2012 WSOP $1500 PLHE, Final Day: Nick Jivkov Routs Stacked Table, Wins Bracelet
The first full weekend of action at the 2012 World Series of Poker kicked off on Friday with one bracelet being awarded. Event #5, the $1500 Pot Limit Hold’em tournament, featured a plethora of known professionals on the felt as well as several newcomers vying for the right to take down the latest gold for this year’s WSOP.
Coming to the ESPN Main Stage on Friday with the chip lead was Bryan Pellegrino, who held a substantial chip advantage over second place Jonathan Aguiar. The eyes of many of the fans in the stands were on two men, Tommy Vedes (fifth with 247K in chips) and Daniel Negreanu (in pursuit of Bracelet #5 in sixth with 212K), as they attempted to complete their runs in this tournament with the championship. Also lurking were two dangerous players, the United Kingdom’s John Eames (with over $1 million in career earnings) and Nick Jivkov (with over $500K in lifetime live and online career tournament winnings).
The early action was replete with players staving off elimination by winning key hands against the larger stacks. Vedes would take away some chips from Negreanu in the first contested hand of final table play, then Eames would get a big double up through Pellegrino to move into contention. Vedes continued to be active in the early action, with middling results. He would hit a boat with K-10 on a 6-K-A-10-K board to steal a pot against Keanu Tabali’s K-J, but would then turn around and put some of those chips back in play by doubling up Mike Allis.
It would take almost two hours before the first gentleman was escorted away from “The Mothership” in the midst of the Amazon Room. After a Pellegrino raise, Tabali found a spot to get his final chips to the center of the felt. Pellegrino made the pot odds call, tabling a 9-8 off suit, while Tabali was in great shape for a double with his pocket tens. A nine on the flop gave Pellegrino some glimmers of hope, which came home on the river with an eight to knock out Tabali in ninth place.
A few hands later, Eames would be shown the door in the event. After the table folded around to him, Eames made a pot bet, only to find Jivkov ready to re-pot it back to him. Eames would put in his final chips for the call and showed his attempted steal with an A-6 off suit. Jivkov, meanwhile, showed the Brit pocket Aces to have a dominant lead in the hand. Although the flop brought a potential backdoor flush chance for Eames, the river nine of clubs had him drawing dead and out of the tournament in eighth place.
Vedes would take out Brant Hale in seventh place before the end of the level came, leaving six men to battle it out for the championship. With that knockout, Vedes moved behind Aguiar for the chip lead, while Pellegrino and Jivkov held the next rungs on the ladder. Negreanu was barely ahead of Allis at the bottom of the table, but the day (and night) was still young.
Allis’ valiant run at the final table (he had come in as the short stack with only 86K in chips) ended soon after play resumed. Jivkov was the benefactor of Allis’ chips when, on a 7-9-A flop, he caught Allis in a bluff, calling an all-in move by Allis (4-3) with his pocket Kings. Although Allis would pair his three on the turn, another three wasn’t forthcoming, eliminating Allis in sixth place.
Jivkov would use those chips from Allis well in making the next elimination in the event. After a raise from Negreanu, Jivkov pushed the action out of the small blind. When the action came back to “Kid Poker,” he seized the initiative in committing the remainder of his stack. Jivkov made the call and turned up A-J, which was outpaced by Negreanu’s A-Q. The 10-Q-9 rainbow flop brought new outs for Jivkov and one of them, a King, came on the river to put the cooler on Negreanu and eliminate him in fifth place.
From this point on, Jivkov was a machine. He broke the million chip mark in besting Vedes soon after the Negreanu knockout and continued to climb at the expense of Vedes. Jivkov eclipsed the two million chip level in knocking out the World Poker Tour champion in fourth place when his 10-9 made two pair on the river against Vedes’ leading pair of Jacks. Down to three handed players, Jivkov had almost three times the chips (2.1 million) as his two competitors in Pellegrino and Aguiar (440K and 360K, respectively).
While his lead was dominant, that doesn’t mean the three handed play was easy. Pellegrino and Aguiar squabbled with each other, one doubling up the other, before Jivkov ended their personal game by eliminating Aguiar in third place. Down to heads up, Jivkov had Pellegrino against the ropes but Pellegrino still had some fight to him.
Over a two hour battle, Pellegrino stubbornly refused to give in to Jivkov and, at one point, he pulled up to nearly a million chips and was one double up away from taking the lead. Jivkov continued to assail the stack of Pellegrino, however, finally getting Pellegrino to commit his remaining chips with J-9 against Jivkov’s pocket tens. Although the flop brought some drama with its Q-K-8 arrangement, neither of the remaining tens in the deck would come, earning Jivkov the championship.
1. Nick Jivkov (Des Plaines, IL), $189,818
2. Bryan Pellegrino (Danbury, NH), $117,199
3. Jonathan Aguiar (Las Vegas, NV), $76,189
4. Tommy Vedes (Las Vegas, NV), $55,960
5. Daniel Negreanu (Toronto, Ontario), $41,683
6. Mike Allis (Post Falls, ID), $31,452
7. Brant Hale (Moore, OK), $24,007
8. John Eames (Southport, the United Kingdom), $18,529
9. Peter Tabali (Seattle, WA), $14,449
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