2010 WSOP Main Event Reflection Part 12 – A man named Grinder surges to the top
At the beginning of the 6th day of play of the Main Event of the 2010 World Series of Poker, it was clear that this tournament was coming to a close soon. 23 tables remained in the Amazon Room, and the Pavilion Room was now torn completely down, waiting for an MMA fight that was about to take place. The Rio staff broke tables down immediately after they weren’t in use, and then proceeded to remove them completely from the room, leaving behind the remains of only memories of players that were felted in the days before, and the hopefuls of the November 9.
But for the 205 players that returned with chips on day 6, it was another day of trying to simply survive, accumulate chips, and dream one step closer to the November 9. The blinds would begin the day at 8k/16k, so there was still plenty of play left in the big stacks in the room. For the shorties however, it was time to get doubled up, or start planning on how to spend the money that they’d earned. There was not a whole lot of clarity on exactly how many levels would be played on the day, but the thought was that play would continue until we had around 81 players or so, regardless of how many levels of play it took to get there. Jack Effel took to the mic at noon, and did the honors of “Shuffle up and deal,” and a hush fell over the room. Only the clattering of shuffled chips gave people indication that a main event was still underway.
Tony Dunst, who had begun day 5 as the man with the most chips, was now in 182nd position of the 205 remaining players, a stark reminder that it’s not so much how you start the day, but how you end it. The new chip leader was Evan Lamprea who returned with 3,564,000 chips, and all eyes would be watching him, and his closest 4 competitors who were all over the 3 million mark.
Action got underway, and the bad beat stories began flying around the room. There’s nothing quite like a good ole’ fashioned 3-out special to kick things into gear, and one of the bigger pots of the early goings included the elimination of Gianluca Speranza. The money got all in pre-flop with Joseph Cheong making the call with As-8s, and woefully behind Speranza’s Ah-Ks. But the flop came out A-8-6, and Speranza couldn’t catch up as he hit the rail. Our new chip leader was one Joseph Cheong with more than 3.8 million, and he’d wield those chips like a pro throughout the remainder of the day.
The player with the most charisma in the event was easily Jean-Robert Bellande. He was battling with nearly 700k in chips after making a gigantic lay down on an As-3c-Ac-7s-6s board. Hougard moved in on the River, and Bellande mucked his A-K face up. After the two playfully traded jabs, Hougard said that he’d sucked out on the river with 6-6. Bellande was fighting like crazy and desperately trying to make a deep run at this event. He’d get some help a little later when Bellande would call David Peters, who’d moved all in with Kd-Qd, and Bellande turned over A-A. The board flopped a K, but the Ace on the turn basically sealed the deal, eliminating Peters while Bellande stacked over 2 million chips.
About an hour in, crushing news hit the main event. Robert Pisano and Johnny Chan ended a preflop raising battle with all of the chips in the middle, and Chan having Pisano covered by 800k. When the cards were tossed over, it was Chan with the Pocket Cowboys (King-King) who was in dire need of help, as Pisano rolled over the best hand with two black Aces. No help for the poker icon left Chan with just the 800k chips, and Pisano became the newest chip leader courtesy of his hold with Aces and that 4.4 million pot. Needless to say, Chan’s table was getting much more attention now that he was short in chips.
That wait wouldn’t last very long as about an hour or so later, Chan was all in again for his last 550k, and was snap called by Jonathan Driscoll. Chan tabled pocket Jacks, but was again up against two black aces. The Main Event would close its doors on the 10-time bracelet winner, as the aces would hold a second time, and Johnny Chan was eliminated from the Main Event, much sooner than anyone would have liked. His elimination signaled the last elimination of a Main Event Champion, and meant that the crown would be passed to someone who’d never been Main Event champ before. Everyone applauded Chan’s efforts, as he’d ran so incredibly well for 5 days, but the end was certainly bitter-sweet for everyone.
