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2012 World Series of Poker Day 9: Cazals Bests Cheong; Rast Steams Ahead in Event #9

Brian Rast

On Monday, the 2012 World Series of Poker began its second week with another busy day of action. A new bracelet winner was crowned in Event #6: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Mix-Maxed, Day 2 of Event #9: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry Day 1b played down to 33 players, Event #10: $5,000 Seven Card Stud narrowed its field down to 16, and Event #11: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha got under way.

Event #6: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Mix-Maxed

Because of Aubin Cazals’ marathon match on Sunday against Warwick Mirzikinian, the final heads-up match was rescheduled for Monday at noon. Cazals was facing former November Niner Joseph "subiime" Cheong, who made quick work of his opponent, Hugo Lemaire, in their semi-final battle. Going into the final match, Cazals and Cheong were roughly even, each had over 3,000,000 in chips, and blinds were relatively low, starting at 4,000/8,000 levels with a 1,000 ante.

With the two players so evenly matched with respect to their chip stacks and their skills, this was expected to run nearly as long as Cazals’ record-setting semi-final match. Instead, after volleying back and forth for about four hours, the match was over in one surprising hand. But before that stunning finish, it was anyone’s guess who would come out on top.

Cazals went out to an early lead, but Cheong battled back, only to surrender the lead before the first break. Cheong regained the lead on one big hand shortly after they returned. With blinds at 8,000/16,000 and a 2,000 ante, Cheong opened on the button to 40,000. Cazals called and the flop came {j-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}. Cazals checked, Cheong bet 55,000, and Cazals check-raised to 155,000. Cheong called and they both checked the {q-Clubs} turn. After the {4-Diamonds} hit the river, Cazals led out for 250,000, and Cheong raised to 715,000. Cazals called, and Cheong turned over {a-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} for the nut-flush, giving him the the lead with 3,590,000 to 2,540,000.

Cheong’s lead was short-lived, however, and Cazals went back ahead after two hands that went to showdown. In the first, with the board reading {4-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{10-Clubs}, Cheong called Cazal’s river bet only to muck after his opponent showed {10-Diamonds}{8-Hearts} for a rivered pair. In the next hand, the board showed {9-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{5-Spades}{2-Spades}{q-Spades} and Cheong check-called Cazals river bet, then mucked after Cazals tabled {10-Hearts}{10-Clubs} for a pair of tens.

Both players had been playing rather tight — there had only been one previous four-bet in the match. There were no wild swings and the largest separation between them had been one million chips. But all that changed in one hand. With blinds at 10,000/20,000, Cheong opened from the button to 50,000, Cazals three-bet to 130,000, Cheong four-bet to 350,000 and Cazals made the first five-bet of the day, up to 730,000. Cheong, with nearly his starting stack of 2,936,000 and barely covered by Cazals, decided to six-bet all-in.

Cazals checked his hole cards and made the call, revealing {k-Spades}{k-Hearts} to Cheong’s mere {4-Hearts}{4-Clubs}. An ill-timed bluff had Cheong on the ropes. The {k-Clubs}{7-Spades}{3-Spades} came, improving Cazals to a set of kings but giving Cheong a faint glimmer of hope of runner-runner for a straight or four-of-a-kind. But the {7-Hearts} ended the matter and, after a chip count, Cazals was declared the winner. For his second place finish, Cheong took home $296,956. But it was Aubin Cazals, from Malta, who took down the bracelet and the top prize of $480,564.

To see how Cazals won this final heads-up match, check out the live reporting blog.

Event #9: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry Day 2

Not all was smooth sailing during Sunday’s Day 1b, and some of the trouble continued to reverberate as Day 2 got under way. News circulated in the Rio about 81 players attempting to circumvent the re-entry rules, including three who were successful. Refunds were offered to those eliminated by any of the improperly re-entered players, and a bit of a pall hung over the start of the first combined day of play. But shortly after the day began, the focus returned to poker and the players vying for their piece of a $4,595,400 prize pool.

The day began with 514 players returning from the two starting days. The first order of business was playing down to the money bubble. The top 342 players would be cashing, guaranteed a payout ranging from the minimum of $2,895 to over $780,000 for the first place finisher. Going into Day 2, Giorgio Medici was first in chips with 106,500, followed closely by David Miscikowski with 105,100. Well-known pros in the top 25 going into Day 2 included Tristan Clemencon, John Juanda, Bryan Piccioli, Jonathan Duhamel, and Brian Rast.

