Although it was scheduled as a four-day tourney, things moved a bit faster than planned in the $5,000 8-handed Hold’em No Limit Event and the champion was crowned on Day 3 yesterday. Brian Yoon took the title and collected his second gold bracelet after claiming his first last year in a Little One for One Drop event.
It was a tough final table to beat as the players had a combined 21 WSOP final tables and three gold bracelets between eight of them. Although the day started with 23 players in the field, 15 quickly hit the rail to leave only eight standing. Those who fell along the way include Jeff Madsen in 20th place despite starting the day as the chip leader and Sam Trickett, who struggled a little longer but went out in 11th.
When Nick Grippo eventually busted in 9th place, the official eight-handed final table was underway with Yoon holding a big lead over second place Dan Smith and third place Josh Arieh. First to leave the final eight was Tony Couisenau, earning $55,034 for his performance and adding to Yoon’s chip stack. Then Timo Pfutzenreuter got in a pot against Mustapha Kanit, who stubbornly refused to leave and staged a big comeback earlier when he already had one foot out the door. Pfutzenreuter was eliminated, earning $71,940.
Kanit continued to run good, taking out Dan Smith in sixth placel. Smith’s #ad#10d couldn’t improve against Kanit’s #7h#7c and he would take his leave $95,515 richer. However, all good things come to an end and so did Kanit’s luck in a pot he played against Yoon. Kanit tried to bluff Yoon off his hand on the river with a busted straight draw, but Yoon made the call with #ad#qs for a turned pair of Aces to send Kanit out in fifth with $128,862 in his pocket.
Four-handed play lasted for a while but the players probably didn’t mind it too much as the atmosphere was quite relaxed. Some chips exchanged hands and we saw a double up or two before the next bust occurred. It was Ardit Kurshumi flipping for his tournament life with #4h#4d against Arieh’s #ac#qh. Although the flop was safe for the pocket pair, both the turn and river were aces and Kurshumi was sent to the rail with earnings of $176,684.
The next elimination came in short order when Arieh squared off against Josh Bergman. Arieh raked in the pot after Bergman moved all-in over Arieh’s raise with #qs#10h and Arieh made the call with #ac#jd. The board ran #5c#5h#5d#3c#4s and Bergman was done and on his way to pick up $246,169.
With Bergman’s ouster, Yoon and Arieh started heads-up play for the title nearly dead even in chips with Yoon only slightly ahead. But he continued to build up his advantage, chipping Arieh down. Yoon was up to 3:1 in chips when the last hand took place.
The two saw the flop of #6d#7d#9d and after Yoon check-raised Arieh’s continuation bet, Arieh made the call and the dealer turned over #ac. Yoon led out and Arieh moved in. Yoon made the snap-call with #8d#2d and was well ahead of Arieh’s #ad#2h. The river bricked as it came #6c and it was all over. Arieh finished in second place and received a consolation prize of $391,575.
Brian Yoon earned $633,341 together with his second WSOP bracelet. The ecstatic champion did not try to hide his enthusiasm about his achievement especially considering the tough field of pros he had to navigate to get there!