The World Series of Poker Main Event Final table promised so much, it was without doubt one of the most star studded line ups ever assembled in a bracelet event and although none of the fan favourites took down the big prize, the rail was treated to a historic final that will surely make must see TV. Jason Mercier looked to have a strangle hold on the event at the start of play with a mighty chip lead but that was not to be, as after 17 hours of poker everyone at found themselves yo-yoing up and down the chip counts.
It looked likely to be a long one when over four hours into the action all nine men remained at the table. This was not an entirely cagey affair however, it was more a case of the momentum constantly swinging between everyone at the final table. Eventually something had to give and a short stacked James Akenhead got all his money in the middle with ace-queen against the pocket kings of Daniel Negreanu, with no help from the deck he was the first out. UK hopes were dealt an early blow but this will still be remembered as a fantastic result by the young November Nine hopeful.
This sparked a surge of acitivty at the final and within an hour, three more men had hit the felt. Matt Hawrilenko was knocked out in 8th place by Barry Shulman and just one hand later, Akenhead's November Nine advisory Antoine Saout bit the dust when his pocket fives could not fade a nut flush on the river from Negreanu. Chris Bjorin went out a mere two hands later when the ace-queen of Negreanu held up against the Scandinavians ace-jack. Negreanu was busting people for fun and he had a big chip lead to do it. Not too long after that he eliminated Finland's Markus Ristola in 5th place.
It may have been the Daniel Negreanu show but one man who had been hot on his heels from the very start was UK bracelet winner Praz Bansi who had been methodically acquiring a chip lead of his own. Mercier was losing momentum while Barry Shulman was hanging around on the short stack, biding his time.
After the break, shortly after nicking the chip lead back, Jason Mercier was sent packing by; you guessed it, Daniel Negreanu. Mercier held pocket sevens to the superior nines of Negreanu and no help for him saw him bust in 4th place. Bansi was the next player to go home empty handed (Apart from several hundred thousand pounds), shortly after losing a massive pot to Shulman he got the rest of a now short stack in with queen two, which was no good against the ace queen of Negreanu, much to the disappointment of a huge UK rail that surrounded the final table.
At this point you would have bet your house that Negreanu, who made this final table last year, would win his 5th bracelet. He had the chip lead, the experience, the momentum (He had bust 6 players at the final table) and was playing exceptionally well. But it was not to be, the first blow came when the pocket aces of Daniel lost out to the nut flush draw of Shulman, which got there on the river. Negreanu continued to chip away at Shulman and once again was just one card away from the bracelet, when his Queen-Jack hit trips jacks on the turn vs the pocket aces of Shulman, only to lose out to an ace on the river. The final blow was when, at 4am in the morning, the pocket fours of Daniel lost all hope to the pocket tens of Shulman when a ten hit the flop.
It perhaps should have been Negreanu's day, but he was still able to celebrate another great milestone, as his £495,589 second place pay day means that he leapfrogs Jamie Gold and Phil Ivey to become the all time tournament money leader with over $12 million in tournament winnings. Congratulations to Barry Shulman who not only netted £801,603 and his second bracelet, but has also set up one of the greatest potential Father and Son poker records, as his son Jeff is in good shape to win the WSOP main event next month in Vegas, which would make them the first Father and Son to win WSOP main events in the same year (and also, probably, ever). Whether he will throw his bracelet in the bin like his son has controversially stated that he will, remains to be seen, but he looked very happy and should be very proud of such an amazing result.
1: Barry Shulman — £801,603
2: Daniel Negreanu — £495,589
3: Praz Bansi — £360,887
4: Jason Mercier — £267,267
5: Markus Ristola — £200,367
6: Chris Bjorin — £150,267
7: Antoine Saout — £114,228
8: Matt Hawrilenko — £87,074
9: James Akenhead — £66,533