It has been a long time coming but a Brit has finally won a bracelet at the 2012 World Series of Poker after Craig McCorkell took down Event #36, the $3,000 No Limit Shootout.
When the 10-handed final table kicked off the eyes of the poker media were mainly focussed on both Roberto Romanello, and his quest to become a Triple Crown winner, and Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari with them being the better-known players at the final table. But those same media types will certainly be remembering McCorkell after this event.
It took an hour for the first player to be eliminated from the final table, Sardor Gaziev being that player. Italian Alessandro Longobardi opened to 14,000 from the cutoff, Jonathan Lane called on the button and Gaziev three-bet to 38,000 from the small blind. Both of Gaziev's opponents called and the trio shared a flop. Gaziev quickly continued with a 62,000 bet, Longobardi got out of the way but Lane raised to 125,000. Gaziev paused for a few moments before moving all-in. Lane snap-called and rightly so as he held for trip fives, which were way in front of the pocket tens of Gaziev. The turn and river were the and and with that Gaziev was eliminated from the tournament.
Just 20-minutes later Joe Tehan followed Gaziev to the rail. He opened the action with a raise to 22,000 and once against Lane got involved and three-bet to 67,000 from the button. With the action back on Tehan he four-bet all-in for 307,000 and after a quick count Lane made the call. Tehan flipped over and he was up against the of Lane and when the board ran out it was game over for Tehan.
It took almost three hours for the next player to bust out and when he did it was that man Lane who was involved; and again with pocket jacks. Brazilian Thiago Nishijima three-bet all-in over the top of Lane's opening raise and Lane made the call with to find himself up against . By the river the five community cards read and with that the tournament was down to seven players.
The seventh placed finisher was one who UK & Ireland PokerNews did not want to see bust out at all; Roberto Romanello. Lane opened to 55,000 from the button and both McCorkell (small blind) and Romanello (big blind) made the call. The dealer fanned out the flop, both blinds checked but lane tested the waters with a 100,000 bet. McCorkell folded but Romanello moved in with what turned out to be and Lane quickly called with a pair of black tens, which held, to send the popular Welshman to the rail earlier than expected.
Romanello's exit sparked a flurry of action and within 40-minutes another two players had been sent for an early bath. First Longobardi's ran straight into Lane – yes him again – who was holding and then the short-stacked Athanasios Polychronopulos put his chips into the middle with but lost out to Esfandiari's to leave the final table with just four players.
Then came one of the biggest hands of the tournament and it was an absolute cooler; and that is putting it lightly! When lane and Esfandiari found themselves heads-up on a the chips literally went flying. Lane lead, Esfandiari raised, Lane made it 850,000 to play then insta-called as Esfandiari moved all-in. Lane showed for a flopped straight but Esfandiari turned over for the nut straight! The turn and rover were both queens and with that Lane was sent to the rail in fourth place and Esfandiari's stack swelled to 3,600,000; or around 75% of the chips in play!
Just as it looked like Esfandiari was going to walk away with the tournament and win another bracelet disaster struck and he was eliminated within three big hands! First he lost with pocket nines against the sevens of Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, then with against McCorkell's and then the Magician found himself on the sidelines when his ran into McCorkell's . An amazing run of card left McCorkell to battle it out heads-up against Fitzpatrik for the title.
Going into the one-on-one battle McCorkell trailed 1,610,000 to 3,630,000 but he never looked like he was going to lose and quickly fought his way back into the contest and was almost level when the following hand completely flipped the tie on its head. The young Brit was all-in and at risk of elimination holding to the of his sole opponent and when the board ran out McCorkell found himself with an unassailable 5,240,000 to 45,000 chip lead!
Fitzpatrick doubled up the very next hand though he was still micro-stack as he was all-in blind but any hopes of a dramatic comeback were soon put to rest when he was all-in with to McCorkell's . The left Fitzpatrick drawing very thinly indeed. The turn was the and the river to send the boisterous rail into raptures; their hero had won the UK's first bracelet of this series!
For the full coverage of McCorkell's epic win be sure to check out the official live reporting pages for Event #36.
Event #36 Final Table Results
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