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A star-studded final table headlined last night’s WSOP festivities as Event #23, the $10,000 2-7 World Championship, came to an end.  There was quite a buzz as the cards went into the air around 3 PM Las Vegas time. The final table consisted of 8 world-class players including David Benyamine, Michael Binger, Nick Schulman, John Juanda, and 2009 bracelet winners Ville Wahlbeck and Steve Sung.  One of the more infamous faces at the final table was Ariche Karas, a legendary gambler who is said to have been worth millions of dollars and absolutely nothing multiple times through out his life.

The most unknown player at the final table, Vince Musso, actually led the field heading into Day 3. Here were the final table counts:

Seat 1: Ville Wahlbeck 740,000
Seat 2: Nick Schulman 295,000
Seat 3: Vince Musso 799,000
Seat 4: Michael Binger 59,000
Seat 5: John Juanda 248,000
Seat 6: Steve Sung 155,000
Seat 7: David Benyamine 265,000
Seat 8: Archie Karas 384,000

Musso’s inexperience showed early as he made quite a questionable play against John Juanda, costing him about t350k chips when he set Juanda all-in then drew 2 cards against his opponent. Needless to say the hand did not end well and he busted quite quickly for the chipleader, leaving in 6th place for just under $40,000.

Once play became four-handed there wasn’t a soft-spot to be found.  John Juanda,  who holds three WSOP Bracelets and won the WSOPE last year, was the second biggest stack behind Ville Wahlbeck, winner of the $10,000 Mixed-Game Championship last week for $492,375.  He also finished 3rd in the 7Card Stud Championship for $152,914.  Yes, this was his third final-table in a “championship” event, which are typically $5,000-$10,000 buy-ins.

John Juanda was first to go after a rough go of it 4-handed.  He was forced to get his last 220,000 chips in the middle drawing to a 9 while Nick Schulman was drawing to a seven.  Unfortunately for Juanda, Schulman drew a 7 and he was drawing dead.  He took home $75,964 for his efforts.

Third-place finisher, Steve Sung, is having a big series.  He already has one bracelet to his name, a win in the “Stimulus” tournament, the $1,000 buy-in which drew over 6,000 entrants.  That victory earned him over $771,000.  Unfortunately for Sung he bowed out 2 spots earlier this time, as he lost a huge pot all-in pre-draw against Schulman when both players were dealt a pat Ten, Schulamn’s T-7 beating Sung’s T-8.

Heads-up play began with Schulman holding a 2:1 chip-lead over Wahlbeck.  The match never got out of Schulman’s hands, as he steadily chipped down his formidable foe, until a big bluff led Wahlbeck to the rail.  The final hand started with Schulman raising from the button and Wahlbeck 3betting to 225k chips from the BB.  Schulman called and each player drew one card.  Wahlbeck considered his options for a few seconds before announcing all-in, Schulman squeezed his cards and immediately turned them over, he had made the wheel, 7-5-4-3-2, the best possible hand! Wahlbeck turned over his hand, a 9-9-8-5-2, a stone-cold bluff.

This was Schulman’s first WSOP bracelet, and he now joins a select group of players who hold a WPT title and WSOP bracelet.  The $279,742 cash is his largest at the WSOP by quite a margin.  With this deep run, as well as his win and 3rd place finish, Wahlbeck is now a huge front-runner in the Player of the Year Race.  The way he’s playing it’s going to be difficult to catch him.

WSOP Event #23 2-7 $10k Championship
96 Players; $960,000 prize pool

1. Nick Schulman $279,742
2. Ville Wahlbeck $172,864
3. Steve Sung $112,042
4. John Juanda $75,964
5. Archie Karas $53,783
6. Vince Musso $39,697
7. David Benyamine $30,492
8. Michael Binger $24,545