Last night, Brandon Hall made the argument that he didn't want to stop play at seven players and continue the next day because he had a flight to catch today. Robert Mizrachi and Tournament Director Matt Savage persuaded Hall to come back the next day. Hall was worried that coming back today on a short stack would be a waste of time if he were to go out in seventh and miss his flight. As fate would have it, Hall made the right decision.
Robert Mizrachi was the chip leader heading into the final table. Matt Ross was the first to go after Jose Roberto Santos sent him home after winning a flip. Next in line was Brock Parker, who lost a coinflip of his own to Eric 'basebaldy' Baldwin. Parker's suited ace-king was unable to best Baldwin's queens, and was sent packing. Santos would be the next to go in fifth.
When four-handed play began, Chase Steely initiated a possible deal discussion. After over 40 minutes of getting nowhere, Baldwin told the table that he just wanted to play it out. As it turned out, he would've been a couple hundred thousand dollars richer had he accepted the proposed deal. After making a big call against Hall that pitted his ace-ten against Hall's pocket jacks, Baldwin was left crippled and busted shortly after.
Steely found himself the shortest stack with three players left and was eventually ousted by Mizrachi in dramatic fashion after Mizrachi spiked a straight on the river having only a few outs.
Mizrachi and Hall then agreed to a chop where each player locked up second-place money for $414,680. After that, Mizrachi took his chip percentage of the remaining prizepool and Hall took his. Each player then put up $30,000 for the winner to take home. 15 minutes later, Brandon hall was declared the winner.
Hall eliminated both the 2008 winner Matt Brady and 2007 winner Travis Rice on his way to victory. This was Hall's first live final table.
Congratulations to Brandon hall, your 2009 Aruba Poker Classic champion!
The deal made between our two finalists seemed to speed up heads-up play quite a bit, as we officially have a winner after a quick battle -- 20 year-old Brandon Hall from Littleton, Pennsylvania. Here's how the final hand went down:
In what was a raised pot, Hall checked to Robert Mizrachi after the flop came down . Mizrachi then fired a 225,000 bet and Hall came over the top, firing a raise that looked to be about 725,000 total.
Mizrachi quickly moved all in, Hall called, and before we knew it the cards were on their backs:
4th Street delivered the knockout blow to Mizrachi, when the dealer burned and turned the , giving Hall top pair. The river, , blanked and Brandon Hall was declared the 2009 UltimateBet.net Aruba Poker Classic Champion!
The board read and Robert Mizrachi fired a big bet of 500,000 into a pot of about 400,000 after Brandon Hall checked to him. Hall thought about his decision for a brief moment and then made the call.
Mizrachi just shook his head as if he had nothing, but Hall waited for him to show. Mizrachi showed for just king high, eight kicker. Hall tabled for king high with a nine kicker and scooped in the pot. Hall now has the chip lead 3.7 million to 3.3 million.
Robert Mizrachi raised from the button to 85,000 and then action fall to Case Steely in the small blind. Steely looked at his cards and then moved all in. Brandon Hall folded out of the big blind and Mizrachi asked for a count. The total all-in bet was for 495,000.
"I think I'm forty percent." said Mizrachi... "I call."
Mizrachi tabled for one overcard against Steely's .
The flop was dealt , adding a straight draw to Mizrachi. Steely did hold two blockers with his pocket queens.
The turn was the . Steely stood a few feet away from the table watching with his hands on his head in anticipation.
The river was then dealt and the hit the felt! Steely bent at the waist as Matt Savage announced that Mizrachi had hit a straight on the end. Mizrachi looked sorry for Steely as he got up from his seat and shook his hand, wishing him a good game. Steely looked completely distraught with what had just occurred.
Immediately following the elimination, Hall asked Mizrachi for a chop based on how many chips each had. Hall currently has 2.835 million and Mizrachi has 4.205 million.
Robert Mizrachi opened with a raise to 90,000 under the gun, and Eric Baldwin announced an all in for more than 680,000. Mizrachi asked for a full count and went into the tank for a minute or two before announcing, "I call," putting Baldwin at risk of elimination.
The news was good for basebaldy. He turned over , dominating the of Mizrachi. Mizrachi tapped the felt in acknowledgement as several people yelled, "Hold!" from the rail.
Ace-queen would not hold, though. The flop of put Baldy on the brink of extinction as Mizrachi nailed his three-out seven. The turn and river would brick off, and Eric Baldwin has made his exit in 4th place. He'll pocket more than $125,000 for his impressive performance this week.
A frustrated Baldwin held his arms on top of his head as he stood silently by himself for a few moments. It's a fine result, but clearly not the one Baldwin was hoping for here in Aruba.
Brandon Hall opened with a raise to 90,000 from the button. Eric "basebaldy" Baldwin three-bet to 275,000 from the small blind before Robert Mizrachi folded in the big blind. Action went back over to Hall and he moved all in.
"Can I get a count?" asked Baldwin.
Matt Savage and the dealer counted down the chips and verified that Hall was all in for 1.385 million total. Baldwin now sat in the tank and had about 1.4 million behind in his stack.
A few minutes went by before finally Baldwin said, "I call." Hall tabled against Baldwin's . The crowd rose to their feet and the cameras rushed to the scene.
The flop came down , no help for Baldwin. The turn brought the and still Baldwin was behind.
The river was the , pairing the board, keeping Hall's hand best and earning him the double up. Baldwin pushed in his chips and was left with only 190,000. Hall on the other hand doubled big to approximately 2.8 million and is now challenging Mizrachi for the chip lead.