Jeff Tomlinson won his first WSOP bracelet over the weekend – against the toughest opposition
1. Poker for the people
Poker doesn’t pander to big names – it’s the reason we all love it so much. So, when we announced a stacked final table for the $5k NLHE event we should have known that things wouldn’t go to plan. We tuned in to the live stream on Saturday night to find Jason Somerville standing in as commentator on the live stream – and he presided over a classic.
Dan O’Brien was one of the short stacks when the action kicked off and he didn’t take long to find a situation that he couldn’t ignore. On hand #8 he was dealt A♠-Q♠ on the hijack and after he raised, Jonathan Jaffe called, Jonathan Little three-bet and he shoved. Jaffe got out of the way and Little made the call with Tens, which held up to eliminate O’Brien and leave him with a very playable stack of 3,100,000.
Pierre Milan then won a huge hand with Jaffe. With the board reading 7-K-J-8-K, Jaffe bet his K-3 only to see Milan make a substantial raise with K-J. Jaffe was good enough to put it down but it made a significant dent in his stack.
WPT Player of the Year, Anthony Zinno, was the next big name to go – he was eliminated by Jaffe in seventh – his A-K no good against Jaffe’s Kings.
It could have been an incredible day for Jonathan Little – on the day his fantastic new book was published (Jonathan Little’s Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em – download our new mag now for an exclusive extract), he was looking for his second bracelet, but fell in sixth when he raced his Jacks badly against Jaffe’s A♦-K♦. Two Kings on the flop were more than enough to give Jaffe the chip lead.
In the space of about ten hands, two more players were railed – Andrius Bielskis and Jonathan Jaffe, leaving Pierre Milan as the big chip leader, with Dominik Nitsche and Jeff Tomlinson behind him. The amateur player Tomlinson wasn’t mentioned much in the build-up to this final table, and it looked like he was going to finish a very creditable runner-up when Milan railed Nitsche, leaving him with a 2-1 chip lead heads-up. He increased this to an almost 5-1 lead before Tomlinson rallied and eventually triumphed in a four-hour heads-up epic.
The high-school teacher and football coach won the $567,724 first prize in style, with pocket Aces that improved to a full house on the river.
It was an upset but what would the WSOP be without upsets? Talking afterwards he said, ‘I was up against some really tough players who were staring me down. But I had a four-day run where everything just went well… that’s what’s so great about poker – anyone can come here and win.’
2. Hastings wins the $10k Seven Card Stud Championship
Brian Hastings made his name online, where he still holds the record for the most money won in a single session – $4m against Viktor ‘Isildur’ Blom towards the end of Blom’s infamous run. Hastings won his second bracelet and $239,158 in the Seven Card Stud Championship, denying Scott Clements his third as runner-up.
3. Monster Stack cut down to size
7,192 players entered the Monster Stack and now just 272 remain, with Milos Skrbic holding the most chips. Everyone is guaranteed $6,019 but all eyes will be on the $1,262,000 first prize.
Not many big names survived the cull, but Andrew Teng is flying the flag for the UK in 46th spot, with Scotty Nguyen (77th) and Simon Deadman (111th) hoping they can make the final table when play restarts later today.
4. Dan Smith leads stellar cast
The live stream is the place to be tonight as the final six players battle it out for the $10k No-Limit 2-7 bracelet. It’s a who’s who of poker, with Erik Seidel, Eli Elezra, Phil Galfond, Nick Schulman and Jon Turner (PearlJammer online) all trying to overhaul Dan Smith’s chip lead. It’s the only final table on the stream tonight so you’ll get commentary but no hole cards. Play resumes at 2pm ET, with the stream kicking in on a five-minute delay. Make sure you’re watching.
5. Six appeal
Six-max is the toughest form of NLHE and it’s a game the pros love. Expect to see them all hoping to run good this week as two massive events play out – Event #32, the $5k 6-Handed starts later today and the $10k 6-handed starts on Wednesday. The latter is the one all the pros want to win and it should produce one of the best final tables of the summer. Joe Cada won it last year, cementing his legacy after his 2009 Main Event win. He came out on top of a final table that included Max Silver, JC Tran, Erick Lindgren, Dario Sammartino and Martin Jacobson. We’ll take another final table like that one on Friday night please.
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