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The 2008 World Series of Poker is in full swing, as we’re nearing the halfway point. Bracelets have been won by some of the best in the game, as Erick Lindgren getting his first bracelet, Mike Matusow getting his third, and Daniel Negreanu getting his fourth. The action is fast and furious, and Event #19 was no different. Pot Limit Omaha is a gambler’s game, with crazy action. 759 players showed up, paying up $1,500 for a shot at a bracelet, and a solid six-figure payday.

The dominating chip leader coming in, Vanessa Selbst, played an amazing game leading up to the final table. She played an aggressive game, constantly leaning on the other players, amassing towers of chips. Coming into the final table with 1,047,000, she held over three times her closest competitor’s stack, Jamie Pickering coming in with 329,000. Here were the entire chip counts coming into the final table:

1. Vanessa “fslexcduck” Selbst: 1,047,000
2. Jamie Pickering: 329,000
3. Stanley Statkiewicz Jr.: 318,000
4. Thom Schultz: 144,000
5. Eugene Todd: 127,000
6. Mel Randolph: 117,000
7. Craig Natte: 108,000
8. Jamie “TheNew” Robbins: 70,000
9. Ken Lairson: 16,900

And here’s what awaited them at the end of the road:

1. $227,965
2. $145,459
3. $88,062
4. $72,004
5. $59,053
6. $46,621
7. $36,261
8. $28,490
9. $20,720

With the blinds starting at the final table at 4k/8k, and with the fast paced nature of Pot Limit Omaha, Natte, Robbins, and especially Ken Lairson would need to make a move. Schultz, Todd, and Randolph weren’t much better off as well, all under 20 big blinds. It came as no surprise that Lairson, Robbins, and Randolph busted rather fast, in about the first hour of play. Soon after, Craig Natte joined them on the rail, as the four players coming in as short stacks, busted out first.

After that unbelievable flurry of action, here’s what the stacks looked like, with the blinds up to 5k/10k.

1. Vanessa Selbst: 1,207,000
2. Thom Schultz: 324,000
3. Stanley Statkiewicz Jr.: 290,000
4. Jamie Pickering: 284,000
5. Eugene Todd: 165,000

The colorful Eugene Todd was Vanessa’s next victim. He got it in good with 6sAdAsQs vs. Vanessa’s KcJcJs9d. Unfortunately for him the flop came with a jack, and completely drawless for him. He missed the board, and busted in 5th for $59,053. Next on Vanessa’s hit list was Thom Schultz, as he bounced in 4th for $72,004.

This is where it got interesting, as Selbst doubled up both Statkiewicz and Pickering, bringing the three remaining players close to even. After the insanity, here were the stacks:

1. Jamie Pickering: 790,000
2. Stanley Statkiewicz Jr.: 770,000
3. Vanessa Selbst: 710,000

After being the dominating chip leader for some time, Selbst looked human. Could she regain control of this final table?

Vanessa continued her aggressive nature, regaining the chip lead, and getting into a huge pot with Stanley Statkiewicz Jr. Stanley and Vanessa got it in on a 8TJ flop, all spades. Vanessa rolled over the 6s4s5cAd for the flush, while Stanley had the 8cQdTcAd for two pair. The turn was the Ks, while the river was the 2h, ending his day. He left in 3rd, for $88,062.

This is when things got really crazy. If the blinds being up to 10k/20k wasn’t enough, the fact that Jamie Pickering was drunk, and playing blind was. Despite starting heads-up play with only 465k to Vanessa’s 1.8 million, he played a fearless game. The lack of fear was probably due to the fact that he was playing blind, and potting it without looking at his cards. In no time, his insane style had brought him 1.3 million, good for the chip lead. However, it didn’t take long for Vanessa to double up and assume the chip lead once again. The blinds moved up to 12k/24k, as it led us into the final hand.

Vanessa limped on the button, and Pickering checked in the big blind. The flop came down 7c8cTh. Pickering checked, and Selbst bet 90k. Pickering came over the top, for all of his chips. Selbst made the call, with JcJs2c9d, good for the nut straight and the redraw to the Jack hi flush. Pickering flipped up the TsAsQs9h, in desperate need of one of the two remaining jacks. However, he wasn’t able to get lucky, and finally busted in 2nd place, for $145,459. Meanwhile, Vanessa Selbst took down her first bracelet, and for sure will continue to make an impact on the poker scene for some time to come. Already well-respected amongst her peers online, she’s starting to make huge waves live, adding this impressive win for $227,965 to her already respectable résumé. This brings her live winnings over the half a million mark, as she took 2nd in the 2008 WPT Ladies Championship for $40,815 just recently as well, and has another World Series of Poker final table under her belt as well. Congratulations to Vanessa Selbst.