2013 World Series of Poker: Ben Volpe Wins Ante Only Crown, Vladimir Shchmelev Tops In PLO Hi/Lo

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It is going to be another frenetic weekend at the 2013 World Series of Poker, kicked off on Thursday by the awarding of two more bracelets in the unique “Ante Only” tournament as well as the $3000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event.

Event #45 – $1500 Ante Only No Limit Hold’em

The final nine men returned on Thursday to figure out who would take the championship of the unique “Ante Only” event at the 2013 WSOP. The tournament – where all players on the table put in a set ante and there are no blinds – was led by Paul Lieu’s 579,000 chip stack at the start of the day, but there were plenty of challenges on the felt. Ben Volpe sat in second position with his 523,000 in chips and, on down the leaderboard, Chris Moorman and Blair Hinkle lurked.

Only ten hands into play, Lieu would lose the lead after a clash against Louis Bonnecaze. On a 3 8♣ 7 flop, Lieu attempted to bully Bonnecaze out with a continuation bet, but Bonnecaze would not go away in making his call. A 4 hit the felt on the turn and, after some thought, Lieu put out another bet. Bonnecaze didn’t believe him, making the call, and the twosome saw a 9 weigh in on the river. Lieu fired a third bullet and, this time, Bonnecaze raised it up. A distraught Lieu thought for a bit before making the call and angrily mucked his cards as Bonnecaze turned up an A K♠ for the backdoor four-flush to take over the lead.

Lieu would get some of those chips back in taking down Samuel Panzica in ninth place but immediately turned around and gave them back in doubling up Adam Stone. He was constantly attacking the table but, in doing so, it led to his chips slowly slipping away. Meanwhile, Moorman was able to get a double up and Hinkle eliminated Danny Johnson in eighth place to take over the second place slot on the table.

This seemed to get the engines going on the two online legends as they suddenly ramped up their games. By the time the next break came, Moorman has moved into the lead, with Hinkle right behind him, while Bonnecaze slipped down a bit. After Hinkle dismissed Adam Stone in seventh place and Lieu got back in the game with a knockout of Horacio Chaves in sixth, Hinkle seized the lead with Lieu in hot pursuit.

Down to five players, Moorman suddenly hit a roadblock. The entire table came along to see a 10-J-8 flop, after which Moorman pushed his stack to the center. Lieu was the only player to look him up and he was in great shape with his 10-8 (flopped bottom two pair) against Moorman’s 8-5 (bottom pair). Another Jack on the turn left Moorman drawing dead and, once the formalities of the river were done, Moorman left The Mothership in fifth place.

Hinkle decided at this point to get aggressive and, much like Lieu before him, it would end up costing him the tournament. After doubling up Lieu to fall out of the lead, Hinkle would eventually fall to him in fourth place, his A-3 failing to catch up with Lieu’s pocket Queens that caught an unnecessary Queen on the flop against him. As the final three men headed to dinner, Lieu was in the lead with his 1.565 million chips, with Volpe (990K) and Bonnecaze (500K) looking to get back in the match.

After the break, Volpe came out on the attack. He won the first three hands between the triumvirate to take over the lead and was able to knock off Bonnecaze in third place to enter heads up against Lieu with almost a 1.2 million chip lead. Volpe and Lieu would battle over 100 hands before, on a 2 8♣ A♣ flop, they would get their chips to the center with Lieu’s A-4 leading Volpe’s 6♣ 3♣. A 10 peeled on the turn to keep Lieu in the lead, but the K♣ on the river gave Volpe a flush to take down the championship.

1. Ben Volpe (Chicago, IL), $201,399
2. Paul Lieu (Las Vegas, NV), $124,352
3. Louis Boniface (Baton Rouge, LA), $80,839
4. Blair Hinkle (Weatherby Lake, MO), $59,375
5. Chris Moorman (Benfleet, the United Kingdom), $44,227
6. Horacio Chaves (Paraguay), $33,371
7. Adam Stone (Tyler, TX), $25,472
8. Daniel Johnson (Honolulu, HI), $19,660
9. Samuel Panzica (Saline, MI), $19,660

Event #46 – $3000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo

17 players returned to the Amazon Room on Thursday with the goal of WSOP glory in their sights. The tightly packed field was led by Alexey Makarov and his 471K stack, but players such as “Miami” John Cernuto, Stephen Chidwick, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman and Mel Judah were looking to take him down.

Shulman got off to a great start, quartering Joshua Weiland and pushing Chidwick out of a pot to get up to the 300K mark. As she was making her move, Ari Engel and Dylan Linde both headed to the cash out desk and Makarov lost the lead after getting quartered by John O’Shea. Makarov was able to get some chips back in eliminating Matthew Lansdon in 15th place, but O’Shea would give his hard earned chips to Judah to bring the field down to 11 players.

After Robert Price was knocked out in 11th place by Makarov, the final ten gathered with Vladimir Shchmelev in the lead over Ashly Butler. The 10 players would play for almost an hour and a half before Butler was able to take down Zhen Cai in tenth and set the official final table, which went rapidly for a split-pot game.

Once the final table was determined, Judah went on a bit of a rush. He hit a magic river that would allow him to scoop the pot against Brian Hacker and, after taking some more chips off of Shulman, took over the lead. Butler would steal that lead back in eliminating Shulman in eighth place, Andrey Zaichenko in seventh, Tyler Nelson in sixth and Cernuto in fifth to send his stack rocketing to the 2.18 million mark. With four players remaining, it seemed that Butler was on his way to capturing the WSOP gold.

Taking a bit of a break, Butler sat back for a bit as the other three men determined who would face him. Shchmelev drew first blood, taking out Hacker in fourth, and would go on to work his stack after the dinner break into the lead in besting Butler over the course of several hands. Butler, attempting to make a comeback, would instead see Shchmelev take the remainder of his chips to leave in third place and set the matchup between Shchmelev and Judah.

Facing nearly a 3:1 chip disadvantage, Judah was able to draw the match to nearly even before the final hand of the tournament. After a Judah pre-flop raise and a Shchmelev call, the duo saw a 5-2-5 flop. Shchmelev would check-call a bet from Judah and, after a nine came on the turn, Shchmelev led out with a pot bet. Judah moved all in and, almost immediately, Shchmelev made the call, tabling his A-7-2-2 for a flopped boat and a potential seven low draw. Judah put up an A-K-6-5 for flopped trips and a potential six low draw to have a shot at scooping or splitting the pot (a King would have given him the best high in a better boat), but a river Queen wasn’t what Judah was looking for as the veteran poker professional departed the event in second place and Shchmelev took the top prize.

1. Vladimir Shchmelev (St. Petersburg, Russia), $279,094
2. Mel Judah (London, the United Kingdom), $172,361
3. Ashly Butler (New Orleans, LA), $124,645
4. Brian Hacker (San Diego, CA), $91,085
5. John Cernuto (Las Vegas, NV), $67,262
6. Tyler Nelson (Rockford, IL), $50,197
7. Andrey Zaichenko (Moscow, Russia), $37,847
8. Allyn Jaffrey Shulman (Las Vegas, NV), $28,821
9. Alexey Makarov (Moscow, Russia), $22,171

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