While it may have seemed that things were calm around the Amazon Room at the Rio, the action inside the building was more than exciting for the poker players there. The $3,000 Limit tournament was being played out, but there was also a major final table which drew some major attention in Event #6, the first $2,000 No Limit Hold 'Em event of this year's World Series of Poker.
The final table once again brought some big names and people making their move onto the poker scene as they sat down like this:
Seat 1: David Wells, 275K
Seat 2: J. R. Reiss, 222K
Seat 3: Willard Chang, 214K
Seat 4: Chip Leader Kevin Peterson, 1.130M
Seat 5 Professional poker player Nam Le, 323K
Seat 6: Vanessa Seibert, 492K
Seat 7: Australian Mark Vos, 528K
Seat 8: Thomas Hunt, 468K
Seat 9: 2001 World Champion Carlos Mortensen, 215K
It was a unique final table in the fact that the second female (Seibert) has now come to the run of the events in the position to take a bracelet and also notable in the fact that Carlos Mortensen has now made two World Series of Poker final tables in less than a week. It was also a unique final table in the action that took place.
While the players pretty much shuffled chips in the remainder of the 8K/16K round with 2K blinds, once the level went up the action did as well. David Wells made a move to stay alive in the event and action was further incited by Carlos Mortensen. When Vanessa Seibert made a raise to 60K, Carlos came in over the top of her for the rest of his stack. After some thought, Seibert questionably made the call with an Ah-9h against Carlos' pocket sevens. When Seibert flopped an Ace to take command of the hand and there was no additional help on the board, the former World Champ had captured his second ninth place finish of this year's World Series.
While the action sometimes appeared to be a little slow, the major mover of the tournament had to be Mark Vos. The Australian, who recently signed a deal to promote Full Tilt Poker, was mixing it up and taking advantage of the weaker play at the table. This allowed him to build a nice stack and take the chip lead as we headed into the break.
While she was able to move up the board nicely, Vanessa Seibert was not without a tremendous amount of luck to get there. She made a very questionable call against Mortensen to eliminate him and was responsible for sending the eighth place player to the rail as well. David Wells moved all in over a Seibert raise and she called once again with the worst of it; David's K-10 had Vanessa's K-8 easily covered until the board came into play. The flop hit Seibert very nicely when an eight came and there was no help for Wells. Once the rest of the board blanked out for him, David Wells was dismissed from the tournament in eighth place.
Seibert's lucky streak came to a close after the blinds increased to 12K/24K with a 4K ante. After she raised the pot to 60K, Kevin Peterson moved all in over the top. Not counting in the factor that Peterson had her covered, Seibert made the call and was on a stone bluff with a 5s-2s. Peterson had the situation well in hand with the pocket Aces that he held. He not only flopped an Ace but rivered the quads to eliminate Vanessa Seibert in seventh place. By taking the pot, Peterson also was able to catapult himself into the chip lead.
One player who really sat back and worked the action was professional Nam Le. The champion of the WPT Shooting Stars event in season four, he really avoided much of the carnage in the early going and, along with Vos, continued to build his chip stack when the situation presented itself. It would prove to be a great move befitting a champion as the tournament wore on.
After the dinner break, the blinds rose to 15K/30K with a 5K ante and the action ratcheted up as well. With four players under the magical "ten times the big blind" level, it led to those players attempting to make their moves, with tragic results.
Kevin Peterson chose the wrong player to attack in Nam Le and was crippled in a heads up pot between them. He attempted to make a move on J. R. Reiss and got all his chips in on the turn with a Q-10 against Reiss' pocket threes. The problem was that Peterson had nothing but a draw to hope for off the board of K-9-5. When the turn paired the King and the river brought a deuce, the chipleader at the beginning of play was out of the event in sixth place.
After Peterson's departure, the busts came quickly. Willard Chang made a move against Nam Le and was vanquished in the fifth position. Thomas Hunt hung around as long as possible and was able to pull out the fourth place position as the major players in the event, Vos, Le and Reiss, vied to determine the championship.
Reiss was the first to go out of the threesome at the final table when he mixed it up with Nam Le. When the turn card brought a Jack along with the flop of 10-8-4, Reiss made a move to try to take down the tournament veteran and went all in. Le was more than happy to make the call and turned up a 9-7 for the nut straight against a drawing dead Reiss' A-J. Once the formalities were done with the river, Reiss left the Amazon Room with the third place prize in the tournament.
With heads up action ready to go, the chip counts stood as this:
It was perhaps destined that these two men came to meet each other heads up. They had displayed excellent skills to reach this point and had also avoided the pitfalls that the rest of the table succumbed to. The heads up match between the twosome would prove to be the best final twosome so far at this year's World Series.
Vos was able to chip away at Le and take over the chip lead, only to surrender it back. This didn't faze the Aussie though; he continued to valiantly battle Le and, when the tournament pro made a move on him, Vos was prepared. He raised a pot and had Le move all in, which Mark called eagerly with pocket sevens. He read Le well; his Q-J had no potential once the board blanked off and Vos seized the chip lead between the two.
The players squared off for almost two hours with the chip lead wavering back and forth between the two. Both players displayed excellent skills throughout the heads up battle. When Vos raised pre-flop to 90K and Le made the call, a tremor ran around the final table when the board flopped Q-8-3. Vos continued to display strength by betting 150K, which was met with a unusual passive call from Le. The turn brought a deuce and Vos continued to push the issue with a bet of 250K, which was once again met with a call from Le. The river Queen made no difference to Vos. He moved in with the remainder of his stack and was called by Le, who showed pocket sixes. Vos was in control the entire way; his Q-10 not only took the hand but also captured the bracelet in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold 'Em event.
1. Mark Vos, $803,274
2. Nam Le, $401,647
3. J. R. Reiss, $209,555
4. Thomas Hunt, $160,695
5. Willard Chang, $136,211
6. Kevin Peterson, $115,255
7. Vanessa Seibert, $101,285
8. David Wells, $87,315
9. Juan Carlos Mortensen, $73,344
We caught a quick interview with the winner after the action was over.
PN: Congratulations on your first WSOP bracelet, you overcame a massive field. Did you expect this sort of success your first time round at the WSOP?
Mark Vos: Thanks. Of course I didn't come to the WSOP expecting to win a bracelet but I have been playing really well and thought I was a good chance.
PN: What are your plans for the rest of the WSOP? Will you play more events?
Mark Vos: To have fun playing poker and hanging out with my mates. I had already intended to play almost every event and am looking forward to the 5k event tomorrow.
PN: The heads-up battle was an up and down one. What did you think of your opponent Nam Le?
Mark Vos: In my opinion Nam played very well during the final table, but when we got to heads up I found he a got a little weaker which allowed me to dominate him a little.
PN: As a recent addition to the Full Tilt Team, did the other Full Tilt Pros offer you any advice and support?
Mark Vos: Yes. They are all great and I am glad to be part of the team. Perry Friedman especially gave me a lot of support during the event.
Mark is a regular contributor to the PokerNetwork.com Forum (part of the PokerNews Global family). His candid posts cover everything including both his poker successes and failures, plus he regularly posts his own hand histories for discussion.