Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo aficionados were in for a treat today as a stacked field of 43 of the game's greatest duked it out on the penultimate day of Event #65: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. After ten full levels of sixty minutes, seven of them made their way to the final table, played out on Monday, July 1 at noon. Each of them is vying for the coveted gold bracelet and first place prize money of $463,670 and made their way through a day that featured plenty of swingy all-ins, dramatic chops, and stunning comebacks.
One of those comebacks was made by end-of-day chip leader Nick Schulman (3,350,000). While he amassed the biggest stack at the end, the PokerGO commentator and two-time bracelet winner found himself on a nub with thirteen players remaining. Looking to double up, Schulman got most of his stack all in preflop, then stacked off the rest with ace-king-queen-deuce on a jack-three-three flop. Ryan Miller called and held the three, leaving Schulman all but drawing dead. However, fate would have it otherwise as the turn and river brought a queen and ten, improving him to an improbable Broadway to survive.
Schulman chopped a river for his tournament life directly after, and never looked back since. It became the start of a massive comeback that saw him eliminate Miller and Connor Drinan in the same hand along the way to start the final table with the chip lead. Schulman solidified and extended his lead to sport the biggest stack when play was halted for the night.
In order to win his third bracelet, Schulman has to overcome poker royalty such as four-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings, who will start the final day second in chips with 2,735,000. While Schulman's day was swingy, Hastings had a seemingly easier time at the table, never really finding himself in any danger. He picked off several players in the late stages of the day including Bryce Yockey, who ultimately became the last player to miss out on the final day with an 8th place finish. Yockey lost a chunk of his chips to his 'homie' Schulman before losing the rest to Hastings.
2005 World Champion Joe Hachem will return as well in his quest to finally add a second piece of hardware to the most prestigious one of all. Hachem sits third in chips with 2,430,000 and will be flanked by Day 1 chip leader, two-time bracelet winner, and mixed game expert Chris Vitch (1,940,000), Russia's Denis Strebkov (885,000), Corey Hochman (170,000), and Michael McKenna (65,000).
Those last two chip counts aren't typos: Hochman rocked the short stack throughout the day but survived every clash where he was at risk, while McKenna lost a big one to Vitch near the end of the night. McKenna opted to fold the final hand of the night from under the gun and will return tomorrow seated in the big blind, not even being able to post the full amount.
Out of the 43 returning players from a 193-strong field, 29 of them would make it into the money. With 30 remaining, it took over thirty hand-for-hands before Joao Vieira finally became the last player to leave empty-handed. Vieira folded earlier in a hand which left him with just a single T-1,000 chip, but no miracle comeback was in the cards for the Portuguese pro. Players that did make the money included Darryll Fish (13th - $23,863), Nathan Gamble (17th - $17,295), Randy Ohel (19th - $17,295), Scott Bohlman (26th - $15,237), and Steven Wolanksy (29th - $15,237).
The seven remaining players will return at noon local time on Monday, July 1 in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino to play down until a bracelet winner has been crowned. PokerGO will have to bring another commentator into the booth as Schulman will headline the final table himself when cards go back in the air on the live stream with an hour delay. PokerNews will be back on the floor to cover this event start-to-finish, so make sure to come back to see who wins the prestigious title.