Many of the final tables in this year’s World Series have drawn media attention thanks to the large amount of household names that have featured on them. Take a moment then, to think about all those fine young internet professionals who have been blazing a trail to the money in this year’s WSOP. Equally as adept at the virtual felt as their live counterparts are at the tangible variety, these up-and-comers are largely shunned by the press due to their lack of celebrity. Certain names have broken through – Tom’s Dwan and Schneider spring to mind – yet the vast majority of web-based hopefuls have remained nameless.
It was refreshing then to see that the $5,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em final table pushed the spotlight firmly on to these unsung pros – bereft, as it was, of recognizable names. The internet talent on display included: Scott “SCTrojans” Freeman, Adam “csimmsux” Geyer, and eventual winner Scott “gunning4you” Seiver. Also featured was one of this year’s top break-out players, Jacobo Fernandez-Hernandez.
Although many of the news outlets and bloggers have been talking about the victories of Matusow, Lindgren and Negreanu, it is the burgeoning internet talents that occupy many of the top spots in 2008’s Player of the Year race. Although seasoned pro Erick Lindgren is at number one, two of event #21’s final tablers are hot on his heels. Jacobo Fernandez ranks a healthy second with no bracelets and four cashes, while Scott Seiver sits in 3rd place with one bracelet and three cashes. Seiver is also 3rd in the overall money list, having made $781,866 so far this series.
You might not have heard of these guys before, but they’re hardly new to WSOP success. Fernandez had two cashes before his streak began this year, while Seiver has three just from last year. Seiver in particular has showcased his wide range of talents this year. His previous two cashes came in the $1.5k Pot Limit Hold ’em event and the $10k Mixed event – a feat not possible without a wide range of poker expertise.
The surfeit of relative unknowns at the final table should not be taken as an indication that the big names did not turn out for event #21. Many great players exited the cardroom during Day 1 and Day 2. The likes of Eli Elezra who, despite knocking out both Andy Black and Hevad Kahn in a three-way pot on Day 1, was himself sent to the rail in 20th place. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi was eliminated in 11th place by victor Scott Seiver. The Grinder’s pocket ten over-pair was not enough to defeat Seiver’s flopped set of deuces.
From the middle of Day 2 it seemed as though it was Seiver’s tournament. He spent the day building up a commanding chip lead, and by the time he entered the final table he had more than double the chips of his closest rival.
Once action had begun on Day 3 two cases of set-over-set decided the first of the eliminations. Adam Geyer flopped a set of 9’s, but it was no help against Dave Seidman’s pocket rockets once an Ace followed the 9 on the flop. The curse of the pocket 9’s struck again two hands later, when it was Anders Henriksson’s turn to catch a flopped set. His opponent Ben Spregner had to wait until the river to make his set of Aces.
Next to go was Chuck Sklar, at the hands of Scott Seiver. Sklar raised from middle position with Seiver calling from the big blind. Both checked a J-5-8 flop, but when a 2 came on the turn Seiver led out for 130,000. Sklar pushed all-in over the top but his A-K was helpless against Seiver’s AA – the rockets claiming another victim.
Rajesh Vohra’s tournament came to an end when he ran into Dave Seidman’s K-10 with 4-4. A King on the board was enough to send him to the rail. Making his fourth cash of the tournament, Fernandez was looking to capture his first bracelet, but Seiver was on a rampage. When his A-8 flopped top pair to crush Fernandez’s K-K it was enough to eliminate him in 4th place.
An innocuous looking board of 10-8-J saw the penultimate elimination. Ben Sprengers’ lead out and was check raised by Dave Seidman. Sprengers called with Q-Q and was able to stay ahead for the final two streets against Seidman’s flush draw.
Head up play between Seiver and Seidman was almost 40 hands long, with not many flops hitting the table. The final hand came when Seiver hit top pair on a board of 9-7-3 with K-9, Seidman hitting the middle with A-7. The chips went in the middle and Seiver emerged victorious to claim what is sure to one of many bracelets won this year by emerging internet stars.
Final payouts were:
1. Scott Seiver $755,891
2. Dave Seidman $482,372
3. Ben Sprengers $292,034
4. Jacobo Fernandez-Hernandez $238,781
5. Rajegh Vohra $195,834
6. Chuck Sklar $154,606
7. Anders Henriksson $120,249
8. Adam Geyer $94,481
9. Scott Freeman $68,714