WPT World Championship, Day 5 Recap
Level 24: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Josh Arieh, Marvin Rettenmaier, Guillaume Darcourt, Wil Wilkinson, Joe Serock, Trevor Pope, Rinat Bogdanov, Barry Shulman, Ron Coury, Hafiz Khan, Steve ODwyer, Michael Mizrachi, Nick Schulman, Moon Kim, Philippe Ktorza, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Day 5 began with 19 players, but only 18 would finish in the money. It took about 20 minutes for the bubble to burst, and the unfortunate player was Josh Arieh (standing, center), who got it all in preflop with AJ against the KK of Marvin Rettenmaier (left).
The final 18 players redrew for seats at the final two tables. The chipleader at this point was Hafiz Khan with 2.1 million, while POY contender Joe Serock was one of the short stacks with only 12 big blinds. Serock would need to outlast three more players to catch Will Failla in the WPT Player of the Year race.
Guillaume Darcourt (standing, right) smiles even as he is eliminated in 18th place by Wil Wilkinson (standing, left). With the board showing A1078 on the turn, Darcourt raised all in with 97 (pair and a straight draw) against Wilkinson's 88 (set of eights). Darcourt missed his straight draw and was out of the tournament.
With 17 players remaining, Joe Serock needed to outlast two more to pass Will Failla in the WPT Player of the Year race. But with only 15 big blinds in his chip stack, he couldn't afford to wait, and he moved all in preflop with A10. Trevor Pope (foreground, right) called from the button with 99.
The board came A534K, and Serock (standing, background center) pumped his fist as he won the hand to double up in chips. Serock was still in the hunt for the WPT Player of the Year title.
WPT Venice Grand Prix champion Rinat Bogdanov (center right) threw up his hands as he was eliminated in 16th place in a three-way all-in situation against Matt Juttelstad and Ron Coury.
Coury was the short stack with 66, Juttelstad was the big stack with AA, and Bogdanov was stuck in the middle with 1010. There was a 6 on the turn to give Coury the triple up, while Juttelstad won the side pot to eliminate Bogdanov.
With Rinat Bogdanov's elimination in 16th place, Joe Serock was guaranteed 15th or higher place, and passed Will Failla for the points lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. But it wasn't over yet, because both Moon Kim and Matt Juttelstad could catch Serock if they went deep enough.
Barry Shulman (pictured) was eliminated in 15th place when he moved all in with 99 and ran into Trevor Pope's 1010.
Short stack Ron Coury (left) moves all in after a flop against big stack Trevor Pope (right). Pope would fold, giving Coury another small pot to stay alive.
After eliminating John Esposito in 12th place, Hafiz Khan (pictured) was the massive chipleader with more than 4 million.
Trevor Pope didn't have as many chips as Hafiz Khan, but he was still among the big stacks with more than 2 million.
Ron Coury (standing, center) was eliminated in 11th place when he got it all in with Q8 against the 1010 of Moon Kim (right) and never improved.
With Ron Coury's elimination in 11th place, the final 10 players combined to a single table. In seat order: (1) Wil Wilkinson, (2) Michael Mizrachi, (3) Hafiz Khan, (4) Marvin Rettenmaier, (5) Steve O'Dwyer, (6) Nick Schulman, (7) Moon Kim, (8) Trevor Pope, (9) Joe Serock, and (10) Philippe Ktorza.
In the first hand at the 10-handed table, Nick Schulman (left) check-raised all in on the turn with the board showing A978. Trevor Pope (right) tanked for more than a minute before he folded.
Hand #11: After a flop of Q64, Michael Mizrachi (center) check-raised all in with AQ (pair of queens), and Hafiz Khan (standing, right) called with JJ. It was a battle of big stacks, and whoever won this pot would be the chipleader.
Mizrachi turned another queen to win the pot with trip queens, taking the chip lead from Hafiz Khan.
In Hand #23, Nick Schulman (center) and Moon Kim (right) were in a battle of the blinds and saw a flop of A104. Schulman checked, Kim bet 120,000, Schulman check-raised to 260,000, and Kim moved all in. Schulman folded, and Kim showed one card -- the A (top pair) -- as he collected the pot.
