We’ve already hit the first weekend of the
2019 World Series of Poker, but there were some loose ends to tie up before the
weekend bacchanalia could begin in earnest. In a tough battle against the Media
Director of the WSOP, Nicholas Haynes was able to emerge as the champion of the
Casino Employees Event.
from Mid-Pack to Championship Gold
Haynes was in perfect striking position when
the final six came to the table for the Event #1 finale. Haynes sat with a healthy
stack of 2.725 million, but it was a bit distant from the top two players.
Isaac Hanson, the WSOP Media Director, was the “Top Dog” at the start of the
day with his 5.55 million chips, but Jorge Ruiz was nipping at his heels with a
4.82 million stack. Rounding out the final table participants a sizeable chunk
behind Haynes were Jesse Kertland (1.62 million), Adam Lamers (1.49 million)
and Jeffrey Fast (1.19 million).
The bottom three were looking to make
their move, but nobody thought that move would be on the first hand of the day.
Fast, a dealer at Fallsview Casino, opted to stick his final million chips in
the center and Hanson, with the big stack, decided to play table sheriff. They
both were hunting for the same thing; Fast’s K♥ 5♥ had the edge over Hanson’s Q♥
9♥, but the nine that came on the flop didn’t care about suits. Looking for a King
to edge over Hanson, Fast instead saw the board blank out and he was gone on
the first hand in sixth place.
Only 15 hands later, the next departure
was issued. Lammers pushed his chips to the center from the cutoff and Ruiz
woke up in the small blind with a call, ensuring that Kertland in the big blind
didn’t get in the mix. Ruiz’s A♦ J♦ was in the lead against the K-Q off suit of
Lamers and the eight high flop didn’t change a thing, sending Lamers to the
rail in fifth place. Kertland, who never could find any traction on the day,
was out next in fourth place at the hands of Haynes, who happened to wake up on
the button with pocket Aces to dominate Kertland’s K-5.
Some Work to Do
Even after knocking off Kertland, Haynes still
had some work left to do. Hanson was playing some outstanding poker, at one
point sitting on more chips (10 million) than Ruiz and Haynes combined (7.4
million). It looked to be a battle between Ruiz and Haynes to see who would
face Hanson and, on Hand #147, that clash took place.
Pushing from the button for his nearly four
million chip stack, Haynes squeezed his cards and responded with an all-in of
his own for nearly the same stack. That was enough for Hansen to get out of the
way, at which point the hands were turned up:
Ruiz: K♥ Q♥
Haynes: pocket 10s
There wasn’t much of a sweat for Haynes as
the flop and turn brought no hearts, but paint on the river brought some drama.
That paint turned out to be a Jack, however, and Haynes took the hand. After
the chips were counted down, it was determined that Haynes had been the at-risk
player in the hand, but the 6.2 million pot pushed his way put him in second.
Ruiz, with only 550K left after the clash, would depart on the next hand against
Hanson as heads up play was set.
Hanson held almost a four million chip
lead over Haynes heads up (10.7 million to 6.8 million), but that was quickly
eliminated by Haynes. Over the span of four hands, Haynes was able to take over
the lead and never look back. On the final hand (Hand #156), Haynes put Hanson
to the test with an all-in push, which Hanson called. Haynes’ K-8 off suit was live
against Hanson’s A-9 off suit, but an eight on the flop (7-Q-8) pushed Haynes
into the lead. A Jack on the turn opened more doors for Hanson with a gut shot straight
draw, but the trey on the river sealed the tournament and the WSOP bracelet for
1. Nicholas Haynes, $62,345
2. Isaac Hanson, $38,503
3. Jorge Ruiz, $26,681
4. Jesse Kertland, $18,785
5. Adam Lamers, $13,441
6. Jeffrey Fast, $9776
7. Christopher Bowen, $7229*
8. Joseph Appler, $5438*
9. Travis Williams, $4161*
(* – eliminated on Thursday, part of official WSOP final table) uot;des
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