For the final tables that had been suspended early that morning due to the late hour, a journey back into the Amazon Room was required on Friday to determine a champion in two events. While one wrapped up stunningly quickly, the second would provide a bit more drama for the railbirds at the 2012 World Series of Poker.
Event #57 – $10,000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em World Championship
For those that may have been caught in traffic in Las Vegas – or in the masses working their way to the Amazon Room in the Rio – that were interested in the finale of this tournament, it was one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” type events.
It took only one hand for the two combatants, Greg Merson (9.835 million) and Keith Lehr (4.38 million), to decide who would become the champion of the event. After a big, 280K bet from Merson, Lehr three bet the pot to 915K. Merson would have none of that, however, moving his stack to the center and Lehr made the call just as quickly.
Merson was in difficult shape with his K♠ 9♠ against Lehr’s A♠ Q♦, but the final board would provide drama for everyone. The 10-9-10 flop put Merson into the lead but a Queen on the turn would push Lehr back in front. Needing to dodge a Jack, King or another nine to bring the match to even, Lehr was instead crushed when a Jack showed on the river to give Merson a straight and the championship.
1. Greg Merson (Laurel, MD), $1,136,197
2. Keith Lehr (Bossier City, LA), $701,757
3. Shannon Shorr (Irondale, AL), $455,362
4. Eddy Sabat (Lancaster, CA), $300,753
5. Christopher Brammer (Southampton, the United Kingdom), $200,502
6. Andrew Lichtenberger (East Northport, NY), $140,351
Event #58 – $3000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
In direct contrast to the rapid finish to Event #57, the three men who came back on Friday to determine the champion in Event #58 decided on a more leisurely pace to crowning a victor. Viacheslav Zhukov (2.26 million) held the lead over Roch Cousineau (1.64 million) and 2010 WSOP bracelet winner Chris Bell (835K) when the cards went in the air in what turned out to be a great battle for the bracelet.
Cousineau and Bell would take turns knocking chips from the stack of Zhukov, with Bell winning two of the first four hands, until Zhukov found his footing at the final table. In a family pot, the trio saw a J-8-4 flop and, after checks from Cousineau and Zhukov, Bell put out a 125K bet. Cousineau had no interest in continuing, but Zhukov wanted to see more and made the call. A trey on the turn brought checks from both players, but a four on the river lit the wick for the fireworks to begin.
Zhukov woke up at this time, firing a pot bet of 430K, but Bell didn’t believe him and made the call. He would muck just as quick when he saw Zhukov’s A-J-J-8 for the full house had beaten his flopped flush and no qualifying low hand. Down to only 540K in chips, Bell would ship those in on the next hand against Zhukov and be eliminated in third place after Zhukov’s A-K-10-3 caught against Bell’s A-10-10-3 on an A-K-3-8-6 board.
With his elimination of Bell, Zhukov had slightly more than a million chip lead over Cousineau, but the Canadian wasn’t about to let it be an easy fight for the Russian. After a half hour of play, Cousineau had leveled the playing field with Zhukov and an hour into the match he had taken a slight lead. Over the next two hours (befitting the nature of split-pot games), Cousineau and Zhukov would battle back and forth, seeking to find the definitive advantage that would deliver one of the players the bracelet.
That point would come after approximately three hours of heads up play. After a Zhukov limp, Cousineau checked his option to see a J♥ 6♥ J♣ flop and would check call a Zhukov bet of 150K. A 7♥ on the turn saw another check-call from Cousineau, but this time for 300K in chips. On the river 6♠, Cousineau check called again for 500K and watched in dismay as Zhukov tabled A♥ 9♥ K♦ 8♥ for the nut flush; Cousineau could only muster a baby flush with his J♠ 10♣ 4♥ 3♥.
Two hands later, the tournament would be over. Zhukov put out a 250K bet, which brought an all-in for 755K from Cousineau. Zhukov would make the call and show A-5-J-2, behind Cousineau’s A-A-10-9. The board didn’t keep Cousineau in the lead; the 4-5-2 flop nailed Zhukov in giving him two pair and left Cousineau (with no low draw) looking for the case Ace to take the hand back. Instead, Cousineau saw a King on the turn and an eight on the river end his tournament in second place, giving Viacheslav Zhukov his second WSOP bracelet win.
1. Viacheslav Zhukov (Stary Oskol, Russia), $330,277
2. Roch Cousineau (Gatineau, Quebec), $204,426
3. Chris Bell (Raleigh, NC), $135,858
4. David “ODB” Baker (Katy, TX), $100,820
5. Randy Ohel (Las Vegas, NV), $75,662
6. Yuval Bronshtein (Charleston, SC), $57,339
7. Jack Ward (Ocean Springs, MS), $43,840
8. Scotty Nguyen (Las Vegas, NV), $33,789
9. Juan Ramirez (Harlingen, TX), $26,235