2013 World Series of Poker: Justin Oliver Wins Four-Handed NLH

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Sunday marked the last day, Day 3, of the 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event #38: $2,500 Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em. It was expected to be a relatively quick day as far as WSOP tournaments go, as with just eight players remaining and only four people to a table, the action was going to be brisk. And it was (again, as far as WSOP tournaments go), lasting only about six and a half hours. At the end of the day, it was Toronto’s Justin Oliver who had all the chips, giving him his first ever WSOP bracelet and $309,071.

Oliver had some ground to make up going into Day 3, as he sat just seventh out of the eight remaining players in chips with 300,000. For comparison, David “The Dragon” Pham led all players with 911,000. Oliver’s first move up the ladder came early on when he knocked out the shortest stack, Mike DeGilio, in seventh place, boosting his stack at the time to 600,000. About an hour later, he doubled-up through Pham in an odd hand in which Pham seemed like he didn’t want to show his cards out of embarrassment (or simply because he didn’t want to reveal what sort of moves he was making). Pham had raised to 30,000 pre-flop and Oliver re-raised to 60,000. Pham four-bet to 150,000 and Oliver decided to just call this time. On the flop of 3-8-8, Pham bet another 150,000 and Oliver called. The 2 on the turn resulted in both players checking. When the 4 was dealt on the river, Pham bet 140,000 after which Oliver went all-in for his last 360,000. Pham thought about it a while and finally decided to call. When Oliver revealed two red Aces, Pham tried to muck his cards, but he was informed that because it was an all-in and call situation, he was required to show what he had. He still refused, but when the tournament director put his foot down, Pham finally showed that he was holding J-3 of diamonds.

That hand grew Oliver’s stack up to 1.2 million.

One of the biggest hands of the day came a short while later. With five players remaining, Nick Schwarmann bet 32,000 pre-flop and was called by both Pham and John Juanda. After the flop came Q♠-3-4♠, Juanda checked, Schwarmann bet 43,000, and Pham called. Juanda then said he was all-in and Schwarmann quickly called. Pham now had a decision to make. There was a $34,000 gap between fifth and fourth place money; those were the two places in which he could finish if he lost this hand. Examining the chip counts, though, Pham realized he had more chips than Juanda, meaning that they both were eliminated, Pham would finish in fourth place (of course, if Juanda won and Schwarmann still beat Pham, Pham would be out in fifth). At that, he decided to call.

Schwarmann flipped over A♠-7♠ for the nut flush draw. Pham couldn’t have liked that, as he was on the same draw, just one notch worse: K♠-J♠. Juanda had Q♣-2♣ for top pair. The turn was the 5, keeping Juanda in the lead, but the 3♠ brought home the flush, knocking Juanda out in fifth place and Pham out in fourth.

Once Jared Jaffee was eliminated in third place, Schwarmann took a huge 6-to-1 chip lead over Oliver into heads-up play. Oliver didn’t give up, though, he plugged away, trying to grab a chip here and there. He doubled-up once or twice, but kept falling back again. Finally, though, he broke through, doubling on hands 83 and 88 of heads-up play without a big drop in between to wrench away the chip lead. Schwarmann came back though and looked like he might regain control of the match, but Oliver once again doubled-up to go ahead 2.515 million to 1.100 million.

Then, on the 115th heads-up hand, Schwarmann tried to bluff a missed straight draw on the river, but was caught by Oliver, who had turned top pair. The bracelet and the first prize money were Oliver’s after a final table full of comebacks.

2013 World Series of Poker Event #38: $2,500 Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em – Final Table Results

1.    Justin Oliver – $309,071
2.    Nick Schwarmann – $191,434
3.    Jared Jaffee – $129,447
4.    David Pham – $89,736

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