The first "Ante-Only" WSOP event ended yesterday as Greg Hobson took home the bracelet and the $256.7k prize money in Event 49, $1,500 NLHE Antes Only.
Hobson may not be a household name on the live poker scene, his win yesterday making his total live tournament winnings a little over $350k. However, for all you online tournament aficionados he will be a little more familiar as going under his screen names Wild Duck and DuckU he has cashed for over $4.5m over the past few years winning FTOPS titles, $750 GTD tournaments and placing big 6 figure scores in high buy in SCOOP events.
The ante-only structure meant for a wild and fast paced game, especially as the antes got higher and the bring in (relatively) smaller as the structure naturally creates a lot of multi-way pots where and a lot of flops for a lot of players. Regular tournament strategy is thrown out of the window and players were forced to re-evaluate and devise new ones to cope with the vastly different circumstances. After two days of play a starting field of 939 had been whittled down to a final table of 9. Among those nine we saw a lot of decent talent with Mike "Timex" McDonald (with over $4 million in live tournament winnings the leading live money earner in the pack), former PCA Main Event Champ Harrison Gimbel, WPT winner Mike Sowers and high stakes cash game player Justin Schwartz all chasing gold.
Hobson started the day third in chips with a little over 600k but soon powered towards the top, taking out the first two players of the day in the first half an hour of play - firstly Schwartz whose AK ran into Hobson's AA ad then short stack Sameer Aljanedi's 99 was bested by Hobsons AcQc when a Queen hit the flop. The next to go was an unlucky Seth Davies who lost most of his chips in an encounter with Harrison Gimbel when Gimbel's A6 cruelly took out Davies' QQ when an Ace spiked the river. A crippled Davies was eliminated by Gimbel on the very next hand of play. Next to fall was McDonald whose Ah9h was in bad shape against John Hayes 10 10, and in even worse shape with a third 10 hit the flop and McDonald couldn't catch up. A big slice of luck helped Hobson to the chip lead soon after when his AQ all in pre-flop against the days early chip leader (but by this time short stack) Eugene De Plessis's AK hit a Q on the flop to make play four handed.
Soon after Hobson took a sizeable lead after his A9 caught trips on the river in a pot Harrison Gimbel had barreled on every street - Gimbel looked suitably unimpressed by the outcome as he released his hand to the muck and sent an 800k pot to Hobson giving him over half the total chips in play. About 15 minutes later two more players had been sent to the rail and we were heads up for the title. Firstly Harrison Gimbel was a little unlucky to see his two pair (A3) crushed by Mike Sowers A6, both players making their two pair and committing their chips as an A fell on the turn. On the very next hand John Hayes committed all his chips on a K high flop holding pocket sevens to see Sowers take the pot once again with his K8 take another +800k pot.
The last two eliminations for Sowers meant that heads up play began with both players holding around 2.1 million chips. Things soon changed as very early in HU play Hobson took a huge 1.8million pot after making a flush on the river and having his 400k river bet called by a frustrated Sowers. Sowers was never able to recover from this 3-1 chip deficit and soon enough Sowers was put out of his misery as he committed his chips pre-flop with A7 and was in very bad shape against Hobson's pocket 7's. The three outer never came and Greg Hobson took his first major live tournament down and a nice piece of WSOP jewelry to go with it.
The big $5k NLHE event played down from 303 to 38 players on the second day of action. Currently leading is this years PCA Main Event Champion Kyle Julius who has 867k chips (average 312k). A lot of big names fell yesterday including Andy Frankenberger, Jeff Lisandro, Jennifer Harman and four Main Event Champions in Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Duhamel, Pius Heinz and Peter Eastgate. Still in contention we see Joseph Cheong, Tommy Vedes, Galen Hall, Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger, Alexander Kravchenko and Randy "nanonoko" Lew.
We saw the start of Event 51, The Ladies $1k NLHE yesterday with 936 women (well, most all women as once again a few men decided to exercise their legal right to enter) ponied up the 1K to take a stab at bracelet glory. By the days end the field had been reduced to 117 players. Most of the familiar names fell prior to the days end including; Melanie Weisner, Tiffany Michelle, Vicky Coren, Barbara Enright, Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree, Pamela Brunson, Kathy Liebert, Vanessa Rousso, Jennifer Tilly and Katrina Jett. A couple of familiar names are still with us and both gracing the top 20 chips counts as Leo Margets sits in 17th with Erica Schoenberg in 7th. A little further down in 25th is Amanda "Mandy B" Baker.
Finally we also saw Day 1 of Event 52 ($2.5k 10 Game Mix Six Handed) as 421 players became 167 by the close of play. Leading the way on 74k chips is Tommy Hang (average chip count 18.9k). Hang is an accomplished mix game specialist having finished 2nd in the $1500 HORSE event back in 2008. There is plenty of notable talent still in the competition with Vincent van der Fluit, James Mackey, Noah Boeken, Brynn Kenny, Dan O'Brien and Hasan Habib all in the current top ten! Beneath them but still in contention we see the likes of Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, Mike Matusow, Vanessa Selbst, Greg Raymer, Eli Elezra, John Monnette, Jeff Madsen and Scott Clements to name but a few. Among those not progressing to Day 2 were; Shaun Deeb, Matt Hawrilenko, Jimmy Fricke, Allen Bari, Andy Frankenber and David Chiu