The identity of the actual bubble boy or girl is lost to posterity as the elimination occurred rather quickly. We do know that notable players Eli Elezra, Steve Zolotow, Chris Bjorin, and Andrew Lichtenberger unfortunately exited Day 2 before the field was in the money. A number of their fellow pros managed to make it into the money but were eliminated before the end of the day, including Antonio Esfandiari ($2,895), Jason Mercier ($3,216), PokerNews’ own Kristy Arnett ($3,584), Tony Dunst ($4,043), Scott Fischman ($4,595), Blair Rodman ($5,284), Liv Boeree ($6,157), Brian Lemke ($7,214), David Benyamine($8,547), James Akenhead ($10,201), John Juanda ($12,315) and Bryan Piccioli ($14,981).

Boeree’s elimination in 84th place was a tough one. She check-raised all-in after the flop came {4-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}. Randy Lanosga called and cards were turned up. Boeree was ahead with {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs} to the {10-Spades}{10-Hearts} of Lanosga, until the dealer flipped over {10-Diamonds} on the turn. A useless {2-Clubs} on the river sent Boeree to the rail.

While many pros struggled, Brian Rast had a great day. In one earlier hand, he had pocket fours on a flop of {10-}{9-}{4-} and went all-in against an unfortunate opponent who held {10-}{9-} for two-pair. Later in the day, when blinds were 3,00/6,000, he was up against Brian Lemke who four-bet all-in for 120,000 from the cutoff after Rast had three-bet from the button. The two turned up their cards and Rast was way ahead with {a-Spades}{q-Hearts} versus Lemke’s {q-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}. The board ran out {a-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}, leaving Rast with trip aces for the win and Rast moved into the chip lead with 600,000.

Rast continued to roll over the field and was the first to cross the million-chip mark during Level 19. Far below him in second place was former WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel who doubled his stack to 600,000 after calling an opponent’s all-in with {k-Diamonds}{q-Hearts} on a {k-Hearts}{9-Spades}{3-Spades}{9-Hearts}{2-Clubs} board.

By the end of the day, 33 players remained in the field. Rast was chip leader with 1,498,000. Second place belonged to Ryan Olisar with 1,080,000. Still in contention are a number of pros, including Scott Seiver (1,031,000), Jonathan Duhamel (840,000), Greg Muller (615,000), start-of-the-day chip leader Giorgio Medici (567,000), Ari Engel (475,000), Lee Childs (322,000), and Paul Wasicka (283,000).

To see how the field was cut down and how your favorite players did, make sure to check out the live reporting blog for this event.

Event #10: $5,000 Seven Card Stud

The day began with 91 players returning, led by Bryn Kenney with 59,000 chips. The top 16 would be in the money, earning payouts ranging from $12,035 to the top prize of $781,398. The plan was to play 10 levels, whether or not the field decreased to the eight players who will comprise the official final table. By the end of the day, however, the money bubble had just burst and the final 16 bagged up their chips for Day 3.

The field was packed with notables including Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Jason Mercier, Cory Zeidman, Chris Reslock, Josh Arieh, Hasan Habib, David Williams, Allen Cunningham, David Oppenheim, Scott Clements, Chris Reslock, and recent bracelet winner Andy Bloch. Unfortunately, all ended out of the money.

Shaun Deeb had a down and up and down day. First, he was crippled in a hand against David Singer. Singer had completed with the {10-Diamonds}, and Deeb came along with the {9-Hearts}. The cards showing had Singer with (x-x) / {10-Diamonds} {8-Clubs} {4-Spades} {6-Clubs} / (x) and Deeb with (x-x) / {9-Hearts} {a-Diamonds} {j-Spades} {2-Clubs} / (x). The action saw Deeb bet his lead on fourth, and then check-call Singer's all-in on fifth. Singer rolled over {a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{10-Spades} and his tens were enough to give him the double up at Deeb’s expense.

