Craig McCorkell Wins WSOP Gold At Wild Final Table
British Pro Survives Roller Coaster Final Table To Win First Bracelet and $368,593
After an astonishing turn of events, Craig McCorkell has won the 2012 WSOP $3,000 no-limit hold’em shootout for his first gold bracelet, the first-place prize of $368,593 and 1,260 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his third final table of the year, and as a result he has moved into 31st position in the overall standings.
The 26-year-old British professional survived a roller coaster final table in front of a throng of chanting, stomping supporters. While some players take control of a final table early and ride their lead into victory, McCorkell only claimed the chip lead just minutes before capturing the title.
“ICM was important to play quite tight, quite solid, and try to get three-handed to give yourself a chance. I’m really confident in my heads up game, so when I got heads up, I felt really, really confident.”
At one point in three-handed play McCorkell’s chances to win were looking slim, as Antonio Esfandiari had more than 4.1 of the 5.2 million chips in play. It looked to all like he was going to go on to win his second gold bracelet. This conclusion was so forgone that the two short stacks at the time, McCorkell and Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, actually briefly discussed possibly making a deal regarding the distribution of second and third place money.
Esfandiari pointed out that this was essentially collusion if he was not involved in the deal. WSOP tournament staff clarified the rules to the players, and after a discussion between all three, everything was made agreeable and the competitors returned to the table ready to play.
“I just wanted to clear something up that was on the [live] stream. But we sorted it out off the stream, and it was fine. There was nothing wrong,” said McCorkell afterwards. “All three of us that were left sorted it out, and we agreed to something. So, that was fine.”
That was not the end of the strange series of events, however. Less than an hour after holding nearly 80% of the chips in play three-handed, Antonio Esfandiari found himself eliminated in third place, with the $151,613 as his only consolation. Esfandiari’s downfall began when he doubled McCorkell up, but then things got even worse for “The Magician” when he got involved in what would be the pot of the tournament:
With blinds of 30,000 – 60,000, Fitzpatrik shoved all-in for 1,760,000 with 77 and Esfandiari called with the 99. The board came K74J5, giving Fitzpatrick middle set on the flop, which held fpr him to win the pot and double up. Fitzpatrick took the chip lead that hand with just under 3.5 million, while Esfandiari was left with only 1 million in chips.
“Antonio did run bad, especially he lost nines v. sevens to have all the chips going into heads up basically,” said McCorkell. “But I was still aware that anything could happen three-handed.”
Just moments later, Esfandiari was gone after doubling up McCorkell again and then getting his last 325,000 in with a dominated hand and failing to improve.
Heads-up play began with Fitzpatrick holding a roughly 3-to-1 chiplead, but McCorkell used his experience with heads-up play to claw his way into the lead, before winning a massive all-in confrontation with pocket eights against Fitzpatrick’s A8.
Only moments later, McCorkell had sealed the deal, sending Fitzpatrick to the rail in second place with $228,261 while the rail went wild.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:
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