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Poker News Round-up: Week #27

What a week! Event 45 of the WSOP was 6 max $5,000 no limit hold’em and the short handed version of the game ensured there was plenty of action. All the Mob were involved in this event and hopes were high as they are known to enjoy this type of game. Barny and Ross were unable to go deep in this but when the bubble burst at the end of day one, both Joe and Ram had stacks well above the average.

Joe Beevers

On day two though Joe struggled to find a hand and eventually decided to limp with his pocket kings in an attempt to double up by inducing some aggression from his opponents. That choice backfired though when nobody raised pre-flop and the big blind’s undercards made two pair on the flop which spelt the end for Joe. Ram was having no luck either, being outdrawn on several occasions when he had correctly got all his money in as favourite. More than once he resurrected his stack before exiting in 14th, but it seemed as though the fortune was just not going his way in his quest to pick up a first WSOP bracelet.

Bill Edler won the event when his hand that was dominated by Alex Bolotin’s hit a favourable board with the money all in pre-flop, in a hand which pretty much summed up the huge part luck had played in this tournament.

Tom Schneider

Moments after Edler’s win Tom Schneider leapt to the top of the WSOP player of the year standings with victory in the $1,000 stud hi/lo event, which was his second win of the series. Schneider had also claimed first in a mixed Omaha hi/lo, stud hi/lo back in event number five, along with a fourth place in the $2,500 HORSE event.

The pot limit Omaha event seems to be growing in stature and the field for the $10,000 world championship event was both significantly larger than last year’s and also packed full of some of the biggest names in poker. To make the money in this event was a significant achievement given the quality of the opposition, and Joe Beevers was once again paying a visit to the player services lounge when he cashed in 34th place.

Doyle Brunson

Having lost the lead in the quest for the most bracelets of all time, Doyle Brunson excited observers by turning in an excellent performance in his bid to join Phil Hellmuth on eleven WSOP wins. Doyle is 73 now and sometimes seems so frail that he just needs to be tucked up with a blanket and cup of cocoa, but his mind is still razor sharp and his sixth place finish here was very impressive.

Robert Mizrachi went on to make his fifth cash of this series by far the biggest in becoming the new Omaha world champion with a win of $769,000.

The Omaha championship signalled the end of the Mob’s involvement in this year’s WSOP before the main event starts with one exception – Ram was going to have one last pop at a bracelet by entering the $1,500 limit shootout event. A field of 782 played 87 tables which would not consolidate as players were eliminate as would be the case in a normal freezeout. Instead the winner of each table would progress to face off against one another in the next round, and Ram cruised through his first table without too much difficulty, beating limit hold’em WSOP bracelet winner Charles Brahmi heads up.

Many famous names had been unable to progress beyond the first round, yet Ram’s second table was still a tough proposition. Shawn Buchanan won a $10,000 WPT event this year, Andre Boyer was a WSOP bracelet winner in 2005 and Alan Smurfit had already won an event at this series. Again Ram methodically picked apart his table and despite a scary spell heads up against Bret Winograd when he could just not connect with the board, Ram’s experience told and he won a second table to seal his spot in the final.

The other seven players who joined Ram at the final table had of course all won back to back tables themselves to get there, so they were by no means soft opposition, but this table probably was less of a challenge than the one Ram had faced in the previous round so it was a great chance to win his first WSOP bracelet. After winning the first two pots of the night there was just no turning back, and Ram steadily built his stack up with a show of controlled aggression.

Due to the fixed limit betting structure, all eight finalists stayed together for several hours before the first exit when Rayvenia Puckett went bust after 128 hands. Having started play for the day at 2 o’clock when second tables were resumed, it was going to be a very long day which wasn’t helped when the start of the final table was delayed until half past eight. The ability to concentrate and stay focused would play a massive part, and whilst some other players seemed to allow themselves to be distracted by acquaintances on the rail, Ram’s eyes rarely left the table.

As chips changed hands between the more active players, it was easy to forget that Britain’s Andy Ward was even at the table such was his inclination to stay out of trouble. His time came though and a rush of cards with six players left saw him take the chip lead from Ram. As the blinds starting catching up with the smaller stacks Sondre Sagstuen, Ishak Noyan, David Mosca and Anh van Nguyen were all eliminated. America was celebrating Independence Day but it the Amazon Room it was the British who were victorious as either Ward or Vaswani would be bringing a bracelet back across the Atlantic.

Ram enjoys his new jewellery

Ward began heads up play with roughly a six to four chip lead but that would not last long as Ram began taking down pot after pot. In the space of 23 hands Ram had turned his deficit into a ten to one lead and the end came shortly afterwards. A flop that had given Ward top pair was followed a card that gave Ram the nut flush, and Ward could not back away from the pot at that point with so many chips committed. All the money went in and to Ward’s dismay he was indeed drawing dead. Over thirteen hours after play had started for the day, Ram Vaswani had booked in his first ever WSOP win and a tired but happy Mobster finally got his hands on a bracelet.

Also at the WSOP this week, Phil Hellmuth extended his record to 63 lifetime cashes. As the holder of the most bracelets, most final tables and most cashes it may seem surprising that he has not been elected to the Poker Hall Of Fame before now, but this week his achievements have been recognised by the selection committee. Joining Hellmuth in the Hall Of Fame is Barbara Enright who is the last female player to have made the final table of the main event, and winner of three other bracelet events.

Still nobody can really be sure how many entrants there will be at the main event this year. Just a couple of days before day 1a starts there were less than 3000 players signed up, yet organisers have introduced an extra day 1 in the belief that there could be more participants than last year’s 8773. There will now be four separate first days and registration has been extended until day 1d, so there will still be plenty of people who can bump up the number of entrants at the last minute.

Following on from the success of the European Poker Tour, Pokerstars has decided to launch a similar venture in the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. The itinerary so has an August tournament in the Philippines, a September tournament in South Korea and a December grand final in Australia. It is thought that more venues will be announced it time though. The preliminary tournaments will be $2,500 buy ins and the final is likely to be $5,000 with satellites up and running on Pokerstars already. As the APPT will run simultaneously with the EPT and WPT it is likely that few will be able to participate in all three tours so fields for the APPT are likely to be small, but for anyone who likes see more of the world this would be a great opportunity to combine poker with some travelling.

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