Live Events 1
Event #1: £2,650 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em

Event Info

Buy-in £2,500
Prize Pool £610,000
Players 244

Level Info

Level 21
Blinds 8,000 / 16,000
Ante 2,000
Event #1: £2,650 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
Day 3 completed

Phil Laak Grabs His First Bracelet in Event #1! (£170,802)

Phil Laak and his bracelet-encrusted Britain-friendly cast
Phil Laak and his bracelet-encrusted Britain-friendly cast

Well it's all over but the shouting and the celebrating and the crashing of the ATVs. Okay, Phil Laak's already taken care of that last bit, but now he's got plenty of reason to do the other two as well. After three full days of poker, Laak has overcome the field of 244 runners to capture the winner's crown in Event #1 of the WSOPE, officially blinging out his plaster arm cast. His victory in this £2,650 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max event comes alongside more than £170,000 in cash, and that's not even the good part. Right now, Laak is across the room conducting interviews, and he's clutching in his hand his brand new, shiny gold bracelet, the first of The Unabomber's career.

For such an early preliminary event, the field was impressively stacked for this Series opener. A veritable who's-who of British poker turned up for this contest, alongside a healthy smattering of international All Stars. The final table was stacked with nearly $10 million worth of tournament cashes, including the WSOPE's all-time leading casher, Chris Bjorin.

Laak began the day in the middle of the pack, and he found his chip stack moving steadily in the right direction right from the starting gun. He was more or less sitting patient for the balance of the day, however, and he watched patiently as Willie Tann, Ilan Rouah, and David Peters fell by the wayside as the first three casualties of the final table.

In the cooler of the day, Laak KO'd Bjorin out of three-handed play when the latter ran his pocket queens smack into Laak's two kings. A third king right on the flop sealed the deal for Laak and sealed the fate of Bjorin, relegated to the rail two spots shy of earning his third gold bracelet.

That left Andrew Pantling and Laak heads up for their first bracelet, and the duel was a mighty one. Back and forth they went for nearly three hours, trading small jabs and little sneaky body punches back and forth for a good long while. In the last few minutes of the fight, the pots suddenly began to grow larger, and the activity picked up noticeably, and it was all coming to a head rather quickly. You actually need look no further than this page to find all the important details of the heads-up battle, the biggest pot coming just a couple hands ago when Laak was all in with two pair. He faded elimination there on the river, and he snagged the remainder of Pantling's small stack just a few hands later to seal the deal.

Despite being a conspicuously pink-haired American here in England, Laak was one of the crowd favorites, and a large crowd of spectators (or as he calls them, witnesses) turned up to root for Laak today. As usual, he played the part of the center of attention rather well, his antics providing some good ammunition both for our blog and for the interest of the spectators gathered around the perimeter of the table.

So then, drinks are on the Unabomber in Leicester Square tonight, and our sincerest congratulations go out to Laak, one of the good guys in poker, on his impressive victory here this evening!

That's a wrap for Event #1, but we've got plenty more action lined up for the next two weeks, so stick with us for the duration of this fourth annual WSOPE.

Tags: Phil Laak

Andrew Pantling Eliminated in Second Place (£105,506)

Andrew Pantling - 2nd Place
Andrew Pantling - 2nd Place

Andrew Pantling raised on the button to 33,000 and Phil Laak moved all in. Pantling called off for his last 350,000 or so and the crowd was on their feet the instant the cards hit their backs to see Laak's {K-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} up against the {A-Hearts}{9-Hearts}.

The flop came down {7-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{4-Clubs} and Pantling stayed in front. He even picked up a flush draw to help eliminate some outs from Laak.

The turn card brought the {5-Diamonds} and the crowd roared as Laak took the lead, hitting one of the few cards in the deck that could have helped him.

There was some pause before the river card was dealt. After a burn card was placed on the felt, the {Q-Clubs} was turned over and that was it! The crowd erupted with cheers and applause for Laak as he won the hand and more importantly the tournament, claiming his first gold bracelet and £170,802. Pantling earned £105,506 for his runner-up finish.

Tags: Andrew PantlingPhil Laak

Switch Again!


On the very next hand...

We join the pot as the dealer is putting the turn card down on a board of {10-Clubs} {7-Clubs} {6-Clubs} {K-Spades}. Pantling was first to act, and he checked it over. There was only about 50,000 in the pot, but Laak went ahead and made a big overbet of 180,000. Not to be outdone, Pantling shoved it in there, and Laak made the call to put himself at risk for his entire stack.