In Hand #44, Michael Mizrachi (foreground, right) moved all in after a flop of J33, and Nick Schulman (center) quickly called with KK. Mizrachi was caught bluffing with AQ, and didn't improve. Schulman doubled up, and stacked his chips while Mizrachi discussed the hand with Hafiz Khan (left).
In Hand #47, Joe Serock (standing, background center) could only scratch his head after being eliminated in 10th place by chipleader Marvin Rettenmaier (right). Serock moved all in for 18 big blinds with 99, and Rettenmaier called with AK. Serock put on his backpack and began to walk away, fully expecting to lose the race.
The flop came Q77, and Serock slowed, perhaps showing some optimism. But the turn card was the K, putting Rettenmaier way out in front, and the Q on the river was enough to eliminate Serock.
Serock leads the WPT Player of the Year race, but it isn' t locked up yet. Moon Kim can tie Serock with a fourth-place finish, and clinch the POY title with a third-or-higher finish.
In the last hand of the night (Hand #52), Nick Schulman (standing, left) and Hafiz Khan (foreground, right) battled over a board of J8574. Schulman check-called the flop, bet the turn, and then checked the river. Khan moved all in at that point, and Schulman tanked for a few minutes before he folded.
Khan showed Q9 for queen high (a missed double-gutshot straight draw) as he collected the pot, getting away with a big bluff in the last hand of the day.
There are nine players remaining, but only the top 18 will finish in the money, guaranteed at least $40,266. First prize is worth $1,196,858.
Here are the official seating and chip counts for Day 6:
Seat 1. Wil Wilkinson - 705,000 (14 BBs)
Seat 2. Michael Mizrachi - 3,124,000 (62 BBs)
Seat 3. Hafiz Khan - 1,641,000 (32 BBs)
Seat 4. Marvin Rettenmaier - 3,757,000 (75 BBs)
Seat 5. Steve O'Dwyer - 1,643,000 (32 BBs)
Seat 6. Nick Schulman - 1,350,000 (27 BBs)
Seat 7. Moon Kim - 1,139,000 (22 BBs)
Seat 8. Trevor Pope - 800,000 (16 BBs)
Seat 9. Philippe Ktorza - 977,000 (19 BBs)
Day 6 begins Thursday at 12:00 noon PT, when these players will battle for the six seats at Saturday's televised WPT Final Table. Return to WPT.com for complete hand-for-hand coverage the entire way.
04:21 AM, 05/24/12
Guillaume Darcourt Eliminated in 18th Place ($40,266)
Level 19: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
Wil Wilkinson, Guillaume Darcourt, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Photo: Guillaume Darcourt (standing, right) can only smile as he is eliminated by Wil Wilkinson (standing, left).
Wil Wilkinson raises from early position to 38,000, and Guillaume Darcourt calls from middle position. The flop comes A107, Wilkinson bets 55,000, and Darcourt calls.
The turn card is the 8, Wilkinson bets 80,000, and Darcourt thinks for a bit before moving all in. Wilkinson quickly calls with 88 for a set of eights, and Darcourt turns over 97 for a pair with an open-ended straight draw.
The river card is the 3, and Wilkinson wins the pot with his set of eights to eliminate Guillaume Darcourt in 18th place.
Wil Wilkinson - 1,700,000 (106 BBs)
Guillaume Darcourt - Out in 18th Place ($40,266)
01:01 PM, 05/23/12
WPT World Championship, Day 4 Recap
Level 19: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Royal Flush Girls, Tugba Ercan, Jeannie Duffy, Brittany Bell, Ivy Teves, Barry Shulman, Joe Serock, Guillaume Darcourt, Curt Kohlberg, Antonio Esfandiari, David Sands, Michael Mizrachi, Matthew Waxman, Moon Kim, John Esposito Jr, Wil Wilkinson, Hoyt Corkins, Josh Arieh, Nicolas Fraioli, Noah Schwartz, Marvin Rettenmaier, Jonathan Little, Hafiz Khan, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Barry Shulman started Day 4 with a roughly average chip stack, and actually lost chips to end Day 5 with 353,000 -- about half the average stack. But still alive in the tournament, Shulman has plenty of reasons to smile -- including a photo with the Royal Flush Girls (left to right) Tugba Ercan, Jeannie Duffy, Brittany Bell, and Ivy Teves.
