On Monday, the "surviving six" players from the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event returned to the Penn & Teller Theater inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Each were guaranteed $1,426,283 in prize money, but everyone had their sights on making the final three.
Amazingly, history repeated itself from the November Nine's first day of play when a player busted on the second hand of action. In Level 37 (300,000/600,000/75,000), on Hand #74 of the final table, the short-stacked Thomas Cannuli opened for 1.4 million under the gun only to have Max Steinberg shove all in from the big blind. Cannuli called off for 10.275 million total, and his rail, rallied by poker pro Jeff Gross, erupted when the cards were turned on their backs.
Cannuli was in a great shape to double, while the majority of Steinberg's chips were at risk. The dealer then burned and put out the flop – . Steinberg's supporters went wild, while Cannuli's rail was visibly devastated. Cannuli, surrounded by his family and friends, watched helplessly as the bricked on the turn followed by the river.
Despite the bad beat, Cannuli was kind enough to grant a postgame interview:
After Cannuli's elimination, the pressure was on short stack Josh Beckley, and he woke up with a big hand at just the right time. On Hand #98, Ofer Zvi Stern open-shoved from the small blind to put the pressure on Beckley, who snap-called off for 14.6 million with the , which was well out in front of Stern's . The board ran out a clean , Beckley received a welcomed double, and just like that Stern found himself on the short stack.
As Beckley continued to build, leaping past both Steinberg and Neil Blumenfield in the chip counts, Stern was looking for a spot. On Hand #121, he thought he found it when he raise all his big denomination chips under the gun, leaving himself 425,000 behind. Blumenfield shoved all in over the top, and Stern called.
Stern had major kicker issues, and the flop did him no favors. The turn actually left him drawing dead, and after the was put out on the river to make it official, Stern, who had begun the day second in chips, took his leave in fifth place for $1,911,423.
Just one more player needed to fall before play halted for the night, but no one was willing to go easy. Alas, someone had to go, and that man the last WSOP bracelet winner in the field. On Hand #143, McKeehen opened for 2 million under the gun and then called when Steinberg shoved all in for 16.5 million from the big blind.
Steinberg was dominated, and he failed to pair his kicker as the board ran out a lackluster . Steinberg took home $2,615,361 for his fourth-place finish.
|5||Ofer Zvi Stern||Israel||$1,911,423|
The final three players will return on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. local time (live finale broadcast will begin at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) to play down to a champion, who will not only capture the gold bracelet and $7.683 million first-place prize, but also etch his name into the poker history books.
*Photo credit: Jayne Furman/WSOP