For the second time in the 2006 WSOP, Phil Hellmuth Jr. entered action with a legitimate shot at tying Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson's record of 10 World Series bracelets each. Hellmuth plus the other eight players participating in the $3,000 Omaha eight-or-better final table represented only one of the five tournaments played today in the Amazon Room.
Still, on a day that featured the $3,000 limit hold'em final table, day two of the $2,000 no-limit hold'em shootout, day one of the $1,500 pot limit Omaha with rebuys, and $1,500 pot limit Omaha, the question on everyone's mind was: Would Phil win number 10?
$3,000 Omaha Eight-or-Better Final Table
The $3,000 Omaha eight-or-better event attracted a tough starting field of 352. So was the final table loaded with big name pros? No. But it did include some talented up-and-comers, some well-respected veterans, and one of the brightest stars in poker, chasing after the sport's most revered record.
The chip counts coming into the final table were as follows:
1. Scott Clements - $244,000
2. Phil Hellmuth Jr. - $158,000
3. Ronald Matsuura - $120,000
4. Alex Limjoco - $116,000
5. Peter Costa - $108,000
6. Steve Ladowsky - $97,000
7. Thor Hansen - $86,000
8. Martin Corpuz - $76,000
9. Brent Carter - $49,000
The final table began at 4:16 p.m. PDT with $3,000-$6,000 blinds and $6,000-$12,000 stakes. Hellmuth's run at bracelet number 10 got off to rough start. He lost a number of early pots, and his chip stack dwindled to $70,000 within the first half hour.
While Hellmuth endured a smattering of lost hands, Alex Limjoco saw the majority of his chips disappear in one pot. He made a full house, queens full of fours, only to have Scott Clements make a bigger full house, aces full of queens. On the very next hand Limjoco threw his last $11,000 in from under the gun, but exited the tournament in ninth place ($19,430) when he mucked his hand to Martin Corpuz's two pair.
Hellmuth furthered his effort for a 10th bracelet by eliminating Steve Ladowsky in eighth place ($29,146). Still a short stack, Hellmuth moved another step closer to tying the WSOP record when Thor Hansen defeated Peter's Costa's queen-high flush with the nut ace-high flush. Costa earned $38,861 for his seventh-place finish.
Needing to play great Omaha and catch some luck to stay alive, Hellmuth got neither when he was scooped on consecutive hands by Hanson and Clements, respectively. With only $16,000 left in chips, Hellmuth pushed all in from middle position preflop. The 10 8 8 8 3 board gave Hellmuth trip eights with an A-Q kicker, but it wouldn't be enough, as Brent Carter had the same hand, but with an A-K kicker. Hellmuth, making his second final table appearance of the 2006 series, will have to wait for another shot at a 10th bracelet. His sixth-place finish netted him $48,576 in prize money.The new story at the $3,000 Omaha eight-or-better final table shifted to Clements, and his near-insurmountable lead. The young poker player held a 5-to-1 chip lead over Hansen, the player next on the leader board.
Hansen did his best to keep Clements in striking distance. He took a huge pot off Ronald Matsuura, then eliminated Matsuura in fifth place ($58,291) five hands later. But catching Clements soon became an act in futility. At the 9 p.m. dinner break, Clements increased his lead to over $700,000 in chips.
After eating his food (it was most likely spinach), Clements decided to finish his opponents off for dessert: He rivered a flush to knock Corpuz out in fourth place ($68,006), and hit a straight on fifth street to send Brent Carter to the rails in third place ($77,722).
Hansen told Card Player that going into heads up play he had no doubts Clements was unbeatable. He was right. Clements eliminated Hansen with a spade flush and a 2-3-4-5-6 low 20 minutes into the action.
The inevitable loss came with a silver lining, however, as Hansen made $155,443 for finishing in second place.
"I couldn't feel any better," Clements told Card Player's Jay Newnum upon winning his first WSOP bracelet. Clement indicated that despite maintaining such a large lead, he played his same game throughout the final table, and never assumed he'd win.
Along with the gold bracelet, Clements first-place finish paid $301,175 in prize money.
$3,000 Limit Hold'em Final Table
For final table results please visit CardPlayer.com's homepage.
$2,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout - Day 2
One hundred players squared off at 10 tables for day two of the $2,000 no-limit hold'em shootout. The sit-and-go format meant that at the end of action, one player from each table would move on to the tournament's last 10-handed game - the final table.
The award of "toughest draw of the day" went to table 119, which featured Tom Franklin, David Singer, Evelyn Ng, Carlos Zambrano, and Gavin Griffin. In a case of the big dogs biting each other, all the aforementioned names were bounced from tournament play.
At 10 p.m. PDT, Chad Layne eliminated Kathy Liebert in heads-up action to claim the 10th spot at the final table. The other players moving on are Dustin Woolf, David Bach, Jason Dewitt, Roland De Wolfe, Adam Kagin, David Pham, Jerald Williamson, Jeff Heiberg, and Charlie Sewell.
Final table action begins at 2 p.m. PDT.
$1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha - Day 1
A field of 526 players ponied up $1,500 for the pot-limit Omaha event. The buy-ins generated a $716,625 total prize pool.
Some of the biggest names in the sport split time between the Omaha event and the other four tournaments playing out in the Amazon Room.
Those who survived this event past 11 p.m. PDT finished in the money, as the top 54 positions paid.
By 2:45 a.m. PDT, 16 players remained and would be moving on to day two action.
Play resumes at 2 p.m. PDT, and will conclude with the crowning of a new WSOP event champion.
$1,500 Pot Limit Omaha With Rebuys - Day 1
A surprise addition was made to the WSOP schedule with the announcement of a 4 p.m. PDT $1,500 limit Omaha event with rebuys.
The tournament drew a starting field of 152 players, included in which were some of the game's top pros. With 472 rebuys, the prize pool for the event reached $908,100.
Day one will conclude when action has played down to the final 18 participants, and will resume at 2 p.m. PDT.
Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for live updates, chip counts, photos, videos and for new episodes of "The Circuit" and "The Series."
For more information on bracelet winners and other WSOP news stories please visit http://www.cardplayer.com/tournaments/wsop/2006s.