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Sam Farha Takes 2006 WSOP $5,000 Omaha Eight-Or-Better Bracelet

A Day for Main Event Runners-Up


The second final table on day 12 of the World Series of Poker took a long time to develop. Twenty-six players returned for the $5,000 Omaha eight-or-better event and, instead of playing down to the final nine and stopping, the remaining field played straight through until one of them wore the gold WSOP bracelet.

Gavin Smith entered the day as the chip leader with $118,000. But with such a dangerous field, no stack was safe and within two hours of the 2:30 p.m. PDT start time, he was eliminated by Chris Ferguson.

At 6:52 p.m., Jeff Freedman exited the tournament in tenth place ($14,946) and the nine remaining players moved to the ESPN featured table set.

The seating positions for the final table were as follows:

Seat 1 - Jim Ferrel
Seat 2 - Jeff King
Seat 3 - Mike Wattel
Seat 4 - Phil Ivey
Seat 5 - Sam Farha
Seat 6 - Kirill Gerasimov
Seat 7 - Brian Nadell
Seat 8 - Ryan Hughes
Seat 9 - Mike Henrich

Less than 10 minutes into final table play, Mike Henrich scooped a pot with a wheel and eliminated Ryan Hughes in ninth place ($24,910).

The next elimination featured a flush-over-flush situation. With a flop of Jdiamond 4heart 2heart, Mike Wattel made an $8,000 bet and Jim Ferrel called. When the turn brought the Qclub, Wattel fired $16,000 into the pot and Ferrel, after some hesitation, called again. Wattel then put Ferrel all in on the 8heart river. Ferrel called and flipped up the Qheart 10heart, for the heart flush, but Wattel turned over the Aheart 9heart, giving him the nut flush. Ferrel exited the tournament in eighth place ($37,365).

Having been a short stack all final table, Jeff King followed Ferrel to the rail an hour later. He failed to make the low against Henrich's set of jacks and went home in the seven spot ($49,820)

Phil Ivey, who survived on a short stack leading up to final table action, doubled up twice following King's departure. The dangerous poker star then took the chip lead after making quad kings against Sam Farha.

At the same time Ivey saw success, Brian Nadell saw his stack dwindle. Sitting on $15,000 in chips, Nadell pushed all in only to have Kirill Gerasimov flop a queen-high straight. Nadell was eliminated in sixth place ($62,275).

In Omaha, with so many cards in play, miracles can happen often: Just ask Henrich. He pushed all in preflop and received a call from Wattel. Henrich turned over Jspade 8spade 5club 2club and Wattel showed Aclub Qclub 6spade 5heart. Wattel took a solid lead after the KdiamondQspade9heart flop but Henrich caught the 2heart on the turn and 2diamond on the river, to make an improbable set.

A severely crippled Wattel busted only four minutes later. He failed to make a low when the 3club river paired his all-in hand against Farha, and his tournament run ended with a fifth place finish ($74,730).

Henrich's fourth-place finish ($87,185) set up a three-way match up between Ivey, Farha, and Gerasimov. Ivey entered at a serious chip disadvantage (nearly 6-to1 against Gerasimov), but again doubled up two times.

Ivey raked a good number of pots from Gerasimov, and the former tennis pro soon found himself at the bottom of the chip board. A few hands later, Gerasimov tangled with Farha, who eventually put him all in on an Aspade Jclub 10club 5heart 2club board. Gerasimov called, but Farha, holding 8club 8heart 3heart 3club, scooped the pot with a flush and 8 low. Farha eliminated Gerasimov in third place ($112,095).

With Gerasimov gone, two popular poker pros squared off for the $398,560 first-place prize and WSOP gold bracelet.

Heads-up play lasted for one hour, and saw Farha take a commanding chip lead after catching a series of big hands. Farha scooped pots with a full house, a counterfeited Ivey low, and an A-Q-5-7 hand that gave Farha two pair and the low.

At 3:51 a.m. PDT, Farha eliminated Ivey from the tournament with jacks and sevens.

Ivey, denied his sixth WSOP title, netted $219,208 for his second-place finish.

With David Williams taking the $1,500 seven-card stud event and Farha winning the $5,000 Omaha eight-or-better bracelet, the day belonged to the main event runner-up stars.