What was scheduled as a three-day tournament turned into a four-day event. The field of 1,956 was dwindled down to just two after Day 3 of Event #66:$1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, with Emile Schiff and Chris Klodnicki returning for a heads up duel on an extended day of play.
After 61 hands of the mano-a-mano fight, Klodnicki came out on top to claim his first — and long awaited — bracelet. Klodnicki, with more than $9 million in recorded live tournament earnings before the tournament began, doubled up in a big hand with ace-king against ace-ten and never surrendered the chip lead from there.
Klodnicki had a WSOP Circuit ring already and finished runner-up in two of the biggest events at the WSOP (2nd in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship in 2012 and 2nd in $111,111 One Drop in 2013), but now he can finally call himself a bracelet winner. He's $428,423 richer for it.
"It definitely feels more like a relief," Klodnicki said after winning.
Event #66 Final Table Results
|1||Chris Klodnicki||United States||$428,423|
|3||Schuyler Thornton||United States||$191,453|
|4||Ben Zamani||United States||$139,896|
|5||Ulrich Schnetter||United States||$103,281|
|6||Darren Elias||United States||$77,047|
|9||Dylan Hortin||United States||$34,083|
Final Table Summary
Day 3 of this event, what was planned as being the last day, began with 23 players returning from Day 2. The field quickly dwindled down to just 18 players. It took some time for the chip leaders to emerge from the pack, but when they did it was a furious battle. By the time the final tabled was reached, Klodnicki had a comfortable chip lead that he would not look back on for some time.
Dylan Hortin (9th place - $34,083) was taken out by Klodnicki after his pocket nines were beaten on the river. After the dinner break, Aditya Sushant (8th place - $44,255) was next to hit the rail after running his ace-king into the pocket aces of Schiff. Kenny Hallaert (7th place - $58,083) put up a good fight on the final table but just fell short. He was all-in preflop against Schiff, but would end up losing to a straight.
Six-handed play lasted a couple levels until Darren Elias (6th place - $77,047) got into a race scenario with jacks against Schuyler Thornton's ace-queen. Thornton made a flush and eliminated Elias. Ulrich Schnetter (5th place - $103,281) stayed quiet for most of the night but eventually ran his ace-king into the pocket aces of Schiff again. Schnetter was unable to catch up and was sent to the rail.
Ben Zamani (4th place - $139,896) fell victim to the Klodnicki comeback when he lost most of his chips with ten-eight suited against ace-four off. He was unable to connect with the board and was left with just one small blind. He would be eliminated in the next hand. Then there was Thornton (3rd place - $191,453) who ran into the steamrolling train of Schiff. He got all of his chips in the middle with ace-queen but Schiff rolled over kings. Thornton could not hit an ace and that led to the heads-up match between Schiff and Klodnicki.
"Obviously when the stakes are high, anything can happen. But I had a feel for his strategy."
After playing for a bit, they were presented with the option to play an extra level, or call it a day and return the next day. Klodnicki wanted the break: "I was kinda tired, my stamina is not what it used to be. I felt a little tired and I thought it would be better just going home and starting fresh."
They returned at noon with Schiff in the lead. Klodnicki, however, thought he had an edge: "Obviously when the stakes are high, anything can happen. But I had a feel for his strategy, I started figuring it out a little bit. I developed my strategy based on it, and the cards worked in my favor."
Klodnicki won with ace-king to Schiff's ace-ten to double up and stayed on top from there on out. With Schiff short, the shoving started. For some time, the all ins went uncalled, but eventually, Klodnicki called with pocket threes. Shiff had nine-seven off and didn't improve.
"You gotta win these all ins," Klodnicki said afterward. "No matter how good you play. I've been kind of having a bad summer. I was making Day 2s lately, and I ended up winning this, which was shocking!"
The latest WSOP bracelet winner won't jump straight into the Main Event. He'll take some rest first. "I've done well in the Main Event and I'm sure I'll play fine. Hopefully (I can make) another deep run," Klodnicki said.
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