A formidable final nine returned to the Empire Casino Friday afternoon to play down to a new World Series of Poker bracelet winner in Event #3, £5,000 pot-limit Omaha. As a large crowd gathered to watch both the pot-limit omaha final as well as the Caesar's Cup competition taking place across the room, our remaining players took their seats with the following chip counts:
Seat 1: Robert Williamson III — 64,000
Seat 2: Ville Haavisto — 249,000
Seat 3: Howard Lederer — 320,000
Seat 4: Jeff Kimber — 133,000
Seat 5: Dan Hindin — 320,000
Seat 6: Aarno Kivelio — 608,000
Seat 7: Jani Vilmunen — 899,000
Seat 8: Roberto Romanello — 306,000
Seat 9: Ross Boatman — 180,000
Short-stack Robert Williamson III was the first to bust, getting the rest of his chips in the middle with against Roberto Romanello's . Though the flop looked good for Williamson's kings, the turn and river cards fell the and the , Romanello hitting a runner-runner straight to send Williamson to the rail in ninth place.
Minutes later, Jeff Kimber and Howard Lederer saw a flop, Lederer leading out and Kimber making the call. The on the turn brought checks from both players, then Lederer fired out when the hit on the river. Kimber re-potted all in and Lederer made the call, turning over for top two pair while Kimber tabled for a smaller two pair, queens and eights. Lederer raked in the pot, eliminating Kimber in eighth place.
Roberto Romanello was the next to depart, his 9-8-5-4 falling to Jani Vilmunen's 7-6-5-4 on a 7-3-2 rainbow flop. Romanello missed his straight draw, Vilmunen's pair of sevens holding up to send Romanello home in seventh place. Only a few hands afterwards, Daniel Hindin got the rest of his chips in the middle with only to run into Vilmunen's . Hindin couldn't improve on the board and exited in sixth place.
With five players remaining, Vilmunen had a more than two-to-one chip advantage over Howard Lederer and Aarno Kivelio, who sat second and third in chips with about 560,000 each. The action slowed dramatically at this point after the flurry of early eliminations, each player taking their time with decisions as the prospect of winning a WSOP bracelet edged closer. At last, Ville Haavisto, one of three remaining Finns in the final five, made a move, shoving on a flop against Howard Lederer, who made the call. Haavisto's two pair with 8-6-5-4 were up against Lederer's top pair with A-K-Q-T, but the turn and the river came a queen and a jack, Lederer rivering a king-high straight to bounce Haavisto from the tournament in fifth place.
Moments later, Ross Boatman's short stack was in the middle, his in poor shape against Aaron Kivelio's . With the board running out , Boatman's bracelet run was at an end with him finishing in fourth place.
Howard Lederer began pulling away during three-handed play, his stack climbing to 1,875,000 while Kiveilo held 475,000 and Vilmunen 650,000. However, Vilmunen was able to make up some ground when he eliminated Kivelio in third place. All three players limped in and saw a flop, Vilmunen firing out. Lederer folded, but Kivelio re-potted all in, Vilmunen making the call. It was bottom set for Vilmunen with while Kivelio's hopes hinged on his nut flush draw and gutshot straight draw with . Kivelio couldn't catch a heart or a nine, however, the and the falling to send him to the rail.
As heads-up play commenced, Lederer held 1.8 million in chips to Vilmunen's 1.25 million. It took about an hour and a half for the Finn to put away the Professor, who was at his 25th career WSOP final table looking for his third bracelet.
The two played small pots, the lead swinging back and forth before Vilmunen put a quick end to their match. After opening for 120,000, Vilmunen was met with a three-bet to 360,000 from Lederer. He made the call and they saw a very draw-heavy flop. Lederer bet 600,000, Vilmunen moved all in and Lederer made the call.
Although Lederer flopped the bottom straight, Vilmunen flopped the nut straight. Lederer had a small ray of hope with a backdoor flush draw, but the on the turn left him drawing dead. The river was the and Vilmunen rose from his seat, giving a little fist-pump in celebration as he took down his first WSOP bracelet. A clearly disappointed Lederer was left with a runner-up finish.
2009 World Series of Poker-Europe Event # 3 (£5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha) Results
1. Jani Vilmunen - £ 204,048
2. Howard Lederer - £ 126,134
3. Aarno Kivelio - £ 93,293
4. Ross Boatman - £ 69,030
5. Ville Haavisto - £ 51,890
6. Daniel Hindin - £ 39,193
7. Roberto Romanello - £ 29,830
8. Jeff Kimber - £ 22,869
9. Robert Williamson III - £ 17,772
The World Series of Poker Europe Main Event kicks off today at noon local time. Check out our Live Reporting page for continuing coverage and up-to-the minute reports live from the floor of the Empire Casino.