Day 3 of Event #15, $3,000 6-max Hold’em, started with 15 runners. All of them had hopes of capturing the WSOP bracelet. For some it would be the first one, like the young Internet player from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alen Bilic. For others, like Phil Hellmuth, it would be dazzling Number 14. But only one would get it.
The eliminations started with Bilic, as he picked a bad time to 3-bet shove with his #10h#jh, running into the #As#Js of John Andress, and the trend continued with Metalidi, Budigga and others. Then, in eighth place, Hellmuth was eliminated and his dream of a new bracelet was postponed. Following in his footsteps, Heinz Kamutzki fell as the final table bubble and the final six players started their bracelet dance.
Zachary Korik came into the final table second in chips and was the first to go. His blind on blind confrontation with Gordon Vayo didn’t quite go as planned and he would only make $62,690 for his sixth place finish. Then Andress tried to make something happen and we had another blind on blind battle. Again it was Vayo who made the call with #ks#jc to put Andress at risk. Andress was slightly ahead with #ah#2d, but a King on the flop changed that and by the river all Andress could say was – “good game.” His fifth place finish guaranteed him $89,734.
Not long after, it was Mark Darner who was headed for the rail. He got in a classic coin flip situation with his #as#qh against the pocket Jacks of Tony Ruberto but couldn’t find any help on the board and that meant he would leave the tournament as the 4th place finisher, earning a very respectable $132,169 for his efforts.
This triggered three-handed play that lasted a long time. Belgian Davidi Kitai was a dominant force throughout the entire phase, but it seemed he couldn’t find a way to strike the finishing blow on either of his opponents. Kitai had both of his opponents down to their last card on two separate occasions, but they managed to hit what they needed to survive and play continued.
Finally, Ruberto made a misstep when he four-bet shoved over Kitai’s 3-bet from the big blind. Kitai had the goods with #As#Kc and Ruberto’s #ad#6c was in trouble. Kitai hit the King on the flop and his hand held up through the river, sending Ruberto to the rail $200,476 richer.
It was a long heads-up battle as Vayo wasn’t about to give up despite starting with a big chip disadvantage. He managed to build his stack up quite substantially, but Kitai remained in control. Still, Vayo was ready for the long haul and by the time they ran out of time to play for the night, he seized a small chip advantage.
What was going to be a three-day event turned into a four-day battle as Vayo and Kitai returned tonight to keep going at it. A night of sleep apparently did wonders for Kitai, as he started dominating once again and it soon became clear that he was the favorite to win this one after all.
With about ten big blinds in his stack, the last hand saw Vayo call off Kitai’s shove upon finding #as#5c in the hole. Once again, Kitai was well ahead with his #ad#kh and this time, Davidi managed to bring it home when the board ran #jd#qs#6c#7h#ks. The Belgian successfully finished what he had started yesterday, sending Vayo out in second place with $314,535 to console him.
Kitai claimed his third WSOP bracelet together with the prize of $508,640. After watching Kitai play yesterday, there is nothing else to say but – he truly deserved it!