Five Thoughts: Donkey Bombing the World Series of Poker
With another week of the 44th annual World Series of Poker the books, it's time for another edition of Five Thoughts. This week we take a look at Tom Schneider's second victory, Jason Duval winning a seventh bracelet for Canada, Max Steinberg's almost-win, David Chiu's fifth career bracelet, and an update from the $25,000 Fantasy League.
1. Schneider Wins Fourth Career Bracelet
By winning Event #29: $5,000 H.O.R.S.E., not only did Schneider pick up his second bracelet of the 2013 WSOP, he earned the fourth bracelet of his career. To date, only 34 players (including Schneider) have captured four or more bracelets, and only two other players have won four bracelets in the last six years: Phil Ivey and Jeff Lisandro.
Bracelets tend to come in pairs for the Donkey Bomber. In 2007, he won his first two bracelets en route to capturing Player of the Year honors, and now he’s snagged two more this year. Only eight other players have won multiple bracelets in multiple years: Ted Forrest (1993, 2004), Chris Ferguson (2000, 2003), Gary “Bones “Berland (1978, 1979), Layne Flack (2002, 2003), Men Nguyen (1995, 2003), Ivey (2002, 2009), Doyle Brunson (1976, 1977), and Phil Hellmuth (1993, 2003). Unlike the eight other members of the “multiple-multiple” fraternity, both of Schneider’s performances came in the post-Chris Moneymaker era.
Like Ivey, all of Schneider’s wins have come in non-hold’em games. Both of his wins this year came in H.O.R.S.E., and in 2007 he took down an Omaha/Stud 8 event and a Stud 8 event. With his four bracelets, Schneider now has over $2.3 million in career live tournament earnings.
Our very own Pamela Maldonado was able to catch up with Schneider after his win, and he credits a lot of his success to the things he does off of the felt. When he’s not grinding, Schneider is playing golf, working, writing songs, and learning to play the guitar. He also released a five-track album in January of 2012 simply titled Tom Schneider EP. Among the songs on it is “I Don’t Like Cats,” in which Schneider explains how his daughter found a kitten that he initially hated, then eventually loved.
With all of his LoudMouth gear, Schneider is definitely the John Daly of poker, but unlike Daly, who only has two major wins, Schneider is among the greats with four bracelets. With 27 events remaining in the 2013 WSOP (eight of them are non-hold’em, including the Poker Players Championship) he still has a shot at becoming the sixth player to win three bracelets in the same year. Among the five players who have already accomplished this feat, only Lisandro did it in the post Moneymaker era.
2. Duval Wins Number Seven for Canada
Of the first 28 bracelet winners at the 2013 WSOP in Las Vegas, seven of them represented Canada. If this obviously unsustainable rate (25 percent) continues, when the Main Event is over we will have 15 Canadian bracelet winners. Prior to the 2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific, where Daniel Negreanu won his fifth bracelet in the Main Event, Canada had won a total of 32 bracelets in 43 years.
The neighbors to the north of the U.S. now own more bracelets than Germany, France, and Italy combined, and 14 more than the Brits.
I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. This is the #YearofCanada.
Duval is the latest Canadian bracelet winner, taking down Event #28: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, and the final hand of this event was possibly one of the most bizarre hands in the history of the WSOP. He and Majid Yahyaei battled heads up for over 60 hands without playing an all-in pot, until hand #174 of the official final table. Duval raised on the button, Yahyaei called, and the flop fell . Yahyaei checked, Duval fired out a continuation-bet and Yahyaei check-raised, committing a large portion of his stack. Duval quickly moved all in, and Yahyaei entered the tank.
At this point, as an observer, it seemed pretty clear that this was the cooler situation that either Duval needed to win the match or Yahyaei needed to double. Neither player looked like they were willing to get their chips in light, so when Yahyaei entered the tank, a few members of the rail murmured about the possibility of him having a weak ace or small diamonds.
Finally, Yahyaei called, but he didn’t have a weak ace or small diamonds. In fact, he didn’t connect with the board at all. He had .
“What?” several professionals on the rail said in unison.
Duval showed for a queen-high flush draw, and the hit the turn, giving Yahyaei a few extra outs to chop the pot. The completed the board, and Duval was crowned the champion. His fellow Quebecois immediately mobbed him in the Mothership.
It was certainly one of the strangest hero calls I’ve ever seen at the WSOP, let alone heads up for a bracelet. Despite the failed hero call, Yahyaei still earned $324,442 for his efforts.
Duval, who binked $521,202, was joined by our own Sarah Grant after the win:
3. Steinberg One Card Away from a Second Bracelet
In 2012, Max Steinberg took down Event #33: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em, earning $440,238 and his first gold bracelet. Entering the 2013 WSOP, Steinberg recorded two big runner-up finishes, one in the Legends of Poker Main Event, and the other in the WSOP National Championship. Steinberg’s tear continued as he made the final table of Event #9: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, and on Monday, he was just one card away from earning his second bracelet.
Unfortunately for Steinberg, it wasn’t to be, and he has yet another second place on his very impressive Hendon Mob profile.
