The largest ever World Series of Poker tournament, outside a Main Event, is now completed, and only 1 day late. The tournament was originally schedule to run for 4 days, ending Tuesday. However, late Tuesday, event organizers, along with ESPN360, who would be airing the event, decided that it would be best to delay the final table one day so that more people would be able to follow the action live via the telecast.
Just over 6,000 players entered Event #4, dubbed the “Stimulus Special” because of the relatively low, $1,000 buy-in, set to attract players who may not otherwise spend much more money to enter a tournament. The action on Day 1 (A and B) was incredibly fast and furious as almost 90% of the field was eliminated before the start of Day 2. Near the end of the fourth day of play, those in charge of the tournament were considering extending the final table to a fifth day and asked the final 10 players to vote on whether or not to extend play. They decided it would be fine and once they got down to the final table of nine, they called it a night.
The final table saw only a couple familiar faces. Most notably, Steve Sung, who has cashed in quite a few major tournaments over the past few years, including several six-figure scores. However, he’s never been able to take the top spot in a World Series event. Sung came into the final table second in chips to Dan Heimiller. Heimiller is another player at the final table that might be known by some as he is a solid tournament pro with over $2 million in lifetime winnings.
The fast action continued at the start of the final table as well with a few big hands colliding. The first player knocked out of the final table was the short stack, Danny Fuhs. He was pretty happy to get all the money in with AJ on an AJT flop. That excitement was short lived, though, as Phong Huynh turned over TT for bottom set, which held up and eliminated Fuhs in 9th place. What goes around comes around for Huynh, however. Shortly after that hand, he had all his money in the middle of the table, holding 33 with a board of J437, for bottom set. Unfortunately for Huynh, James Matz held JJ for top set and Huynh was quickly eliminated in 8th place.
As play continued at a calmer pace, Steve Sung continued to play his aggressive style of play. While doing so he managed to bluff away a large portion of his stack – to the point where he was actually the short stack at the table. It was at this time that he seemed to slow down a little and was fortunate enough to double-up, winning a pre-flop all-in race with his AQ up against the 55 of Jeff Oakes. Sung hit trip Aces, eliminating Oakes in 7th place and he then began to turn the aggression back up once play became short-handed. It was the start of a nice run that took him into heads-up play, facing Pete “The Greek” Vilandos.
Vilandos is no stranger to big time tournament play either. He’s quite the veteran of the World Series and even has a bracelet from the 1995 Series, in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event. Vilandos employed a strategy of being a little more patient and passive, really picking his spots against Sung’s very aggressive style. In the end, though, it was a case of bad timing as Vilandos’ “spot” was while he was holding 88. Steve Sung just happened to be holding KK, which held up on the board of A7267, eliminating The Greek in second place and giving Steve Sung his first World Series of Poker Bracelet.
Final Table Payouts:
1st – Steve Sung $771,338
2nd – Pete Vilandos $473,282
3rd – James Matz $313,826
4th – Larry Sidebotham $227,253
5th – Nathan Mullen $175,851
6th – Dan Heimiller $145,009
7th – Jeff Oakes $126,612
8th – Phong Huynh $117,414
9th – Danny Fuhs $114,167