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Schaffel Eliminated from the WSOP in Eighth Place

Aces Giveth and Then They Taketh Away

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Kevin SchaffelFor a while there, it appeared that it was going to be a smooth ride for Kevin Schaffel.

He took most of ninth-place finisher James Akenhead’s stack when his pocket aces held over Akenhead’s pocket kings, and he appeared to be poised to do it again, but this time to Eric Buchman.

Incredibly, Schaffel had pocket aces again, and his opponent once again had pocket kings. If Schaffel’s aces held again, he would move into second place — behind only Darvin Moon for the chip lead. It would have completed a remarkable comeback for a player who was sitting in ninth place just a few hours ago. Would have.

On this hand, Schaffel was reminded just how brutal of a game poker can be. The electric flop of K-Q-J shocked Schaffel and gave Buchman the unlikely set and lead in the hand. But Buchman would still have to sweat six outs — the two aces in the deck to give Schaffel a higher set and the four tens in the deck to complete a Broadway straight.

Buchman’s sweat didn’t last for long as the final king in the deck came on the turn, giving the New York pro quads.

Schaffel, on the verge of becoming one of the chip leaders and a favorite to win the $8.5 million first-place prize, was eliminated in eighth place, for a total payout of $1.3 million. Since all players received ninth place money in July, Schaffel will actually only leave Las Vegas with an additional $40,000.

Still, as painful as it must have been, Schaffel was laughing in the minutes immediately following his bustout. The family man’s World Series of Poker adventure may have come to an end, but he clearly enjoyed his time in the spotlight. He told reporters after the bustout that bad beats happen, and that he’s been fortunate to run as good as he has been running in the past few months.

Schaffel finished runner-up to Prahlad Friedman in WPT Legends in August, the most impressive performance for any 2009 November Niner since the main event suspended play. Although he was the final table’s elder statesman as the only player in his 50s, this poker player’s career may be just starting to take off.

Watch Schaffel after his bustout on Card Player TV: