There was plenty of star name value when the World Series of Poker’s Heads-up Championship got down to the quarterfinal round. When the dust settled, however, the finals came down to Ayaz Mahmood and Ernst Schmejkal, who played so long in their first game they head to delay the remainder of the tournament for 12 hours. At the end of it all, after another back-and-forth heads-up match, it was Mahmood coming through with a couple of timely suck outs to take down the bracelet.
Primarily a cash game player out of Los Angeles, Mahmood decided to try something new in entering this tournament.
“Primarily, I’m a PLO player. This is the first time in my life I’m playing a $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads-up tournament. It seemed like I was pretty successful every round, but they were all very tough players, good players, all pros. I don’t look at them, I just played my game, and it worked.”
In their first match, each player grinded along as long as the blinds would allow. Their first round in a best-of-three series took almost seven hours, and Once they reached a certain point, they were forced into action by the shallow nature of their stacks. First Schmejkal spiked a king on the river to survive and double-up, and in a display of justice by the “poker gods”, that’s exactly how Mahmood would clinch their first round match-up.
On a board of Q75, they got all-in with Schmejkal holding QJ against the K7 of Mahmood. The match would be sealed in Mahmood’s favor when the K hit the turn, leaving Schmejkal with less than a big blind, which Mahmood would claim when his 22 faded all of Schmejkal’s outs. Due to the extremely long match-up the decision was made to delay play until 7 pm on Monday.
Mahmood looked like he would made quick work of Ernst Schmejkal in their second match, taking down a massive pot when he turned a set of sixes and got all-in against Schmejkal’s flush draw on the turn, which did not hit on the river. But Schmejkal would not give up that easily. They played for almost five more hours, Mahmood getting Schmejkal in several times and Schmejkal would survive every one until they were almost dead even again.
Then Mahmood would break Schmejkal’s heart again. With blinds at a staggering 60,000/120,000, a ton of chips got in on the flop. Then they shoved the rest in on a AT9 flop, and once again in a pivotal pot Schmejkal got it in with the best of it, tabling the A6, well ahead of Mahmood’s QT. The J made Mahmood’s hand far mar dynamic, and of course the K was the card that decided it all, the king being a pivotal card during their entire twelve hour heads-up match.
Here are the official results of the final three rounds of this tournament:
1. Ayaz Mahmood – $625,682
2. Ernst Schmejkal – $386,636
3. (tie) Jason Somerville – $214,289
3. (tie) Alexander Kostritsyn – $214,289
5. (tie) Vanessa Rousso – $92,580
5. (tie) Faraz Jaka – $92,580
5. (tie) Ludovic Lacay – $92,580
5. (tie) Kido Pham – $92,580
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