It's been 5 years since Las Vegas pro Layne Flack achieved WSOP bracelet status in style, winning two bracelets and earning the nickname "Back to Back" in the process. This week he showed 320 entrants in Event 34, the $1 500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha with Rebuys tourney, that he still has the mojo, adding to his bank balance and bracelet collection against top global players.
By day 2, the field had been narrowed down to 48 players, from whom a final table of 9 formed by the end of the day. Going into Day 3 the final table was comprised of St. Louis pro Kyle Kloeckner holding a chip lead of almost a hundred thousand over Las Vegas 5-bracelet veteran Ted Forrest with the other seats occupied by Frank Vizza, Dario Alioto, Tim West, Daniel Makowsky, Jacobo Fernandez, Michael Guzzardi and Layne Flack (who was about half way down the pack with a chip count of 601 000.)
The action was immediate and fast-paced, with Flack soon building his mid-placed stack to take the chip lead from Kloeckner after two hours of play and call most of the shots in a game that developed into a highly entertaining contest. Flack already had five WSOP bracelets in previous years to his credit, but was clearly keen to add a sixth after five years without making the jewelry list.
When Florida player Jacobo Fernandez headed for the rail in third place, the scene was set for a heads up between Flack and the Swiss player Daniel Makowsky, with the former holding a massive almost 6 to 1 chip lead that ensured a quick finish. Flack quickly demolished his opponent to take his sixth WSOP bracelet and the first prize of $577 725, reflecting that he was savouring the winning experience once again. Makowsky pocketed a check for $355 050 for his second placing.
The cash was not as tempting for Event 35 – the $1 500 buy-in Seven Card Stud tournament, but it nevertheless attracted an entry field of 381 players that included respected poker names such as Phil Ivey, David Sklansky, Dewey Tomko, Eskimo Clark, Huck Seed, John Juanda, "Miami" John Cernuto, Sam Grizzle, David Williams, John "The Razor" Phan, Max Pescatori and Phil Hellmuth.
After 8 levels of play the field was down to 71, with several of the aces among the early casualties. By the end of Day 2 the final table had been decided, featuring the highly experienced Michael Rocco from Las Vegas in the lead, closely followed by Al Barbieri from Philadelphia and Levon Torosyan, Max Troy, Giacomo D'Agostino, Canadian players Andre Boyer and Danny Kalpakis and Californian Jeffrey Siegal.
Rocco and Barbieri pretty much maintained their dominant positions through to the heads up, with Barbieri holding a slight chip lead at the start of the three hour finale, but losing it early on as fortune and talent smiled on Rocco and he steadily outpaced his opponent to take the main prize of $135 753 and his first WSOP bracelet.
Barbieri, who's nickname is Sugar Bear, took home $83 210 and the distinction of most memorable comment at the table, made with remarkable confidence when he was down to 17 000 chips. Rising from the table he opined that if he was not eliminated within the next half hour, "I'm gonna win the whole thing!" And he almost did, making a stunning recovery to at one point control the majority of the chips on the table. But it was not his day, and not enough to withstand the skill and talent of Rocco.