Matt Grapenthien entered heads-up play against Todd Brunson in the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship with a slight chip lead, but the son of Doyle Brunson won the first three significant pots. Suddenly, the Chicagoan was against the ropes with a two-to-one chip deficit.
Brunson extended it to nearly three-to-one, but Grapenthien narrowed the gap and the two started to swing back and forth. In total, the two exchanged the chip lead six times during the near four-hour battle before Grapenthien finally eliminated Brunson on the only all-in hand with a pair of eights against Brunson’s pair of fives.
After outlasting 101 opponents, Grapenthien earned his first bracelet and $268,473, tripling his career live tournament earnings. He is convinced that he should’ve been eliminated in seventh place, in a hand that James Obst accidently called in rather than raising. Grapenthien conserved a four big-bet stack, and ran it up from there.
Brunson, who started the final day as the chip leader, was denied what would’ve been his second career bracelet, but he now has over $4 million in career live tournament earnings.
Day 3 kicked off with an unofficial final table of nine, including 13-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. Jesse Martin was the first person to bust, bubbling the official final table, and 90-year old poker entrepreneur Henry Orenstein followed him out the door.
Orenstein was eliminated by Hellmuth when he got his chips in the middle with a flush draw on sixth street, but he was unable to catch a diamond on seventh and hit the rail.
Henrick Hecklen had a short stack the entire day and eventually busted in seventh place, and Hellmuth was out in eighth. The most decorated WSOP bracelet winner was crippled when Brunson made a full house against him, and was eliminated with just a lowly pair of fives against James Obst’s pair of tens.
Steve Landfish bricked in a big hand against Grapenthien, then was eliminated by the eventual winner. Ben Yu intended to double up through Grapenthien, holding the best hand, but Grapenthien improved to two pair on seventh and he was eliminated in fourth place.
The quick eliminations continued as Obst was bounced in third place when Brunson made trip fives, and the tournament was down to two just three and a half hours into the final day.
The heads-up match was a bit of a marathon, and it ended with Grapenthien alone in the winner’s circle with gold on his wrist.
There are only a few preliminary events remaining in the 2014 WSOP, so be sure to keep your browser tuned into PokerNews as we creep closer to the most exciting tournament in poker; the Main Event!