Deeb soon got healthy partly because of a hand against Freddie Ellis. Deeb completed with the {10-Spades}, and Freddie Ellis followed him into the pot with the {q-Hearts}. Deeb: (x-x) / {10-Spades} {7-Hearts} {8-Diamonds} {a-Spades} / (x), Ellis: (x-x) / {q-Hearts} {6-Diamonds} {j-Hearts} {k-Diamonds}. Deeb bet it the whole way, and his bet on seventh street put Ellis all-in for his last 4,300. When Ellis called, Deeb showed {j-Clubs} {9-Diamonds} {4-Clubs} / {10-Spades} {7-Hearts} {8-Diamonds} {a-Spades}, for a jack-high straight. Ellis couldn't beat it, and that pot moved Deeb all the way back up to 43,000 with limits at 2,500/5,000.

Three hours later, Deeb tweeted he was out of the event. Also knocked out late in the day and out of the money were Annie Duke, Huck Seed, Victor Ramdin, Frank Kassela, Jon “PearlJammed” Turner, Todd Brunson and Bill Chen.

The money bubble finally burst at around 3 a.m. local time when Lee Goldman knocked out 2009 WSOP Seven Card Stud champion Freddie Ellis in 17th place. Ellis got all of his chips in on sixth street only to find out that his pair of tens were well behind Goldman's kings up, and he blanked on seventh street.

The 16 remaining players will return on Tuesday to play to a winner. It is a star-studded lineup. Going into the final day, the chip leader is Jeff Lisandro with 276,500. In second place is Eugene Katchalov (207,000) who rocketed up the leaderboard near the end of the day. John Monnette is in third with 188,000 followed by Huu Vinh (179,000), Max Pescatori (170,500), and Bryn Kenney. Also coming back on Tuesday is Cyndy Violette and Mike Sexton, still looking to add a second bracelet to his bracelet win from 1989.

Make sure you stay tuned in to the live reporting blog to keep and eye out on all the action throughout the day.

Event 11: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha

The 931 players who registered for this event began with a 1,500 stack and two rebuy lammers worth 1,500 each, which they could cash at any time between hands up through the fourth level. After 10 levels of play, the money bubble burst and the remaining 117 players bagged and tagged their chips and will return on Tuesday to see just how much of the prize pool they can claim.

The field was packed with famous names including Leif Force, Matt Jarvis, Ludovic Lacay, Dan Shak, Theo Tran, Chris Moorman, Guillame Darcourt, Bryan Devonshire, Chad Brown, Tim West, Gavin Griffin, Kevin Saul, and Phil Ivey. A number of tough tables emerged including one boasting Annette Obrestad, David Williams, and Robert Williamson III, and another that was home to five bracelet winners: Scotty Nguyen, Keven Stammen, Barry Greenstein, Matt Keikoan and Ayaz Mahmood.

Colin Wickersheim was the unlucky bubble boy, knocked out at the hands of Susie Zhao. Wickhersheim got it all-in with {k-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{6-Hearts} to Zhao's {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{a-Spades}{q-Hearts}. The board ran out {j-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{3-Clubs} and Wickersheim was flushed out of the event.

The end-of-the-day chip leader was Chuck Tonne, a 33-year-old master plumber who last October took down the first WSOP Circuit Pot-Limit Omaha event he ever played, at the Horseshoe in Hammond, Indiana. Tonne ended the day with 191,700. Finishing near the top of the leaderboard are well known pros Tristan Wade, Michael Binger, Noah Boeken, Ryan D'Angelo, Sorel Mizzi, recent bracelet winner Nick Jivkov, and Shannon Shorr. Leif Force is still in it, though with a small stack, vying with Jivkov to see whether either can be the first double-bracelet winner of the series.

Follow all the action by checking out our live reporting blog throughout the day.

On Tap

Tuesday promises to be a packed day. Event #9: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry Day 3 will resume at 1300 PDT (2100 BST) when the remaining 33 players will return to play to the final table. Event #10: $5,000 Seven Card Stud will crown a winner, with the action starting at 1400 PDT (2200 BST), and Event #11: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha will continue with Day 2 action at 1300 PDT (2100 BST). Finally, two new events will get under way, including the first $10K world championship event of the series. Event 12: $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em will begin at 1200 PDT (2000 BST) and Event 13: $1,500 Limit Hold'em will get underway at 1700 PDT (0100 BST).

To make sure you don't miss any of the action, make sure to follow our live reporting blog.

Video of the Day

After winning his first bracelet in his first WSOP cash, Aubin Cazals was interviewed by Sarah Grant. In the interview, Cazals discussed the new mixed-max format, how he was (turns out needlessly) worried his heads-up skills were rusty, his nine-hour long semi-final match, and his final opponent, Joseph Cheong.

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