Michael Gathy captured his second gold bracelet in as many years, wearing the same green T-shirt, taking down Event 34 $1,000 Turbo No Limit Hold’em, besting a final table with some of the game’s top players and an overall field of 1,629.
The 24-year-old Belgian also notched his third cash of the 2013 WSOP in less than six hours at the final table and less than 20 minutes of heads up play with Benjamin Reason.
Gathy said he was down to 500 chips early on Day 1 of the event with blinds at 25/50 and he doubled through a few times before emerging as chip leader at one point. Gathy said he enjoyed the speed of the two-day event.
“I think it’s good,” he said. “I’d like to play all the $1,000 (events) like that.”
At the final table, Gathy doubled through Jake Cody, whom Gathy considered the toughest player, to take over the the chip lead, and he never looked back.
For at least the first couple hours, fans created perhaps the most raucous atmosphere around a final table in an open event this year with chants that echoed through the halls of the Rio, broken bottles and beer spilled on a clock computer.
And for good reason. Eight of the final nine players had earned more than six figures in live tournament cashes. Two of them appeared at their second final table in less than a week.
Gathy won his first gold bracelet in Event 21 $1,000 No Limit Hold’em in June 2012.
Earlier this month, Reason won the 2013 Wynn Summer Classic $250,000 gurantee for $60,177.
The only player with less than $100,000 in tournament earnings, Daniel Bishop,was one of the latter. And with his cash, he moved into the six-figure field.
The turbo event appeared as though it would live up to its name on the first hand of the final table. Russell Crane raised to 32,000, Daniel Bishop called, and Jake Cody three-bet to 89,000 from the cutoff. Crane immediately moved all in, Bishop folded and Cody called, showing J J which was dominating the 8 8 of Crane. Crane flopped a gutshot with 9 6 5 but the turn T and river Q did not improve his hand, and he was eliminated in ninth place.
Noah Vaillancourt moved all in and Yueqi “Rich” Zhu shoved on his direct left. Vaillancourt turned over K Q, but he could not catch up to the 9 9 of Zhu. The board ran out A 6 3 3 4 and Vaillancourt was sent home in eighth.
Players returned from dinner break, and the rambunctious crowd was somewhat quieted and moved to the exits after two quick knockouts.
Brit Cody, whose rail seemed to create new chants each orbit, was the first post-break casualty. With the blinds at 12,000/24,000, Jason Duval raised to 50,000. Cody moved all in from the small blind and Michael Gathy called in the big blind. After Duval mucked, Cody showed A J and Gathy turned over T T, which held up as the board ran out 9 6 4 Q Q and Cody took seventh. His fans slunk from the stands, offering a chant of “Cody, Cody, Cody” that faded as he left for the cashier cage.
Three hands later, another significant section of the crowd, fans of the French Canadian Duval rose to their feet only to be met with disappointment. Duval won a bracelet just five days earlier in Event 28 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em. With another victory here, he could have taken over in the WSOP Player of the year standings.
But as the action folded around to him, Duval moved all in from the small blind, and he was quickly called by Benjamin Reason. Duval mumbled and appeared disappointed as Reason rolled over Q Q against Duval’s dominated Q 8. And the cards did not pull Duval out from behind, running out K J 7 6 T and sending Duval out in sixth place.
Sergey Rybachenko showed up late from the dinner break and moved up two places without seeing a hand.
Daniel Bishop improved on his finish last week in Event 28, but he was knocked out in fifth place after his middle pair was drawn out on by Zhu. From the big blind, Bishop moved in on the flop of T 9 3 and Zhu called. Bishop was slightly ahead with A 9, but he could not fade the Zhu’s draw with K 2 as the K fell on the turn. The river 6 knocked Bishop out.
Rybachenko was crippled and left with less than a small blind and an ante after his 6 6 lost to Reason’s A T in an all in hand. The board of A 9 3 T Q left Rybachenko with 15,000 in chips and the blinds at 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante. But he more than doubled up the next hand against Gathy and appeared to be on a miraculous comeback, building his stack up to nearly 700,000. But it was all just a delay to the inevitable.
Rybachenko opened for 80,000 from under the gun, Gathy three-bet to 175,000 and Rybachenko moved all in. Gathy called, showing A J and Rybachenko held the Q T that did not improve as the board ran out K 9 4 6 8, sending him to the rail.
Yueqi Zhu was Gathy’s next victim. Zhu called Gathy’s small blind raise, and the two saw a flop of K 9 6 and a continuation bet from Gathy. Zhu moved in with T 9, well behind the K 5 of Gathy. Zhu found no help in the 3 turn or 2 river and was eliminated in third place.
On the final hand, with blinds at 20,000/40,000, Reason raised the button to 80,000 and Gathy three-bet. Reason shoved all and Gathy thought for a moment, counting out his chips, before making the call. Reason showed K J and Gathy tabled A 9 which flopped top pair on a 9 8 3 board and took a commanding lead. The turn 9 locked up the hand for Gathy and the river A gave him a full house and the win.
- Michael Gathy — $278,613
- Benjamin Reason — $172,252
- Yueqi “Rich” Zhu — $113,358
- Sergey Rybachenko — $81,720
- Daniel Bishop — $59,816
- Jason Duval — $44,422
- Jake Cody — $33,456
- Noah Vaillancourt — $25,539
- Russell Crane — $19,748
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