After four long days of poker, Event #35: $10,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship has a winner with Ayaz Mahmood being crowned champion!
Some of the greatest heads up players from around the globe took to the felt to form the stellar 256-player field. Online stars such as Tom Dwan, Dani Stern, Andrew Lichtenberger, Issac Baron and Brian Roberts, along with seasoned veterans such as Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Howard Lederer and Andy Bloch all bite the dust before day two as only sixty-four players returned being only one match away from the money.
Phil Ivey, Jonathan Little, Steve Gross, Brock Parker, Terrence Chan and the always lovable Gabe Kaplan were just a few that fell short of the minimum payday as only a final eight would remain after Sorel Mizzi, Scott Clements, David Williams, Phil Gordon and Bertrand Grospellier all exited just shy of a day three berth.
The final eight were led into the (expected) final day of play by Vanessa Rousso who already has a second-place finish at the 2009 NBC Heads Up Championship on her poker CV. Unfortunately for Rousso, and five of her counterparts she would fall short of the final as Ayaz Mahmood and Ernst Schmejkal would feature in the final battle of the tournament.
With the previous round matches all flying by in quick time, their first round match would last well over six hours with Mahmood proving victorious after crippling Schmejkal in a hand at roughly 5am in the morning, before dispatching of him just two hands later.
Returning today the pair continued their see-sawing battle with each soaring out to a lead before having it pulled in by their opponent until Mahmood would finally hit an all-in runner-runner straight for Broadway - just before the match ticked into hour five - to send Schmejkal to the rail in second place.
For the 38-year-old professional poker player currently living in Houston, Texas, this does not only represent his eighteenth WSOP cash, but also his first bracelet after several previous visits to the final table.
Defeating John Duthie, Nathan Doudney, James Collopy, Kevin Saul, Brian Rast, Faraz Jaka, Jason Somerville and Ernst Schmejkal, Mahmood displayed a great deal of poise and patience, mixed with timely aggression and composure to see him crowned the Event #35 champion, recipient of $625,682 in prize money and owner of a coveted gold bracelet.
PokerNews would like to congratulate Ayaz Mahmood on a fantastically played tournament as well as achieving the proud accomplishment of capturing his first WSOP bracelet!