During the $10,000 Mixed event at this years world series the players sitting at Phil Ivey’s table were quizzing the poker genius on a number of topics, one of which being: Who did he think was the greatest living poker player? Phil listed a number of potential candidates, including both live and internet pros, but one of the names at the top of his list was Tom “durrrr” Dwan. Playing in his first ever World Series, Dwan went into the final table 3rd in chips, with whispers circling the Amazon room that this might be the time for the prodigy to pick up the first of many bracelets.
However Dwan was by no means the only world class player to make the final day. Making his second cash of the series was Israeli commando turned poker pro, Eli Elezra, and another seasoned veteran, in the shape of Sammy Farha, was making his first WSOP final table appearance since winning the $5k Omaha event in 2006. That year was also an auspicious one for Jeff Madsen, as he was named WSOP Player of the Year. His presence completed a quartet of high profile names that sat down on Day 3 to compete for a coveted World Series of Poker bracelet.
Chip stacks going into the final table were:
Seat 1: James Mackey (Columbia, Missouri) 742,000
Seat 2: Matt Glantz (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 1,150,000
Seat 3: Sam Farha (Houston, Texas) 374,500
Seat 4: Mike DeMichele (Las Vegas, Nevada) 434,000
Seat 5: Tom Dwan (Edison, New Jersey) 642,000
Seat 6: Eli Elezra (Henderson, Nevada) 76,000
Seat 7: Anthony Rivera (Henderson, Nevada) 274,000
Seat 8: Jeff Madsen (Los Angeles, California) 149,000
To see so many top drawer professionals at this final table should not really have come as a surprise to anyone. Practically every top tier pro worth his or her salt could be found somewhere among the throng at the start of Day 1. To have a realistic chance of cashing this event you had to be an expert at all eight games on display. This being the first ever event to feature Deuce-to-seven triple draw, Fixed-limit hold ’em, Omaha-8 (hi/lo split), Razz, Seven-card stud, Seven-card stud (hi/lo split, 8 or better), No-limit hold’em and Pot-limit Omaha. Whoever took it down would need to have a perfectly rounded game.
Some of the recognizable names that didn’t quite make it to the final table include: Aggressive Dane Gus Hansen (10th); 2007 WSOP Player of the Year, Tom Schneider (12th) and poker legends Doyle Brunson (21st) and Johnny Chan (13th).
Shortly after play started two time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen was eliminated in 8th place. And, unfortunately for many a prop-better, today was not to be Dwan’s day either. After gifting short stack Elezra back to back double ups he was eventually eliminated in 7th, after Anthony Rivera’s 3-2 caught a 3 to crush his pocket deuces. The two old timers were the next to fall; Farha eliminated during a three way hand of Razz, with Elezra following close behind during stud-8. The most unlucky exit on the final table has to belong to Michael DeMichele who’s 8-7-5-4-3 two-to-seven triple draw hand was beaten by a single digit by Rivera’s 8-7-5-3-2. DeMichele was crippled, and Rivera finished what he started by knocking him out in the following hand.
Matt Glantz, who had entered the day as chip leader, managed to maintain his advantage right up until the final three. However his form began to waver, as did his stack, until eventually he was eliminated by James “mig.com” Mackey – Glantz’s 5-6 middle pair gutshot draw losing out to Mackey’s J-7 top pair.
And with that we were left with the final two, one a highly successful internet player (Mackey), the other an unknown Vegas cash game player (Rivera). Both had seen off a raft of stellar players during a grueling three days, yet it took just one hand to decide who would take home the bracelet. In the final play of the tournament Mackey pushed all in with A-9 and was immediately called by a stunned Rivera who flipped over A-K for a dominating advantage. The board brought no salvation for Mackey who finished in second for $297,792.
So after starting with the most big-name heavy field this side of the $50k H.O.R.S.E event, it was an unknown cash game grinder who eventually walked away with the golden bracelet and the $483,688 first prize.
The final table finishing positions and payouts where:
1. Anthony Rivera $483,688
2. James Mackey $297,792
3. Matt Glantz $184,992
4. Mike DeMichele $139,872
5. Eli Elezra $108,288
6. Sammy Farha $85,728
7. Jeff Madsen $67,680
8. Tom Dwan $54,144