The WSOP on ESPN: O Canada!
Tuesday’s ESPN broadcast of the 2010 World Series of Poker reunited the November Nine to crown a new Main Event champion. The introduction was epic, showing all nine contenders standing atop the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino with the Las Vegas Strip beaming in the background. Finally, after nearly four months of anticipation, the players found their seats and Bruce Buffer thundered, “Shuffle up and deal!” Here’s how the table looked to start:
Seat 1: Jason Senti - 7,625,000
Seat 2: Joseph Cheong - 23,525,000
Seat 3: John Dolan - 46,250,000
Seat 4: Jonathan Duhamel - 65,975,000
Seat 5: Michael Mizrachi - 14,450,000
Seat 6: Matthew Jarvis - 16,700,000
Seat 7: John Racener - 19,050,000
Seat 8: Filippo Candio - 16,400,000
Seat 9: Soi Nguyen - 9,650,000
Shorties Collide: Jason Senti entered the final table as the short-stack but was able to chip up a bit prior to this confrontation with Soi Nguyen. The action folded to Nguyen who had the button and shoved for 7.6 million. Senti reshoved from the small blind, Joseph Cheong surrendered his big blind and the hands were turned over.
“This is a blig flip!” Senti shouted at his supporters in the crowd.
Indeed, Senti’s were slightly ahead of Nguyen’s and he jumped even further ahead when the flop fell . The on the turn was a sweat, but the amateur’s dream came to a close with the on the river. Nguyen finished in ninth place earning $811,823.
Your Standard Flip: Jonathan Duhamel initiated the action by opening to 1.4 million, but it was Michael Mizrachi and Matthew Jarvis who got all their chips in the middle preflop. Jarvis was ahead with and Mizrachi needed help with (Senti folded the ). No matter, the two remaining queens popped up in the flop, giving Mizrachi a commanding lead. Amazingly, Jarvis snatched the lead back after the turned, giving him a leading full house. The drama wasn’t finished, though, because the spiked on the river, giving Mizrachi a better full house and eliminating Jarvis in eighth place, which was still a cool $1,045,743.
Senti Says Goodbye: After winning a few hands, Cheong was among the chip leaders when Senti four-bet shoved on him with . Cheong quickly called with to kick off yet another memorable race. The flop was all paint, , and Cheong was left with just runner-runner outs. The on the turn was an excellent sweat card, and, unbelievably, the on the river completed Cheong’s straight and giving him 46 million chips. Senti was sent packing but had no reason to hang his head. He did an excellent job climbing the pay ladder to finish seventh and bank $1,356,720.
Dolan Out the Door: John Dolan looked down at in the small blind and moved his short stack in the middle. Jonathan Duhamel saw in the big blind and begrudgingly made the call. Dolan was happy to see that he was flipping but found no help from the  board and was eliminated in sixth place with $1,772,959.
A Double Double for Double Bubble: John Racener, while chomping at his two pieces of gum, doubled up twice in the span of ten hands. His first double came through Mizrachi after Racener three-bet shoved for just under 10 million from the cutoff with . Mizrachi, the original raiser, called with , saying it was “close,” and Racener held. A rotation later, Racener opened to 2.2 million with and then it was Duhamel’s turn to three-bet shove from the big blind with . Racener called at risk, but the deck hit him in the face as the flop fell . The on the turn was paint and gave Duhamel four more outs to a straight, but the on the river was a blank and Racener doubled to 34 million.
It’s a Trap! It’s fair to say that ESPN tried to hype up Mizrachi the most entering the final table, and at one point, after his second cold four-bet, he assumed the role of chip leader. His stack began to dwindle, however, and was eventually done in by Duhamel limping in from the small blind with . Mizrachi checked with , and the dealer flopped .
As you can guess, the two got all the biscuits in the middle, and, unfortunately for Mizrachi and his electric cheering section, neither the on the turn nor the on the river could keep him alive. The WSOP Triple Crown wasn’t in the cards for The Grinder whose fifth-place finish banked him $2,332,992, but there can be no understating his accomplishments during this year’s series.
Ci Vediamo Candio: Filippo Candio showed flashes of crazy play throughout the broadcast, bluffing in two spots and succeeding both times. However, he was able to maneuver himself to four-handed play where eventually he was eliminated. Candio open-shoved with from the small blind and Cheong called quickly holding in the big. The flop all but ended things and it was official with the on the turn. The on the river was but a formality, and the eccentric Italian was eliminated in fourth place with $3,092,545. Bravo amico!
Cannot Compute: In what will be remembered as one of the most epic, mind-boggling, gut-wrenching blow-ups of all time, Cheong, the chip leader, lost the biggest pot in WSOP history by six-bet shoving with just . He started the action by raising to 2.9 million from the small blind before Duhamel reraised to 6.75 million. Cheong four-bet to 14.25 million, Duhamel five-bet to 22.75 million, and then Cheong did the unthinkable by six-bet shoving for over 80 million. Duhamel nearly snapped it off with and held when the board ran .
Left with just a few million in chips, Cheong was all-in quickly and Racener simply sat back and watched as Duhamel proceeded to finish what he had begun. Duhamel’s was leading Cheong’s and even though the flop gave Cheong extra outs to a straight, he was not helped by the on the turn or the on the river. Cheong went from chip leader to out in third place in a matter of minutes. Sure, $4,130,049 is sweet, but the chance to win the Main Event doesn’t come frequently, and Cheong made a grave mistake by overplaying his weak ace against Duhamel.
O Canada: Just two of the 43 heads-up hands were shown on the broadcast. The most important was, of course, the last. Duhamel had a commanding chip lead throughout the match and open-shoved on the button with . Racener called off his last 14.95 million with and the WSOP was five cards away from crowning a new champion. There was barely even a sweat as the board ran and the Penn & Teller Theatre burst into shouts of “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!” in favor of the first Canadian Main Event winner ever. Racener, who seemed very satisfied with his play, walked away just short of the top prize, but $5,545,955 isn’t shabby.
As for Duhamel, he was rewarded with $8,944,310, the most coveted bracelet of all, and eternal glory in poker lore. He also invited any and all to come party with him after he fulfilled his media obligations. My sources tell me he indeed kept his word.
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