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Fourth Time's the Charm: Marco Johnson Finally Claims First Career WSOP Bracelet

Marco Johnson

Day 31 of the 2013 World Series of Poker saw a respected tournament grinder claim his first career bracelet. Marco Johnson won Event #48: $2,500 Limit Hold'em (Six Handed) in the Amazon Room, ending a heads-up drought that had plagued him for many years.

The big draw for spectators again on Friday was Event #47: $111,111 One Drop High Rollers No-Limit Hold'em, which was originally scheduled to play down to a winner. But four players will return on Saturday to play down to a champion, and all eyes will be on Antonio Esfandiari as he goes for another One Drop title.

Four other events were scattered around the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Here's the full Day 31 recap:

Event #47: $111,111 One Drop High Rollers No-Limit Hold'em

The $111,111 One Drop High Rollers No-Limit Hold'em event was scheduled to come to a exciting close on Friday, but massive field combined with an elongated money bubble resulted in an extra day added to the schedule. When play commences on Saturday, four players will go to battle for the bracelet and the $4.83 million top prize, including defending One Drop champion Antonio Esfandiari. "The Magician" will be chasing Anthony Gregg, Chris Klodnicki and chip leader Bill Perkins when play resumes at 1 p.m. local time. For a full recap of Friday's action, check out the PokerNews live reporting blog.

Event #48: $2,500 Limit Hold'em (Six Handed)

Marco Johnson finally got the monkey of his back on Friday night. Entering the final table of Event #48, Johnson was 0-for-3 playing heads-up for a World Series of Poker bracelet. He even finished second to Ronnie Bardah in this same tournament last year. But Johnson finally came through this time, defeating Jeff Thompson heads-up to claim his first WSOP title and a top prize of $206,796.

Final Table Result

1Marco Johnson$206,796
2Jeff Thompson$127,801
3Juha Helppi$82,956
4Danny Warchol$55,457
5Mike Schiffman$38,095
6Maria Ho$26,858

The big story coming into the day was David “Bakes” Baker and his quest for his fifth final table at this year’s WSOP. He came into the day as one of the shorter stacks, and was never able to get anything going, as he busted in 10th place. Mike Watson was also eliminated short of the final table despite doubling up three times during the day.

Maria Ho was the biggest name entering the six-handed final table, and she had the biggest stack when the final six moved over to the secondary feature table. However, disaster struck early at the final table, and she was never able to recover. Ho lost every pot she entered and eventually busted in sixth place when her {k-Hearts}{9-Clubs} was run down by Juha Helppi's {j-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} after her last 4,000 chips went in on a {a-Clubs}{3-Spades}{7-Spades} flop.

Fourth Time's the Charm: Marco Johnson Finally Claims First Career WSOP Bracelet 101
Maria Ho -- 6th Place

Mike Schiffman exited in fifth, and he was followed by Danny Warchol in fourth place. Three-handed play lasted more than three hours, and it was Helppi who landed in third place. Johnson opened for a raise from button, Helppi reraised, and Thompson made it three bets to play. Johnson called, and Helppi did as well, putting him all in for his last bet.

On the {k-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{2-Spades} flop, Thompson bet out, and Johnson got out of the way.


Thompson: {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}
Helppi: {4-Hearts}{4-Spades}

Thompson had Helppi on the ropes with an overpair, and the turn ({q-Clubs}) offered no help. The dealer burned and turned the river card, and the {7-Diamonds} ended Helppi's tournament.

Johnson began heads-up play with a nearly 2-to-1 advantage, and he told his friends on the rail that if he lost heads-up again he would cry. But no tissues were necessary. Johnson dominated the heads-up match and put Thompson away when his {a-Diamonds}{5-Spades} held up against {a-Spades}{6-Clubs} after all the chips went in on a {5-Hearts}{8-Spades}{3-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} board. Johnson pumped his fist into the air when the {7-Spades} hit the river, sealing his long awaited first victory at the WSOP.

Event #49: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em

Day 2 of Event #49: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em saw the original field of 2,247 trimmed down to 21. Leading the way heading into the final day is Robin Ylitalo, who bagged 1,151,000 in chips when Day 2 came to a close. Ylitalo is best positioned to take home the coveted WSOP bracelet and $546,080, but he'll have plenty of competition on Saturday.

Paul DaSilva goes into the third and final day as the only other player to bag a seven-figure stack. Taras Kripps and Valentin Messina each ended with more than 900,000 in chips each, as well.

Other notables to look out for on Day 3 include British pro Barny Boatman (347,000) and American Kevin MacPhee (136,000). MacPhee lost all but three big blinds of his stack during one crucial hand on Day 2, but managed to grind his way through to make Day 3. MacPhee will start with less than 10 big blinds on Saturday but is still a major threat to win his first gold bracelet.

Play resumes at 2 p.m. Las Vegas time and will continue until one man has won all of the chips. Stay tuned to PokerNews for all of the highlights.

