In one of the most prestigious events of the 2014 World Series of Poker, it was a player who was unknown to casual poker fans who topped a field full of 200 of the world’s best players to win a bracelet and $507,614.
Chris Wallace, a professional poker player from Minnesota, took home his first bracelet during the early hours of Wednesday morning in the $10,000 HORSE Championship.
“It’s amazing,” said Wallace. “If I was going to pick an event to win, except for the Main Event because of the amount of money involved, but if I could pick an event to win because of how I would be seen, this would be it. It feels great.”
Coming into the final table, Wallace had accumulated $266,340 in live tournament earnings and didn’t have a cash in a tournament with a buy-in of more than $2,500. He is fresh off a ninth place finish in the $200 HORSE event at the Binion’s poker classic nine days ago for $515.
His largest cash ever was for $27,650. His bankroll took a big swing in the right direction.
“We got to five-handed and I thought ‘This is great. I’ve made a lot of money,'” said Wallace. “Then we we got to three-handed, I knew I was going to be really angry if I didn’t win. You get to that point and you can see half a million dollars from there. And then you got to have it. If I had ended up second, I’d be pretty mad right now. This is such a big change for me.”
Wallace is new to winning six-figure sums of money, but he is no stranger to mixed games and the HORSE rotation. Before Black Friday, Wallace made his living playing mixed games on Full Tilt Poker and was a cash-game instructor for the training site Poker XFactor.
“I’ve played with a lot of really tough players on Full Tilt in the past,” said Wallace of his prior experience in mixed games. “It wasn’t intimidating for me. I know that I can beat a lot of these players. Having made a living off beating red name pros on Full Tilt, that got me over the star struck thing and the fear of good players.”
It took over six hours to reach the final table after the day began with 21 players, but once Bruno Fitoussi was eliminated to set the official final table, Calvin Anderson wasn’t too far behind the Frenchman en route to the cashier’s cage.
Anderson was eliminated in a hand of Seven Card Stud against Max Pescatori. Anderson completed with the Q showing and Pescatori made it two bets with the A showing. Anderson called and put his tournament life on the line. Pescatori showed concealed eights and was up against T9Q. Their boards ran out like this.
Anderson made a flush draw by fifth and paired deuces on sixth, but never improved to anything better than a pair, while Pescatori improved to two pair on sixth and sent the young pro home in eighth place. Anderson collected $50,966 for his efforts.
Bill Chen was the next to collect prize money after falling to Wallace in a limit hold’em hand. Wallace raised from the button and Chen three-bet from the small blind. The flop was A75 and Chen bet. Wallace called and they saw the 3 fall on the turn. Chen moved all in for slightly less than a full big bet and Wallace called. Wallace tabled K8 and was looking to find a diamond against Chen’s AJ. The river brought the T and Wallace made his flush to leave the table with it’s final six players.
After a couple orbits, those six players took a 60 minute dinner break with Lee Goldman as the short stack. When they returned from dinner and the blinds were increased, Goldman was left holding less than three big bets. On one of the first hands back from break, a Razz hand against Richard Sklar sent him to the rail.
Sklar completed and Goldman made it two bets. Sklar called and Goldman moved all in for less than a bet in the dark. Sklar called and their boards ended up looking like this.
Sklar made an eight low on sixth street to leave Goldman drawing dead. Neither player even looked at their last and Goldman watched the last of his chips get pushed across the table.
With Goldman’s elimination, all five players remaining were fairly even in chips. Sklar held a slight lead over the field, but everybody was within five big bets of one another.
Wallace and Sklar put some distance between them and the field as they both took big chunks of Pescatori’s stack. Wallace took a big chunk of the Italian pro’s stack in Limit Hold’em, while Sklar took a bunch for himself in Razz. Pescatori then found himself all in on third street in Razz against Randy Ohel and their boards ran out like this:
Ohel ended up making a jack low, but took the pot as Pescatori couldn’t end up with anything better than a queen low and went home in fifth place.
Quickly after Pescatori left the final table area, Richard Ashby was crippled in a big Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo hand against Wallace. Wallace made a straight and scooped the pot, leaving Ashby with just over two big bets left in his stack.
Ashby got the last of his stack in the middle just a few minutes later with the table still playing Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo against Sklar. The two players got all the money in on third street and their boards ran out like this:
Sklar made a flush on the river after checking his hand first and left Ashby needing to fill his low draw to only take half of the pot. Ashby paired his ten and exited the main stage after a few handshakes.
After another 15 minutes of poker, the final three players took what ended up being the final break of the night with Wallace holding the chip lead with Ohel close behind and Sklar on the short stack.
With the limits increased again, every pot that was played to the river was representing a big portion of each player’s stack. Ohel took back the chip lead three-handed after forcing Wallace to fold on sixth street in Seven Card Stud and then getting a fold from Sklar on the turn in Limit Hold’em. The limit hold’em hand left Sklar very short and was eliminated just a few minutes later.
During a round of Omaha Hi-Lo, Sklar and Ohel got all in preflop. Ohel tabled A2K3 and was in the lead against Sklar’s K932. The board ran out 752Q4 and Ohel made the wheel to take both the high and low to scoop the pot and leave himself heads-up with Wallace for the bracelet.
Once heads-up play began, everything went Wallace’s way and it seemed like every pot that was of any significance was pushed his way. Wallace quickly got out to a big chip lead and Ohel was staring at a five-to-one chip disadvantage. In Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, Wallace completed and was called by Ohel. Ohel check-called fourth street and then raised on fifth. Wallace made it three-bets and all the chips got in the middle with their boards looking like this:
Wallace had made trip deuces and was in the lead against Ohel’s pair of aces. Ohel caught the A on sixth street to make trips of his own, while Wallace caught the Q. Wallace squeezed out his river card first and saw the 3, giving him a full house, which left Ohel needing to improve. He showed K on the river and Wallace earned his first career WSOP bracelet.
Here are a look at the results:
- Chris Wallace – $507,614
- Randy Ohel – $313,715
- Richard Sklar – $206,499
- Richard Ashby – $150,625
- Max Pescatori – $112,066
- Lee Goldman – $84,844
- Bill Chen – $65,273
- Calvin Anderson – $50,966
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