The World Series of Poker continued Monday afternoon with the conclusion of the 1,500 No Limit Hold'em tournament (Event # 38). Narrowed from a capacity field of 2,778 players, the final nine players returned to the Rio to decide who would be crowned the next champion and who would collect the monster $673,628 first-place cash.
Although the table was led going into the day's action by Andrew Lee, it was the experience of Chris Bjorin that had media reps talking early. Having made several final tables at the 2007 WSOP prior to Even #38, Bjorin was the early favorite to take down the gold.
The final table finally got underway at roughly 3:20PM (PST) without live spectators, because the tournament was being held in the sequestered Bluff tent.
Although players might have been initially frustrated by not having their support groups on hand to give them the edge, it didn't appear to have a tremendous effect on the action as it took only one hand before the first player hit the rail. This unfortunate honor went to short-stack Nick Goodall after he ran his pockets eights into Erica Schoenberg's full house of deuces over sixes with the board reading 2 6 7 6. He collected $40,195 for finishing in 9th place.
The second elimination came just 19 hands later, when Ernie Crespo made the mistake of taking on early chipleader Schoenberg's full house of sixes over tens. All Crespo could do was smile as he failed to improve and bowed out of the day's action. Crespo earned $51, 192 for finishing in 8th place.
Again, exactly nineteen hands later, it was Suey Wong's turn to join the busto parade. Moving all in with Ace Queen, Wong failed to improve against Richard Murnik's Ace King and was eliminated in the seventh spot. Wong collected $68,255 for his play.
Despite being the early favorite for the day's action, it wasn't meant to be for Bjorin as he missed another opportunity at winning a WSOP bracelet. After calling Murnik's under-the-gun all-in play with King Queen, Bjorin missed the board and fell victim to Murnick's flopped pair of Tens. Bjorin earned $87, 215 for finishing in 6th place.
The next player to see their WSOP bracelet hopes dashed was Andrew Lee. Having moved all-in under-the-gun, Lee was called by Richard Kranyak. Lee's failed to pair the board and fell victim to Kranyak's two pair of Kings and Nines. Lee collected $119, 447 for finishing in 5th place.
Play continued on as the rest of the table tried to jockey for position, but it was only a matter of time before the group saw the next elimination. Kranyak hit the rail in fourth place when his pocket Queens were beaten by Robert Cheung's pocket Kings. Kranyak earned $170, 639 for his play.
It took just one hand for the next elimination as Erica Schoenberg took a day-ending hit from Cheung. Calling Cheung's all-in move with Ace Jack, Schoenberg missed the board and was busted by Cheung's pocket Eights. The stunningly beautiful and equally talented Schoenberg collected $261,646 for her third-place finish.
Heads-up play lasted only one hand as Cheung turned two pair of Aces and Fours which was good enough to beat Murnick's pair of Fours and give Cheung the coveted WSOP bracelet and bragging rights for many years to come. Mrunick collected $417,117 for finishing second while Cheung earned $673,628 and the bracelet for the win.