The celebrated $10,000 Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em Championship commenced Friday at the 2013 WSOP with a starting field of some of the most respected and feared names in poker. While players in the heads-up matches were eliminated over three rounds throughout the day a new WSOP bracelet winner was named on the mothership stage. Lev Rofman earned his first WSOP bracelet in grand fashion when he bested five-time bracelet winner and 2005 WSOP Player of the Year Allen Cunningham in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em.
Mike Matusow won his career fourth WSOP bracelet in the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo final table after besting Matthew Ashton heads-up. Chris Hunichen, who finished sixth in the inaugural “Millionaire Maker” less than one week ago, made a second deep run in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament and the first HORSE tournament of the summer got underway.
$1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em
Lev Rofman defeated five-time WSOP bracelet winner Allen Cunningham heads-up in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em. Rofman outlasted a field of 535 players for his first WSOP gold bracelet and $166,136.
All eyes were on Cunningham as he searched for his sixth career bracelet, and it looked likely for a time the hardware would go to the seasoned pro as Rofman was down to just 280,000 against Cunningham’s 2,130,000 before turning it around with two double-ups.
The tournament went to Rofman when Cunningham completed from the small blind and Rofman made it 120,00 to go. Cunningham called and the two saw a flop of J 9 5. Rofman bet 240,000 and Cunningham pushed his last 775,000 to the middle. Rofman called and showed K Q and Cunningham turned over K 8. The board completed 7 Q and the tournament belonged to Rofman.
Final Table Results:
- Lev Rofman – $166,136
- Allen Cunningham – $102,819
- Jaspal Brar – $68,332
- Kenneth Shelton – $50,709
- Anthony Harb – $38,055
- Eric Crain – $28,839
- Nicolas Halvorson – 416,994
- Timothy Reilly – $16,994
- Jeannicolas Fortin – $13,195
$5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo
Play nearly ended three-handed in the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo with Mike Leah, Matthew Ashton and Mike Matusow still alive at the completion of Level 10. Due to the WSOP’s hard stop rule, the three men were told they had to stop at 2 am and return Saturday and play down to a winner.
“We really can’t keep playing,” Leah asked as the final hand was dealt in the tenth level of the night.
With all three players wanting to continue on, the floor made a decision to allow one more level of play but held firm the tournament would stop for the night after that. About 10 minutes into Level 11, Leah was sent to the rail by Matusow. With only 6 minutes and 55 second left on the clock before chips were to be bagged, Matusow ultimately bested Ashton and scooped up his fourth career WSOP bracelet.
“I’m overcome with emotion,” Matusow said at the end of the night.
Final Table Results:
- Mike Matusow – $266,503
- Matthew Ashton- $164,700
- Mike Leah – $108,412
- David “Bakes” Baker – $79,078
- Yuval Bronshtein – $58,835
- Tony Cousineau – $44,543
- Gavin Smith – $34,268
- Vladimir Shchmelev – $26,757
$1,500 No Limit Hold’em
Another $1,500 No Limit Hold’em bracelet winner is on the verge of being added to the WSOP record books. The final 14 players in Event No. 14 bagged their chips for the night and will return Saturday and play down to a winner.
Coming off a sixth place final table finish in the “Millionaire Maker” June 3, Chris Hunichen made his second deep run in a single week. Hunichen had climbed the chiplead but lost three major pots near the end of the night to finish with 517,000, eighth in chips among the final two tables. But despite the loss of chips, Hunichen remained confident in his abilities to make another final table.
“I’m playing the best live poker I’ve played in my whole life with two back to back runs. This is only my third tournament of the whole Series so I’m feeling pretty good so far,” Hunichen said. “I’m just happy to be here and see what happens. I think I’m feared a little bit at the table, I’m familiar with about half the guys still in and we play a lot of hands online. So you know, people might be looking at me as one of the top players left in the tournament.”
When Day 3 begins Saturday Hunichen will be joined by Hunter Frey, Russell Crane and Hiren Patel. Mike Gagliano, Erick Lindgren, Jason Potter, Nick Augustino and Mukul Pahuja were a few of the Day 2 eliminations.
Top Ten Chip Counts:
- Hiren Patel – 1,510,000
- Jonathan Taylor – 1,272,000
- Russell Crane – 767,000
- Dan Gannon – 648,000
- Blake Bohn – 641,000
- Hunter Frey – 600,000
- Jedidiah Hoffman – 533,000
- Chris Hunichen – 517,000
- Patrick Kubat – 417,000
- Tuan Vu – 339,000
A field of 862 hopefuls turned out for the first HORSE tournament of the WSOP. The $1,500 buy-in event amassed a prize pool of $1,163,700 and $258,960 awaits the eventual winner. Plenty of mixed game specialist including David Bach, Todd Brunson, Kathy Liebert, Barry Greenstein and Jeff Lisandro turned out for the tournament, but among the best there were also players not known for their prowess in HORSE tournaments.
Darryll Fish, who came up as an online No Limit Hold’em sensation, has only played a handful of live HORSE tournaments and chose the event for several reasons.
“I have a little bit of experience but I don’t consider myself proficient in the games or anything,” Fish said. “But I’ve heard from a lot of the guys that do play a lot of HORSE that this is one of the softer fields of the summer relatively. With Hold’em nowadays everybody is good enough where anybody has a shot to win, but in games like HORSE a bad player is at a much bigger disadvantage than in No Limit Hold’em and I feel like I know enough to be decent in the field. And it’s fun, it’s fun to play something other than Hold’em all the time.”
Fish, Xuan Liu, Matthew Waxman, David Kelly and Norman Chad are among the 177 players who bagged chips at the end of Day 1.
Top Ten Chip Counts:
- Jon Seaman – 62,600
- David Chiu – 62,200
- Gaurav Karlo – 59,500
- Viatcheslav Ortynskiy – 58,600
- Michael Sanders – 54,200
- Kwang Choi – 54,100
- Jesse Sylvia – 51,200
- Dylan Easley – 49,200
- Patrick Schulze – 48,500
- Andy Bloch – 47,900
$10,000 Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em Championship
Thirty two players made it through three rounds of heads-up matches by the time Day 1 came to an end in the $10,000 Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em Championship. The starting field of 162 players featured some of the biggest and best names in poker; Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and Michael Mizrachi among them.
The tournament is one of the most captivating highlights of the WSOP and for good reason. The field is stacked with professional players and there is less room for error when facing only a single opponent.
“You have to be really aggressive heads up. You can’t make any mistake and you have to pay attention to every hand,” said Mohsin Charania. “One mistake in a full ring tournament won’t hurt you but one mistake in a heads-up tournament could cost you the match.”
Charania, who has played the tournament for four years in a row and made it as far as Round 3 in the past, recieved a Round 1 bye and then defeated Joshua Templeton in Round 2. Charania was eliminated in the final round of Day 1 by heads-up phenomenon Ankush Mandavia.
Mizrachi, Phil Galfond, Jason Mercier, Sam Stein, Sam Trickett, Melanie Weisner and Alex Phahurat will be among the players back for Day 2.
The elimination of Brian Hastings in Round 2 ensured a new champion will be awarded the bracelet when the tournament comes to a conclusion.
“I would have liked to go all the way again,” Hastings said of his elimination. “But it’s ok.”
Event No. 17: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em will begin at 12 pm PT Saturday.
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