To put it simply, it was a hectic and exciting day on Sunday at the 36th Annual World Series of Poker. In one area of the Amazon Room, over 500 women were squaring off for the Ladies' Championship; in another, it was the survivors of the $2,500 Pot Limit Hold 'Em playing their way into the night; still yet, the major guns of the game started the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha (with rebuys!) event. Every time you heard the words, "Rebuy, table X," someone else was putting up another $5,000 to continue playing. Expect the total prize purse for that one to be in the neighborhood of three million, to be sure.
While all of this was going on, the $2,500 No-Limit Hold 'Em event was ready to go on the ESPN stage. The table had quite an international feel to it as it set up like this:
Seat 1: Canadian Joe Zappia, 247K
Seat 2: Short stacked Larry Watson, 59K
Seat 3: Glynn Beebe, 242K
Seat 4: Canadian Mayen Grigorian, 112K
Seat 5: K. J. Jordan, 368K
Seat 6: Denmark's Lars Bonding, 818K (and the chip lead)
Seat 7: Jack Binion World Poker Open final tablist Jason Tate, 391K
Seat 8: Professional (originally from Iran) Farzad Bonyadi, 315K
Seat 9: Robert Doyle, 87K
It started off at 3/6K blinds with a 1K ante, and we were off on a wild night.
We only had about 20 minutes to go on the round, so there was not much of significance that occurred before we moved up to 4/8K (with the same 1K ante). On Hand 13, the short stack to start the evening, Larry Watson, found a hand to go with and pushed his remaining stack all in. Joe Zappia was willing to gamble and turned up A-10 to run against Watson's pocket eights. Unfortunately for Larry, the ten found its way to the table on the flop and, when the rest of the board provided nothing, Larry Watson was out of the event in ninth place.
One thing that was available at this table was gamble. It seemed the players were willing to risk their tournament lives at any time and, on Hand 33, K. J. Jordan was the one fighting for his life. Lars Bonding was up for the challenge with pocket fives and had Jordan's Kd-Qd covered. Two diamonds came on the flop and turn together, but the river was a blank and Jordan left the Rio for the evening in eighth place.
Action was plentiful, but no one else left before we took a break and moved the level up (2K antes, 6/12K blinds). Lars Bonding was one player who was willing to play move in poker for much of the game. Soon after the break, he took turns doubling up Mayen Grigorian (who by far had the most vocal cheering section) and Farzad Bonyadi. Even with those turns, Bonding still held a commanding lead on the rest of the table.
We wouldn't lose our next player until Hand 64, when Jason Tate raised the pot to 28K and was reraised by Joe Zappia. Tate wasted little time in going all in and seemed a little surprised when Zappia called. Tate had J-10 but Zappia had an Ace to cover him (A-6). Rags came across the board and Jason Tate was eliminated in seventh place.
We went to yet another break and level up (2K antes, 8/16K blinds) and had our next bust out right after we came back to the table. Robert Doyle had been nursing a short stack all night and he found his moment to strike. Pocket Jacks looked good to him as he pushed his chips to the center and was called by Joe Zappia. Zappia was covered by Doyle's stack and so was his Big Slick. There was a momentary ray of hope when Joe hit an Ace on the turn to take the lead, but it was quickly dashed by one of the two remaining Jacks, giving Doyle a set. Zappia was dispatched from the game in sixth place.
Only eight hands later, another short stack nurser, Mayen Grigorian, was all in against the huge stack of Lars Bonding. Mayen was all in on 10-2 and Bonding was playing the pot odds in calling with his 7d-5d. Two diamonds came on the flop for Bonding and when the third hit the turn, Mayen was drawing dead and done for the tournament in fifth place.
Robert Doyle and Glynn Beebe both played their short stacks excellently until they faced off against each other. With Robert leading Glynn by about 40,000 chips, Doyle raised the pot to 100K out of the small blind. Beebe fired back all in over the top and Doyle called. Beebe held pocket eights and Doyle's A-3 was thoroughly dominated. When the board came 10-3-2-6-10, Glynn had doubled up and crippled Robert.
Two hands later, the game was almost done for Robert. He moved his remaining chips in from under the gun and Beebe reraised to 100K to drive the remaining players out of the pot. Heads up again, Beebe held a dominating A-Q of spades against Doyle's A-5 of clubs. The board came down with 8-7-6 with two clubs, opening more doors for Robert. The five on the turn completely changed the lead; now Doyle was the one who was in prime position to double up against his opponent. The only thing that could save Beebe was a completion of the board to a straight...which came with the four on the river. They chopped the pot and we moved on.
Hand 91 was the end for Robert Doyle. He moved in again from under the gun with his short stack and Farzad Bonyadi called. Bonyadi's K-10 was not strong, but was dominating against Doyle's 7-5 of diamonds. The board came A-Q-7-K-J, giving Farzad an unnecessary straight to crush Robert and send him from the table in fourth place.
We played around twenty hands and took a break to move up the levels (3K antes, 10/20 blinds) with the chip count looking like this:
Two of our final three seemingly were practitioners of "all-in" poker; both Lars Bonding and Glynn Beebe preferred to move to get their stack in the center of the table preflop, forcing people out rather than playing the board. Farzad Bonyadi was playing a much more controlled game, taking flops against his two opponents and then outplaying them on the board. On Hand 119, he took the chip lead from Bonding with much this same style of play.
Hand 120 found Glynn Beebe attacking with something different. He reraised Lars Bonding after he had moved it up to 40K, and called after Bonding pushed his chips all in in response. With pocket tens, Lars was clearly in control against Glynn's Jd-9d and when the only thing the board could do was pair his nine, Glynn Banks took home the third place prize.
Heads up, Bonyadi and Bonding both had pretty similar stacks. It took another fifty five hands and another level up to determine the winner. Bonyadi had been chipping away at Bonding, taking large pots and letting the smaller ones go when he was not in the lead. On Hand 178 after both players had limped into the pot to take a flop of 2-3-K, Bonyadi surprisingly moved all in and, more surprising (once we saw his cards), Bonding called. Bonyadi had flopped top pair with a weak kicker (K-6), while Bonding had not even touched the board with Q-10. There was no help from the rest of the board and the chance for Denmark to take two bracelets in a row ended with Bonding in second place.
1. Farzad Bonyadi, Los Angeles, CA $594,960
2. Lars Bonding, Aarhus, Denmark $317,625
3. Glynn Beebe, Austin, TX $194,305
4. Robert Doyle, N. Palm Beach, FL $170,015
5. Mayen Grigorian, Northridge, CA $145,730
6. Joe Zappia, Woodbridge, Ontario $121,440
7. Jason Tate, Brentwood, TN $97,150
8. K. J. Jordan, Myrtle Beach, SC $72,865
9. Larry Watson, Las Vegas, NV $48,575
10. Marvin Duarte, S. Florida $26,715
As I am finishing this, the Ladies' Event has just wrapped its final table for the evening. They will come back tomorrow to finish up, and actress Jennifer Tilly is destroying the table at will. It will be interesting to see if she becomes the first "movie star" to take down a World Series bracelet! All in all, it was a historic night at the World Series!
Ed Note: Play with Gus Hansen, Tony G, and Erik123 every day at Pokerchamps.