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Jon Friedberg Wins $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Bracelet

$50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event Leaves the Gate and $1,000 Senior Event Begins

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$1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Final Table (Day 3 of 3)

It was soon obvious what the tone would be in WSOP event No. 17, the $1,000 no-limit hold'em tournament, as the discrepancy between the big stack and the short stack was large and the blinds were dangerously high for some of the players. Play was going to be fast, which was exemplified when the first elimination occurred just over 30 minutes into the tournament.

The final table seating and chip counts were:

Seat 1 - John Phan - $747,000
Seat 2 - Mike Pomeroy - $1,325,000
Seat 3 - Humberto Brenes - $564,000
Seat 4 - Tom Hawkingberry - $675,000
Seat 5 -Corey Chaston - $229,000
Seat 6 -Mike Halford - $89,000
Seat 7 - Kevin O'Donnell - $222,000
Seat 8 - Jon Friedberg - $189,000
Seat 9 - Thang Luu - $314,000

Thang Luu was crippled and reduced to one $1,000 chip within the first half-hour when his Adiamond Jspade ran into Jon Friedberg's pocket Kings and Luu didn't improve. Friedberg was all in and doubled up on the hand. Luu's last $1,000 went in as the ante in the very next hand and he was all in with Jdiamond 2club and was eliminated by Mike Pomeroy with a pair of Kings. Luu finished ninth and took home $49,722.

The momentum continued, as another five minutes brought another elimination. Mike Halford moved all in from under the gun for $41,000 and John Phan made the call from middle position. Corey Chaston also called from the big blind and the flop came Qheart 7heart 6club. Chaston checked and Phan bet $60,000, prompting Chaston to fold. Phan turned over Aheart 3heart for a flush draw and Halford flipped over Jspade 7spade for a pair of sevens. The river was the 7diamond and Phan needed a heart that did not pair the board to win the pot. The river was the 9heart and Phan rivered a flush to eliminate Mike Halford from the tournament in eighth ($61,561).

After Halford was eliminated, Phan went from second place in chips to second-to-last (sixth) in the span of two hands, one of which doubled Friedberg up again. The fast-paced action continued with the next elimination after only 15 more minutes of play.

Mike Pomeroy raised to $60,000 from under the gun and Humberto Brenes moved all in. Pomeroy made the call and showed Aspade Qheart. Brenes turned over Aclub Kdiamond and was in the lead. However, the flop spiked a queen for Pomeroy when it came Aheart Qclub Jclub, and the 9spade 7spade on the turn and river didn't improve Brenes. Brenes made $74,715 for his seventh-place finish.

Corey Chaston was eliminated sixth ($88,132) after he went all in preflop against two callers and Kevin O'Donnell's unimproved Aheart Qspade proved to be the best hand. However, O'Donnell himself was eliminated just 12 minutes later when he pushed all in with top pair, jacks. His opponent, Jon Friedberg, showed mid-pair with eights and rivered another 8 to eliminate O'Donnell from the tournament in fifth. O'Donnell took home $105,232 for his efforts.

Play slowed as the next elimination took almost five hours. Tom Hawkingberry moved all in from the small blind and was called by Mike Pomeroy. To Hawkingberry's dismay, Pomeroy flipped over Adiamond Jdiamond, which dominated his Aheart 4heart. Hawkingberry failed to improve and was eliminated in fourth and took home $122,596.

Pomeroy was the next out when he went all in on the river and his two pair wasn't enough to beat Friedberg's full house. He collected $157,322 for his third-place finish.

Then there were two, with only Jon Friedberg and John Phan still at the table. Phan hung on during the tournament, despite having slipped from second to sixth earlier on. The final hand saw Phan move all in preflop and Friedberg call. Phan showed Qspade 4spade, while Friedberg flipped up Aheart 7heart for the lead. The board came 10heart 9diamond 3spade 2heart 7spade and was no help to Phan, who was eliminated in second ($289,389) by Friedberg's pair of sevens.

Upon seeing the final 7 hit the felt, Jon Friedberg threw his hands to his head, and then dropped to his knees and flopped on his stomach on the final table's stage. He stood up and grabbed two handfuls of his $526,185 prize money and raised it in the air to celebrate his victory. Friedberg also took home a gold WSOP bracelet for his efforts.

$2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em Final Table (Day 2 of 2)

WSOP event No. 18, the pot-limit hold'em tournament, got off to a tense start with its remaining 22 players, and stayed that way through the final table. With blinds as big as 1/10 of the average stack throughout most of the day, players didn't have much room to be choosy with hands. Play was tight-aggressive, with players waiting for playable hands with the intent of committing most of their chip stacks when they found one.

Eric Kesselman was the eventual winner of the tournament, bringing in $311,403 and taking home a WSOP bracelet.

$50,000 H.O.R.S.E. (Day 1 of 3)

The highly anticipated $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament (WSOP event No. 20) started today, featuring a who's who list of poker stars, including Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Tuan Le, Doyle Brunson, and Andy Bloch. All said, 143 players entered the tournament, almost exclusively poker professionals, and there was a palpable electricity in the air minutes before the first hands were dealt.

H.O.R.S.E. is a mixed game tournament, comprised of hold'em, Omaha eight-or-better, razz, stud, and stud eight-or-better. Each level increase in the tournament also means a change in game, and players have to be skilled at all five forms of poker in the event to make it to the final table. The entire final table of the tournament will be no-limit hold'em, throwing a sixth version of poker into the mix for players to prove themselves.

Daniel Negreanu championed the event, saying that the prohibitively high buy-in would attract only serious poker professionals and the mixed-game format would demand skills in all forms of poker. There is talk that the aforementioned factors provide the event all it needs to supplant the no-limit hold'em main event as the end-all signifier of poker dominance.

Despite some phenomenal poker being played at the tables throughout the day, the H.O.R.S.E. event got off to a bumpy start when marked cards were found at a table and Andy Bloch was penalized for bending one so they could not be recycled into play. After different deck setups were provided to the tables, a further two instances of marked cards were found. However, the issues were eventually resolved and play continued as normal.

Some players who were eliminated before the night was through included Tim Phan, Layne Flack, Scott Fischman, Marcel Luske, and Farzad Bonyadi.

At the night's end, there were 128 players remaining in the tournament, with 18 places paying. The tournament will resume tomorrow at 2 p.m. PDT.

$1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em (Day 1 of 2)

With 1,184 players, day 1 of WSOP event No. 19, the seniors no-limit hold'em tournament, kicked off today at 11 a.m. PDT.

Some notable eliminations in the event included John Bonetti, Max Stern, and Shirley Williams (mother of David Williams, who has already won a bracelet this year).

The players broke into the money earlier in the night and all remaining players are in the money. Play will continue tomorrow at 4 p.m. PDT with 55 players and they will decide a winner.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for live updates, chip counts, photos, videos, and for new episodes of "The Circuit" and the "The Series."

For more information on bracelet winners and other WSOP news stories, please visit http://www.cardplayer.com/tournaments/wsop/2006s.