The 39th World Series of Poker is now well into its stride at the Rio in Las Vegas, and two more big-money events have been finalised.
In Event 13 – the $2 500 No-Limit Hold'em tourney Duncan "Pumper" Bell dominated play from the start of the final table action with a significant 800K+ chip lead over his opponents, demolishing the competition to end the tourney as the winner in only 3.5 hours.
He collected his first WSOP winner's bracelet and the main prize of $666 697 in this, his second cash in a WSOP event.
To get there, Bell had to survive an entry field of 1 397 players and the last heads up against a talented Steve Merrifield, in which Merrifield at one stage managed to snatch a 5 to 1 lead, only to see it chipped away by a relentless Bell who ultimately truimphed. Merrifield had put up a good fight, but had to be content with the runner up prize of $428 949.
An educational charity benefited from the outcome of Event 14 – the $10 000 Stud Championship event, which started with an entry field of 158 players, with star power aplenty among them. But the stellar lineup notwithstanding, it was a relatively unknown Pennsylvanian called Eric Brooks who was victorious in the end and walked away with the winner's bracelet.
Brooks also collected a main prize check of $415 856, and immediately announced that he will donate all of it to the Decision Education Foundation, which teaches the science of decision making to students in grades K-12.
At the start of the final table, few would have bet on Brooks prevailing, given the presence of experienced and better known players such as David Oppenheim, who started as chip leader on 508 000, Alexander Kostritsyn (495 000) Fu Yong (429 000) Minh Ly (424 000) Jim Palusek (413 000) Erik Seidel (273 000) and Vassilios Lazarou on 259 000. Brooks was among the lower stacks on 359 000.
Lazarou was the first player eliminated and earned $48 269, taken out by Oppenheim. But Oppenheim's fortunes had turned as well, and he found himself on the way to the exit door not long after, a victim of Kostritsyn and taking a seventh placing payday of $59 408.
Kostritsyn bundled out the next player to go, too – Paluszek went in sixth place for $74 260, and that was followed by some aggressive and exciting action between Seidel and Kostritsyn that ended with Seidel heading for the rail and a check for $92 825 for his fifth placing.
Minh Ly had been tempting fate with a volatile series of ups and downs in bold moves throughout the game, but his day of reckoning ultimately came after a clash with the dominant play of Kostritsyn, sending Ly to the cashier's office and a fourth placing reward of $118 816.
Going into three handed play Kostritsyn appeared confident and was playing strongly, but he tangled with Brooks and found himself leaving the table to collect a third place reward of $163 372. Heads up, it was Brooks vs. Fu Wong, with the latter holding an almost 500 000 chip advantage and taking the first few pots with confidence. But it was not to last, and Brooks achieved a 2 to 1 chip advantage in a series of skilled moves…and he held that lead going forward to eventually win the game.
Wong departed in second place, collecting $259 910 for his time and trouble.
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