hour later. In a near reverse of their first big clash Berlin held A8s and Akkari KJo. This time the flop came KQ3, catapulting the Brazilian into the lead in the hand, and putting him within two cards of the coveted bracelet. In the event, the river was meaningless as a further king on the turn gave Akkari an unbeatable hand. Berlin had to be content with second place and $419,173, while Akkari celebrated with the railbirds, who made plenty of noise in support of him during the day’s play.
The $2,500 Seven Card Razz event also resumed with two players left, with Stephen Su holding a 3:2 advantage over Rep Porter. Porter was able to overturn this on the first hand of the day and thereafter pressed home his advantage, gradually increasing his stack through a series of small wins and rarely ceding much of his gains back to Su. Within an hour and a half he had got Su in a position where he could force any hand to be played for Su’s tournament life. In the event it took Porter three stabs to finish Su off, before he took down the $210,615 first prize along with the bracelet. It was Porter’s second WSOP bracelet; he won the $1,500 Short-Handed NL Hold’em event back in 2008. Su, meanwhile, picked up $130,075 for his efforts.
The $1,000 NL Hold’em event provided a rare example of a WSOP tournament finishing inside its allotted time span. Twenty-one players returned for Day 3 from the 2,890 who had begun two days earlier, with Jonathon Driscoll heading the field. Although there were no eliminations for the first forty-five minutes, a sudden rush saw seven players heading for the rail in the next half hour. The pace of eliminations slowed a little but they continued to come at good pace. Meanwhile many people’s favourite for the tournament, Antonio Esfandiari, weathered a rough early start to come right up near the head of the field, taking a huge pot of one-time leader Jonathan Driscoll on the way; Driscoll eventually fell just outside the final table.
Esfandiari reached the final table as chip leader, but he almost immediately lost a hand to Philip Hammerling and Jean Luc Marais took over the lead. As players continued falling Eric Baudry took a big pot off Esfandiari, before Hammerling despatched him in 7th. Meanwhile Kenneth Griffin had quietly been watching proceedings; he had started the day in second place with more than a million chips and involved himself little in proceedings, and was able to preserve his stack while others about him came and went. His first big move was upwards, when he took out Jonathon Lane in 6th in a classic race, though he was still behind Hammerling and Marais at that stage. He shot to the lead ten minutes later though, when he took out Andrew Teng, in another race.
Griffin was building a fine head of steam now, and shortly after the next break took out Eric Baudry, again racing pre-flop. This pushed his stack close to 5 million chips, while Marais had 2.1 million and Hammerling 1.6 million. Griffin slipped back chasing a flush against Marais though, but a full house against Hammerling restored his stack somewhat. Play was fast and furious from all three players after that, and something had to give. Having lost another big pot to Marais, Griffin despatched Hammerling by chasing a flush again. Hammerling moved all in after flop trips, and Griffin called with his flush draw and gutshot, the turn blanked but the river completed the flush. Once at the heads up, Griffin seized control, turning up the aggression to fine effect. Marais eventually tired of this, and moved all in before the flop, only to freeze in horror as Griffin bellowed “Call!” and turned over pocket aces. The flop missed both players and a blank on the turn meant that the tournament was over before the river. Griffin took down $455,356 along with his bracelet, while Marais finished with $282,676.
Day 2 of the $10,000 Six-Handed NL Hold’em event saw 162 players reduced to 22, and organizers will hope that this event will finish within the allotted three days as well. Mike Sowers finished the day with the chip lead; he is closely pursued by Chris Moorman, Bertrand Grospellier, David Benefield and Ben Lamb, the latter searching for his second bracelet of the year. Plenty of big names left empty-handed on Day 2; they included Huck Seed, Andy Frankenberger, Jonathan Duhamel, James Akenhead, Dwyte Pilgrim and Dave Ulliot. Several more left after at least notching a cash, among whom were Tom Marchese, Daniel Alaei, Phil Laak and Joe Cada.
Tuesday also saw the second day of the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. This saw 201 players reduced down to just 21 ahead of the final day on Wednesday. Mike Mizrachi put in a late surge to top the leaderboard, ahead of Day 1 leader Abe Mosseri who lies in second. Plenty of quality players can still be found in the field; Antony Lellouche, Barry Greenstein, Scotty Nguyen, Richard Ashby and Kevin Iacofano all survive into Day 3. Among the fallen on Day 2 were Mike Matusow, Tom Dwan, Shaun Deeb and Mike Sexton.
Two more events began on Tuesday. The $1,500 NL Hold’em attracted a field of 2,713, of whom 370 remained after Day 1. Chip leader was Alex Bolotin, who bagged 129,800, one of three players to breach the hundred thousand mark along with Sebastian Winkler and Jonathan Little. Plenty of big names fell by the wayside in this one – there will be no return for Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker, Justin Bonomo, Neil Channing and Liv Boeree. Meanwhile, the $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) event attracted 309 competitors, including a lot more famous names; at the end of Day 1 Jimmy Fricke stood atop the field. Those returning for Day 2 include Justin Bonomo, John Monnette, Greg Raymer, Matt Hawrilenko, David Sklansky, David Chiu, Jason Mercier, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Tom Dwan and Bill Chen. There were some big name casualties though, and those who won’t be back included Jennifer Harman, Hoyt Corkins, John Juanda and Phil Hellmuth.
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