The conclusion of Event #39, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em at the Rio in Las Vegas had the usual mix of amateurs and pros striving to win a highly-prized WSOP bracelet. In a year when the professionals have hoarded most of the bracelets so far, recreational player Ray Foley, a business manager for Chrysler Financial, emerged as the champion when the final hand was dealt.
Jim Mitchell and Steve Mohs, the two shortest stacks, were also the two earliest eliminations on Day 3. Nam Le, Christopher Kolla, Steve Banner, and Conrad Monica were also sent to the rail in the first hour, as 20 players remained. Joe Bartholdi started the day third in chips, but he was all in for his tournament life with against Alex Jacob's , and when the board ran out , Bartholdi left to pick up his 20th-place winnings. Mohsin Charania was the next player gone when his was outkicked by Alex Jacob's to finish in 19th as the rest of the field consolidated to two tables.
Matt Livingston eliminated John Woolen in 18th place and Nicolas Derke soon joined him on the rail in 17th. Michele Iacovone, the chip leader at the start of Day 3, doubled up several players throughout the day. Then Tyler Spalding rivered a straight to collect the rest of his chips, sending Iacovone to the cashier in 16th place.
Brandon Cantu's A-Q outflopped Zachary Humphrey's pocket tens to send Humphrey home in 15th. Tyler Spalding then disposed of Donald Nicholson in 14th place. Raymond Davis’ was no good against Brandon Cantu's , sending Davis from the tournament in 13th place.
Shawn Glines' tournament came to a screeching halt when Ray Foley's pocket aces crushed Glines' pocket sixes to send him packing in 12th. The not-quite-final table of ten was established as Kelvin Crawford finished in 11th ($56,071), his K-7 running into Richard Lutes’ pocket queens. Matt Livingston moved in with his last remaining chips holding and Ray Foley made the call with . Another ace on the flop sent Livingston away from the table, pocketing $56,071 for his tenth-place finish.
The official final table commenced with the blinds at 20,000/40,000 and an ante of 5,000:
Seat 1: Chairud Vangchailued – 875,000
Seat 2: Tyler Spalding – 1,485,000
Seat 3: Patrick O'Connor – 580,000
Seat 4: Brandon Cantu – 880,000
Seat 5: Alex Jacob --2,200,000
Seat 6: Ray Foley – 2,860,000
Seat 7: Richard Lutes – 1,555,000
Seat 8: Wei Mu — 1,370,000
Seat 9: Jonathan Markham – 400,000
As the tournament staff decided to send the players on their dinner break at the end of the current level, Patrick O'Connor moved in from the small blind for his last 500,000 with . Brandon Cantu called with , the board brought no help for O'Connor as he packed up his belongings and left the table in ninth place ($80,049).
Brandon Cantu then aggressively moved his way to the top of the leaderboard, overtaking Ray Foley. Foley slipped down even further when Tyler Spalding moved all in preflop with pocket kings against Foley's pocket eights to move into second place with 1,985,000 as Foley dropped to third. Richard Lutes tried to make a move on Brandon Cantu with on the flop of . Cantu quickly called with for a flush draw. The on the turn had Lutes drawing dead and heading to the rail to pick up his eighth-place winnings of $85,608. Chairud Vangchailued was the next to fall short, when his two pair ran into Alex Jacob's set of jacks to send him out in seventh place ($96,355). Jacob then doubled through Cantu while holding pocket aces to move into the chip lead at 3,640,000 with just six players remaining.
Wei Mu and Jonathan Markham had been quiet at the final table, but they got involved in the next big hand. Markham made an under-the-gun raise to 210,000 with Mu making the call. When the flop came down , Mu checked and Markham bet out 265,000. Mu shoved all in and Markham quickly called, turning over for a set of kings. But Mu had him outflopped, revealing for the nut straight. Markham had to hope for the board to pair, but the and on the turn and river sent Markham home in sixth place, collecting $114,514 for his efforts. Tyler Spalding hit the rail next, after he moved in with and got looked up by Alex Jacob with pocket nines. No help from the dealer sent Spalding home in fifth place ($143,421).
Alex Jacob was the chip leader with four players remaining, but in the space of just a few hands he went from first to worst, making his exit in fourth place. The first blow came when Brandon Cantu made a raise to 275,000 from the button, and Jacob moved all in from the small blind. Ray Foley, in the big blind, called all in for his tournament life as Cantu quickly folded. Jacob held , while Foley had and the board fell king-high as Foley moved into the lead while Jacob fell to third.
Cantu would be the next to take a huge chunk of Jacob's stack, when Cantu raised to 375,000 from the small blind, and Jacob moved in from the big blind. Cantu called quickly with while Jacob only held . The board gave Jacob some hope when it came down . Jacob picked up more outs when the came on the turn. The on the river left Jacob down to just 320,000 in chips while Cantu moved over 4,000,000. Jacob then moved in with , as Foley made the call with . The board brought no help, and Alex Jacob finished in fourth place ($190,857).
On the flop of , Wei Mu moved in over the top of a Brandon Cantu bet of 350,000. Cantu made the call with , surprised that he had Mu outkicked, as Mu held . The turn and river were both low cards, and , and Cantu's kicker played, as Wei Mu earned $269,609 for his third-place finish.
Brandon Cantu and Ray Foley were left to battle for the bracelet, as Cantu held nearly seven million in chips, while Foley was just over five million. Cantu went to work on his less-experienced opponent, as he chipped away at Foley's stack. Cantu looked primed to finish him off when he moved all in with , but Foley held the better hand, calling with . Cantu then moved into the lead when the flop came down . But Foley turned the tables on Cantu when the on the turn brought a roar from his supporters, leaving Cantu drawing dead. Foley was now in the lead on a stack of 8,120,000 and Cantu was down to 4,000,000.
On the final hand, Cantu made a raise to 305,000 and Foley made the call. The flop came down and Foley check-raised all in. Cantu took his time before making the decision, eventually making the call with . Foley had him outkicked however, holding . The turn and river were of no use to Brandon Cantu, as he was eliminated in second place, finishing just short of his second career bracelet, adding $403,951 to his career earnings.
Ray Foley may need another career if the automotive industry continues to falter, but poker could become his new occupation, boosted with the $657,969 and the prized WSOP gold bracelet for his victory. See who else finds tournament success at the Rio by checking out PokerNews every day.