The heads-up final in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em event was one of the most-watched matches thus far at the 2012 World Series of Poker. Phil Ivey was making a run at this ninth gold bracelet and the rail swelled with spectators to see if he could pull off the feat. Andy Frankenberger was his opponent in that final and he was also gunning to achieve a multiple-bracelet milestone. Frankenberger won his first bracelet last year in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, and he has been on an impressive two-year run in the game. He also won the 2010 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker main event, was crowned WPT Player of the Year for Season IX, and had racked up close $2 million in winnings before Sunday night.
In the end it was Frankenberger who won the bracelet and $445,899 in prize money. Ivey took home $275,559 in second place and he grew his lifetime earnings to $14,682,375. “I try to adjust to my opponent and one of the things I realized against Phil Ivey was that this min-raise the button thing ain’t working. He’s betting big, he’s putting you in tough spots. It’s better to play big pots against him. The one thing I had going for me is that he didn’t want to play big flips against me, and I don’t blame him, he’s a better player than I am so why should he want to flip when he can play small pots. So I had to use that to my advantage and just kept going pot on him and stop playing the small pots that I kept getting crushed on. I put him to tough decisions and he was folding pretty quickly when I was betting pot, ” said Frankenberger of the final match and his adjustments against Ivey. You can’t argue with the results of that strategy.
When the final day began in the 17th event of the summer there were 17 players still in the hunt. It took a few hours to play down to the final table of nine, and along the way big names like David Benyamine, Chris Klodnicki, and Antonio Esfandiari were eliminated. When the official final table of nine began a little after 6 p.m. Ivey had taken the chip lead.
Hoyt Corkins was the first player to fall when his pocket nines ran into the AJ of Manuel Bevand. The board ran out AT8JT and Corkins was out in ninth place. It took almost an hour for the next elimination to fall, with the departure of Daniel Weinman in eighth place. He shoved all in preflop with KQ but Frankenberger was more than willing to call with pocket queens. The board brought no rescue for Weinman and he made his way to the rail.
Matt Marafioti was the next player to go after he was crippled in a big hand against Ali Eslami. Marafioti was forced to shove his final 15,000 with A-2 in the hole, and Alexander Venovski was the bearer of bad news with A-10 in the hole that improved to a Broadway straight. Marafioti cashed in seventh place. Another big name fell next, and it was Shaun Deeb who exited in sixth place right before the dinner break. He was all in preflop with A-K and he was racing against the pocket sixes of Frankenberger. The board ran out JT6QQ and Frankenberger’s boat topped Deeb’s straight.
It took some time after dinner for the eliminations to kick into gear once again and when they did it was Bevand who was eliminated in fifth place. He was crippled in a coin-flip hand against Frankenberger, where his pocket jacks lost to the A-K of Frankenberger when an ace fell on the turn. He was out on the next hand against Ivey when he was forced to shove for just 45,000 with 6-4 in the hole. Ivey also took out Venovski in fourth place. Venovski shoved preflop with A-Q and Ivey made the call with pocket sevens, which held up to win the pot.
Frankenberger doubled up with pocket aces against the A-K of Eslami during three-handed play and this sent Eslami down his eventual path to the rail. Eslami doubled up once against Ivey, but the next time Eslami moved all in would be his last. Eslami was all in preflop with KQ and Frankenberger held 88. The board ran out A946A and Eslami was eliminated in third place. The chip counts were about as close to even as possible when heads-up play began shortly after midnight:
Phil Ivey: 2,600,000
Andy Frankenberger: 2,550,000
The two played heads up for a little over an hour and things slowly started to tip Frankenberger’s way. He pushed the action with pot-sized bets. On the final hand Frankenberger raised to 300,000 and Ivey made the call preflop. The flop fell A54 and Ivey checked. Frankenberger bet 130,000 and Ivey raised all in. Frankenberger quickly made the call and they flipped over their cards:
Turn and River: 55
Frankenberger won the hand and the tournament. Ivey got up from the table, shook hands with Frankenberger and then quickly made his exit from the main final table stage. Frankenberger collected another win in his young career, something he has made a habit of doing, although this time he beat one of the world’s best to win the tournament.
Here is a look at the final-table results:
1. Andy Frankenberger – $445,899
2. Phil Ivey – $275,559
3. Ali Eslami – $199,623
4. Alexander Venovski – $147,345
5. Manuel Bevand – $110,731
6. Shaun Deeb – $84,668
7. Matt Marafioti – $65,840
8. Daniel Weinman – $52,059
9. Hoyt Corkins – $41,829
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