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2009 WSOP: $10,000 Mixed Event #12 – Ville Wahlbeck Captures Title

Ville Wahlbeck

After three grueling days and 193 eliminations, 33-year-old Ville Wahlbeck of Finland stood alone for a moment amid the craziness that is the end of a World Series of Poker event. In just one week, Wahlbeck not only made the final table of the $10,000 World Championship Stud event, but also overcame another incredibly tough field in Event #12, $10,000 World Championship Mixed to take down $492,375 and his first WSOP bracelet. Wahlbeck took the chip lead going into the final table, lost it to David Chiu, then reclaimed the lead when the field went short-handed, and eventually bested Chiu heads up for the first Finnish bracelet.

Flash back to the beginning of Day 3, when 20 players, many of them household names in poker, remained. Actually, all 20 of them didn’t remain for long, as shortly after the starting gun “Miami” John Cernuto called off the last of his chips in a hand of deuce-to-seven triple draw. James Van Alstyne stood pat after the second draw, and Cernuto drew one card. The last of Cernuto’s stack went in after the third draw, and Van Alstyne tabled 7-5-4-3-2 for the nuts. Cernuto showed an eight low and went on his way to the cage for his 20th-place payout ($16,649).

Doyle Brunson took out Matt Hawrilenko in 19th place ($16,649) when his {K-Diamonds}{Q-Spades} hit a king on the river to best Hawrilenko’s {A-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}. Then Michael Binger busted Soheil Shamseddin in 18th place in an Omaha hi/lo hand. Eric Froehlich also fell in the round of Omaha, busting at the hands of Huck Seed in 17th place ($16,649), and the field condensed to the last two tables.

Michael Binger made the next pay jump with his 16th-place finish ($21,357) but fell short of his bracelet hopes when he busted to Todd Brunson. Doyle Brunson twittered his elimination as the living legend fell short of tying Phil Hellmuth’s record 11 bracelets. Brunson and Scott Dorin got all the money in preflop with Brunson holding pocket queens to Dorin’s {A-Spades}{Q-Spades}. The {A-Hearts} was the first card off the deck, and when the case queen did not fall, Brunson was done in 15th place ($21,357). He later posted to his Twitter feed that he was upset about falling short so, “I went and bought myself a new platinum package Escalade.”

The field continued to thin throughout the night as Adam Friedman (14th, $27,719), Brian Powell (13th, $27,719), Aurangzeb “Ozzy87” Sheikh (12th, $34,958) and Joe Serock (11th, $34,958) all headed to the rail. Serock got the last of his chips in preflop in a no-limit hold’em round and got action from David Chiu, Scott Dorin, and James Van Alstyne. The three live players checked down the board of {K-Clubs}{Q-Spades}{2-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}, and Serock showed {A-Spades}{3-Hearts} for ace-high. Chiu denied him the opportunity to quadruple up when he tabled {A-Hearts}{4-Hearts} for a pair of fours, and Dorin and Van Alstyne both mucked.

When Roman Yitzhaki busted in tenth place ($42,818) in the hold’em round, his pocket jacks falling to Huck Seed’s pocket aces, the final table bubble had arrived. The bubble didn’t take long to pop, as Allie Prescott was ousted in ninth place ($42,818) in a razz hand with ({A-Hearts}{2-Hearts}){K-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}{Q-Clubs} ({2-Spades}). Prescott brought it in with the king in the door, but was perfect underneath, as good a spot as any to get the last of his chips in. He improved to a draw on fourth street, but then caught three straight bricks to fall to Scott Dorin’s (7-6) 3-4-8-6 (Q). Dorin’s 8-7 low was plenty good to send Prescott to the rail.

The younger Brunson outlasted the elder by seven spots, but Todd Brunson joined his father on the rail when he ran split tens into David Chiu’s rolled-up kings in the stud round to finish in eighth place for $54,854. Brunson’s hand never improved as Chiu caught running queens on sixth and seventh streets to make a full house and send Brunson home to check out his father’s new wheels.

