The final championship tournament before the Hold’em main event concluded yesterday with Event #50, the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship. After all was said and done the event was taken down by Marty Smyth of Belfast.
I’d like at this point, if I may, to make a brief geographical diversion. It has been widely reported that Smyth is from Ireland, and that he is, in fact, their 5th ever bracelet winner. While this is not as wildly inaccurate as one article’s claim that Smyth hails form Australia, they are, nevertheless, wrong.
Those among you who know your capital cities will have already realized that Belfast is not in Ireland at all, but is rather the principal city of Northern Ireland. The politics of Northern Ireland have long been fractious, with many there wishing to become part of the Republic of Ireland. However the fact remains that Northern Ireland is a constituent country of the United Kingdom. Marty Smyth is, therefore, British.
Smyth himself has had to wait until this years World Series to enjoy any success in America. Having been prolific around the UK and Ireland, even winning the 2007 Irish Poker Open, he has had to wait until the $1,500 PLO event at this years WSOP to make any headway on the other side of the Atlantic. Having quit college to play poker professionally, capturing a coveted WSOP bracelet certainly makes his decision look a smart one.
The first two days of event #50 were lengthy affairs, with Day 2 clocking in at 14 hours. The unlucky bubble boy was well known pro John D’Agostino – getting his chips in ahead preflop, he could not recover from his opponents flopped trips. Notable faces who outlasted him and made the money inculde: David Williams, David Singer, Dario Alioto and Josh Arieh.
One of the players of the tournament, Russian Nikolay Evdakov, was also among the money. Bringing his total number of cashes at this years World Series to a massive 10. The previous record for cashes in the same WSOP stood at 8, held jointly by Humberto Brenes, Phil Hellmuth, Chad Brown, and Michael Binger.
With the big-name professionals enjoying so much success this year the smart money seemed to be on Michael Mizrachi, who took the chip lead into the final table. His brother, Robert, won this event last year and went a step further than cheering from the sidelines – lending “The Grinder” his gold bracelet as a good luck charm. For most of the final table it seemed to be working, with Michael knocking out no less than 5 players. Chips stacks going into the final table were:
Seat 1: Kido Pham (Dallas, Texas) — 1,080,000
Seat 2: Brandon Moran (Chicago, Illinois) — 1,286,000
Seat 3: Peter Jetten (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) — 492,000
Seat 4: Michael Mizrachi (Las Vegas, Nevada) — 1,767,000
Seat 5: Billy Argyros (Melbourne, Australia) — 729,000
Seat 6: Greg Hurst (Tazewell, Tennessee) — 637,000
Seat 7: Tom Hanlon (Dublin, Ireland) — 192,000
Seat 8: Marty Smyth (Belfast, Ireland) — 1,068,000
Seat 9: Richard Harroch (San Francisco, California) — 372,000
The first casualty was Greg Hurst, having made two final tables this year he might have had high hopes of a bracelet. However his dreams lasted for only 8 hands, making his way to the rail after pushing all-in with a straight draw and over-pair. Michael Mizrachi made the call with a made straight and survived the turn and river to make his first elimination of the final table.
A long time passed before the next elimination, but this appeared to do nothing to dull Mizrachi’s spirites. Brandon Moran pushed all-in on the flop but was way behind against Mizrachi’s set of Aces. He could do nothing to improve and was eliminated in 8th. The next departure was professional bridge player Tom Hanlon, The Grinder obliging yet again. Hanlon had a gutshot draw on the flop, but the Mizrachi’s two-pair held up on the turn and river to claim him yet another victim.
Mizrachi’s run of hands showed no signs of abating when he faced up against Kido Pham. When play reached the turn The Grinder bet to put Pham all-in, forcing the Texan resident into the tank for nearly 8 minutes. When he finally did call he was dismayed to see that his overpair and gutshot was thoroughly behind to Mizrachi’s set of 10’s. No help in the river meant that Pham was out in 6th.
After the dinner break the table saw the first elimination not dealt at the hands of Michael Mizrachi. Eventual winner Marty Smyth tangled with Richard Harroch, both all-in on an A-J-4 flop. Harroch tabled A-Q-10-5 but was way behind to Smyth’s 7-6-4-4, which had hit a set on the flop. The turn gave Harroch a few more outs but another 4 on the turn gave Smyth quads and eliminated Harroch in 5th place.
It was only a brief reprise however, with Mizrachi sealing the fate of Billy “The Croc” Argyros. This time The Grinder got his chips in behind pre-flop and things looked grim after Billy flopped a set of aces. That bracelet his brother lent him must have been working though as runner runner hearts filled up his flush draw and gifted him his 5th and final elimination.
With three players remaining Mizrachi finally ran out of steam when Peter Jetton, who had had a quietly successful final table, and he were all-in pre-flop. Mizrachi holding A-K-5-3 was the underdog versus Jetton’s A-A-Q-8. Catching bottom pair on the flop was of no help in the end as Mizrachi ended his run at the title in 3rd place.
Support for Smyth had been strong all night, but it became especially boisterous once heads up play began. A big pot early on gave him the ascendency but a spirited fight back from Peter Jetton brought them back to nearly level in chips on the final hand. With Smyth holding a slight edge, both players hit the nut straight on the flop and put all their chips in the middle. He would later say that “I didn’t realize I had clubs. That’s the God’s honest truth,” but whether he realized it or not, it was a rivered 6 of clubs that gave him his flush and the biggest prize ever received for a Pot Limit Omaha tournament – $859,532.
Peter Jetton also deserves applause for his second place finish. He entered the final table as one of the short stacks and player tremendously well to nearly achieve what his best friend Max Greenwood managed just a few days ago.
Final table payouts were:
1. Marty Smyth $859,549
2. Peter Jetten $528,256
3. Michael Mizrachi $331,279
4. Billy Argyros $268,605
5. Richard Harroch $214,884
6. Thang (Kido) Pham $170,116
7. Tom Hanlon $134,302
8. Brandon Moran $107,442
9. Greg Hurst $80,581