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The WSOP on ESPN: $25,000 Heads-Up Championship

Jake Cody vs. Gus Hansen

Even though action from the 2011 World Series of Poker is on hiatus until November, the festivities roll on with ESPN's coverage of the WSOP. New episodes air every Tuesday through Nov. 8. This week’s broadcast featured the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship, an event that drew 128 players and created a prize pool of $3,040,000.

Seven was the magic number for this event. It signified how many rounds the winner would play on his way to a bracelet and the accompanying $851,192 payday. At the top of the broadcast, five rounds had already been played and action was down to the final four players.

Yevgeniy Timoshenko took on Eric Froehlich and Jake Cody battled Gus Hansen.

With the four players hailing from Ukraine, New Jersey, United Kingdom, and Denmark, the Heads-Up Championship was truly a global affair. Here’s a refresher on some of the rules applicable to the tournament, as well as the payouts leading up to the semifinals.

  • Number of place paid: 16
  • Players begin with 1/3 of starting stack
  • Players have 2 add-ons each worth 1/3 of starting stack
  • Add-on anytime in the match except when hand is in progress

$25,000 Heads-Up Championship Payouts

5thMatt Marafioti$138,852
6thAnthony Guetti$138,852
7thNikolay Evdakov$138,852
8thDavid Parades$138,852
9thTom Dwan$67,436
10thSteve Billirakis$67,436
11thJohn Duthie$67,436
12thOlivier Busquet$67,436
13thRichard Lyndaker$67,436
14thKunimaro Kojo$67,436
15thMikhail Smirnov$67,436
16thJonathan Jaffe$67,436

Let’s Get It On: The first match to air was between Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Eric Froehlich. With the stacks so deep, not to mention the add-on options, the two jockeyed back and forth before a big hand finally developed. It began when Froehlich raised to 26,000 on the button with {9-Hearts}{8-Clubs}, Timoshenko three-bet to 72,000 holding {A-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}, and Froehlich made the call. The {7-Hearts}{K-Clubs}{6-Spades} flop delivered Timoshenko middle pair and he fired out 60,000, which prompted Froehlich to move all-in for 429,000 with his open-ended straight draw.

Timoshenko eventually made the call and Froehlich was at risk. The {10-Clubs} turn gave the Froehlich his straight and guaranteed a double-up. The meaningless {5-Spades} fell on the river and E-Fro was pushed the 1,000,000 pot.

How They Got There

  • Eric Froehlich: Patrik Antonius (Round 1); Scott Clements (Round 2); Steve Zolotow (Round 3); John Duthie (Round 4); and Nikolay Evdakov (Round 5)
  • Yevgeniy Timoshenko: Toby Lewis (Round 1); Daniel “jungleman12” Cates (Round 2), Amritraj Singh (Round 3), Olivier Busquet (Round 4); and David Parades (Round 5)

Timoshenko’s Turn: After doubling E-Fro, Timoshenko used one of his add-ons, bringing in an additional 800,000 chips. That gave him the lead over Froehlich, which was a factor a short time later. After E-Fro raised to 48,000 with {a-Spades}{Q-Hearts}, Timoshenko three-bet to 124,000 with {8-Spades}{8-Hearts}. E-Fro then moved all-in for 727,000, and Timoshenko made the call. With 1.454 million in the pot, the board ran out {2-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{K-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} and Timoshenko’s eights held, leaving E-Fro reaching for an add-on chip.

Not long after, pocket eights proved disastrous for E-Fro as they failed to hold against Timoshenko’s {A-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} after the board ran out {4-Diamonds}{J-Spades}{2-Hearts}{A-Spades}{10-Hearts}. Down to his last add-on, the two-time bracelet winner moved all-in with {Q-Clubs}{5-Clubs} and was called by Timoshenko who was holding {A-Clubs}{4-Spades}. The {J-Hearts}{K-Hearts}{6-Clubs} flop wasn't much help to either player, but the {4-Clubs} turn did give E-Fro a flush draw. Unfortunately for him, the {3-Diamonds} blanked on the river and he was eliminated in fourth place for $283,966; meanwhile, Timoshenko advanced to the finals.

Semi-Final Match #2: Jake Cody entered the 2011 WSOP with a bit of momentum, having won the European Poker Tour Deauville and World Poker Tour London in 2010. On the other hand, Gus Hansen was coming off a victory in the heads-up event from the 2010 WSOP Europe, where he captured his first bracelet. It didn’t take long for the first rebuy to occur. It happened when Cody limped with {A-Spades}{10-Spades}, Hansen raised to 60,000 holding {K-Clubs}{Q-Clubs}, Cody three-bet to 145,000, and Hansen moved all-in for 560,000. Cody called and watched the board run out {3-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{6-Spades}{3-Clubs}, leaving Hansen reaching for an add-on chip.

