2009 WSOP: Wolpert and Duthie Go Overtime in NLHE Heads-up #29
Event #29, $10,000 World Championship Heads-up No-Limit Hold'em, was scheduled to conclude on Day 3 with a champion. However, after the other matches went longer than expected, WSOP tournament staff decided to extend the tournament one more day and postpone the final match between Leo Wolpert and John Duthie to Day 4.
The first round of Day 3 matches gave each player 960,000 in chips as the final eight players gathered around two separate tables. Leo Wolpert faced Dustin “Neverwin” Woolf while at the other end of the table, Johnny Chan was making a run at bracelet number 11, facing off against Jamin Stokes. The second table featured John Duthie taking on Steve O'Dwyer, with Nathan Doudney against Bryan Pellegrino on the opposite end. Wolpert got off to an early start when his 8-5 turned trips, cracking the pocket aces of Woolf to take an early chip lead. Chan started his match with an early chip lead as well, taking down a large pot when he four-bet all in against Stokes, inducing a fold and taking Chan up to an over 2-to-1 chip advantage.
Bryan Pellegrino appeared to be the first player who would move on to the semifinals when he had Nathan Doudney covered and in dire shape, holding against Doudney's on the board. But the on the turn moved Doudney into the lead, and the river blanked out, doubling up Doudney.
A few hands later, Doudney and Pellegrino were all in again and both players held the same hand: for Doudney, for Pellegrino. The flop came down , giving Doudney the advantage, but Pellegrino still had outs for a runner-runner flush. The on the turn sealed Pellegrino's fate as Doudney filled his flush to eliminate Bryan Pellegrino, who left to collect $92,580 for his top-eight finish.
Steve O'Dwyer was the next player to visit the cashier to pick up $92,580 after John Duthie made a straight on the turn with 4-3 on the board, while O'Dwyer had a flush draw with . The river was black as it fell the , but the wrong suit, sending O'Dwyer to the rail.
Dustin “Neverwin” Woolf was on the short stack through most of his match against Leo Wolpert, and when Wolpert put him all in, Woolf reluctantly called off the rest of his chips with , walking away from the table after Wolpert turned over . The floorman went to tell Woolf that he had moved into the lead when the flop came down . The on the turn greeted Woolf upon his arrival, giving Wolpert an open-ended straight draw. The on the river sealed Woolf's fate, and he became the next player to collect $92,580.
The final match of the round, between Jamin Stokes and Johnny Chan, continued for over three hours as Stokes and Chan fought back and forth, trading the chip advantage many times. The final hand saw Chan make a raise from the button, with Stokes betting enough to put Chan all in for his last 561,000 in chips with . Stokes held the advantage with , and the flop gave Chan no help as it fell . The on the turn gave Stokes a straight, but Chan had outs for the diamond flush. The on the river wouldn't do, and Johnny Chan's attempt at an 11th bracelet was denied, as he left to add $92,580 to his impressive tournament resume.
The semifinalists then met at one table, with Nathan Doudney against John Duthie and Leo Wolpert against Jamin Stokes; each player had 1,920,000 in chips with 40-minute blind levels. Wolpert took an early advantage in his match when he raised to 40,000 on the button as Stokes called. Both players checked the flop of , and Stokes check-called the 50,000 bet from Wolpert. The had Stokes check yet again, with Wolpert making a bet for 124,000. Stokes check-raised to 300,000, then Wolpert went over the top with a bet of 824,000. Confused, Stokes pondered if Wolpert had made a gutshot straight. He mucked his hand, while Wolpert revealed for bottom pair as he took the chip lead.
A few hands later, Stokes would retake the lead. He raised to 40,000 as Wolpert reraised to 130,000 and Stokes called. When the flop came down , Wolpert led out with a bet of 164,000, which Stokes called. The brought a check from Wolpert, while Stokes bet 225,000 and Wolpert called. The brought another check from Wolpert, as Stokes went all in for 777,000. Wolpert made the call and saw his bad luck when Stokes turned over . Wolpert mucked, but Stokes asked to see the hand, and the dealer revealed .
Meanwhile, the match between John Duthie and Nathan Doudney saw Duthie being the aggressor through most of their duel. Anytime Doudney would raise, Duthie would reraise and Doudney was forced to fold as his stack continued to dwindle. Doudney tried hard to get some traction, but as the match wore on, Duthie never let up on the aggression as he held the chip lead the entire match. They were on Level 5 with blinds at 20,000/40,000 when Doudney made a raise to 120,000. Duthie gave a moment's pause, then announced he was going all in. Doudney made the call with , but Duthie had . Leo Wolpert, Jamin Stokes, and the rest of the spectators moved in closer to watch the action. The board ran out and Nathan Doudney was eliminated, picking up $214,289 for his top-four finish as John Duthie became the first to make the finals.
Leo Wolpert fought back against Jamin Stokes to get back into the match, as the two traded the chip lead. Nearly an hour after John Duthie disposed of Nathan Doudney, Wolpert held a small chip lead as the players were now to Level 6 with the blinds at 25,000/50,000. Stokes made a raise of 100,000 and Wolpert called. With the flop of , Wolpert checked, Stokes bet 125,000, and Wolpert reraised to 420,000. Stokes then moved all in and Wolpert made the call instantly. When the cards were revealed, Wolpert held , while Stokes had . The on the turn left Stokes drawing to a ten or queen that wasn't a heart. The on the river meant Jamin Stokes was out of chips as he earned $214,829 for his efforts and Leo Wolpert became the other finalist to return on Day 4.
When the final duel begins on Day 4, John Duthie, founder of the European Poker Tour, will take on Leo Wolpert, who put his professional poker playing career on hold to go back to law school at the University of Virginia. Wolpert made a last-minute decision to play in this event, as he's currently on a summer internship in Nevada, and it paid off as he's guaranteed at least $386,636. The two come back at 12pm PT for the best-of-three final and PokerNews will be there to follow all the action.