The final table of the $5,000 No Limit Hold Em event was again chock full of players with bracelets, and/or a ton of experience in major events. Not falling too far behind yesterday's PLO event, where we had four players representing 14 bracelets, today we had four previous bracelet winners representing 12 bracelets, and all of the bracelet winners at the final table today were multiple winners (Cloutier 5, Bonetti 3, Ma 2, Hennigan 2).
This event saw 466 entries, which combined for a total prize pool of 2,190,200. The first place winner would receive $657, 100, and the gold & diamond bracelet.
This tournament seemed to take a little longer than some of the other tournaments, and in fact the final table started tonight with 10 players, as opposed to the normal nine, as the players were absolutely exhausted, after playing until 2am on night one, and then 3:30am on night two. So, the final table started with ten, instead of the usual nine, and those ten were.
SEAT 1: Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf $233,000
SEAT 2: Todd Brunson $16,000
SEAT 3: Jason Berilgen $159,000
SEAT 4: Gavin Smith $142,000
SEAT 5: Neal Wang $630,500
SEAT 6: T.J. Cloutier $281,500
SEAT 7: John Hennigan $363,500
SEAT 8: Hieu "Tony" Ma $61,000
SEAT 9: John Bonetti $248,000
SEAT 10: Steven Zoine $194,500
It was nice to see John Bonetti back at the final table. Plagued by health problems the last few years, John has not had a chance to play nearly as much tournament poker as he would like. If John Bonetti got as much camera time as many of today's top players, he would be one of the most popular players among the fans of poker for his funny, jovial nature.
Looking at the chip counts, you would think that Todd Brunson would be out quickly, and we could get to nine handed, and to the taping. Brunson went on a heater right off the bat though, and was no longer the short stack about 20 minutes into play.
The first player to go was Gavin Smith. Gavin has had a great month, but today wasn't his finest day of poker. After doubling up early with QQ vs. JJ, Gavin called TJ Cloutier's all in re-raise with AQ, and was dominated by TJ's AK. No help on the flop, but the turn was a K, making Gavin drawing dead. The river was the f.u. Queen, and Gavin Smith had cashed his fourth highest paycheck in the last 30 days. Gavin Smith - 10th place - $24,090.
A couple hands later, Todd Brunson was crippled down to $5,000 chips when his AK ran into Doc Berilgen's KK. So, Todd would be the next to go, right? Wrong. Todd doubled up the next hand, and the hand after that, it was Tony Ma's time to go. Tony moved in under the gun with A K of diamonds, and was called by both TJ, and Johnny World. The flop was 3 7 10, and TJ bet, getting World to fold. TJ turned over pocket 3's
for a flopped set, and Tony knew he was in big trouble. No miracles for Ma, and The "Pro's Pro" had plenty of time to go talk to his pro friends about the final table that might have been. Tony Ma - 9th place - $43,805.
On the next hand, it was finally Todd Brunson's time to go. Todd moved in with A 3, and was called by Hennigan, and Steven Zoine. Much like the prior hand, Hennigan was bet out of the pot, and Zoine flipped over KJ for top pair on a flop of K 2 4. Todd wasn't totally dead, as he had A3. The cards blanked off, and Todd went off into the night. Todd Brunson - 8th place - $65,705.
Now down to seven, the chip counts were
Wang - 673,000 in chips
Hennigan - 361,000
Zoine - 351,000
Berilgen - 266,000
Cloutier - 254,000
Woolf - 225,000
Bonetti - 199,000
Next, it was time for online legend 'Neverwin' to hold true to his nick name. Dustin Woolf is his real name, and it was time for him to go...really. On a flop of A 4 5, Zoine bet out, and Neverwin smooth called. The turn was a four, and Dustin moved in, and got an instant call from Zoine, who had turned fives full of fours. Dustin was down to two Aces to stay alive in the tournament. No Ace came, and Neverwin lost. Dustin Woolf - 7th place - $87,610.
Almost an hour of play elapsed before we saw any real action. John Hennigan thought TJ was on a button move, and World moved in with A 10 of spades from the small blind. TJ was moving in the right direction, as he had AA, and quickly uttered "call". World was drawing dead by the turn, and was free to go out into the World. John Hennigan - 6th place - $109,510.
Next to go was Jason 'Doc' Berilgen. After John Bonetti had come over the top of Doc's raise, Doc moved his last 220,000 chips into the pot with pocket sixes. Bonetti couldn't call fast enough with Kings, and the board gave Doc a glimmer of hope, but the bricks that followed meant the Doctor was out. Jason 'Doc' Berilgen - 5th place - $131, 410
On the first hand after the dinner break, Neil Wang, and Steven Zoine must have been in a food coma. Zoine opened the pot for a normal raise. Wang came back over the top for all his money, which was a huge overbet of the pot. Steven Zoine thought for just about a minute, and called. Wang opened up...K 9 of diamonds. Zoine immediately turned over....K 5 of hearts. Two hearts on the flop put Zoine in much better shape. A blank on the turn had no impact, but a 5 on the river left Wang hanging. Neil Wang - 4th place - $ 153,315.
Now down to three, and for whatever reason, chips were shifting. Several large overbets were not called, and you got the feeling suddenly people were wanting to gamble. The next pot wasn't so much gamble, as it was big hand over big hand. TJ Cloutier moved all in before the flop with two queens. John Bonetti called with AK, and the coin flip was on. Nothing came for Bonetti, and he was pretty much on a 6 outer the whole way, which left him out in the cold on a board of 2 2 4 J 10. John Bonetti - 3rd place - $175,215.
Now down to heads up, it was TJ Cloutier with 5 bracelets, against Steve Zoins, who was playing for the biggest prize he had ever played for. When heads up began, Zoine had a bit of a lead.
Steve Zoine 1,361,000 in chips
TJ Cloutier 968,000
A hand came up early into heads up play that put most of the chips in TJ's stack. On a flop of 10 8 7, Zoine bet 40k, TJ raised to 140k, and Zoine called the raise. The turn was a 6, and all the money went in. Zoine's call of TJ's raise allowed the worse card in the deck (for Zoine) to fall on the turn, as he turned a set of sixes. TJ made a bet, and Zoine put him all in. TJ had flopped the nuts with J 9, but Zoine had ten outs on the river for the board to pair, or the case six to fall. No such luck for Zoine, and TJ had a big lead.
TJ Cloutier 1,828,000
Steve Zoine 499,000
Out of nowhere, a very strange final hand occurred. Steve made it 50k from the button. TJ re-raised to 250k. Steve moved all in for another 600,000, and TJ called....with A 5. Steve flipped up AK, and felt good about things. The flop was 9 8 6, and TJ had picked up four more outs. The turn was a blank, but the river was a 7, and TJ had backdoored his sixth WSOP title. Zoine could only say "Zoinks", and could only look for the back door.
Steve Zoine - 2nd place - $352,620
TJ Cloutier - Champion - $657,100
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