After battling through a heads-up match that was almost as long as the final table itself, Bryn Kenney defeated Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel to capture Event #3 of the 2017 Poker Masters at ARIA in Las Vegas.
The 48 entries garnered in Event #3 was the lowest so far in the Poker Masters schedule, meaning that only the final table would be paid in the tournament. It also meant that the $960,000 first place prize was the largest of the tournament so far. At the start of the day, Kenney was in the middle of the pack and Seidel was on the short stack, both looking up at Dan Smith and his 1.982 million stack.
Seidel was in “push and pray” mode from the start, his 221K in chips extremely short, so seeing any Ace would obligate the Hall of Famer to move all in. In a solo big blind after the elimination of Steffen Sontheimer on Friday night, Doug Polk moved all in to put the pressure on Seidel. Seidel squeezed out an A-8 off suit and decided to stand, calling off his chips and in the lead against Polk’s Q♥ 3♥. An Ace on the flop allowed Seidel to breathe a bit easier and, after a blank for Polk came on the turn to leave him drawing dead, Seidel was back in the game.
The first elimination came only 10 minutes into the day’s play. Jake Schindler put out a bet, only to be met by Sergio Aido’s all-in move out of the small blind. After getting a count, Schindler decided to put Aido at risk for elimination and called. Both men were off to the races, with Aido’s pocket sixes holding the pre-flop edge over Schindler’s A♣ J♣, but the statistical edge flipped to Schindler on a 2♠ 9♣ 5♣ flop. Aido dodged a club on the K♠ turn, but the Q♣ on the river gave Schindler the suck out and the knockout, sending Aido from the felt in seventh place.
Seidel continued to be active and Schindler was his next target. In a cooler of a hand, Schindler raised the betting and Seidel all in three bet the action. Schindler didn’t waste time in making the call, turning up pocket Jacks for battle, but Seidel had the goods this time with pocket Kings. The ten-high flop missed both men, so Seidel’s cowboys reigned as he crept up the leaderboard.
To this point, Kenney had been very quiet as his chip stack dwindled. Kenney only held about 14 big blinds after giving up a hand to Polk, but it was a situation that he soon would rectify. Kenney would get a double through Smith when he flopped a set of sixes, turned a full house and rivered quads. On the very next hand, however, he was almost out of the tournament.
Kenney would initiate the action from the hijack, only to see Polk push out a three bet of 175K from the cutoff. Undaunted, Seidel on the button four-bet all in the action to 480K, but his young counterparts didn’t show any respect. Kenney moved all in over Seidel in an attempt to isolate, but Polk saw a chance to eliminate two difficult opponents. He called both all-ins with his big stack, sending the players to the flop with these hands:
Kenney: pocket Queens
Polk: pocket tens
Seidel: pocket Aces
The J-K-6 somehow missed all three players and the King would pair on the turn. With Polk looking for a ten to eliminate two players and Kenney looking to snatch a massive pot with another lady, the innocuous river four gave the 1.5 million chip pot – and the chip lead – to Seidel, while Kenney picked up scraps from the side pot with Polk.
Now it was Kenney’s turn to head to the salt mines and rebuild his stack. He doubled through Cary Katz and Polk to get some of it back, then pulled off an excellent play against Schindler to get back in the game. After a Schindler raise holding A-10 in a “blind versus blind” situation, Kenney sneakily just called with pocket Aces. The case Ace came on the A-3-2 flop and Kenney, with a hammerlock on the hand, would just call a bet from Schindler. Schindler, smelling a trap, slowed down and check-called a bet from Kenney on the Queen turn, but he couldn’t get away from the hand. Kenney would bet again on the river after a Schindler check and, after he called, Kenney showed the goods and picked up the nearly million chip pot.
Seidel and Kenney then went on the attack. Seidel would take out Katz in sixth place and Schindler in third, while Kenney handled Polk in fifth place and Smith in fourth to reach the heads-up battle. As the twosome headed to their mano y mano matchup, Kenney held a 500K chip lead over Seidel.
Kenney was able to push Seidel to the brink within 20 minutes of the start of action, but Seidel would prove to be resilient. He would double up SIX times to get back in the match and took over the lead in the tournament with a seventh. But Kenney wasn’t ready to quit either, getting a double of his own as the jousting continued.
As the players sat very close together in the chip counts, the penultimate hand fell. After an adjustment in the structure to allow the blinds to move up every 15 minutes, Kenney raised the betting and Seidel moved all in, which Kenney called. His pocket sixes were in the pre-flop lead over Seidel’s J♠ 10♠ and stayed in that spot after the 2-A-5 flop. A King on the turn brought some drama as it added four more outs to Seidel’s six pre-flop outs, but the river five saw the huge pot pushed to Kenney and Seidel left with scraps. Although Seidel would get a couple of double ups to extend the inevitable, he would eventually be eliminated in second place as Kenney captured another High Roller title for the year.
1. Bryn Kenney, $960,000
2. Erik Seidel, $576,000
3. Jake Schindler, $312,000
4. Dan Smith, $192,000
5. Doug Polk, $144,000
6. Cary Katz, $120,000
7. Sergio Aido, $96,000