The two major bubbles – the money and final-table bubbles – ground play to a halt in Event #24 Pot-Limit Hold'em/Omaha at the 2008 World Series of Poker. But after more than 14 hours of play, the $2,500 buy-in tournament at the Rio has been whittled down to the final nine, with Kyle Kloeckner leading the way with 494,000 chips. Five-time WSOP bracelet winner Allen Cunningham is just behind with 484,000 chips, and other notables still in the hunt include Max Pescatori (212,000) and Minh Ly (177,400).
The winner who emerges from the 457-player starting field will take home $246,471 for his efforts. Final-table seat assignments and chip counts are as follows:
Seat 1: Max Pescatori 212,000
Seat 2: Jonathan Depa 185,000
Seat 3: Kyle Hegeman 198,000
Seat 4: Kyle Kloeckner 494,000
Seat 5: John Paul-Kelly 79,000
Seat 6: Greg Hurst 197,000
Seat 7: Lennart Holtkamp 293,000
Seat 8: Minh Ly 174,000
Seat 9: Allen Cunningham 484,000
The speed of play was seemingly slow all day, but it sped up a little once the money reached after Brian Schwartz was eliminated as the money-spots bubble boy. However, pairing down the field from 18 to the final nine was a grueling seven-hour process that didn't end until 5 a.m. local time.
The final nine was set when Kloeckner and Penly got all-in during an Omaha hand, Kloeckner holding A-A-5-4 and watching it stand up against Penly's A-Q-10-9.
Twice during the night there was a nearly two-hour gap between eliminations, but the action found some interesting turns as Minh Ly battled back from a desperate short stack into serious contention, mostly at the expense of Howard Lederer, who himself was short a good portion of the night but had rebounded into a contender.
Perhaps it was inevitable that these two accomplished pros would collide. They got it all-in during a hold'em hand when Ly made a raise from the button with 5-5, only to have Lederer re-pop him all in from the small blind. Ly made what turned out to be a great call, as his pocket pair had Lederer's 4-4 clipped, and his hand held up to double through to 178,000.
Down to just 14,000, Lederer was eliminated in 12th place when he went all in from the blinds in Omaha and his A-K-9-3 lost to Lennart Holtkamp's K-Q-10-4, with Holtkamp making a full house on the river.
After another hour passed, David Bergerson was eliminated in a hold'em hand when he collided with Cunningham in a blind-on-blind confrontation. After Cunningham limped in and completed the bet, Bergerson raised the pot, only to see Cunningham come back with a pot-size re-raise. All the money went in and Bergerson's Q-J couldn't outrun Cunningham's A-9, which spiked an ace on the flop to essentially close the deal.
Ryan Carey was eliminated in 17th place when his pocket nines lost the proverbial race to Bergerson's A-K, and he was followed out the door by George Rahme, who got all his money in the center with A-Q but saw Kory Mitchell's J-J hold up and send him to the rail in 16th place.
Dustin Sitar exited in 15th place when he decided to take a pre-flop stand with 7-7 only to see that he was dominated by Cunningham's K-K. The board didn't offer any extra help and Cunningham took home the pot. Mitchell met a similar fate and went out 14th when he got all his chips in the middle against Cunningham. The Omaha hand pitted Mitchell's J-J-9-7 against Cunningham's A-A-7-4, and again the better hand held up.
Short stack Martel de la Chesnaye held on as long as he could but finally got the last of his chips in the middle with A-10 against Jonathan Depa's A-J. The board didn't help and de la Chesnaye was out in 13th place.
Today's final begins at 3pm PDT. Check in here at PokerNews for all the latest reports.