Eric Baldwin won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 2009, over nine years ago. Now, with just two left in Event #37: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, he is just inches away from his second. He holds nearly a four to one chip lead over Ian Steinman who is looking for his very first World Series of Poker bracelet. Steinman has a lot to overcome if he wants to lock it up, but in the game of poker, it's far from a long shot.
There were 20 players to begin the day in the event, but they fell very quickly as play started. The first to go was Gene Harrill who got it in with top pair against a set and he couldn't improve to survive. Following Harrill out the door was Zach Humprey who lost a coin flip to Gilsoo Kim to exit in 19th place.
This is around the time that Baldwin began to pick up some heat. He sent Ryan Goindoo to the rail in 18th place with pocket kings against Goindoo's ace-jack for a big pot, one that would put him among the tournament chipleaders. Thomas Kurtz fell next to Steven Song when he shoved his king-nine into Song's queens.
Bracelet winner Ryan Laplante fell in 16th place when he lost with ace-queen against [Removed:4]'s pocket nines. Jason Wheeler was eliminated not long after in 15th place with eight-six against Song's ace-four. All of these eliminations happened before the first break.
It took over a level for the next player to be eliminated and that was Kirk Banks. Baldwin sent Banks to the rail holding pocket aces against Kirk's nines. That pot would push Baldwin over a million chips, a mark he wouldn't look back from. Jay Farber, the former Main Event final tablist, bowed out next, falling to Steinman. Farber got the money in with ace-jack against Steinman's ace-queen and couldn't catch up.
JC Tran, who was also at the Main Event final table the same year as Farber, would bust next, falling to Aaron Massey when his pocket tens couldn't outrace king-queen. Geoffrey Lavinson's elimination in 11th at the hands of Eric Baldwin would bring players to the unofficial final table.
Jason Guarinello was the first to fall at the final table after losing a race to Michael Finstein. It took nearly 20 hands until Mathew Moore was sent home next. He lost a coinflip to Rudelitz to be sent home in 9th place. Kim dropped in 8th place after shoving pocket jacks into the pocket kings of Robert Georato. Song was the 7th place finisher when he shoved jack-seven and was called by Georato's ace-deuce and couldn't catch up.
This is about when Baldwin won a massive pot against Massey in a cooler situation to take the chip lead. Baldwin bet the flop, turn, and river on a board of and he was called down by Massey on the flop and turn. On the river, Baldwin shoved all in and Massey called. Baldwin went runner flush with ace-three of clubs to take down the pot and Massey showed the cooler as he was holding ten-nine of clubs for a lower flush. That vaulted Baldwin into the chip lead and allowed him to coast into heads-up play.
Finstein fell next in sixth place after choosing to play a flip against Baldwin. Baldwin's pocket threes flopped a set and sent Finstein home. Baldwin also eliminated Georato in another coinflip when his pocket nines held up once again, this time against king-ten. Massey was never quite able to recover from this cooler and he was sent home in fourth place, losing a flip to none other than Baldwin. This time, Baldwin's eights held up against king-ten. The final player to fall on Day 3 was Rudelitz, who got it in with ace-five against Steinman's queens and couldn't catch up.
Heads up play lasted for nearly two levels with Steinman and Baldwin both trading blow after blow with each other. For the most part, the match was a roller coaster ride, with Baldwin being down to the end of his rope but ending with Steinman down to just over two million chips of the nearly ten million in play. As the final level of the night ended, Steinman said he wanted to come back fresh tomorrow instead of playing out the optional extra level.
Final Table Results So Far:
The final two payers will return on Thursday, June 21 at 12 p.m. local time to crown a winner. Action will kick back off in level 31 with blinds of 50,000/100,000 and an ante of 10,000. PokerNews will be back with coverage of what will likely be an exciting heads-up match, so make sure to tune back in.