The final nine players returned to the ballroom inside Harrah's Atlantic City on Tuesday to play it out for the title of champion at the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event. After just about six hours of play, Matthew Waxman took the crown, pocketing $117,797, the gold ring, and a golden ticket to the season-ending National Championship in May.
The knockout train was slow departing out of the station, and all nine players survived to see the first break. Mike Summers doubled up on the first hand of the day, using his to out-race chip leader Brandon Croft's , and put the first dent in his stack. Manish Patel doubled just a few hands later with besting Croft's , and that downward trend would only continue for the one-time big stack. His chips had been nearly cut in half by the time the break rolled around with Waxman and Jesus Cabrera occupying the top two spots at the time. Croft donated another double up a short while later when his could not catch up to Chris Bonita's to fall down around 600,000 and having to listen to some on the rail chatter about the chip leader potentially being the first player out.
He wasn't the first player out, but it was close. It was Patel who fell first, getting his 10 big blinds in with against Waxman's . The flop all but ended Patel's hopes, and he was out the door in 9th place ($11,073) to give Waxman the chip lead once again with close to 2 million. A few minutes later, Croft lost his last 309,000 chips when his ran into Cabrera's to send him out in 8th place ($13,869)
Once the knockouts began, they did not relent. Tam Ly had his pocket kings cracked by Dave Cubeta's , and Ly was the next to take the walk to the payout desk. He was flipping for a double up on his final hand, but his could not improve against Cabrera's to seal his 7th-place exit ($17,618). Summers exited in 6th place ($22,704) soon thereafter, pushing all in with on a flop. Waxman snapped him off with , and Summers could not find a diamond on the turn and river. Just a couple hands later, Waxman woke up with aces again, and this time Cubeta gave him all-in action with . A board full of blanks sealed Cubeta's demise, relegated to the rail in 5th place ($29,685).
It was only another few hands before Bonita moved all in for less that 15 big blinds with , running his inferior ace right into Cabrera's . The board paired neither player, and Cabrera's ace-king kickers were good enough to usher Bonita to the door in 4th place ($39,406). Just a few hands later, the match was down to heads up as Mark Sykes fell in 3rd place ($53,126). He had about 12 big blinds when he went with , but Cabrera had the chips to call with . No ten on board ended Sykes' day early and concluded a brutal Level 28 that was responsible for five eliminations.
When the match went heads up, Matthew Waxman had about a 3:2 lead over Cabrera, and the battle was a mighty one. Cabrera drew even with a couple quick pots, but Waxman recovered to once again whittle Cabrera down toward the felt. After about 45 minutes of dueling, the big one finally came. Waxman opened the pot with a raise, and the betting action ended with him calling a five-bet shove for Cabrera's last 2.11 million. The of Waxman was dominating Cabrera's , and the first four board cards were blanks ( ). There were a few chop outs to be had, but there would be no chop. The slammed the river, saving Cabrera's tournament life and stealing the ring off Waxman's finger.
That pot turned the tables and gave Cabrera the 3:2 lead, but Waxman worked it back to all square within a few hands. The duel continued for more than three hours, and Cabrera got himself short on a couple different occasions before finding tournament-saving doubles up to keep him afloat.
Just before 8:00 p.m., the final hand was dealt. A preflop raising war saw Matthew Waxman's up against Cabrera's , and it looked like another double up was going to give Cabrera life once again. The dealer must have had dinner reservations, though, as the flop was a miraculous to all but end it. The turn was a blank, and it meant the at-risk player was drawing dead to one of the two remaining sixes. The river was the , though, and Waxman and crew celebrated his first Circuit win. Along with it comes the gold ring, a ticket to the National Championship at Caesars in May, and $117,797 in cash.
Here are the full payouts for the final table:
That wraps up our coverage for this Main Event, but we're not done at Harrah's Atlantic City just yet. The $10,000 Northeast Regional Championship kicks off right here next Sunday, and we'll be back in these seats to bring you some high-stakes action and crown our final Circuit ring winner of the 2010 calendar year.
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