10/2/09 – Barry Shulman, the owner of CardPlayer magazine and father of one of this year's World Series of Poker (Vegas) final tablers, is the new champion of the World Series of Poker Europe main event after defeating a star-studded final table and triumphing in a tough heads up against international ace Daniel Negreanu.
Facing off on the final table at Leicester Square's Empire Casino as the final day started were:
Seat 1: Barry Shulman – 1,090,000 Seat 2: Jason Mercier – 3,198,000 (chip leader) Seat 3: Praz Bansi – 1,160,000 Seat 4: Markus Ristola – 784,000 Seat 5: Chris Bjorin – 518,000 Seat 6: James Akenhead – 1,398,000 Seat 7: Daniel Negreanu – 438,000 Seat 8: Antoine Saout – 701,000 Seat 9: Matt Hawrilenko – 674,000
For Shulman it was his second WSOP bracelet, made sweeter by the quality of the opposition and the large chip lead which Jason Mercier held at the start of seventeen hours of intense poker action.
Mercier looked powerful in the cautious early stages of play, managing to build his chip stack at one point to 3.7 million.
First casualty was the British player and WSOP Vegas final tabler this year, James Akenhead, eliminated by Negreanu and collecting a useful ninth placing payout of GBP 66 533.
Matt Hawrilenko, who had done so well in the early stages was the next to head for the rail, defeated by Shulman and taking home GBP 87 074 for his 8th place finish. Within the next hand, another elimination occurred when Negreanu busted out another 2009 November Niner in the shape of Frenchman Antoine Saout, who earned GBP 114 228 for his 7th place showing.
Barely three hands later Chris Bjorin headed for the rail and a GBP 150 267 payday after being bundled out in sixth position – again by Negreanu, who by then had assumed the chip lead and was looking very strong. His next victim was Markus Ristola, whom he eliminated for GBP 200 367 in sixth place.
By the dinner break, Praz Bansi held the chip lead on 2.9 million, hotly chased by Negreanu only 100 000 chips behind and Mercier, still in the hunt with 2.3 million. Shulman was the last man on the leader board on 1.9 million chips.
When play resumed, it was all Mercier, who made a reenergised push that saw him take back the chip lead, but this was a brief success which ended when a 3 million pot against Negreanu turned sour and and Mercier was on his way to cashier to collect a third placing cheque for GBP 267 267.
Three handed and the heads up in contention, Shulman hammered Bansi, which enabled Negreanu to move in and take Bansi out for a third place payday of GBP 360 887.
Heads up it was Barry Shulman vs. Daniel Negreanu, with the latter favoured, having knocked out six of seven players eliminated by that stage. More importantly, Negreanu had an intimidating chip lead of 2 325 000 (6 180 000 vs.3 855 000 lead when heads up play began.
The problem was – Shulman was not intimidated, playing with considerable talent and quickly wresting the lead away from his famous opponent. It was the start of an epic heads up with neither player giving quarter as it continued into the early hours of the morning. Negreanu fought grimly into the lead just after 4am, and at one point it rested on the turn of a card, but an hour and a half later the last hand played out and it was Shulman who was victorious, collecting the WSOPE 2009 main event bracelet and the main prize from Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.
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