For the second year in a row, Ryan Hughes won a tournament he wasn't even supposed to play.
"I was supposed to go home two days ago but someone emailed me and told me to play," said Hughes. It was the same situation last year, with the same result -- a gold bracelet.
Technically, according to Media Director Nolan Dalla, Hughes is not the defending champion in this event. Every year, there is a higher buy-in stud-8 event and a lower buy-in event. Last year, Hughes won the higher buy-in event. This year, he has won the lower buy-in. No matter to Hughes -- he's thrilled to have his second bracelet.
"The second bracelet means a little more because it's a lot tougher crowd to get into," explained Hughes. "A lot of people get the first bracelet, but the second one means it's not quite a fluke."
For his not-quite-a-fluke, Hughes will pocket $183,368 in addition to that second bracelet to match the first. Congratulations once again to Ryan Hughes.
Ron Long is starting to slip into the twilight of this tournament. After briefly capturing the chip lead earlier, he is being ground down by the relentless aggression, smart play, and timely draws of Ryan Hughes. Hughes was one club away from severely crippling Long just a little while ago, and continues to chip away at Long's stack. The current chip counts are about 1,380,000 for Hughes to 250,000 for Long.
With the limits at 30,000 and 60,000, and only 1.6 million chips in play, we expect the tournament to end this level.
Pots on back-to-back hands were played to the river, and Ron Long won both of them. He took a third without a showdown on the river shortly thereafter.
On the first hand, Long completed with the . Ryan Hughes, who had brought it in with the , called and then led the betting on every street after pairing on fourth street. Down the river, showing a board of x-x / , Long raised Hughes' bet. Hughes called with x-x / , only to see Long open in the hole for three sixes. That scooped the pot.
The next hand, Hughes brought it in with the , then raised after Long completed the . Again Long called, then Long himself led the betting all the way through the river. His board came x-x / to Hughes' x-x / . On the river, Hughes called Long's bet but couldn't beat the pair of aces Long showed when he opened .
On the third hand, both players started with a jack door card. Long bet all the way as his board developed x-x / . Hughes showed a board of x-x / , calling on every street. When Long bet the river, Hughes showed two kings in the hole and mucked.
With these three pots, Long has erased his chip deficit to Hughes and become the chip leader. Updated chip counts will be published shortly.