Pantling: {6-Spades} {8-Clubs}
Laak: {6-Hearts} {7-Hearts}

It was the leading two pair for Laak, but Pantling was drawing very live with a chance to potentially win the bracelet. Ah, but no! The river was a very safe {10-Hearts}, though, and that was just what Laak needed. In the biggest pot of the tournament, Laak has doubled up to finally take a commanding chip lead. He's right at 1.4 million now, while Pantling has just 430,000 left.

Tags: Andrew PantlingPhil Laak


Phil Laak & Andrew Pantling
Phil Laak & Andrew Pantling

Andrew Pantling raised to 33,000 from the button, and Phil Laak matched it to see a flop. It came {9-Clubs} {7-Spades} {2-Diamonds}, and Laak check-called a follow-up bet of 42,000.

On the {9-Spades} turn, Laak checked again, and Pantling fired a second bullet of 103,000 chips. Laak called it again, and the {6-Spades} was the last card off the deck. Laak checked the river too, and Pantling took a long pause before announcing a bet of 240,000. Laak's call came quickly... and incorrectly.

Pantling turned over {A-Clubs} {9-Hearts} for the trip nines, and that was the winner-winner. That's the biggest pot we can remember during this heads-up duel, and it goes to Pantling. He's pretty much turned the tides here as Laak is now the one down to 730,000. That give Pantling 1.1 million and a sizable lead.

Tags: Andrew PantlingPhil Laak

Laak-ed In


From the button, Andrew Pantling raised to 33,000, and Phil Laak reraised to 128,000. Pantling made the call, and there was already a quarter million in the pot heading to the flop.

It came {Q-Spades} {J-Clubs} {3-Clubs}, and both players checked. That action repeated itself on the {3-Hearts} turn, and the {10-Spades} landed on fifth street. Laak finally fired, shoving out a healthy bet of 245,000. Pantling thought it over long and hard for several minutes before surrendering, and Laak's edge has grown once again.

Laak - 1.13 million
Pantling - 700,000

Tags: Andrew PantlingPhil Laak



The excitement came on the turn in this pot, so we'll pick up the action there. The board read {8-Spades} {8-Diamonds} {5-Spades} {7-Clubs} by now, and there was a little more than 50,000 in the pot. Andrew Pantling was first to go, and he made a bet of 42,000 before Phil Laak promptly raised it up to 162,000. For the second time in this heads-up battle, the entire spectator gallery rose to their feet and pressed in toward the table in anticipation of fireworks.

But that was the end of the drama right there. Pantling conceded defeat, and Laak's lead is secure for now.

Tags: Phil LaakAndrew Pantling

Sneaky, Sneaky


We were distracted by a rather attractive looking cocktail waitress while the preflop action was unfolding, but we picked up the action just as the dealer was spreading out a flop of {K-Spades} {J-Diamonds} {5-Clubs}. Andrew Pantling was first to act, and he made a bet of 42,000. That drew a raise to 143,000 from Laak, and Pantling put in the calling chips.

The {8-Hearts} on fourth street drew a check to Laak, and he made a healthy 310,000-chip bet. Pantling let his hand go, and Laak opted to flash his airball {A-Clubs} {4-Clubs} for a little free advertising.

Laak - 1.09 million
Pantling - 740,000

Tags: Andrew PantlingPhil Laak

Trading Blows


It's been a very evenly matched, back-and-forth heads-up battle to this point with the two men essentially trading jabs back and forth.

Phil Laak opened to 26,000 from the button, and Pantling called to see a flop. Both men checked the {A-Diamonds} {9-Diamonds} {7-Hearts} flop, and Pantling bet 43,000 on the {6-Diamonds} turn. Laak folded, and Pantling earned that little pot.

On the next hand, Pantling raised to 33,000 from the button, and Laak put in the call to continue on. A check apiece on the {K-Spades} {3-Diamonds} {2-Clubs} turn led them to the {A-Hearts} river. Laak check-called a bet of 38,000 there, and both men check-checked the {4-Diamonds} river. Pantling mucked when Laak showed {A-Spades} {8-Diamonds}, and the two men trade pots again. Laak gets slightly the better of that exchange though, and it may well be the man who wins the slightly bigger pots more often that ends up winning this bracelet.

Tags: Phil LaakAndrew Pantling