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Most of the world’s best Pot-Limit Omaha players were on hand for Event #40 of this year’s World Series, the World Championship of Pot-Limit Omaha.  In all there were 295 entries to this year’s championship event, quite a bit fewer than last year’s 381 entries.  However, victory is still just as sweet.

The championship events always seem to attract mostly just professional players because of the steep buy-ins, and this event definitely had no shortage of big names.  Even though more than half of the players were eliminated on day 1, there were still many well-known players making it to day 2, including Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, Barry Greenstein, and Phil Ivey (who already has 2 bracelets this year).  Only 27 players would make it to the money, though.  And day 2 ended with the field whittled down to the final 25.  Still included in this bunch (and thus making the money) were Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, Nedad Medic, David Williams, Howard Lederer, and Josh Arieh.

With so many great pros in this event it is no surprise that the final table of 9 was filled with pros.  Entering final table play, players held the following chip counts:

Van Marcus – 500,000

Barry Greenstein – 780,000

Stefan Mattsson – 850,000

Vitaly Lunkin – 850,000

Robin Keston – 1,000,000

Richard Austin – 1,030,000

Josh Arieh – 1,050,000

Ferit Gabriellson – 1,200,000

Matt Graham – 1,400,000

Greenstein was the first to gamble, knowing he would have to make a move in order to increase his short stack.  However, he couldn’t connect with the board and was eliminated in 9th place by Vitaly Lunkin.  In the end it came down Lunkin and Graham to battle it out for first place.

Heads-up play began between the two with Graham holding just a slight lead.  Graham, known online as mattg1983, is a well-known online tournament pro and has quite a few big cashes to his name.  He also has one World Series of Poker bracelet (’08 Event #53, $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout).  However, his lead would not last long as the back and forth battle seemed to be going Lunkin’s way.  At one point Lunkin held a chip lead of over 8 million in chips to Graham’s 600k.  Graham would battle back, though, doubling up three times to take a slight lead.  It was at this point that the chips once again were all in the middle with Graham holding T T 6 5 versus Lunkin’s K J 9 2.  The chips were in on the turn when the board read 6 4 T 9.  Graham of course held top set and Lunkin was drawing with a flush draw and an inside straight draw.  Graham’s hand held up and after counting out the chips, since the stack sizes were very close, Graham was declared the winner, taking down the $679,402 prize and his second WSOP bracelet.

1st- Matthew Graham – $679,402

2nd – Vitaly Lunkin – $419,832

3rd – Van Marcus – $278,409

4th – Robin Keston – $196,993

5th – Ferit Gabriellson – $148,438

6th – Stefan Mattsson – $118,462

7th – Josh Arieh – $99,855

8th – Richard Austin – $88,680

9th – Barry Greenstein – $82,746