College dropout Eric Froehlich of Los Angeles became the youngest bracelet winner ever at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) when he outlasted a field of 1049 players the $1500 buy-in Limit Hold'em event at the Rio Pavilion Convention Center.
At the age of 21 years, 3 months, and 29 days, Froehlich is over a year younger than Gavin Griffin, who won a WSOP bracelet in 2004 as a 22-year-old.
Despite being just one credit shy of graduating from college, Froehlich told ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad, "I have no plans to go back to college any time soon...I consider poker to be a better opportunity."
Besides winning the coveted gold bracelet, Froehlich collected the first place prize of $361,910.
In a marathon heads-up battle that lasted over 120 hands, Froehlich ended the tournament at approximately 4am by eliminating Silicon Valley engineering manager Jason Steinhorn, who earned $182,040 for his 2nd place finish.
On Hand 259 with limits at 25000-50000, Steinhorn raised from the button and Froehlich called. On a flop of 9s 2s 2d, Froehlich bet and Steinhorn called. Froehlich bet and Steinhorn called when the Th came on the turn. Froehlich bet and Steinhorn called his remaining chips all-in on the river when the Ts hit the board. Froehlich turned over Ks 4s for a flush and Steinhorn mucked his hand and tap the table to concede defeat.
Froehlich had a chance to win the tournament 2 hands earlier on Hand 257 but was outdrawn on the river, when his pocket Fours were counterfeited on the river against Steinhorn's Ace-Ten on a board of 8d 8c 2d 5c 5s.
Froehlich, who started heads-up play with a 2-to-1 chip advantage, fell behind Steinhorn by a 4-to-1 deficit at one point before coming back to retake the chip lead by winning a big pot on Hand 244. Froehlich raised from the button and Steinhorn called. On a flop of Ks 3h Qh, Steinhorn checked, Froehlich bet, Steinhorn raised, Froehlich re-raised, and Steinhorn called. Steinhorn checked the Kd on the turn and called Froehlich's bet. When the Ad fell on the river, Steinhorn bet and Froehlich called. Steinhorn mucked the hand without showing.
Poker professional Todd Witteles of Las Vegas was eliminated in 3rd place by Froehlich on Hand 131. With limits at 15000-30000, Froehlich raised from the button and Witteles called from the big blind. On the flop of Qc Kh 9d, Witteles checked, Froehlich bet, Witteles raised his remaining chips all-in, and Froehlich called, turning over As Ks for top pair top kicker. Witteles could only present Ac 9h for bottom pair. The Qh on the turn and the 2h on the river brought no help from Witteles, who exited with a prize of $115,810.
Southern California-based college student Adam Hersh finished 4th with a prize of $101,335 when he was eliminated by Froehlich on Hand 87. Froehlich raised to open and Hersh called from the big blind. On a flop of 9h 4h 4d, Hersh checked, Froehlich bet, Hersh raised, and Froehlich re-raised. When the Qs came on the turn, Hersh checked, Froehlich bet, and Hersh re-raised his remaining 15000 chips all-in. Froehlish made a pair of nines with Js 9s whle Hersh could only produce pocket Fives.
Seattle-based poker pro Christian Van Hees, who won the $1500 limit hold'em event at the WSOP over 10 years ago, could only finish in 5th place for his first WSOP money finish in 10 years when he was eliminated by in 5th place by Witteles. On Hand 77, Van Hees bet his remaining 25000 chips before the flop while holding Jc 9d and he was called by Witteles who was holding Ad 6h. Witteles made 2-pair on a board of 7s Kh Ac 6d 8h to send Van Hees home with a prize of $86,855
Canadian television camera operator Devin Armstrong overplayed pocket deuces on Hand 46 to finish 6th. With the limits at 20000-40000, Froehlich bet, Armstong raised, Froehlich re-raised, Armstrong 4-bet, and Froehlist 5-bet. On the flop of Jh 9d 5d, Armstong bet, Frochlich raised, Armstrong re-raied all-in for 28000, and Froehlich called instantly, turning over pocket Aces. The Td on the turn and the 3s on the river sent Armstrong to the rail with a prize of 72,380.
Peter "The Poet" Costa of England and Wing Wong of Southern California were eliminated on back-to-back hands to finish in 7th and 8th respecively. On hand 33 with limits at 20000-40000, Witteles opened the betting, Wong raised all-in for 18000 more and Hersh called. Holdig Tc 3c, Hersh outdrew Wong holding Jack-nine when a the flop of 3d Ts 4d hit the board. Costa exited one hand later when his pocket eights were outdrawn by Witteles' Kd Jd when a King flopped. Costa earned $57,905 for finishing 7th and Wong earned $43,430 for finishing 8th.
Brian Mogelefsky of Huntington, New York was eliminated in 9th place on Hand 29 in a 4-way pot. With limits at 10000-20000, Mogelefsky raised under-the-guy, Witteles re-raised, Steinhorn called from the small blind, Van Hees called from the big blind, and Mogelefsky called all-in. Steinhorn bet the flop of 5h 2d 8h and both Witteles and Van Hees called. When the Td came off on the turn, Steinhorn bet and both Witteles and Van Hees dcalled. Steinhorn bet again on the river when the 7h hit the board and both Witteles and Van Hees folded. Steinhorn turned over pocket Tens for a set while Mogelefsky turned over pocket Kings for one pair. Mogelesfky took home $28,950.
Actuary Zelong "Freeman" Dong of Birmingham, Alabama was down to just 6000 chips after losing Hand 4 to Witteles. With limits at 8000-16000, Dong Raised and Witteles called from the big blind. On a flop of Qh 6d Jd, Witteles bet and Dong called. When the 8d hitting the board on the turn, Witteles bet, Dong raised, Witteles re-raised, and Dong called. Witteles bet and Dong called on the river after the 2s came off. Wittles turned over Ad 5d for the nut flush and Dong mucked.
Dong was eliminated on the next hand when he raised all-in for 6000 under the gun. Witteles raised to 16000 from the small blind and Costa called from the big blind. Witteles bet and Costa called on the flop of Jc Kc 4d. After the 6h came off on the turn, Witteles checked, Costa bet 16000, and Witteles called. Both Witteles and Costa checked the river card of Qd. Witteles turned over QJ for two-pair, Costa turned over AJ for one pair, and Dong mucked. Dong received $15,925 for his 10th place finish.
(Note: The $1500 limit hold'em event was added to the list of ESPN-televised events to replace the $1500 pot limit hold'em event, which could not be videotaped due to a schedule conflict with the final table of $1500 no limit hold'em event. To avoid any more changes in the list of televised events, ESPN and Harrah's entertainment have decided to stretch each of the remaining 12 ESPN-televised WSOP preliminary bracelet events to 3 days so that the final table TV taping can start at 2pm.)
WSOP Event 4 $1500 Buy-in Limit Hold'em Final Table Results
Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Eric Froehlich Los Angeles, California $361,910
2 Jason Steinhorn Cupertino, California $182,040
3 Todd Witteles Las Vegas, Nevada $115,810
4 Adam Hersh Aguora Hills, California $101,335
5 Christian Van Hees Seattle, Washington $86,855
6 Devin Armstrong Toronto, Ontario $72,380
7 Peter Costa Leicester, England $57,905
8 Wing Wong Rowland Heights, California $43,430
9 Brian Mogelefsky Huntington, New York $28,950
10 Zelong "Freeman" Dong Birmingham, Alabama $15,925