Events 32 and 33 at the 39th World Series of Poker in Las Vegas concluded as the week came to a close, with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson narrowly missing out on a bracelet, but Jose Luis Velador taking the major cash for the day home.
The Californian poker pro Jose Luis Velador truimphed in Event 32 – the $1 500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tourney, besting an entry field of 2 304 players and his final heads up opponent Anthony Signore to collect the coveted bracelet and the biggest paycheck of the day at $573 374.
Velador dominated most of the action, although his opponent almost drew level at one point, and was rewarded with a second prize check of $366 387.
For the Californian pro it was a first bracelet, although he has played and cashed in WSOP Main Events over the past two years.
Other players around the final table were Osmin Dardon, Jae Chung, Shane Stacey, Dean Bui, Danny Georges, Utsab Saha and Justin Hoffman.
In Event 33 – a $5 000 buy-in Seven Card Stud Hi-Low World Championship competition an entry field of 261 hopefuls started out but was whittled down to a final table that included players who could boast six WSOP bracelets between them. Most of these bragging rights belonged to a player whom many regard as the best in the world, Chris Ferguson, who was joined at the final table felt by an international range of players such as Bob Lauria (USA), Marcel Luske (Holland), Steve Sung (USA), Annie Duke (USA), Alessio Isaia (Italy), Sebastian Ruthenberg (Germany) and Bob Beveridge (Canada).
Play on the previous day in the tournament had totalled an exhausting 16 hours, and starting out on the final, Ruthenburg held a chip lead of 230 000 over nearest opponent Ferguson. The two were destined to battle it out right to the end of a heads up that took three early morning hours to decide.
The up and down battle finally ended in Sebastian Ruthenburg, a young German with two years as a poker pro under his belt, defeating Chris Ferguson despite a tough contest. His play earned him a first prize of $328 762 and his first WSOP bracelet, whilst Ferguson had to be content with the second place and a check for $202 405.
Ruthenberg was gracious in his hour of victory, praising Ferguson and describing him as the better player. "He really is a better player than me … I have only been playing this [Seven Card Stud Hi-Low] game for six months and he has played so much more than me," he said.
The win represents Ruthenberg's biggest career cash to date, although he can boast a third placing at the last European Poker Tournament in Dortmund, Germany) Bearing in mind the abundance of top international players in the starting field, the young German can also claim respect for his performance.