The story of the main event began now to turn to the other named pro’s in the event. There were still 2 Mizrachi’s left in the field including a well chipped Michael “The Grinder” who’d moved up to 3.9 million on the day, when he snapped off a call with 7-7 in a giant pot with Duy Le. The board ended up 8s-Th-4s-Kh-5s and Le bet out 500k on the river. Grinder’s call with his 7’s was sound as Le had Jd-9d for a missed straight draw. About an hour later, Mizrachi bet $2 million chips on the river of a K-9-5-K-7 board, forcing Duy Le to again fold, and “The Grinder” was becoming quite the force to be reckoned with in this event. Coming off his victory at the $50k Players Championship, it seemed improbable that he could finish off the field, but it was also hard not to consider him the favorite now with now about 5.3 million in chips, and sitting near the top of the chip counts. Mizrachi was certainly the most experienced No Limit Hold em’ Tournament pro left in the field, and he was going to be tough to eliminate.
Michael’s older brother Robert continued to run well too, when he found his first double with A-Q vs. A-3, and then a second one with 77 vs. A-Q. The win on the flip on the second hand gave “Who’s Bad” 750k chips, and some new life in the Main Event. While it was certainly a shock to see both Rob and Michael make the final table of the $50k Players Championship, it would be unheard of to have them both make this final table.
Other name pro’s still in the hunt included David Benyamine, the highstakes cash pro from Full Tilt who was hanging onto about 800k after doubling through Evan Lamprea. Benyamine made his move with K-K and Lamprea got a little overzealous with Jh-7h. Benyamine was playing a relatively quiet Main Event, but always seemed to be well stacked with relation to the blinds.
The other highstakes cash game pro didn’t fare so well however. Phil Galfond went into the tank for about 2 minutes when Josue Sauvageau 3-bet Galfond to 128k. Ronnie Bardah called the clock on Galfond, who said “All right, I’m all in.” Sauvageau eventually made the call with J-J, as Galfond turned over 6-6. The board ran clean for the Jacks, sending Galfond to the rail and ending his Main Event run.
Things continued to head south for the bigger names as Jean-Robert Bellande got another opponent all in, again holding Aces. This time however, his opponent was holding K-K and would get a very unfortunate K on the river. The loss left Bellande with some life with 1.6 million, and he was going to need to grind it out to make the end of the day.
After the second break of the day, Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin got things going eliminating the last woman in the field, Breeze Zuckerman. Zuckerman moved her last chips into the middle from under the gun, and Baldwin found himself with two red aces. Zuckerman tabled K-T and couldn’t crack the rockets, finding the rail in 121st place. Baldwin meanwhile stacked up 1.3 million in chips.
Things continued to get out of control when Filippo Candio was issued a 1 orbit penalty for his “excessive celebration.” After getting it in with his Aces way ahead of Michael Skender’s Q-Q, Candio erupted into a jubilant celebration when the river card came out clean, shouting “ANDIAMO!! ANDIAMO!! ANDIAMO!!” long enough that everything stopped in the room. I don’t think he minded the 1 orbit penalty as he now stacked around 3.4 million chips, while Skender was sent back down to 2.4 million.
After the celebration came some sorrows, as Robert Mizrachi found himself all in with A-T vs. Josue Sauvageau’s A-K. The board flopped 3s-Jc-7d, and the rail birds cried out for a ten. The 6s hit the turn, and the rail grew louder still “ANY TEN!!!” The river was a 9h and Robert Mizrachi exited the Main Event as the area erupted with applause for the effort by “Who’s Bad.”
As the day wound down, some huge changes in chip counts took place. By the end of the day, the man who stacked the most chips was Theo Jogensen who had 9.2 million chips. In second place was Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi with 7.5 million, followed closely by John Racener with 7.2 million. The next 3 players were all over the 6 million mark with Jonathan Driscoll and William Thorson at 6.5 million, and Matthew Jarvis at 6.1 million. Other names that survived the day included Matt Affleck, David Baker, Scott Clements, David Benyamine, Eric Baldwin and a very short stacked Jean-Robert Bellande. In all, 78 players advanced to day 7 of the Main Event, where the play down would take us to 27 players. I’ll take a look at that in the next post.