There’s been a fair amount of talk about Daniel Negreanu and his pursuit of becoming the first ever two-time World Series of Poker Player of the Year, but now he has some competition for that honor.
“This year, for some reason, I knew when we had about 14 to go in the HORSE event that I was going to win it,” said Schneider. “And I felt like I was going to win this one a little bit deeper in the event. I think sometimes that can guide you and help you play, it’s just some sort of weird feeling that I have. Knowing that you’re going to win it and winning it are two different things, and you have to execute your plan.”
The 2007 WSOP Player of the Year credits his life away from the table for giving him the right balance and state of mind to put on such a tremendous performance.
“I have some other things outside of poker that I’m doing,” said Schneider. “I think poker players, if that’s all you do, it’s just a grind constantly and you have to get away from it. My mind’s on something different, so when I’m running bad I don’t have to play poker, I can sit and talk to people who are trying to do positive things.
Schneider took control in the last few levels of Day 3 of the tournament, holding two-thirds of the chips in play when the clock was paused and the tournament was pushed to a fourth day. It took just over an hour for Schneider to cap off his tremendous run and finish off his final three opponents.
Benjamin Scholl was the last one standing, but he couldn’t avoid the buzzsaw that was Tom Schneider in this tournament. The last of Scholl’s chips got in on an A J 6 K board in Hold’em with Scholl holding K Q against Schneider’s A T. The J was the final card of the tournament, and Schneider secured his fourth career bracelet.
They had to play from 34 down to a winner on what was supposed to be the final day, and while that was a task that seemed too tall from the outset they certainly got close. Dan Kelly was one of the casualties in that time, falling short in 17th place. It was Kelly’s eighth cash of the summer already, but he could not add a third final table. Kelly has made the top 20 of seven of the eight events he’s cashed in at the 2013 WSOP.
The unofficial final table was eventually reached just before 7 pm local time, with Greg Mueller holding nearly double that of Tom Schneider and Adam Friedman, the two closest stacks. Alex Dovzhenko went out on the bubble, officially giving Mueller, Friedman, Schneider and Ortynskiy their second final tables of the summer.
Konstantin Puchkov was the first one at risk at the final table, getting 46,000 in the middle preflop with A T 6 3 against Friedman’s A 9 6 5. The K J 4 flop gave Puchkov a straight draw and left a low unlikely. The 9 on the turn put Friedman way ahead, with Puchkov in need of a ten or queen on the river to survive. The 6 made Friedman two-pair and eliminated Puchkov, who set the record for most cashes in a single WSOP with 11 in 2012, in eight place.
Friedman continued to push towards the chiplead in Razz, crippling David Benyamine’s stack with a seven-six low against a busted draw that included at least two kings for Benyamine. Benyamine put his last chip in in a four-way pot two hands later against Schneider, Mueller and Viatcheslav Ortynsky, with two bets getting in on third street. Schneider got pushed out on sixth street but Mueller called Ortynsky all the way down, only to be shown a six-five low. That hand also crushed Benyamine’s jack-low, and he was sent to the rail in seventh.
Six-handed play carried on for over two full hours with a dinner break wedged in the middle, and the lead changed multiple times. Mueller went from the chipleader to the low stack and back, and Chris Klodnicki was on both ends of the spectrum as well. Friedman was one of the bigger stacks going into the dinner break too, but the bets were big enough to put big dents in any of the stacks in a single hand.
It started to fall apart when Schneider showed a full house with A K T 2 on an A 5 2 A 5 board and Friedman couldn’t find a low. Friedman got down into the danger zone after Schneider’s pair of jacks in Stud Hi-Lo were good for the whole pot. He made a wheel against Ortynskiy before the game changed to recover, but played a Hold’em hand down to the river against Schneider and mucked to a bet on the river.
Friedman lost more than half of his already perilously short stack when an even shorter-stacked Klodnicki spiked a flush on the river in Omaha Hi-Lo to survive. He was then forced to bring in with the K and liked his down cards enough to call when Schneider called with a deuce up and Scholl completed with a six. Schneider called and then bet fourth street after he caught a nine and Scholl got a jack, with Friedman catching an eight. Scholl got a four on fifth street and Schneider got a seven, which allowed him to bet and drive Scholl out of the pot. Friedman got a ten and was in big trouble, having paired his eight. Schneider locked up the hand with a four on sixth street, with Friedman drawing dead against his 9-8-7-4-2 and out of the tournament in sixth.
Klodnicki started to run his short stack up a bit, but he simply couldn’t get enough traction at any point. The game turned back to Razz again as Klodnicki completed with a deuce and Schneider called with a six. Klodnicki bet when he caught a four on fourth street and Schneider called with a three. Schneider called, and called again even after getting a queen to Klodnicki’s 8. Schneider caught a ten and bet 80,000 on sixth, and Klodnicki raised all in for just less than another bet, for 155,000. Klodnicki was just behind after six cards with 10-8-5-4-2 (K) against T-6-4-3-2 (Q), and Schneider would improve to a nine-low on seventh street. Klodnicki paired his five on the end and was eliminated in fifth place.
The chips moved around quite a bit in the remaining level-and-half, but most of them moved into Tom Schneider’s stack. He took a tremendous lead in the last 40 minutes of Day 3, leaving his three opponents hoping for a big comeback on the fourth day of the extended tournament. Here’s what the chips looked like at the end of Day 3.
- Tom Schneider – 2,500,000
- Viatcheslav Ortynskiy – 680,000
- Benjamin Scholl – 600,000
- Greg Mueller – 140,000
Mueller had just over one big bet left, but he doubled through Scholl on the first hand of Day 4. He then got knocked back down to less than one big bet, but doubled through Scholl again to survive. Scholl then got a double of his own through Ortynskiy with A Q against Q J in Hold’em, crippling Ortynskiy’s stack.
Ortynskiy’s last few chips went in against Schneider with K 4 against A 2, with an A Q 3 flop all but ending Ortynskiy’s hopes of survival. The 8 clinched the pot for Schneider and the 4 was just an afterthought as Ortynskiy was eliminated in fourth place.
Mueller made several pushes at a comeback, but he was decimated during an orbit of Razz. He got the last of his chips in with 8 8 / 7 T against Schneider’s K 3 / K 9 and caught a 7 to make two-pair while Schneider got a 6. Mueller picked up a flush draw with the Q on sixth street, but Schneider improved to two-pair with the 9. When seventh street was dealt Mueller asked Schneider to flip over first, and it was a devastating result as the 9 gave Schneider an unbeatable full house. Mueller turned over the 5, which gave him a flush to rub salt in the wound, and Mueller exited to the rail in third, shaking his head as he walked away.
Scholl had some chips to play with, but Schneider all but ran him over during heads-up play. Schneider got in ahead in Hold’em and held, locking up the win and making the WSOP Player of the Year race a bit more interesting.
- Tom Schneider – $318,955
- Benjamin Scholl – $197,228
- Greg Mueller – $129,600
- Viatcheslav Ortynskiy – $94,664
- Chris Klodnicki – $70,093
- Adam Friedman – $52,613
- David Benyamine – $40,039
- Konstantin Puchkov – $30,876
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