The high profile Event 8 at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas was finalised over the weekend by a 5 minute but exciting heads up between 22-year-old Nevadan Anthony Rivera and youthful Missouri phenom James ‘Mig.com' Mackey.
The final table for Event 8 – the $10 000 buy-in World Championship Mixed Games tourney started with Matt Glanz holding a significant almost 400 000 chip lead over his nearest rival, "Mig.com" Mackey.
Other players around the table were: Sammy Farha, Michael DeMichele, Tom Dwan, Eli Elezra, Anthony Rivera and young gun Jeff Madsen – all survivors of an original entry field of 192 and a Day 2 start of 89 players.
The quality of the opposition these players had to overcome is evidenced by a list of just some of the stellar players who threw their hats in the Event 8 ring: Mike Sexton, Marcel Luske, Johnny Chan, Doyle and Todd Brunson, Erik Seidel, David Grey, Tony G, Alex Kravchenko, Sigi Stockinger, Tim Phan, Noah Jefferson, Gus Hansen, Lee Watkinson and David Sklansky.
Two-time WSOP event bracelet holder Jeff Madsen was the first to head for the exit, ousted by Sam Farha and collecting an eighth finisher check for $54 144. Tom ‘Durr' Dwan from New Jersey was the next to depart after clashing with Rivera, earning himself a seventh placing payday of $67 680.
Sammy Farha met his nemesis in Eli Elezra, going out at sixth with $85 728, but Elezra's success was shortlived as he was number 5 to head for the rail with $108 288 when he fell to Nevada player Michael DeMichele. However. DeMichele followed the trend when he was in turn despatched for $139 872 in fourth place by Rivera, who by this time had amassed a substantial stack.
The heads up was decided when Philadelphia player Matt Glanz was bundled out in third place by James Mackey, collecting his reward of $184 992.
The heads up was a 5 minute affair – brief but exciting as the two young players gave battle. It ended with Rivera's A-K dominating Mackey's A-9; the board gave Rivera the victory and Mackey finished in second place with $297 792.
For Rivera, usually a cash game player, it was the exhilaration of winning a first WSOP bracelet as well as a bank account -boosting $483 688 winner's check. His success is all the more remarkable viewed against a track record that includes only two prior tournament cashes.