Although Event #1 ($500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold’em) was scheduled to last for two days, it turned out that the last two players needed some extra time, so heads-up action was continued today. It didn’t last long, however, as it was all over in about ten minutes.
The last two players who found their way through the 876-player field and came back for Day 3 were Roland Reparejo and Corey Emery. Reparejo started with about 1.8 million in chips and Emery had an uphill battle in front of him with a stack of 735,000 and blinds at 20k/40k with a 5k ante. After Emery lost a couple more hands right at the start, he was quickly in the danger zone and shove or fold mode.
On the sixth hand after they started for the day, Emery moved all-in after Reparejo limped his button. After Reparejo made the quick call, Corey knew his #8h#Jh was probably not in good shape and it wasn’t as Reparejo turned over #as#qs. As the flop came down #2c#8s#ah, Emery still had some hopes to turn it around. But it wasn’t meant to be as the turn and river came #10c and #2h, and it was all over before they even got to settle into their seats.
Reparejo became the first official bracelet winner of this year’s WSOP. The retired chef from Palm Springs will also enjoy a $82,835 payday for his great run in this tournament. The runner-up will receive $51,037, quite a decent return for his $500 investment.
Although these two made it all the way to Day 3, it was, after all, a nine-handed final table and we need to mention the others as well. The first to exit from the final table was Kevin Chiem, pocketing $6,192 for his efforts. Next to fall was David Luttbeg, who ran his suited connectors into Emery’s pocket Queens and the board really bricked hard for him. He still got to pocket $7,947 for the eighth place finish.
Marcin Sobczack fell in the battle of the blinds against Olivier Doremus. His #ac#8c was no match for Doremus’ pocket Nines and he exited in 7th, albeit $10,308 richer. Following in his footsteps was Brian Wong, who was eliminated next when his pocket Eights couldn’t find any help against Charles Nguyen’s Nines. While Wong took home $13,528 for his 6th place finish, Nguyen grabbed a decent chip lead and it was he who eliminated the next player. John Taylor picked the wrong time to move his short stack in with #4s#2h as Nguyen made a fairly easy decision with pocket Sevens and sent him to the rail in fifth with $17,975 to his name.
The tournament was down to four and Emery was picking up some momentum. First, he doubled up through Nguyen and then delivered a fatal blow to Doremus, whose #ad#qh was no match for Emery’s pocket Kings. His fourth place finish was good for $24,203.
Not long after that hand, it was Nguyen’s time to bid farewell. He got his chips in the middle against Emery on a board reading #7s#kh#kd#2c, only to realize his #7c#6c was drawing dead against the #kc#qs of Emery. That left Emery and Reparejo to battle for the title and it was Reparejo who got to walk away a winner.
And thus, the first bracelet found its rightful owner, but there are plenty more waiting to be seized. Several more events are currently underway, most notably the $25k Mixed-Max event, which will play down to the final four players tonight. Reparejo got his portion of poker fame right off the bat. Who will be next?