Event #50: $2,500 10-Game Mix (Six Handed)

After 10 levels of action on Day 2 of Event #50: $2,500 10-Game Mix, last year's 12th-place Main Event finisher Scott Abrams finished the night as leader with 20 players remaining. Abrams will return Saturday with 351,000 in chips and in good position to win his first bracelet and $220,061.

The money bubble burst shortly after the dinner break on Friday. Start-of-Day-2 chip leader Howard Smith was one of the first to cash by finishing in 39th. Among those following Smith to the rail were Scott Fischman (38th), Dan O'Brien (36th), Freddy Deeb (31st), Marcel Luske (30th), Trai Dang (29th), Gavin Smith (28th), Kenna James (26th), Shawn Buchanan (25th), and Rep Porter (23rd).

The last elimination of the evening was five-time bracelet winner and 1998 Main Event champion Scotty Nguyen in 21st place. Nguyen tangled repeatedly with Abrams during the latter portion of the evening, and finally met his end in a hand of stud that saw Abrams make a better two pair.

Abrams' closest competitors entering Day 3 will be Sebastian Saffari, Philip Sternheimer, and Brian Tate. Robert Williamson III will return to a 200,000-plus chip stack, and Mike Wattel, Greg Raymer, David Emmons, Bruno Fitoussi, and Konstantin Puchkov are among those still with hopes of earning the 10-Game Mix bracelet.

Play resumes Saturday at 2 p.m. local time, so be sure to keep your browsers locked to PokerNews for continuing coverage of Event #50.

Event #51: $10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship

A total of 954 players took their seats in the $10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship on Friday afternoon. After 10 levels of play, only 122 remain.

This year, the WSOP changed its policy for the Ladies Event. Officially, the event has a buy-in of $10,000 and is open to anybody, both men and women. However, female entrants received a 90% discount. The change was brought about by male players who in past years have taken advantage of legal loopholes to disrupt the spirit of the Ladies Event. It appears the change was successful, as we were informed that nobody paid the full $10,000.

Several famous players and recognizable names were in the field today. Most of them didn’t survive the day, including Vicky Coren, Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, Cherish Andrews, Jennifer Tilly, Jennifer Shahade, Kara Scott, Susie Isaacs, and Cyndy Violette. A few fared better, however, as Liv Boeree, Jackie Glazier, and Danielle “dmoongirl” Andersen will all return on Saturday.

Chris Priday (96,200 in chips) led the way when the 122 survivors bagged and tagged for the night. Sari F. Utchen (80,500), Lauren Billings (74,600), Vanessa Kade (71,300) and Kristen Bicknell (69,400) rounded out the top five in the counts. Exactly 117 players will make the money, so five players who return tomorrow will leave empty-handed. The rest are guaranteed a payout of at least $1,631, but every player is eyeing the $173,922 and the WSOP gold bracelet that comes with it.

Play resumes Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Join us here at PokerNews as we bring you live updates from Day 2 of the 2013 WSOP Ladies Event.

Event #52: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Six Handed)

Another huge event on the 2013 WSOP schedule kicked off Friday evening in the Amazon Room. The $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Six Handed) event attracted some of the top talents in the world, and at the end of the day a total of 175 players had put up the massive entry fee. The eventual winner will take home a bracelet and $1,205,324.

After eight levels on Day 1, only 101 players remained. Big names like Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Tilly, Isaac Haxton, Chris Moorman, Phil Ivey, and Jonathan Duhamel were unable to survive the day, but with more than half the field still alive, there are many top pros returning for Day 2 on Saturday. Among them include Jason Mercier, Christian Harder, Max Steinberg, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Dan Kelly, Matt Salsberg, and many more.

The man who locked up the chip lead at the end of the day was Max Lehmanski. Lehmanski grabbed the lead when he won a huge three-way pot against Brandon Cantu and one other player. Cantu had flopped top two pair, another player flopped top and bottom pair, and Lehmanski held a flush draw that he binked to take all the money. Lehmanski never let go of his lead and he will take 406,000 chips into Saturday.

Hot on Lehmanski's tail is Phil Galfond, who took down a huge pot at the end of the night courtesy of Masa Kagawa. Kagawa's chips vaulted Galfond up to the top of the chip counts, but he still has a long way to go to catch Lehmanski.

The remaining 101 players will be back at 2 p.m. local time, and they will play 10 levels or down to a final table, whichever comes first. PokerNews will be on the floor covering all the action, so stay tuned for all of the highlights.

On Tap

Three gold bracelets are scheduled to be handed out on Day 32 of the WSOP: Event #47: $111,111 One Drop High Rollers No-Limit Hold'em event, Event #49: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em and Event #50: $2,500 10-Game Mix (Six Handed). Event #51: $10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship and Event #52: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Six Handed) will attempt to reach a final table, and Event #53: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em will get underway.

Video of the Day

For the first time in several years, the Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship did not have a male in the field. We took a look at some of the women who entered the popular event.

Be sure to follow our Live Reporting page for continuing coverage of every event at the 2013 World Series of Poker, and follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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Brett Collson

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