10/12/09 – Poker pro Robert Mizrachi will be a disappointed man this morning following the end of the Ultimatebet 2009 Aruba Classic tournament in the Caribbean; after leading the pack for four days and making the final table holding the chip lead, he had to settle for a chopped second placing with winner Brandon Hall.
Hall, a 20-year-old from Littleton, Pennsylvania collected a $753 330 take-home following the elimination of Chase Steely in third place, which cleared the way for a Hall vs. Mizrachi heads up, but at this stage the two survivors from an original field of 474 hopefuls agreed to a chop.
The two players agreed that Mizrachi would take the lion's share of the chop due to his chip leading position, and that each player would put up $30 000, the winner to add this amount to his agreed chop balance.
In a dominant position, Mizrachi must have been disheartened to watch his young opponent close the gap and then overtake him to win the tournament.
Earlier, Hall had been reluctant to end play on the fourth day as he had a flight to catch back to the States; he must therefore have been glad that tournament director Matt Savage persuaded him to hang in, leading to a lucrative victory and a big dip into the event's $2.3 million prize pool.
Hall faced some impressive opposition on the final table, which included Mizrachi in the lead, 2009 World Series of Poker double-bracelet holder Brock Parker and fellow WSOP 2009 bracelet winner Eric Baldwin – all with substantial chip stacks. Other players included Chase Steely, Jose Roberto Santos and Matt Ross.
With the table down to four players, a rather long delay occurred as the survivors tried to reach a four-way chop, but they were unable to agree and the action was resumed. Not long after that Baldwin exited, leaving the heads up decider between Steely, Hall and Mizrachi. Eventually Steely found himself out in third place after a clash with Mizrachi, deciding the Hall vs. Mizrachi heads up.
Once the heads up chop had been agreed, the action lasted for only a quarter of an hour, with Hall emerging vicorious and taking the big money. Mizrachi had to be content with $414 680.
Remarkably, the Aruba Classic was Hall's first live tournament final table, although he has played in seven major tourneys including the EPT German Open main event. His $753 330 Aruba win massively extends his formerly $32 266 career earnings record.
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