The 2011 World Series of Poker Circuit Caesars Palace Main Event concluded on Saturday in an amazingly short time of just two hours and 40 minutes. Right from the get go the action was fast and furious, with players dropping hand after hand. At the end of the day, the only player left with chips (all of them) was Chris Johnson. He walked away with the title, the gold championship ring and $153,599 in first-place prize money. Oh, and not to mention a seat in the $1,000,000 National Championship at the end of May.
Johnson began the day as the chip leader and quickly went to work, eliminating Derrick Kuenzel in tenth place on the fourth hand of play. Kuenzel had moved in with pocket sevens and was called by Johnson’s . An ace flopped and Johnson was able to hold from there. On the very next hand, Johnson was right back at it, taking no time to breathe. He sent Matthew Leecy to the rail in ninth place with to .
About ten minutes later, Dave Stann moved all in with the and was called by Brian England holding two red kings. The board ran out to send Stann home with a $17,906 payday for his eighth-place finish.
With seven players remaining, that meant Adam Hui had earned himself enough points to take over the Casino Champion title from Blake Kelso. Now all Hui needed was for John Kulish to not finish in second place if Hui didn’t go on to win.
Alex Santiago was eliminated next in seventh place in a huge pot with Johnson. Action folded to the chip leader Johnson on the button. He raised an unknown amount and then Santiago reraised from the small blind to 210,000. Action moved back to Johnson and he four-bet to 405,000. After a couple minutes of thought, Santiago moved all in for around 1.2 million. Johnson tanked and then made the call. Johnson held the and Santiago the in this massive coin-flip situation. The flop, turn and river ran through and that was all she wrote for Santiago.
Jesse Martini hit the rail in sixth place and then it was Hui’s turn to go in fifth. After that, Hui stuck around for a bit to sweat out the run of Kulish, who needed second place to take over as Casino Champion from Hui. Unfortunately for Kulish, he fell in fourth place and Hui was in the clear.
Three-handed play went the longest before another player was knocked out, but it wasn’t too long of a stretch. Jon Seaman called all in from the big blind with the after Johnson had shoved from the small blind with the . Johnson’s hand held and Seaman took home nearly $70,000 for his efforts.
Just moments after Seaman hit the rail in third, England and Johnson got all of the money in for the final hand. England opened the button to 100,000. Chris Johnson, in the big blind, three-bet to 240,000. England quickly announced he was all-in for 1.5 million and Johnson snap-called!
"Sick," said England in disgust. "Even with ace-queen." He was referencing the fact that his intended second card — the — would have given him but was inadvertently exposed by the dealer and became the burn card. Even with ace-queen suited, England would have been dominated.
The flop paired each player, .
"Ace-queen would have been good now," noted Johnson. Indeed — ace-queen would have flopped the joint! Instead of a double-up to 3 million, England hit the rail in 2nd place after the turn and river.
The dealer was absolutely beside himself at the magnitude of the dealing error that led to the final hand. He profusely apologized to England at the payout desk, but England was completely non-plussed. "No worries, man," he said as he shook the dealer's hand. He collected his $94,944 and went on his way.
Final Table Payouts
That wraps up our coverage of the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event here at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Thanks to everyone for following along and congratulations to all of the winners, especially Chris Johnson on his new title. Be sure to follow along with all of PokerNews' live reporting and hopefully we'll see you in Chester, PA at the next WSOP Circuit stop!