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Four bracelets were awarded on Saturday. Jeff Tomlinson pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2015 WSOP by winning the $5,000 NL Eight-Handed bracelet. Aaron Wallace turned $125 into a WSOP bracelet in the $1,000 PL Omaha Event.

Arash Ghaneian dominated on Saturday to win the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. while Brian Hastings won his second career bracelet in the $10,000 Stud Championship. Meanwhile, the Monster Stack drew 7,192 players and will award $1.28 million to the winner.

Jeff Tomlinson Pulls Largest Upset of Series by Winning $5,000 NL Eight-Handed

Heading into the final table of the $5,000 NL Hold’em Eight-Handed Event, most were trying to figure out which big name pro was going to add to their resume. After all, we had WPT Champions, bracelet winners and top name pros throughout.

Few believed that a high school football coach from Juniper, FL could defeat such as a stacked final table. As Jeff Tomlinson will surely tell his teams from now until retirement; that’s why you play the game.

The final table of this event kicked off on Saturday with Pierre Milan starting as chip leader and Jonathan Jaffe right behind. Here are the chip counts of the final table participants:

Seat 1. Jeff Tomlinson – 1,363,000
Seat 2. Dominik Nitsche – 861,000
Seat 3. Dan O’Brien – 1,095,000
Seat 4. Pierre Milan – 3,031,000
Seat 5. Andrius Bielskis – 905,000
Seat 6. Jonathan Jaffe – 2,205,000
Seat 7. Jonathan Little – 2,039,000
Seat 8. Anthony Zinno – 908,000

We had a pair of two-time WPT champions in Jonathan Little and Anthony Zinno. Jonathan Jaffe is a WPT champion. Little also has a WSOP bracelet along with Pierre Milan. Dominik Niche has two bracelets. Dan O’Brian is a well-known pro with millions in earnings. Andrius Bielskis finished 5th in the EPT Deauville earlier this year.

Then you had Jeff Tomlinson with a grand total of 33,634 in career earnings since 2008. His largest prior cash was his first WSOP cash in 2008, earning $8,033. Most players would have been happy to get this far but the coach knows that “any given Sunday,” or Saturday in this case, lightning can strike.

Pierre Milan worked his way to heads-up and that came as no surprise. He was the chip leader to start the day and played well at the final. His opponent was Jeff Tomlinson, the football coach who seemed to be on a blessed run at the final table.

At the start of heads-up play, Milan held 8.8 million versus the 3.9 million of Tomlinson. When this match started, most figured that Milan would make short work of Tomlinson. Instead, the two battled in one of the longest heads-up matches of the series.

Over the course of 130 hands, the two players battled back and forth and on multiple occasions, it seemed that Milan was going to take the bracelet. However, the coach managed to control the pace of the game and waited for his spots. He also ran well at the right times, winning the flips he needed to win when it was time to double-up. One of those flips late saw him take the chip lead with pocket jacks versus A-K for Milan.

Tomlinson waited for Milan to make a mistake and it was a pair of mistakes late by Milan that gave Tomlinson the title. Milan lost half of his remaining stack after Tomlinson masterfully slow plays a flopped set of queens and then a turned full house. He extracted maximum value on the river, pulling an extra 1.2 million in chips on a successful check-raise.

Two hands later, Milan decided to put his last 2.65 million at risk with Ks-9c. This was Tomlinson’s moment as he looked down to pocket aces and made the easy call. Of course, this is the World Series of Poker, which means you have to sweat the finish. The flop fell Qh-10c-2c to give Milan a gutshot draw. The turn 2d and river Ad gave Tomlinson a full house and the most unlikely victory of the 2015 WSOP.

This victory is easily Jeff Tomlinson’s largest career score. He won the bracelet and $567,724. He also proved that it doesn’t matter how tough the field is that you’re facing but that you don’t give up because lighting can strike and “anyone can win.”

Aaron Wallace Turns $125 into Bracelet Victory in $1,000 PL Omaha

The final day of the $1,000 PL Omaha Event kicked off on Saturday with 16 players remaining and looking to take this low buy-in PLO bracelet.  The final of this event was reached quickly with Marko Neumann holding a 2:1 chip lead over the next closes competitor.

Check out the final table chip counts:

Seat 1: Curtis Krushelniski – 234,000
Seat 2: Marko Neumann – 2,321,000
Seat 3: Chase Steely – 626,000
Seat 4: Daniel Zack – 159,000
Seat 5: Balazs Somodi – 917,000
Seat 6: Thomas Kearney – 192,000
Seat 7: Aaron Wallace – 1,113,000
Seat 8: Noah Merritt – 675,000
Seat 9: Jeroen Choiner – 333,000

The top two players in chips at the start of the final table were the two to face off for the bracelet. At the start of heads-up play, Marko Neumann held 4.25 million versus the 2.1 million for Aaron Wallace.

Action went back and forth early on with both players taking turns as chip leader. By the dinner break, stacks were nearly even. Wallace took over directly after the dinner break and jumped into over a 2:1 chip lead. A massive cooler hand abruptly ended this battle and gave the bracelet to Wallace.

