Irish poker pro Martin Smyth emerged the winner of Event 50, the $10 000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha competition at the World Series of Poker this week, surviving a field of 381 players who generated an event prize-pool of some $3.5 million.
Among the players he bested was Michael Mizrachi, Kido Pham, Billy Argyros, Richard Harroch, Tom Hanlon, Brandon Moran and Gred Hurst.
In the 30 hand final heads up it was Canadian Peter Jetten whom Smyth faced across the table, eventually eliminating him to take home his first bracelet and the giant $859 549 first prize – new PLO record payout. Jetten collected a check for $528 256 foir his second place.
Smyth, who has been a professional player for the last 6 years, said he was inspired by previous Irish champs Padraig Parkinson and Donnacha O'Dea.
In Event 51, the $1 500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E., Phil Hellmuth's initially strong performance was not enough to crack a win, denying him a record 12th WSOP bracelet as he exited in third place for a $93 168 payout, eliminated by Tommy Hang.
It was a 36 year old engineer and amateur player from Torrance, California who ultimately scooped the honours and the $256 412 main prize. On Day 3 of the tournament 20 survivors were whittled down to a final nine, and James Schaaf played the game of his life in an outstanding final table to win against Tommy Hang, Phil Hellmuth, Esther Rossi, Jason Dollinger, San Silverman, Victor Ramdin and Matt Grapenthien.
To get to that final table, Schaaf played through a starter field of 803 hopefuls, including opposition such as former WSOP main event champ Joe Hachem, Chad Brown, Allen Cunningham, Alex Jacob, John Juanda, Michael Binger, Mike Matusow and Svetlana Gromenkova…and in early play the Californian engineer was almost eliminated, down to just $200 in chips.
Going into the final, it looks as if chipleader Tommy Hang was the man to watch ahead of Hellmuth in the number 2 spot followed by Schaaf, but Hellmuth's elimination saw Hang and Schaaf facing off in a 60 hand finale where Schaaf relentlessly gained on the leader and eventually took him out in a hand of Stud 8 or Better.
Hang's second place reward was $158 933, whilst Schaaf picked up his first WSOP bracelet and the main prize of $256 412.