The WPT Player of the Year race is really heating up. There were 12 contenders still in the field on Day 4, trying to catch POY points leader Will Failla. Four contenders survived to Day 5, though two of them need a victory here, and one needs at least fifth place.
The biggest thread to Failla's hold on Player of the Year is Joe Serock (pictured), who had the chip lead for a little while in the middle of the day. With 19 players remaining, Serock only needs to reach 15th place to pass Failla for POY. It's going to be a tense day for Failla, who can only wait for others to determine his fate.
Here are the four contenders for WPT Player of the Year, and how high they need to finish to catch Will Failla:
15th Place or better: Joe Serock
5th Place or better: Moon Kim
1st Place: Matt Juttelstad, Rinat Bogdanov
Curt Kohlberg (right) entered the day as chipleader, but lost some pots early to fall back into the pack. Kohlberg was eliminated late in the day in 24th place. Guillaume Darcourt (left) has been among the chipleaders for a couple of days, but had a rougher time on Day 4, finishing below average in chips but still alive as he seeks his second WPT title.
Antonio Esfandiari chats with Royal Flush Girl Jeannie Duffy between hands on Day 4. Esfandiari was one of the last players to register, but turned his late start around to start the day fourth in chips.
David Sands (right) was one of the contenders for WPT Player of the Year who was eliminated on Day 4. Sands was on a short stack when he moved all in with A6 -- and ran into the KK of two-time WPT winner Michael Mizrachi (left).
Matthew Waxman (left) was another contender for WPT Player of the Year, having won the WPT Grand Prix de Paris last September. But Waxman's day ended when he got it all in with AK against the QQ of Michael Mizrachi (right). Waxman lost the race, and Mizrachi cleared another POY contender from the field.
At this rate, Failla might have to award Mizrachi an assist if he holds on to win WPT Player of the Year.
WPT Bay 101 champion and POY contender Moon Kim (left) battles over a preflop pot against John Esposito (right). Esposito would win this reraising war to take the pot.
POY contender Joe Serock (right) was put to the test by Wil Wilkinson (left) after a flop of 982. Wilkinson check-raised all in with a larger stack, and Serock tanked for a while before folding.
There was a battle of the short stacks as Hoyt Corkins (standing, left) moved all in, and Josh Arieh (right) moved all in over the top with a slightly larger stack. Nicolas Fraioli (not pictured) folded J6 face up in the big blind to let the short stacks battle.
Corkins turned over 75, and he'd need to improve to survive against Arieh's KQ. If they hadn't been all in before the flop, there would have been fireworks after the flop of A98 -- both players flopped flushes., though Arieh's was higher.
Someone pointed out that Corkins still had one out to a gutshot straight-flush, but Arieh reminded him that Fraioli already folded the 6. Even if Corkins caught a runner-runner straight-flush with J10, Arieh would have a Royal Flush.
Corkins was eliminated as Josh Arieh built himself a small cushion with about 24 big blinds in his stack.
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi already has two WPT titles under his belt, but is looking to become only the second player in history to win three WPT titles. (Gus Hansen is the only player with three titles.)
Nicolas Fraioli gives an interview to the WPT cameras after his elimination in 23rd place. Fraioli was eliminated by Hafiz Khan, who had recently taken the chip lead.
Noah Schwartz (left) has had some deep runs on the World Poker Tour lately, but is still searching for his first WPT title. With 22 players left, Schwartz moved his short stack all in with K9, but ran into the AA of WPT Bay 101 champion Moon Kim (foreground, right).
Schwartz was eliminated a few spots out of the money, while Kim was up among the chipleaders with more than 1.1 million in chips.