Steinberg was heads up with Isaac Hagerling in the finals of Event #27: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Mixed Max. Entering the heads-up bracket with the eighth-largest stack, Steinberg was forced to fight his way through David James, Ariel Celestino, Brandon Cantu, and Jason Koon in order to even reach the final match. Steinberg’s run was nearly halted in the round of 16 when Celestino had him all in and at risk with ace-queen against Steinberg’s pocket queens. The Brazilian hit an ace on an all-club flop, but Steinberg held the only club. The turn was not a club, rather it was the case queen, and Steinberg doubled with a set. He went on to defeat Celestino, and then found himself in another hole against Cantu.
Luckily for Steinberg, Cantu applied a little too much pressure in one hand, moving all in preflop for over 50 big blinds with ten-three off suit. Steinberg snapped it off with queens, held, and finished Cantu off a few hands later. In the semi-finals, Steinberg and Koon played a fairly quick match, but only because Steinberg was able to win a crucial all-in pot from behind. Koon had Steinberg dominated with ace-queen against ace-jack, and was in great shape to double and take the lead, but Steinberg flopped a pair of jacks, and held as the turn and river both produced bricks.
Hagerling’s road to the finals wasn’t any easier. He defeated Markus Gonsalves, Nick Binger, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, and Jeremy Ausmus, and three of those matches were marathons. In fact, Hagerling and Ausmus didn’t even begin their match until Steinberg had already booked his ticket to the finals. Finally, at 3 a.m. in a bitter cold and empty Amazon Room, Ausmus moved all in drawing dead, and Hagerling called with a queen-high flush.
In the final match, Steinberg and Hagerling came out throwing haymakers, opening larger than the “standard” two-times the big blind, and three-betting even larger. After pulling off a successful bluff and showing it, Steinberg found himself with a slight lead heading into Hand #73. He then check-raised all in with on a board of , and Hagerling tank-called, putting himself at risk with .
Steinberg was one card away from bracelet number two, but it wasn’t to be as the spiked onto the felt. He jumped out of his chair like he had just been electrocuted, throwing his hands on his head in disbelief as 97 percent of the chips in play were being pushed over to Hagerling. A few hands later, it was over, and Hagerling owned his first career bracelet.
There are very few bad beats that actually affect me, but this was one of them. Steinberg is usually calm, cool, and collected, but you could tell he was really shaken up by what had occurred.
Dave Tuchman made a great point after the match that Hagerling will wrongly be remembered as the guy who luckily hit a ten to win a bracelet, and it’s true. Despite beating a handful of great players, it will be impossible for me to forget that one massive hand that took place in the finals. Hagerling played amazing to get there, and he almost made an incredible call with king-high when Steinberg bluffed with diamonds, but no matter what, I will always associate him with the .
4. David Chiu Wins his Fifth Bracelet
While the biggest headline at the 2013 WSOP thus far is Schneider winning two bracelets in nine days, Chiu won his fifth career bracelet in Event #23: $2,500 Seven Card Stud. Like Schneider, Chiu joined a legendary list of players, and now has over $7.6 in career lifetime earnings. Scott Seiver, the player he defeated heads up, said Chiu is “the best poker player there is.”
Joining Seiver and Chiu at the final table were Freddie Ellis (winner of the 2009 Stud World Championship), Michael Mizrachi (two-time Poker Players Championship winner), Frank Kassela (2010 Player of the Year), Gary Benson (bracelet winner), Matthew Ashton (third final table of the 2013 WSOP), and Adam Friedman (bracelet winner). With this being the only stud hi tournament held at this year’s WSOP, it’s no wonder that the final table was this stacked.
Like Schneider and Ivey, none of Chiu’s bracelets have come in no-limit hold’em. His first win at the WSOP came in 1996, when he won a limit hold’em event, and leading up to the 2013 WSOP he struck gold in 1998, 2000, and 2005.
What’s most impressive about Chiu’s career is, outside of a massive year in 2008, Chiu has never earned more than a million dollars in a single year. But except for 1997 and 2001, Chiu has never earned less than $150,000. Chiu has been a steady grinder, consistently earning six figures since 1996.
Again, our own Sarah Grant caught up with him after the win:
5. Gorodinsky Still Leads 25K Fantasy
Here is your weekly update for the $25,000 Fantasy League. Mike Gorodinsky still leads, but Matt Waxman is closing the gap:
Thanks to wins from Mike Matusow and deep runs from Greg Mueller and Marco Johnson, teams Brunson and Mercier took big leaps in the standings this last week. Mueller is over six figures, while Johnson has over 83 points thanks to a runner-up finish. Mercier still has a big black eye to his team however, as George Lind III hasn’t even shown up for the WSOP yet.
Matusow is up to 96 points, while Todd Brunson himself has pushed up to 52 points.
Gorodinsky’s lead has been solidified by a few more cashes from Dan Kelly (183 points), while Brian Hastings (66 points) and Allen Cunningham (52 points) have also made final tables.
Team Waxman is on the hunt though, with Ausmus (48 points) and Cantu (31 points) going deep in the Mixed Max, and Brett Richey (10 points) finally getting on the board.
The team to watch for might be Daniel Alaei’s though. He’s floating in the middle of the pack, and Ivey has yet to pounce.