WSOP Updates – Event #19, $2,500 NHLE — Safieddine Goes Worst to First for Win
The final table of Event #19, $2,500 No Limit Hold 'Em, began play early on Wednesday afternoon with a star-heavy lineup, chasing a $521,785 first-place prize and a coveted gold WSOP bracelet. The day began with Lars Bonding (882,000 in chips) and Devin 'TranquilChaos' Porter (819,000) at the top of a bunched leader board, but Humberto 'The Shark' Brenes (making his third final table of this year's WSOP) and John 'The Razor' Phan also represented noted threats, and it was a wide-open race to the title. However, it would be the player who started the day the bottom of the standings, Francois Safieddine, who would come through for the surprising win.
Not long after the 2pm PDT start, the first player to exit was Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier. Busted when Devin Porter hit his ace, Grospellier earned $29,124 for his efforts. Four more final tablists would bust within the next 60 minutes. The first was Alex Bolotin, as his flush draw never materialized and Marcus Obser's set of eights held up. Busted in eight place, Bolotin earned $40,773 for his play.
12 minutes later, Brenes' drive for his third WSOP bracelet ended. Brenes busted in seventh place when his A-K failed to improve against Porter's pocket nines. Brenes took home $55,918 for finishing seventh. Only 11 minutes later, Bonding, the leader after both Days One and Two, joined him. Bonding exited when Phan hit a full house, sevens over fours. Bonding won $74,557 for his three days of play.
Just minutes after that, yet another player was bounced. Shawn Hattem saw his WSOP bracelet hopes vanish when Francois Safieddine hit a set of aces. Busting in fifth place, Hattem earned $97,856.
As the second hour began, the remaining four players were almost even in chips. Marcus Obser held a slight lead over Phan, with Porter and Safieddine close behind. Several rounds passed by with only a minor trading of chips. It wasn't meant to be for Porter, however, as he eventually busted in fourth place. Safieddine and Porter tangled, leaving Safiedienne at the top of the chip count and Porter busted when Safieddine's pocket sevens beat Porter's suited A-J. Porter collected $139,794 for his play.
Down to three, increasing blinds soon forced the remaining to put their chips at risk. Obser's time ran out when his flopped eights were beaten by Safieddine's flopped aces. Obsed earned $212,021 for his third-place finish. Safieddine pulled ahead in the matchup against Phan for the bracelet, but Phan looked to be about to move back to near even when he got all his chips in with pocket aces against Safieddine's pocket fours. Safieddine rivered the miracle two-out four for the set and the victory, claiming $521,785 and the bracelet. Phan's tough-luck runner-up conclusion was still worth $330,846.