Marvin Rettenmaier (known as "Mad Marvin") signed a big endorsement deal shortly before the WPT World Championship, and it's working for him so far, as he finished the day second in chips with more than 1.8 million.
With 21 players remaining, there was a three-way all in between players who had all won multiple WPT titles -- Antonio Esfandiari, Jonathan Little, and Michael Mizrachi (seated, center).
Esfandiari was the short stack with about 170,000, Little had about 400,000, and Mizrachi had about 600,000. Here were their cards:
Michael Mizrachi: Q-J
Jonathan Little: A-K
Antonio Esfandiari: K-J
Little was the favorite to win a big pot, but a queen on the turn changed everything as the worst hand won for Mizrachi, eliminating Esfandiari in 21st place and Little in 20th place. With 19 players remaining, the field began hand-for-hand play on the money bubble.
Hafiz Khan finished Day 4 with a chipleading stack of 1,966,000. Khan is a regular on the poker circuit, with more than $2.3 million in earnings. He's still looking for his first WPT Final Table, but that may change here.
There are 19 players remaining, but only the top 18 will finish in the money, guaranteed at least $40,266. First prize is worth $1,196,858.
Here are the official seating and chip counts for Day 5:
2. Ron Coury - 135,000 (8 BBs)
4. Tom McCormick - 186,000 (11 BBs)
5. Barry Shulman - 353,000 (22 BBs)
6. Nick Schulman - 1,315,000 (82 BBs)
7. Rinat Bogdanov - 278,000 (17 BBs)
8. Guillaume Darcourt - 571,000 (35 BBs)
9. Hafiz Khan - 1,966,000 (122 BBs)
1. Farzad Bonyadi - 182,000 (11 BBs)
2. Moon Kim - 1,194,000 (74 BBs)
4. Marvin Rettenmaier - 1,870,000 (116 BBs)
5. Josh Arieh - 127,000 (7 BBs)
6. Philippe Ktorza - 86,000 (5 BBs)
7. Joe Serock - 244,000 (15 BBs)
2. John Esposito - 1,080,000 (67 BBs)
3. Matt Juttelstad - 935,000 (58 BBs)
4. Wil Wilkinson - 1,197,000 (74 BBs)
5. Michael Mizrachi - 1,168,000 (73 BBs)
7. Steve O'Dwyer - 1,079,000 (67 BBs)
8. Trevor Pope - 1,300,000 (81 BBs)
Day 5 begins Wednesday at 12:00 noon PT, and action will continue for another five 90-minute levels, or until the field is down to six players, whichever comes first. Stay tuned to WPT.com for continuing live coverage.
10:57 AM, 05/23/12
Viacheslav Igin Getting Short
Level 16: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
Guillaume Darcourt raises to 16,000 from under the gun and Viacheslav Igin defends the big blind. The flop comes 987 and both players check.
Guillaume Darcourt, Viacheslav Igin, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
The turn is the Q and Igin checks again. Darcourt bets 22,000, Igin folds, and Darcourt takes the pot.
Guillaume Darcourt - 680,000 (85 BBs)
Viacheslav Igin - 87,000 (11 BBs)
04:55 PM, 05/22/12
Sam Trickett vs. Guillaume Darcourt
Level 16: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
Sam Trickett opens to 16,000 from under the gun and Guillaume Darcourt raises to 40,000 on the button. Trickett moves all-in for 359,000 total and Darcourt thinks a while before folding.
Sam Trickett, Guillaume Darcourt, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Sam Trickett - 420,000
Guillaume Darcourt - 425,000
04:10 PM, 05/22/12
Guillaume Darcourt vs. Curt Kohlberg
Level 15: 3,000-6,000, 500 ante
Guillaume Darcourt, Curt Kohlberg, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Guillaume Darcourt (left) raises from middle position to 14,000, Curt Kohlberg (right) reraises from middle position to 27,000, and Darcourt calls.
Both players check to the turn on a board of J92A, Darcourt checks, Kohlberg bets 40,000, and Darcourt calls. The river card is the 9, Darcourt checks, Kohlberg bets 80,000, and Darcourt calls.
