As we all know, the 2008 World Series of Poker kicked off on May 30th with the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’Em World Championship. There were 352 entrants to the tournament creating a prize pool of $3,308,800 and a first place prize of $794,112.
When 343 players had been eliminated, the final table read like a future Poker Hall of Fame inductee list. Phil Laak, Mike Sowers, Chris Bell, Amit Makhija, and Patrik Antonius, who some consider to be the best poker player in the world, were, believe it or not, the bottom five finishers at the final table.
With that laundry list of success out of the way, what was left were merely poker legends Mike Sexton and Kathy Liebert, MIT blackjack team member and successful tournament poker pro Andy Bloch, and finally, 2006 World Poker Tour World Poker Final winner Nenad Medic.
According to ESPN, Sexton was eliminated in fourth after hours of play, followed by Liebert. She went down with her pocket 6’s after Bloch raised over her all-in with pocket 9’s and Medic ended up shoving with pocket queens; eventually called by Bloch. When Medic hit a third queen on the flop, it was over for Liebert and Bloch’s all-day chip lead was gone.
“Most of the players were excellent. There were only one or two guys I didn’t know and they were internet geniuses. Obviously it was a very tough final table,” Liebert stated after being sent to the rails. “I mean, you always want to get first but to come in to the day eighth in chips and move up and get third is pretty good. I knew I had a shot to win it, so it’s bittersweet, but I feel good about the performance.”
After the hand that eliminated Liebert, Medic held a 2 to 1 chip lead and would never give it back. Bloch had a massive chip lead going into the final table and all the way through until the Liebert hand. Although winning $488,048 would make anyone pleased, the finish for Bloch leaves him in a similar position to Sergio Garcia in golf, being one of the best players to not have won a bracelet (Sergio, of course, has not won a major on the PGA Tour).
But in the end, Nenad Medic was the man. The 6’3” Serbian, nicknamed “The Big Serb” collected his first World Series Bracelet and plenty of money to go with it; $794,112 to be exact. ESPN writer Gary Wise quoted Medic’s “thoughtful” words, “There are a lot of great players who don’t have a bracelet like my man Grinder (Michael Mizrachi). It means a lot, but the bracelet doesn’t make the player. The Foxwoods win was a lot of money, but this was probably a tougher field, I don’t know. They’re both great honors.”
In regards to Medic’s future, he has big plans, “Hopefully, I will get gold bracelet number two. I’m not going to be satisfied until I get gold bracelet number three, but of course, I have to be realistic. I’m joking of course…just to make it to a final table is tough enough.” Although Medic seemed to be half-joking, it is doubtful there are many who think he will not add a couple more pieces of jewelry to his wrist by the end of his career.