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WSOP -- Ellis Takes Down Event No. 30

Cracks Aces to End Marathon Session, Wins First WSOP Title


EllisFor a picture-perfect example of how poker can be a roller-coaster ride, one only needs to look at the final table of event No. 30 ($1,500 no-limit hold’em).

Mike Ellis arrived at the final table seventh in chips with just over half a million. He made his way to a heads-up match with Christopher Gonzales, who entered the table as chip leader. After a very long, back and forth match that saw the chip lead change numerous times, Ellis was able to crack Gonzales’ aces with the nut flush and win the event just after 5 a.m. Saturday morning.

The night proved that having a final table with no former bracelet winners did not mean that the action would lack excitement. The play was fierce and unpredictable, as indicated by the undulating chip stacks of the final two.

At one point, with three players remaining Gonzales saw his chips drop to just around 400,000, a far cry from the 2.7 million he sat down at the final table with initially. But in three consecutive hands he moved all in and was called, doubling up on each occasion. In a flash, he was up to around 4 million in chips and very close to once again having the chip lead.

When the action got heads up Gonzales had 7.8 million to Ellis’ 2.8 million, but fitting for the rapid rise and fall pace that was seen throughout the night and early morning, Ellis made one last comeback. While 2,394 players entered the event, only one could survive the marathon. And as the sun rose over the Rio, the happiest man inside had to be Ellis, as he won his first WSOP title and the $581,851 prize. Gonzales got $360,906 for his runner-up finish.

Here is how the final table action went down:

1. Mike Ellis — $581,851
2. Chistopher Gonzales — $360,906
3. David Wilkinson — $254,996
4. Martin Jacobson — $183,345
5. Billy Griner — $133,574
6. William Kakon — $98,605
7. Jason Hallee — $73,719
8. Chris Kastler — $55,814
9. Jeff Cohen — $42,790

Here are the elimination hands, as reported on

Cohen First Final Table Victim, Out in Ninth Place ($42,790)

Jeff Cohen was the small stack at the table and moved all in from under the gun. David Wilkinson re-raised over the top for 1.4 million and everyone folded. Their hands:

Cohen: AHeart Suit KHeart Suit
Wilkinson: 9Spade Suit 9Heart Suit

The flop made things look worse for Cohen, coming 10Heart Suit 9Club Suit 6Spade Suit to give Wilkinson a set. The QDiamond Suit and KDiamond Suit finished the board and Cohen was gone in ninth, making $42,790.

KastlerKastler Outdrawn, Out in Eighth Place ($55,814)

It seemed like a good spot for Chris Kastler to get his chips all in. Facing a raise to 235,000 from Christopher Gonzales, Kastler moved all in for 675,000 more and was called. When he saw what he was up against, Kastler had to have felt good. Their hands:

Kastler: JSpade Suit JHeart Suit
Gonzales: 9Spade Suit 9Diamond Suit

But the flop was disastrous for Kastler, coming 9Club Suit 5Diamond Suit 2Club Suit to give Gonzales a set. The turn and river finished 3Club Suit ADiamond Suit and Kastler was out in eighth place, winning $55,814. Gonzales had around 3.5 million in chips after the hand.

HalleeKings Bounce Hallee in Seventh Place ($73,719)

Jason Hallee moved all in from the button and Christopher Gonzales was at it again, making the call with another pocket pair. Their hands:

Hallee: 3Club Suit 3Heart Suit
Gonzales: KDiamond Suit KHeart Suit

Hallee was in big trouble and as the cards hit the felt he got no help. The flop ran AClub Suit JSpade Suit 10Diamond Suit, offering no help to Hallee. The turn was the JClub Suit and the river was close to a 3 but not quite the golden card, coming 2Diamond Suit and he was gone in seventh place, winning $73,719.

KakonKakon Ran Over by Boat in Sixth Place ($98,605)

Billy Griner moved all in on a flop of ASpade Suit AClub Suit 8Club Suit and William Kakon put his tournament life at risk by making the call. Their hands:

Kakon: KDiamond Suit KClub Suit
Griner: ADiamond Suit QDiamond Suit

Kakon made the wrong move and was trailing. The JClub Suit turn gave him a possible flush draw, but the JSpade Suit came on the river, filling Griner up and knocking Kakon out in sixth place. He took home $98,605 for his efforts.

Griner had around 1.6 million after the hand.

GrinerGriner Falls in Fifth Place ($133,574)

David Wilkinson had Billy Griner covered when he moved all in from the small blind. Griner, with only about 500,000 in chips, decided it was worth a shot and made the call. Their hands:

Wilkinson: QDiamond Suit 7Diamond Suit
Griner: JHeart Suit 7Heart Suit

Griner was in really bad shape. The flop brought some hope, coming QSpade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Diamond Suit to give him a straight draw and backdoor flush draw, but the rest of the board bricked out with a 9Club Suit turn and 3Club Suit river.

Griner was finished in fifth place for $133,574.

JacobsonJacobson Busts in Fourth Place ($183,345)

Facing a raise from David Wilkinson, Martin Jacobson moved all in from the button and was called. Their hands:

Jacobson: KClub Suit QClub Suit
Wilkinson: ADiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit

The flop came 10Club Suit 8Spade Suit 4Spade Suit, pairing Wilkinson’s 10. Jacobson needed some help on the turn or the river, but the turn brought the 5Heart Suit, leaving him dead to a king or queen. The river was the 2Club Suit and Jacobson was gone in fourth place, winning $183,345.

A severely short-stacked Chris Gonzales then moved all in three consecutive hands, winning each time to double up to just shy of the chip lead. His hands:
Gonzales’ AHeart Suit 7Club Suit vs. 4Club Suit 4Diamond Suit
Gonzales’ ASpade Suit 6Spade Suit vs. QHeart Suit JDiamond Suit
Gonzales’ KClub Suit 5Club Suit vs. ASpade Suit 3Club Suit

Just like that he went from around 400,000 in chips to around 4 million.

WilkinsonWilkinson Makes a Move and Misses, Out in Third Place ($254,996)

Not long after he rebuilt his stack, Gonzales raised to 275,000 and David Wilkinson moved all in. Gonzales made the call and they showed down:

Gonzales: AClub Suit QSpade Suit
Wilkinson: 9Club Suit 7Club Suit

The flop was good for Wilkinson, coming 6Club Suit 5Spade Suit 3Club Suit to give him all sorts of draws with two overs. The QDiamond Suit hit on the turn, pairing Gonzales and decreasing Wilkinson’s outs.

The 3Diamond Suit hit on the river, missing Wilkinson and booting him in third place, for which he took home $254,996.

In under an hour Gonzales went from having just 400,000 in chips to taking a dominating chip lead into the heads-up match against Mike Ellis, 7.8 million to 2.8 million.

GonzalesEllis Wins Event No. 30 ($581,851), Gonzales Finishes in Second Place ($360,906)

Pretty much even in chips after a back-and-forth battle, Mike Ellis raised from the button and Christopher Gonzales re-raised 500,000 more.

Ellis called and the flop came JDiamond Suit 7Spade Suit 6Diamond Suit. Gonzales led out 1,255,000 and Ellis tanked for a bit before calling.

The turn brought the 5Diamond Suit and Gonzales moved all in. Ellis called and showed the nuts, ADiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit.

Gonzales showed some power with ASpade Suit AHeart Suit but he was drawing dead in this scenario. The 7Heart Suit fell on the river and Gonzales busted in second place, making Ellis the winner of event No. 30 after a long day of play.

Ellis won his first WSOP bracelet and the first-place prize of $581,851.

Gonzales took home $360,906 for his runner-up finish.