Kohlberg taps the table to indicate that he was bluffing, and Darcourt turns over A8 for a pair of aces. Kohlberg mucks, and Darcourt wins the pot.
Guillaume Darcourt - 810,000 (135 BBs)
Curt Kohlberg - 425,000 (70 BBs)
03:04 PM, 05/22/12
Hafiz Khan Climbing the Counts
Level 15: 3,000-6,000, 500 ante
Guillaume Darcourt opens to 16,000 from middle position, Curt Kohlberg calls behind him, Hafiz Khan calls from the hijack, and Moon Kim defends the big blind.
Hafiz Khan, Guillaume Cescut, Guillaume Darcourt, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
The flop comes Q107 and action checks to Khan, who bets 28,000. Kim folds, Darcourt calls, and Kohlberg folds.
The turn brings the 4 and Darcourt checks. Khan bets 44,000 and Darcourt gives it some thought before folding.
Hafiz Khan - 710,000 (118 BBs)
Guillaume Darcourt - 610,000 (102 BBs)
02:26 PM, 05/22/12
Sam Trickett Doubles Thru Guillaume Darcourt
Level 14: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
Sam Trickett, Tom McCormick, Guillaume Darcourt, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Guillaume Darcourt (left) raises from early position to 12,500, Tom McCormick (center right) calls from middle position, and Sam Trickett (right) moves all in from late position for 97,000. Darcourt tanks for a while before he calls, and then McCormick tanks even longer.
McCormick eventually looks at Darcourt and says, "I'd have probably called if you had moved all in instead of called." McCormick folds.
Trickett shows A9, and he'll need to improve to stay alive against Darcourt's QQ.
The board comes A105J8, and Sam Trickett pairs his ace on the flop to win the pot and double up in chips.
Sam Trickett - 218,500 (43 BBs)
Tom McCormick - 196,000 (39 BBs)
Guillaume Darcourt - 485,000 (97 BBs)
12:23 PM, 05/22/12
WPT World Championship, Day 3 Recap
Level 14: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Guillaume Darcourt, Phil Hellmuth, Jason Mercier, Wil Wilkinson, Matthew Waxman, David Sands, Antonio Esfandiari, Will Failla, Heather Sue Mercer, Robert Mercer, Joe Serock, Michael Mizrachi, Nick Schulman, Curt Kohlberg, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Note: For the official seating and chip counts, click here.
The WPT Champions Cup has the name of every WPT winner engraved on it, one name away from completing a full decade.
Registration closed about halfway thru Day 3, with a final field size of 152 players. The top 18 will finish in the money, earning at least $40,266. First prize is worth $1,196,858.
Guillaume Darcourt began the day third in chips with 356,600, and after five levels, finished the day third in chips with 641,000. Darcourt won the WPT Bucharest title back in Season VIII.
Keeping with his own tradition, Phil Hellmuth (left) showed up late, registering on Day 3. But the strategy didn't work well this time, as he played his first hand to the flop (pictured above) and lost nearly 20% of his stack to Randy Dorfman (not pictured).
Hellmuth was looking toward a comeback when he got it all in with K-K after a 5-4-3 flop, hoping to double up thru Hafiz Khan who had Q-Q. If his kings held up, Hellmuth would have an above-average stack, but a queen on the turn ended his tournament about an hour after he sat down.
Jason Mercier was another late arrival on Day 3, though he was eliminated when he got it all in with JJ against Viacheslav Igin's AK -- a king on the flop ended Mercier's WPT season. Mercier is widely considered one of the top players in the game, though he is still looking for his first WPT Final Table.
Shortly after registration closed, Lamar "Wil" Wilkinson (pictured) got it all in for a huge pot against Ubaid Habib with the board showing 6328 on the turn. Habib had JJ, but Wilkinson had QQ. The queens held up for Wilkinson to eliminate Habib and catapult into the chip lead with 560,000.
David Sands (right) studies WPT Grand Prix de Paris champion Matthew Waxman (left) after a preflop four-bet from Waxman. Sands would eventually fold, and Waxman took this pot. Both players survived the day, though they are both well below average in chips, with 33 big blinds for Waxman and 17 big blinds for Sands.
