At the risk of drawing the ire of our readers, I would like to point out that today's $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/Rebuys final table will be filled with known professionals, and the odds are that this would be the final table most packed with 'name' players throughout this WSOP. This does not mean that the 'no name' players aren't good players...indeed if they are making a WSOP final table, they CAN play. This also doesn't mean that the players who have a lot of TV exposure are good players. One would assume, however that if a player has multiple final tables in big events, or a WSOP bracelet, that they do have at least a fair amount of skill.
A lot of skill was on display at this final table, with fourteen WSOP bracelets represented among the nine combatants at this final table. Not to mention top players like Dave Colclough, Max Pescatori, and recent WSOP circuit winner Doug Lee.
When cards went in the air, the chip counts of the final nine were...
SEAT 1: Erik Seidel $67,000
SEAT 2: Josh Arieh $229,000
SEAT 3: Max Pescatori $62,000
SEAT 4: Tony Sevnsom $171,000
SEAT 5: Ron Graham $90,000
SEAT 6: Chris Ferguson $109,000
SEAT 7: Doug Lee $160,000
SEAT 8: Arturo Diaz $279,000
SEAT 9: Dave Colclough $50,000
Speaking of fourteen bracelets, half of them left the table about 10 minutes into play. Erik Seidel moved in with every straight draw in the book, and missed them all. Josh Arieh had top pair, and a ton of draws, none of which he needed when Seidel missed. Arieh was now the chip leader at the table with $358,000 chips. Seidel had plenty of time to go chill in the Full Tilt suite after making his second final table of the week. Erik Seidel - 9th place - $23,130
Next, Doug Lee was desperately short, and had to put his chips in. There were two fours on the board (A 4 4 9), so he didn't hate his hand, which held a four. But, when Jesus turned over nines full of fours, Doug was full of remorse, and had no choice but to get up and go. Doug Lee - 8th place - $34,690.
You figured that with such experience available at the table, the play would not be incredibly fast, but less than 10 minutes after Doug Lee's elimination, 2003 European Player of the Year David Colclough had to go. Dave had flopped trip jacks, and put the money in, but Josh Arieh loved the flop, as he had a wrap straight draw, and a flush draw. There wasn't much suspense, as the turn made Arieh's flush, and there was no pair on the board on the river to fill Colclough up. Dave Colclough - 7th place - $46,225
Now down to six, the chip counts looked like this...
Josh Arieh 473,000 in chips
Tony Sevnsom 219,000
Chris Ferguson 195,000
Arturo Diaz 135,000
Max Pescatori 123,000
Ron Graham 72,000
The day started well enough for Arturo Diaz. The man from San Diego was the chip leader when he woke up. He maybe should have stayed in bed, as the nightmare began once he reached the final table. Everything went right for Diaz in the first two days of this event, but everything went wrong once the cards were in the air today. Arturo decided to put his remaining chips in with an open ended straight draw, and top pair. Bad news for Arturo, as Chris Ferguson had flopped a set, and Arturo's draw did not get there. Arturo Diaz - 6th place - $57,820.
For a solid hour, the final table could have been called "The Josh Arieh show". Josh was raising, and betting at everything, and everyone was laying down to his ever increasing chip stack. On one hand, he flopped a wrap against Max Pescatori's over pair of Queens. The turn made Josh's straight, and sent Max straight to the sportsbook to check on the results of his AC Milan soccer team. Max Pescatori - 5th place - $69,385.
Now down to four, and the table was really starting to take shape.
Josh Arieh 655,000
Chris Ferguson 247,000
Tony Sevnsom 219,000
Ron Graham 123,000
The Josh Arieh show continued, as Josh continued to run the table. The next victim for Josh was Tony Sevnsom. Tony was getting really short, and decided to put all his chips in with an open ended straight draw, and middle pair on a board of 8 5 2. Josh flopped top two, and put the money in with Tony. For the third or fourth time on this final table, the drawing hand did not get there, and the player who missed the draw was eliminated.
Not coincidentally, of the four bracelet winners who started the table (Seidel, Arieh, Jesus, and Ron Graham) the final three had all won WSOP bracelets prior to this (Josh won a limit event a few years back, and Ron Graham has a bracelet in deuce to seven from 1986). Down to three, the chip counts were.
Josh Arieh 830,000
Chris Ferguson 281,000
Ron Graham 106,000
It got to the point that Josh was actually raising dark from the button, as it seemed that Chris Ferguson was waiting for the increasingly short Ron Graham to bust out.
The next hand after Josh's dark raise, Ron Graham put all his chips in with 10 10 8 4. Jesus called, thinking Josh would call, and they could ping pong Ron out of the tournament. Josh had different ideas, however, and Josh raised another $100,000. Jesus begrudgingly called the 100k raise, as it was over ½ his stack. The flop came 737, and Josh set Jesus all in. Jesus called in a heartbeat with a set of sevens. The turn and river changed nothing, and Ron Graham was eliminated in third place, but Jesus had over doubled his stack, and you got the feeling we might have a match on our hands any way.
When heads up play started, Josh still had a monster lead.
Josh Arieh - 878,000 in chips
Jesus Ferguson - 339,000
But, with the blinds about to go to $6,000/$12,000, Jesus still had some wiggle room, and you got the sense this could go a while.
It looked even more like it could go a while when Josh doubled Chris up after Chris flopped a set of eights, and Josh missed his draw. The chips at this point were essentially equal, with only 5,000 chips separating them with 1.2 million in play. The next hand, Jesus took down a small pot, and for the first time since about the fifth hand of the tournament, someone other than Josh Arieh was the chip leader.
The play heads up was fantastic stuff. We saw a flop on nearly every hand, and saw a lot of post flop play. For about 20 minutes, Jesus had Josh about two to one in chips, but Josh eventually doubled up to pull back to dead even.
The battle continued back & forth, and Josh pulled back out to a two to one lead. About 30 hands into heads up play, we had seen about 25 flops out of those 30 hands. This was fantastic poker, and it was a pleasure to watch.
The end had to come, and swiftly it came. Chris moved his money in with what he thought was a good draw, but Josh had virtually the same hand, but had paired the one card they didn't share, so Chris was essentially dead to three outs. Josh had K 9 3 2, and Chris had K 10 9 3. The board was 7 5 2, with two hearts. Both players had two hearts, but Josh had the bigger heart draw. Alas, there was no miracle for Jesus, and Josh Arieh had won his second WSOP bracelet.
2nd place - Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson - $210,460
Champion - Josh Arieh - $381,600
If you are a reader of Josh's blog, you know this was a huge win for him confidence wise, as he had been feeling a little snake bit. Also, it must be nice for Josh to get some redemption in front of the ESPN cameras. Congrats to the champion.
Ed Note: Lots of new players playing at London Poker Club Join the club today.