How They Got There:

  • Jake Cody: Brandon Adams (Round 1); Frank Kassela (Round 2); Dani Stern (Round 3); Jonathan Jaffe (Round 4); and Anthony Guetti (Round 5)
  • Gus Hansen: Jason Mercier (Round 1); Greg Brooks (Round 2), Daniel Alaei (Round 3), Tom Dwan (Round 4); and Matt Marafioti (Round 5)

Hansen Can’t Gain Any Traction: It seemed as though things went Cody’s way throughout the match, which was demonstrated when Hansen raised to 56,000 with {8-Hearts}{8-Clubs}, Cody moved all-in with {K-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}, and Hansen called off for 316,000 total. While the Great Dane was ahead, the {10-Spades}{2-Diamonds}{4-Spades} flop changed all that. Cody hit his ten to take the lead, which is where he stayed as the {3-Hearts} appeared on the turn, followed by the {Q-Spades} on the river.

Down to his last add-on, Hansen’s demise came when he got all-in holding {A-Diamonds}{4-Clubs} and was up against the {A-Spades}{5-Spades} of Cody. There was a good chance of a chop, especially after the flop fell {6-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{K-Hearts}, but Hansen’s bad luck continued when the {5-Hearts} spiked on the turn to give Cody a pair. The {6-Spades} blanked on the river and Hansen was bounced in third place ($283,966).

$25K Heads-Up Finals - Cody vs. Timoshenko: The second hour of the broadcast was devoted to the final match between Jake Cody and Yevgeniy Timoshenko. While the pair were extremely accomplished, both were playing for their first gold bracelet. In the early goings, things seemed to be going Timoshenko’s way, but Cody managed to fight back by executing a successful bluff.

It happened when Timoshenko raised to 48,000 with {K-Hearts}{8-Hearts}, only to have Cody three-bet to 145,000 with {Q-Hearts}{9-Clubs}. Timoshenko made the call, and then both players checked the {10-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{3-Diamonds} flop. The {7-Hearts} turn saw Cody fire out 177,000, Timoshenko call with his flush draw, and the {2-Clubs} roll off on the river. Cody slowly slid his entire stack of 860,000 in the pot and Timoshenko laid down the best hand.

Poker Tells: Former FBI agent Joe Navarro took to his segment, Poker Tells, to analyze the body language of both players. He noted that Timoshenko remained very still, signifying indecision, while Cody had accidentally knocked over some chips in the previous hand, which tends to be a sign of weakness.

Back to Even: Timoshenko raised to 120,000 on the button with {A-Clubs}{4-Diamonds} and Jake Cody quickly three-bet all-in for 838,000 with {6-Spades}{6-Clubs}. Timoshenko made the call and found himself with only a 31 percent chance of winning the hand. The {3-Spades}{K-Clubs}{9-Spades} was no help to Timoshenko — and neither was the {9-Clubs} turn. The {8-Hearts} river changed nothing and Cody doubled to 1,676,000, essentially evening out the stacks.

Cody Pulls Away: Cody raised to 245,000 on the button only to have Timoshenko, who had used both his add-ons, three-bet all-in. Cody thought for the briefest of moments before calling off for 1.966 million. With 3.932 million in the pot, the cards were turned on their backs:

Cody: {A-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}
Timoshenko: {J-Clubs}{10-Spades}

Cody was barely a favorite at 54 percent, but that improved to 73 percent on the {K-Spades}{K-Clubs}{4-Hearts} flop. The {7-Spades} turn left Timoshenko looking for a jack or ten on the river, but it was not meant to be because the {A-Spades} appeared. Timoshenko was left with 2.468 million, while Cody possessed the rest, not to mention both add-ons behind.

And the Winner Is . . . : In the final hand of the tournament, Timoshenko limped with {A-Clubs}{5-Spades} and Cody moved all-in holding {K-Clubs}{9-Clubs}. Timoshenko thought long and hard as the British rail drowned out the room with their boisterous cheers. Eventually Timoshenko called off for 2,068,000 and discovered he was a 56 percent favorite to win the hand. Unfortunately, lady luck was not in Timoshenko’s corner as the flop fell {K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}, giving Cody the lead with a pair of kings and sending his supporters into a frenzy. The {6-Hearts} turn left Timoshenko in need of an ace, but the {4-Diamonds} river sent him home one spot shy of victory ($525,980).

With that, Jake Cody became the $25,000 Heads-Up Champion, taking home the $851,192 first-place prize, and became the youngest player to join the prestigious and select group of Triple Crown winners (EPT, WPT, and WSOP wins). The 2011 World Series of Poker will continue next Tuesday on ESPN with the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Check your local listings.

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