To say that the World Poker Tour’s Season IX was a success would be an understatement. Halfway through the season, the show, which airs Sunday nights on FSN, reported a 35 percent increase in viewers, and last week, the WPT reported that the recent Hollywood Poker Open episode attracted over 1 million viewers.
Season IX coverage culminated with the $25,000 buy-in WPT World Championship. The event, which originally took place from May 14 to 20, 2011, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, drew 220 entrants and created a prize pool of $5,309,500. First place was guaranteed $1.6 million.
In the first installment of a two-part broadcast, the WPT production team kicked things off with a recap of the events leading up to the final table. Needless to say, the prestigious event drew many big-name poker players including Mike Matusow, Andy Frankenberger, Vivek Rajkumar, Roberto Romanello, Eric Baldwin, and reigning champ David Williams. By the end of Day 1, 50 players had hit the rail and Christian Harder emerged as the chip leader with 249,975.
Tony G and Phil Hellmuth were among the late registrants for Day 2 but were unable to get much going. When players bagged and tagged chips at the end of the day, Abe Mosseri led the remaining 116 players with a 685,200-chip stack. On Day 3, the field was reduced quickly, and Randal Flowers, Eugene Katchalov, Phil Galfond, Daniel Negreanu, and Joe Bartholdi were among those who hit the rail, leaving 52 players.
Headed into Day 4, everyone had their eyes set on cracking the top 27 and making the money. Former champions David Chiu and Yevgeniy Timoshenko both fell short of a payday, as did Frankenberger, the WPT Player-of-the-Year points leader. Unfortunately for poker pro Hafiz Khan, he earned the distinction of bubble boy when he was eliminated in 28th place. Here’s a look at some of the more notables names who cashed:
|22nd||David “Devilfish” Ulliott||$37,167|
|8th||Sam El Sayed||$119,464|
Interestingly enough, Sam El Sayed’s elimination in eighth place ensured that Frankenberger would become the WPT Season IX Player of the Year, while David Peters’ bustout in seventh brought us to the coveted final table. Here are how things stacked up at the top of this week’s broadcast.
WPT World Championship Final Table
Seat 1: Galen Hall (5,040,000)
Seat 2: Justin Young (1,635,000)
Seat 3: Tony Gargano (4,130,000)
Seat 4: Roger Teska (3,910,000)
Seat 5: Scott Seiver (4,870,000)
Seat 6: Farzad Bonyadi (2,415,000)
First Hand: With the blinds at 30,000/60,000, Roger Teska raised to 120,000 from the button with and received a call by Scott Seiver who was holding in the small blind. Both players proceeded to check the flop, bringing about the turn.
Again Seiver checked, but this time Teska bet 150,000. Seiver made the call and then checked the river. Teska bet again, this time 400,000, and Seiver paid it off --first hand to Teska.
Aces in the Big Blind: With blinds at 40,000/80,000, Galen Hall looked down at under the gun and raised to 160,000. When the action folded to Farzad Bonyadi in the big blind, he squeezed out , paused a moment and moved all-in for 1,115,000. Hall asked for a count before making the call. Bonyadi was a 92 percent favorite and was never in any danger. The board ran out . Just like that, Bonyadi doubled to 2.33 million.
Huge Pot for Bonyadi: On what would be Hand #42 of the final table, Roger Teska raised to 100,000 from the button with and was called by Farzad Bonyadi holding in the big blind. It was heads up to the flop, which saw Bonyadi check-call a bet of 125,000. The turn saw Bonyadi check-call another bet, this time 350,000, leading to the on the river. Bonyadi checked for the third time in a row, Teska decided to execute his bluff to completion with a bet of 650,000, and Bonyadi simply said, “I call.” It was the right choice and Bonyadi raked in the 2.76 million pot.
Justin Young Eliminated in Sixth Place: Three hands later, on Hand #45, action folded to Galen Hall on the button and he raised to 205,000 holding . Justin Young was in the small blind and raised to 550,000 with . Tony Gargano got out of the way in the big blind, Hall moved all-in, and Young called off for 2.5 million.
Young was in a tough spot and only had a 25 percent chance of winning the hand. The meant Young could chop with a deuce, but neither the turn nor river proved fruitful. Young was eliminated in sixth place and earned $225,654 for his performance. “Today I played OK,” Young said after his elimination. “When I three-bet Galen there, I was kind of hoping he would push, but he did it so confidently it made me kind of second-guess myself for a second, but I still got what I wanted. It’s just unfortunate he woke up with ace-king.”
The Raw Deal: Tony Dunst was back with his popular segment, The Raw Deal. He discussed the WPT Season IX as a whole. Dunst explained that there were some important lessons to be learned from the season, including, having a plan, thinking about exactly what hands you’re trying to fold out when bluffing, and looking for opportunities to thin value bet.
Tony Gargano Eliminated in Fifth Place: It didn’t take long for the next elimination to occur, just one hand in fact. On Hand #46, Scott Seiver was under the gun and min-raised to 200,000. Action folded around to Tony Gargano in the small blind and he shipped his entire stack of 2,020,000 in the middle. After the big blind folded, Seiver snap-called and the cards were turned over.
Seiver, who was a 70 percent favorite to win the hand, had Gargano in bad shape. The flop gave Seiver a pair of aces and left Gargano drawing to runner-runner for a straight. Unfortunately for him, the turn left him drawing dead. The meaningless was put out on the river as Gargano hit the rail in fifth place for $278,749.
Tune in Next Week: Next Sunday FSN will air Part II of the WPT’s Season IX World Championship. Be sure to check your local listings. If you happen to miss it, don’t forget you can read the recap right here on PokerNews.
|2||Martin De Knijff||$2,728,356|
*Hand numbers were cross-checked with data from WorldPokerTour.com