Chiu then knocked out Mike Wattel in seventh place ($64,373) during a no-limit hold’em hand. Chiu raised preflop from the button and Wattel moved all in for a single 1,000 chip more from the big blind. Chiu called and tabled {K-Clubs}{8-Clubs}, and Wattel, who had moved in blind, showed {9-Spades}{9-Diamonds}. The suspense was over almost before it began, as Chiu caught a king on the {A-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds}{J-Clubs} flop. Wattel didn’t catch a nine or running straight cards, and he was done.

The David Chiu show continued when he added James Van Alstyne to his list of eliminations. Chiu raised preflop in pot-limit Omaha, and Huck Seed called from the button. Van Alstyne reraised from the small blind, Chiu called, and Seed went into the tank for a long while before making the call. The flop came down {10-Hearts}{9-Spades}{4-Diamonds}, and Van Alstyne shipped the last of his chips in with {A-Hearts}{A-Spades}{2-Clubs}{J-Hearts} for an overpair. Chiu quickly called, and Seed got out of the way. Chiu showed {9-Clubs}{10-Spades}{J-Clubs}{Q-Hearts} for two pair and an open-ended straight draw, and the straight came in when the {K-Clubs} hit the turn. The river was the irrelevant {7-Spades}, and Van Alstyne collected $79,181 for sixth place.

In what became a familiar refrain, David Chiu busted yet another player; this time the victim was Huck Seed in fifth place ($102,286). Chiu bet out on the {Q-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} flop in limit hold’em, Seed raised, and Chiu called. Seed bet out when the turn brought the {2-Clubs}, and Chiu called Seed’s all-in. Seed was ahead with {A-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds} for two pair, but Chiu held {J-Hearts}{9-Hearts} for the flush draw. The river was the {5-Hearts}, and Chiu made his flush as Seed’s tournament was over.

In a surprising occurrence for this final table, David Chiu did not eliminate Mark Gregorich in fourth place ($139,159). That duty fell to Scott Dorin in a hand of deuce-to-seven triple draw. Dorin raised from late position before the first draw, and Gregorich three-bet from the button. Dorin reraised again, and Gregorich tossed in his last few chips. Both players took two on the first draw, then Dorin drew two as Gregorich took one. Dorin stood pat on the third draw, and Gregorich drew one to make a 10-8-5-3-2. Gregorich’s ten-high was no good against Dorin’s 8-6-5-4-2, and then there were three.

Once again, deuce-to-seven triple draw brought about an elimination – this time, Scott Dorin busting in third place ($199,940) at the hands of eventual champ Ville Wahlbeck. Dorin raised from the button, Wahlbeck three-bet and Dorin four-bet all in. Wahlbeck called and drew two cards as Dorin took one on the first draw. Both players drew one on the second draw, and both stood pat on the final draw. Wahlbeck showed 7-6-4-3-2 for a strong seven-low, and Dorin’s nine-low was no good as he headed to the rail in third place.

After holding the chip lead for a lengthy chunk of the final table and sending many opponents to the exit, David Chiu lost the chip lead when the tournament grew short-handed and he fell just one spot shy of the bracelet when he busted in second place ($304,176).

All the money went in preflop as the short-stacked Chiu shoved in Omaha hi/lo with {A-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{10-Spades}. Wahlbeck called with {A-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{8-Spades}. Wahlbeck held the lead on the {J-Clubs}{J-Spades}{5-Hearts} flop, but the {10-Diamonds} on the turn swung the pendulum Chiu’s way. The {K-Spades} on the river was one of many good cards for Wahlbeck, though, and it gave him Broadway to send Chiu home and claim his $492,375 top prize. Wahlbeck became the first Finnish player to win a WSOP bracelet, and increased his winnings for the week to well over $600,000.

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