On a flop of 7c-7h-3s, Wallace checked to Neumann who bet 80,000. Wallace then check-raised pot to 400k, followed by a call. The turn fell the 10s and Wallace bet pot again. Neumann can move all-in with a raise and does so.

Wallace made the call and turned over Kc-9d-3d-3h for a flopped full house. Neumann turned over Qd-Jh-7d-6s for trip sevens and a redraw to a better full house. The river fell the 3c and Wallace takes down the largest prize in his poker career.

Prior to this event, Wallace had a grand total of $10,782 in tournament earnings dating back to 2013. He admitted that he only plays in events that he can satellite into. Originally, he was going to buy-in directly to this event but when he arrived at the Rio, there was a $125 PLO satellite seating and he took his shot. He won the satellite and three days later, he has his first career bracelet and $226,985.

Arash Ghaneian Wins $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.

An additional day was needed to complete play in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. Event. Three players returned on Saturday to battle for the bracelet. Robert Campbell led while well-known pro David Levi was searching for his first bracelet. Here are the chip counts for the final three:

  • Robert Campbell – 2,670,000
  • Arash Ghaneian  – 2,270,000
  • David Levi – 855,000

David Levi was the first player knocked out. He put the last of his chips in during Razz with a J-5 with redraw to a wheel. Arash Ghaneian made the call with a made ten with redraw to a six. On the river, Levi improved to a 9-5 but Ghaneian improved to a 7-5 to take us to heads-up.

Heads-up play started with Arash Ghaneian in lead with 3.2 million versus the 2.5 million of Robert Campbell. The pair battled back and forth for a couple of levels with both holding the chip lead multiple times. However, by the time bets moved up to 150k/300k, Ghaneian had jumped back out into the lead and proceeded to grind Campbell down to just under one big bet.

Campbell’s last bet went into the pot pre-flop during Omaha Hi-Lo and Ghaneian made the call. Campbell held Ah-9s-7c-5c against the Kd-Qc-3h-2s for Ghaneian. The flop fell Kh-7s-2c to give Ghaneian two pair while Campbell held middle pair and a live low draw. The turn Js missed both players and the river Ks gave Ghaneian a full house and the title.

Arash Ghaneian nearly doubled his lifetime tournament earnings by winning this event. This is easily the largest score of this live tournament career as well as his first major poker title. In addition to the bracelet, Ghaneian earned $239,750 in prize money. Congratulations.

Brian Hastings Wins $10k Stud Championship

The final table of the $10k Stud Championship had its own set of storylines. You had Oxana Cummings trying to come back from a short stack to become the first woman of 2015 to win an open-field bracelet.

Max Pescatori was looking to win his second bracelet of 2015 and take the second leg of the WSOP Stud Triple Crown. Scott Clements and Dan Kelly were also looking to add to their career bracelet totals.

Here are the final table chip counts prior to action on Saturday:

  • Brian Hastings – 770,000
  • John Thrower – 426,000
  • Mikhail Semin – 399,000
  • Scott Clements – 384,000
  • Chris George – 251,000
  • Max Pescatori – 207,000
  • Dan Kelly – 172,000
  • Oxana Cummings – 128,000

Oxana Cummings fell short of the bracelet, finishing fifth. She was all-in on third street with three players coming along. By fifth street, just Brian Haskins remained in the pot and held a pair of tens. Cummings held king-high with three spades. On sixth, Cummings improved to a pair of kings and a flush draw while Hastings picked up a flush draw as well. The river brought Hastings his flush but Cummings missed her. She hit the rail in fifth place.

Ultimately, it was Brian Hastings facing Scott Clements for the bracelet. Hastings held 1.89 million to the 840k for Clements. To say this match was one-sided would be an understatement as Hastings won the majority of pots during heads-up lay. Eventually, he had Clements down to just two big bets prior to the final hand.

Clements chips went in on third street with As-Kc-7h and Hastings held 2d-5d-Jd. By fifth street, Hastings held a stranglehold on the bracelet as he improved to a diamond flush. Clements’ only hope was to catch running spades to improve to a better flush. He caught a spade on sixth street but the river was red and Clements was the runner-up.

Brian Hastings wins his second career bracelet $239,518. Congratulations.

Monster Stack Draws 7,192 – Shulman Leads Lightly Attended $10k NL 2-7

The Rio was reset on Saturday for the second flight of the Monster Stack. Saturday’s flight drew a crowd of over 4,000 players to push the totals to 7,192. This is a drop of 7% from last year’s field of 7,734.

This event generated a prize pool of $9.7 million with 720 players paid. A min-cash will be worth $2,815 while first will take home $1.28 million. Through two starting flights, we have 2,060 players returning on Sunday to play their way to the money.

The evening event was the $10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball Championship. Only 77 players showed up for this event, off 11.5% from last year. So far, this is the smallest field of the 2015 WSOP.

Despite the small turnout, the field was stacked with big names looking to take down the bracelet. Nick Shulman finished the day as chip leader with 229,000. Dan Smith and Shaun Deeb are right behind him. Other players advancing to Day 2 include Paul Volpe, Erik Seidel, Phil Galfond, Billy Baxter and Jeff Lisandro.

Over half the field was eliminated on Saturday and just 32 players will return on Sunday. They will play through the money bubble of 14 and likely the seven-handed final table.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.