The latest in a never-ending stream of World Series No Limit Hold ‘em events concluded last weekend, crowning 2009’s 36th bracelet winner. Event #36 had a $2,000 buy-in and a healthy prize pool of $3,084,900.
The fairer sex have been having a poor time of it at this year’s World Series, with all the bracelets so far having gone to persons with a Y chromosome. For the first time this year two woman – Laurence Grondin and Almira Skripchenko – did reach the final nine, but were unable to make it beyond 3rd place.
At this point I’d like to give an honorable mention to Jack Powell, who just missed out on the final table in 11th place. His $42,880 pay-day was his 4th cash of the series, bringing his total haul to over $75,000. Jack and I regularly shared the felt a few years ago and his burgeoning talents were obvious even then. With such a strong showing in his first World Series sojourn, I’ll be backing him to take down a bracelet or two in the coming years.
The chip counts going into the final table were:
Anthony Roux – 1,034,000
Joe Morneau – 996,000
Jonathan Plens – 1,031,000
Ken Lennaard – 1,312,000
Laurence Grondin – 1,258,000
Jordan Smith – 1,025,000
Almira Skripchenko – 1,185,000
Pat Atchison – 1,792,000
Andrew Seden – 545,000
First to hit the rail was Jonathan Plens. After taking some early knocks he walked into a confrontation with Joe Morneau from which he could not recover. After an opening bet from his opponent, Plens pushed his last 400,000 into the middle. Morneau made the call and revealed A-7, ahead of Plens’ J-8 suited. The board fell 7-10-K-5-6 to put Jonathan Plens out of Event #36 in 9th.
The next elimination would occur at the hands of Jordan Smith. He opened the pot for 80,000 only to have Andrew Sendin fire back a 365,000 all-in raise. Sendin might have been relying on his suited K-J to get him out of trouble, but was dismayed to discover that Smith’s Ace and 6 were also both spades. In the end the board contained no spades at all as it fell A-K-8-7-Q to end Sendin’s run in 8th.
One of the two ladies was next to be toppled; Almira Skripchenko leaving the table in 7th. Once again it was Jordan Smith calling the all-in raise of 640,000 – although when the cards were flipped he may have wished he hadn’t. Almira was way ahead with K-K against 5-5, but the board conspired against her as it fell 5-9-6-8-Q.
In 6th place was Pat Atchinson, who lost the majority of his stack in courtesy of Joe Morneau. One massive pot was created when the chip leader Atchinson and Morneau, a close second, managed to get themselves all-in preflop. Atchison just had the edge in the pocket, with his Q-Q a firm favorite against Morneau’s J-J. The window card was a devastating Jack, but the dealer quickly followed it up with a Queen to restore the status quo. However, a life-draining Jack on the river gave Morneau the pot and the chip lead. Atchison was crippled and pushed his remaining few chips in on the very next hand. He came up against Laurence Grodin, but was once again unlucky to lose with A-K against A-10.
Morneau also would prove to be pivotal in the next elimination, after he called Anthony Roux’s all-in preflop. This time he was a firm favorite, with A-Q against Roux’s A-8, and duly collected the pot after a board of 10-6-2-7-K. Roux ended this tournament in 5th place.
Despite his ruthless penchant for dispatching his opponents, Morneau found himself next on the chopping block. The other elimination specialist Jordan Smith made a limp preflop and Morneau checked his blind. The flop came 9d-Qd-8h, Smith bet out 70k, and Morneau called. The turn was a Kd, with Morneau again calling Smith’s bet. Following a 2c on the river, Smith bet another 325,000 prompting Morneau to finally turn aggressor and push all-in. His timing was all off, as Smith immediately called with his 10d-8d. Morneau had a flush of his own with 7d-4d, but it was not enough to keep him from being eliminated in 4th place.
The last woman standing, Laurence Grondin, was the next to fall. On a flop of 8d-5d-5h Ken Lennaard checked and Grondin bet 80,000. Lennaard made a dynamic 500,000 check-raise, prompting Grondin to increase the stakes by pushing all-in. Lennaard was happy to oblige and called with his 5s-3s, leaving Grondin’s Qd-8c in search of another diamond. A 10s and a Kh fell on the turn and river to keep the female bracelet total at zero.
As heads up began chips stakes were predictably even. Jordan Smith held a slight advantage with 5,220,000 against Ken Lennaard’s 4,950,000. The chip lead swapped back and forth for a while, but the turning point came when Lennaard opened a pot with a 240,000 raise. Smith called, and the flop was an innocuous looking 7d-5h-8c. Smith then checked, Lennaard bet 150,000 and Smith called. A King of diamonds on the turn prompted a 300,000 bet from Lennaard and another call from Smith. When the six of spades fell on the river Jordan Smith awoke and fired out a 900,000 bet. Lennaard responded in kind with an all-in push but faced an insta-call from Smith. An unfortunate bluff with Jd-9d from Lennaard had been picked off by Smith’s 10-9 straight.
This left the chip stacks at 8,600,000 vs. 1,500,000 in Smith’s favor, and although Lennaard began to grind back, in the end it was not enough. In the final hand Lennaard bet 300,000 and Smith called. The flop came 3d-4d-8d and Jordan Smith check-raised all-in against Lennaard’s 350,000 bet. Lennaard made the call and showed Jd-8h to put him behind Smiths flopped 9d-7d flush. Neither the 3 or 6 on the turn and river were diamonds, leaving Jordan Smith to be crowned the 2009 WSOP Event #36 champion.
Final table payouts were:
1. Jordan Smith – $586,212
2. Ken Lennaard – $360,439
3. Laurence Grondin – $237, 537
4. Joe Morneau – $166,584
5. Anthony Roux – $120,311
6. Pat Atchinson – $95,631
7. Almira Skripchenko – $78,664
8. Andrew Sedon – $67,867
9. Jonathan Plens – $61,081