The nine competitors in Event #21, $1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em Shootout, arrived at the Bluff Tent for Wednesday's having survived two rounds of play and 891 other participants the day before. Each would begin the action with 300,000 in chips and were seated as follows:
Seat 1 — Don Baruch
Seat 2 — Daniel Negreanu
Seat 3 — Jared Davis
Seat 4 — Thomas Fuller
Seat 5 — Fred Goldberg
Seat 6 — Brendan Lee
Seat 7 — Michael Wehner
Seat 8 — Doug Baughman
Seat 9 — Erick Lindgren
Through the first 25 hands of action, the players basically got a feel for the table and the environment of the Bluff Tent. Erick Lindgren, looking for his first World Series bracelet, went on the offensive early and took a slight lead before taking a hit and falling to the back of the pack; he would never recover. Daniel Negreanu was also active in early play, down a bit early before achieving the first knockout. On Hand 27, Negreanu, with A-K, won a race against Fred Goldberg's pocket jacks and, after Negreanu spiked an ace on the river, Goldberg was eliminated in ninth place for $9,828.
The players traded friendly banter inside the tent in the early going Negreanu, for one, liked the taping and webcast of the event (if not necessarily the sequestration required) because it showed all the hands, rather than only the 'big' ones seen on edited telecasts.
Lindgren caught few good cards. On Hand 56, Lindgren and Don Baruch saw a J-9-5 flop, and Lindgren moved all-in after an ace came on the turn. Baruch called and tabled A-9 for two pair, leaving Erick Lindgren drawing dead with his A-7 and out in eighth place, worth $12,899.
On Hand 63, Negreanu, Doug Baughman and Baruch saw an interesting flop of . Negreanu checked and Baughman bet, with Baruch calling and Negreanu check-raising. Baughman moved all in, getting Baruch to release his hand. Negreanu made the call and showed top pair, top kicker with his A-K but was favored to lose to Baughman's for an open-ended straight draw plus the club flush draw. None of Baughman's many outs came home on the turn or river, however, and he was out of the tournament in seventh place, worth $15,971.
Negreanu would build to a giant lead during the middle stages of play. After seeing a 10-6-2 flop on Hand 74, Brendan Lee moved all in, with Negreanu making the call with just K-6 for a middle pair of sixes. Lee could only show his bluff of A-8 and, once he didn't hit his overcards, was out in sixth place, collecting $22,113.
Negreanu kept the pressure on and seemed en route to a runaway win. On Hand 86, after a Negreanu raise, Michael Wehner took his shot by moving all in. Negreanu chatted with Wehner, stating, "You must have ace-four," but called for the modest extra amount. Indeed, Wehner turned up A-4. Negreanu's K-Q trailed only momentarily, as one king on the flop and another on the river ended Wehner's night, who claimed $36,855 for his fifth-place showing.
At this point, Negreanu held more chips than his three fellow competitors combined, but Negreanu's fortunes turned. Jared Davis used pocket aces to bounce Thomas Fuller from the table and close the gap. Fuller's fourth-place finish was worth $68,796.
Baruch doubled through Negreanu on Hand 107 and on Hand 123, Baruch was able to push Negreanu out of a pot with a spade flush draw, although Negreanu held the best hand at the time with a pair of tens and a better kicker. By the dinner break, it was a close three-way race:
Don Baruch — 1,060,000
Daniel Negreanu — 874,000
Jared Davis — 766,000
Baruch expanded his lead after the break, and by Hand 158, had more chips than Negreanu and Davis combined. Baruch then took another large pot from Negreanu to move into a dominant lead, and that hand led to Negreanu's departure in third place on Hand 163. After an all-in from Davis for about 350,000, Negreanu debated at length before calling. Davis held pocket fives and Negreanu held A-8, but when the board came up empty, Negreanu departed in third place for $101,351.
Heads up, Baruch held the huge edge:
Don Baruch - 2,093,000
Jared Davis - 607,000
Play proceeded cautiously as each looked to land the big blow. They played 50 heads-up with no real confrontations, although Baruch eroded Davis's chip stack as the match wore on. On Hand 214, Davis moved in with A-5 off, and Baruch made the call with K-Q off. A queen flopped, putting Baruch ahead, and another queen on the turn ended it, eliminating Davis in second place ($149,263) and crowning Baruch as the champion of the $1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em Shootout, earning the WSOP bracelet and $264,107 for the victory.
PLAYER — EARNINGS
1. Don Baruch — $264,107
2. Jared Davis — $149,263
3. Daniel Negreanu — $101,351
4. Thomas Fuller — $68,796
5. Michael Wehner — $36,855
6. Brendan Lee — $22,113
7. Doug Baughman — $15,971
8. Erick Lindgren — $12,899
9. Fred Goldberg — $9,828