Day 3 of Event 42: $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better began with 22 players in search of a WSOP gold bracelet and the top prize of $228,014. In the end, only one player could be crowned champion, and his name is Oleksii Kovalchuk.
Jeff Lisandro, who won the 2009 WSOP Player of the Year award, entered the day as the chip leader, and was in search of his sixth career bracelet. He remained among the leaders through Level 20, and by that point, we had already lost Charles Kassin, Anthony Bellino, Allen Bari, Daniel Harmetz, and Dale Phillips. When we entered Level 21, Norman Chad shot up the charts, and took the chip lead. Chad scooped a massive Omaha-8 pot from Tom Schneider, where he made the nut-flush and the nut-low, and Schneider bowed out soon after.
Following Schneider out the door were Bryan Devonshire, Perry Friedman, and then the five-time bracelet winner himself, Lisandro. Lisandro lost a handful of small pots, and then was done in by Mark Gregorich in a hand of Omaha-8. The two got it in on a board of , and Lisandro was at risk with . Gregorich had a massive draw with , and was freerolling for the scoop. The river was the , giving Gregorich the nut-flush, and eliminating Lisandro from the tournament.
We then moved to the stage in the Pavilion Room, and formed an unofficial final table. Brandon Guss was severly short stacked, and quickly exited.
Here’s how the final table looked:
Danzer scooped two huge Stud-8 pots to rocket into the chip lead, and Chad’s stack began slipping. It was Tim Burt who busted first at the official final table though, when Danny Ratigan had a seventy-six low and three hearts in Stud-8. Sixth and seventh street both brought hearts for Ratigan, giving him a flush and eliminating Burt in eighth place. Wing Wong followed him out the door next, busting in an Omaha-8 hand against Danzer.
The remaining six players then went on a dinner break, and when we returned, Chad was the next to go. He was unable to get anything going at the final table, and slid down the counts until he was the shortest stack at the table. He became so desperate, that at one point he tried to use a fortune cookie to help with his decision-making. On his final hand, Chad not only committed the rest of his chips, he reached for his wallet and tossed both his Visa credit card and his AAA card onto the felt. It’s a good thing they really weren’t at risk, because Gregorich busted him in sixth place.
Yuval Bronshtein was relegated to the short stack when Chad busted. He tried to make a comeback, doubling through Kovalchuk in a hand of Stud-8 right after Chad was eliminated, but he couldn’t string together multiple pots. Bronshtein committed the remainder of his chips with a pair of queens in Stud-8, and Ratigan had him at risk with a monster draw. Ratigan made a straight and a low on sixth street, and held as Bronshtein bricked on seventh, eliminating him in fifth place.
Kovalchuk began climbing the charts four-handed, and crossed the million-chip mark after a big Stud-8 pot against Ratigan. He then eliminated Ratigan a few hands later with the wheel, sending Ratigan home in fourth place. Danzer and Kovalchuk began wrestling the lead back and forth three-handed, while Gregorich began to slide. Eventually, Gregorich was quartered by Kovalchuk, and then eliminated.
When heads-up play began, Kovalchuk captained an almost 2:1 chip lead. Danzer quickly evened the match however, and the two began passing the lead back and forth once again. Eventually, Danzer gained a 2:1 advantage for himself, but Kovalchuk came roaring back, winning three of four Omaha-8 pots at the end of Level 27. Kovalchuk never looked back, and on the final hand, the two were all in preflop in Omaha-8.
Kovalchuk’s was a slight favorite over Danzer’s , and the flop kept him in the lead. The on the turn left Danzer with just four outs to a straight, and the bricked on the river. Kovalchuk’s supporters mobbed him when it was all over, grabbing him, and tossing him into the air several times.
The 22-year old Ukranian native is now a two-time bracelet winner – he won the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed event last year, earning him $689,739. Congratulations to Kovalchuk on winning number two, and thank you for joining us during these last three days of grueling poker. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews.com for all of your up-to-the-minute updates from the 2012 WSOP.
Thank you, and goodnight from Las Vegas!