Antonio Esfandiari was one of the final three players to register, but he had a much better day than most, finishing fourth in chips with 630,100. Esfandiari has had a lot of recent success here at Bellagio, winning the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic last season, and finishing sixth in that same event earlier this season.
WPT Player of the Year points leader Will Failla (seated, center) entertains Heather Sue Mercer (right) as they both sweat the action late on Day 3. Mercer is following the progress of her father, Robert Mercer, who is seated at the table behind Failla. Failla is sweating the 12 players who still have a chance to catch him in the Player of the Year race.
Joe Serock is closest to Failla in the POY race, and can catch him by finishing 15th or higher. The other 11 contenders will need to reach the final table to catch up to Failla, as you can see below.
15th Place or better: Joe Serock
5th Place or better: Moon Kim, David Sands, Matthew Waxman
4th Place or better: Byron Kaverman, Noah Schwartz
3rd Place or better: Mohamed Ali Houssam, Tony Ruberto
1st Place: Antonio Esfandiari, Matt Juttelstad, Miha Travnik, Rinat Bogdanov
Robert Mercer survived to Day 4 with a roughly average chip stack of 301,600. His daughter, Heather Sue Mercer, made a deep run in the WPT World Championship two years ago, but was on the wrong end of one of the most memorable bad beats in WPT history.
In that hand two years ago, Faraz Jaka five-bet all in preflop with 93, and Heather Sue Mercer quickly called with A-A. But the board came 983510 to give Jaka two pair, catapulting him to the chip lead and eliminating Mercer three spots away from the money. Heather Sue is hoping her father has better luck than she had.
Joe Serock (center) was relatively short-stacked, but he won a few big pots late in the day, moving all in on the river here against Michael Mizrachi (foreground, left), and then doubling up thru Brock Parker a short while later after a flop of 542 -- Serock's AA held up against Parker's 33 (open-ended straight draw).
Serock finished the day 17th in chips with 400,800. As pointed out earlier, he needs to finish 15th or higher to catch Will Failla in the Player of the Year race, so it looks like it'll be an interesting sweat for Failla on Day 4.
Nick Schulman moved up the leaderboard when he won a pot worth more than 500,000 against Michael Mizrachi in the final minutes of the day. The final board showed 752109 -- Mizrachi check-raised the flop, bet the turn, and check-raised the river. Schulman tanked for about a minute before calling with QQ, and Mizrachi mucked. Schulman finished the day second in chips with 768,000.
Curt Kohlberg went on a strong run late on Day 3 to take a big chip lead, busting several players on his way to 918,300 in chips. Kohlberg has three WPT Final Tables under his belt, and his best result was a runner-up finish at last season's WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, where he won $586,109.
There are 44 players remaining, and the top 18 will finish in the money, guaranteed at least $40,266. First prize is worth $1,196,858.
Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard:
1. Curt Kohlberg - 918,300 (183 BBs)
2. Nick Schulman - 768,000 (153 BBs)
3. Guillaume Darcourt - 641,000 (128 BBs)
4. Antonio Esfandiari - 630,100 (126 BBs)
5. Rinat Bogdanov - 624,100 (124 BBs)
Day 4 begins Tuesday at 12:00 noon PT, and action will continue for another five 90-minute levels as the field approaches the money bubble. Stay tuned to WPT.com for continuing live coverage.
09:58 AM, 05/22/12
Guillaume Darcourt vs. Joe Serock
Level 10: 1,000-2,000, 300 ante
Joe Serock is in the big blind and Guillaume darcourt is under the gun when they go heads-up to a flop of AQJ. Serock checks, Darcourt bets 10,000, and Serock calls.
Guillaume Darcourt, Joe Serock, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
The turn is the 9 and Serock check-calls a bet of 21,500 from Darcourt. The river is the J and Serock checks a third time. Darcourt bets 48,000 and Serock gives it quite a bit of thought before folding.
Guillaume Darcourt - 280,000
Joe Serock - 190,000
03:12 PM, 05/21/12