Yesterday saw another two bracelets decided at the WSOP in Vegas but they were both hard fought battles, the two heads up matches lasting a combined seven hours before Adam Friedman (Event 15, $5k Seven Card Stud Hi-Low) & Brandon Schaefer (Event 14, $1.5k NLHE Shootout) were able to claim victory as their own.
As the $5k Stud started play yesterday with 19 players remaining, all (well most) eyes were on the two Phils (Hellmuth & Ivey) who sat in the top ten looking for their 12th & 9th WSOP bracelets respectively. Hellmuth however couldn't maintain his form and lost some big pots within the first few hours before eventually capitulating in 16th place to eventual winner Adam Friedman. Phil Ivey lasted that little bit longer but more or less maintained his starting stack for the majority of the day, never really making a run at the top spots and despite making the final table once there his cards still didn't improve and his stack dwindled until his elimination at the hands of Todd Brunson in 7th place.
As the final table unraveled Friedman took a commanding lead but there was still a lot of danger at the table with John Monnette looking for his 3rd bracelet in two years (and his second $5k Stud bracelet of the week) and Todd Brunson looking for his second "Hi-Low" bracelet (he previously won an Omaha Hi-Low bracelet in 2005). As it turns out this was indeed this was indeed the final three line up. Brunson and Monnette traded second place for some time before Monnette lost a series of big pots before eventually committing his last chips with wired aces but was thwarted by Friedman who's J4 connected rather well with the 44 showing on his board putting paid to Monnette's hopes for a second bracelet in the space of a few days.
Brunson and Monnette then engaged in a marathon three hour heads up duel with the lead changing hands right down to the wire. By the end of the match with blinds at a colossal 80k/160k with a 20k ante every hand was important with only only 20bb in play. There had to be a loser and unfortunately for Brunson it was he who had to settle for second place after losing two big hands in a row to hand the bracelet and the $269k first prize to Adam Friedman for his 1st bracelet, 6th WSOP cash and biggest tournament win, eclipsing the $235k he took for his 43rd place in 2005's Main Event.
The other bracelet awarded yesterday went to Brandon Schaefer who returned for day 3 of the $1500 NLHE Shootout to outlast the 12 remaining players from the huge 1,138 starting field and take with him $311k for his efforts. As the match went on it looked increasingly likely that veteran pro Layne Flack was desitined to chalk up his 7th WSOP victory as he cruised to a huge chip lead as we entered the final table. However, by all accounts Flack tried a little too hard to dictate play with his monster stack and as a result ended up giving away a ton of easy chips to his opponents (most notably to Schaefer) and eventually Flack burnt out in 4th spot. After the elimination of Adam Kagin in third yet another epic duel took place heads up between Schaeffer and Jonathan Cohen, this time lasting four hours. Schaeffer always had the upper hand but found a doggedly tough adversary in Cohen and it took a dramatic hands to end affairs. On a board of Qs9d6c2d Schaeffer check raised his opponent all in. Cohen had a tough decision on his hands holding QhJh for top pair and eventually made the call revealing that Schaeffer only held 7c8s for an open ended straight draw. Just as it looked as though Cohen would finally take the lead the 5d fell on the river handing the bracelet to a jubilant Schaeffer - the $311k win taking his lifetime tournament winnings over the $1 million mark.
Three more events were also being contested yesterday. Day 2 of Event 16 ($1500 NLHE Six Max) reached its conclusion with just 9 players remaining with chip leader Robert Muzzati sitting on 1.445 million chips, just ahead of Mark Darner on 1.412m. Two big names are still very much in contention as three time bracelet winner Mike "The Mouth" Matusow in 3rd and two time bracelet winner Matt Mattros looking for his third bracelet in as many years lying in 8th spot. The event will play to a finish today.
Two new events started yesterday with Event 17 ($10k PLH) seeing 69 of the starting 179 players making it through to Day 2. Notables towards the top of the current leader board include former bracelet winner Farzad Bonyadi in 2nd, with Chris Moorman, David Benyamine, Liv Boeree, Kebin MacPhee and Erik Seidel all in the top ten chip counts. Current chip leader is Steve Landfish sitting on 224.5k chips who will look to eclipse his 2nd place finish in last years $10k Seven Card Stud Event. The other event now underway is Event 18 $2500 Seven Card Razz which saw a starting field of 209 whittled down to 136 by the end of the first days play. Some big names not returning for day 2 include; Phil Ivey, Jeff Lisandro, Frank Kasella, Huck Seed, Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu, Jason Mercier and Annie Duke. A ton of big names did survive to Day 2 however and a fair few fill places in the current top 10 including two former Main Event winners in Phil Hellmuth and Tom McEvoy, 5 time bracelet winner Ted Forrest, last years $5k NLHE bracelet winner Allen Bari with two time WPT Champ Tommy Vedes leading the way with 44.6k in chips.
Find more of the latest news and articles relating to the World Series of Poker in the 2012 WSOP-section.