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John Guth wins Event No. 36 at the WSOP

Guth Survives Rollercoaster Heads Up Battle To Defeat Robert Stevanovski

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After being around major poker tournaments for a while, you sometimes forget the life-changing money at stake. The final table of the Omaha eight-or-better featured a less popular game, no big name players, and no ESPN cameras. For the average spectator, it may not be the most interesting table to observe but for the players there was a WSOP gold bracelet at stake as well as the top prize of $363,216. The spectators who did attend were loud, with each player represented by a small contingent of rowdy enthusiasts. They held nothing back rooting for their players. In a way, it felt like an episode of Family Feud, with each group competing to cheer the loudest for their player, even if tournament director Chris Spears is a few hundred pounds shy of Louie Anderson (but more entertaining). In the end, only John Guth's fans backed the winner, as he was the last man standing out of the starting field of 280.

Entering the final day the chip counts were: Max "Pennello" Reynaud ($529,000), Bart Hanson ($191,000), John "SirScoopalot" Guth ($387,000), Randy Jensen ($283,000), Greg Jamison ($223,000), Michael Pollowitz ($189,000), David Flores ($450,000), Robert Stevanovski ($384,000), and Jim Grove ($163,000). It took four hours to get down to threehanded, and third-place finisher David Flores was eliminated in two consecutive hands. In the first hand, John Guth raised preflop and Flores reraised. Guth made the call and the flop came 9 7 3. Flores bet and Guth smooth-called. The turn brought the J, Flores bet and Guth raised. Flores called and the river surfaced the 9. Flores checked and then called when Guth bet. Guth tabled 9-3-X-X for a full house and took down the pot. That crippled Flores and he threw the rest of his chips into the pot on the next hand.

Flores made it three bets with his last $120,000 preflop against Robert Stevanovski. Flores showed down Q Q 7 3 but ran into a monster when Stevanovski showed down A A K K. The board fell J 10 8 7 J, shipping Stevanovski the pot and knocking play down to heads up.

The heads-up match between Guth and Stevanovski was a rollercoaster ride. Guth started with a $1,880,000 to $920,000 chip lead, and quickly took control. He ran his stack up to over $2.5 million before Stevanovski battled back to even. They then traded the chip lead back and forth for over three hours, until Guth was finally able regain his foothold. He ground down Stevanovski and eventually defeated him on the final hand. Stevanovski limped on the button and Guth checked. The flop came Q 9 8, Guth checked, and Stevanovski bet $80,000. Guth check-raised and Stevanovski called for his tournament life. Guth showed down 10 9 9 3 for a set of nines, and was way ahead of Stevanovski's K-10-9-7. The turn and river bricked when they came 8 5, and Guth took down the pot and the title.

In a celebration that rivaled Burt Boutin's win earlier, Guth let loose a primal scream as he realized his victory. His celebration also included dancing, grunting, and an erroneous amount of collar popping (even though he was wearing a collarless basketball jersey). He then went to the money and asked, "These are my bricks?" Guth won the top prize of $363,216 and his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet. Robert Stevanovski was a true class act in defeat, and he takes home the runner-up prize of $218,456.