World Series of Poker Europe

2009 WSOP: Schwartz Tops Leaderboard in PLO #40

Noah Schwartz

Event #40, $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha, is the event all the Omaholics have been waiting for. This event brought out 295 of the best and brightest in the game looking to stake their claims as Omaha World Champion. Among those gunning for the bracelet were Scott Clements, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier, Lee Watkinson, Vanessa Selbst, John Juanda, Erik Seidel, and David Benyamine. By the end of Day 1, Noah Schwartz emerged with the chip lead on a stack of 292,600.

The dynamic of this event changed as rebuys have been eliminated and replaced with the add-on system. Prior to this year, the first couple of levels of the $10,000 PLO event were gamblefests. This year, players had to curb their gambling instincts as once the initial 10,000 chips and two add-ons are gone, so are they. Daniel Negreanu was one of the proponents for the elimination of rebuys and has ironically busted out early in several of the add-on events this year. In this event, Negreanu decided he wanted to build a big stack as he was still in the $2,000 Limit Hold'em event. On the flop of {6-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{8-Clubs}, Negreanu put the last of his chips in with {10-Spades}{9-Hearts}{5-Spades}{4-Spades} for a wrap. His opponent held {A-Spades}{A-Hearts}{3-Spades}{J-Clubs} for aces. The turn fell the {8-Spades} and river the {J-Spades}, and Negreanu headed back to play in his other event.

Matt Graham moved up to 44,000 in chips early on at the expense of John Duthie. Duthie was all in preflop with J.C. Tran, Graham, and a third opponent all coming along for the ride. On the flop of {3-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{K-Spades}, Graham bet 1,200 and Tran got out of the way. The turn fell the {5-Clubs} and Graham was able to bet the last opponent out of the pot. Graham was ahead with {A-Clubs}{K-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{6-Spades} for top pair and Duthie held {A-Spades}{J-Spades}{9-Hearts}{4-Clubs} for a wheel draw. The river was the {4-Hearts} and Duthie headed for the rail as he had exhausted his add-on chips.

Phil Ivey took a page out of Phil Laak’s book and played Day 1 in a hoodie, making him inconspicuous to all but his unfortunate opponents. Early on, Ivey moved up to 40,000 in chips. Tom “durrrr” Dwan also was chipping up early on. He eliminated Isaac Haxton with a set of eights and then moved up to 30,000 after turning a full house against Billy “The Croc” Argyros. Reigning Main Event champion Peter Eastgate took part in this event, but was out shortly after the add-on period ended. Eastgate was all in on the flop of {Q-Hearts}{K-Spades}{8-Diamonds} and called by Erik Cajelais. Eastgate held {A-Diamonds}{A-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{7-Clubs} but Cajelais held a monster wrap with {Q-Clubs}{J-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{9-Hearts}. The turn of the {Q-Spades} gave Cajelais trip queens and Eastgate was left with two outs to win the pot. The river fell the {10-Diamonds} to complete a full house for Cajelais and Eastgate hit the rail.

Vitaly Lunkin tripled up just shy of the dinner break to move up over 100,000 in chips. He was all in preflop and called by both Brandon Adams and Daniel Makowsky. On the flop of {J-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}, Makowsky moved all in and Adams made the call. Makowsky tabled {A-Hearts}{A-Spades}{Q-Clubs}{10-Clubs} for a flush draw and aces, Adams held {J-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{7-Diamonds} for top set and a gutshot, and Lunkin had {A-Clubs}{A-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{8-Spades} for aces, a wheel draw, and the nut flush draw. The turn fell the {2-Clubs}, making Lunkin the nut flush, and putting Makowsky in the lead for the side pot. The river fell the {9-Diamonds} to give Makowsky the side pot and move Lunkin over 100,000 in chips.

Josh Arieh was among the chip leaders shortly after dinner break. After taking a pot off Sam Farha with the nut straight, Arieh sat with 140,000. Barry Greenstein also chipped up after dinner. On the flop of {2-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}, he check-raised to 13,900 and his opponent countered by moving all in. Greenstein held {8-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{5-Clubs} for top set and an open-ended straight draw. His opponent held {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{3-Spades} for two pair. The turn of the {9-Clubs} gave Greenstein’s opponent outs to a straight, but the river {K-Diamonds} gave Greenstein the pot and moved his stack to around 100,000.

There will be a new champion in this event as defending champ Marty Smyth was eliminated shortly after dinner. Amnon Filippi did not have much better luck against Chris Ferguson. Filippi was all in on the flop with two pair and a straight draw against Ferguson’s pair, straight draw, and flush draw. Ferguson filled his flush by the river to send Filippi to the rail and move up to 51,000. Humberto Brenes got to feed his shark a helping of nuts as he was all in on the turn with Broadway and his opponent was left drawing dead. Brenes moved up to 50,000 with the pot.

Sorel Mizzi will not make back-to-back Omaha final tables. A big three-way pot developed between Mizzi, Jan Sorensen, and another player. Mizzi was all in preflop and the third player shoved on the flop of {7-Clubs}{3-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}. Mizzi flipped over {K-Spades}{K-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{3-Clubs} for kings, Sorensen held {Q-Diamonds}{J-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{8-Clubs} for a gutshot draw, and the third opponent had {A-Spades}{A-Diamonds}{Q-Spades}{J-Spades} for aces. The turn fell the {4-Hearts} and river the {K-Hearts} to give Sorensen a runner-runner flush. Mizzi and the other opponent both hit the rail as Sorensen moved up over 100,000 in chips.

Noah Schwartz was the first to move over 200,000 as the day wound down. With another player all in, Schwartz bet Jimmy Fricke out of the pot on the turn. Schwartz held a pair and flush draw against a set for his opponent. Schwartz made his flush on the river to move up to nearly 230,000 in chips. Several other players’ stacks went in opposite directions. Mike Matusow pushed the last of his chips into the middle with two pair and straight draw on the flop. His opponent held top pair only. However, by the river, Matusow’s opponent spiked a better two pair to send Matusow packing. Chris Ferguson was all in and ahead against Tom McEvoy, holding two pair. McEvoy held only aces and a gutshow draw. The turn gave McEvoy a better two pair and he made his straight on the river. “Jesus” was unable to pull off a miracle on the river and hit the rail at the end of Day 1 action.

Day 1 concluded with 117 players remaining out of the original 295 runners. The chip leader at the end of the day was Noah Schwartz with 292,600. Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies closed out the day in second with 229,400. David Williams, Josh Arieh, and Steve Zolotow are the only other players to finish above 200,000, on stacks of 223,000, 220,600 and 220,200 respectively. Play will resume Sunday at 2 p.m. PDT and is scheduled to continue until the final table is reached. Stay tuned to as we bring you all the action from the $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha.

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