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Sam Stein And Davide Suriano Battle For The Heads-Up Crown

Seven rounds are history and one more is needed to crown a champion.

Event #40: $10,000 Heads-up No Limit Hold’Em kicked off with 136 players ready to duel for their tournament lives and after two days, only two remain: an experienced American with almost $4 million in tournament earnings and a very aggressive Italian with just a quarter of million cashed in his live poker career, according to Hendon Mob Poker DB.

Sam Stein (photo) is a successful poker pro with one World Series of Poker bracelet won in 2011 in a Pot Limit Omaha event, 18 WSOP cashes, one European Poker Tour title in San Remo, and several other big cashes including a seven-figure score collected after finishing fourth in the 2011 Poker Caribbean Adventure Main Event.

Stein is also a big Kobe Bryant fan. And just like “Black Mamba,” he dribbled past every single opponent so far in his quest for victory. The first one who felt the wrath of Stein was David Schnettler, while in the round of 64, Bryn Kenney couldn’t do anything to stop the finalist spike an ace in a battle of cowboys versus ace-queen.

The next two to fall were Britain’s finest: Sam Trickett and Max Silver. Trickett made the call with his last chips knowing that he was beat. “You have king-deuce right? I mean, it’s pretty obvious you have king-deuce,” the Brit said before the call, looking at the #2d#ks#ah#kc#4d board. Instead, Stein had #2h#2c, still good enough to eliminate Trickett.

Scott Baumstein and Scott Davies were next to hit the rail. Baumstein was eliminated in fifth place thanks to some high pocket pairs held by the finalist. “I shove twice and run into kings and queens,” Baumstein said, expressing his frustration. Davies experienced a similar fate when his flopped set ran into a higher set.

The other finalist, Davide Suriano, hasn’t enjoyed the same degree of success as his opponent. Clearly, he is less experienced when facing the bright spotlights, having cashed just three times at the WSOP prior to the Heads-up championship. Not to mention that he has yet to claim any six-figure poker prizes.

But his lack of experience is definitely compensated by a relentless aggression that helped him reach this far. He eliminated big names from the competition, including one-time bracelet winner Scott Seiver and an online legend with lots of heads-up experience, Daniel “jungleman” Cates. The round against Cates was short and ruthless with both players holding premium hands: #ks#kd > #js#jh.

Shane Moran and Serkan Kurnaz were some other victims; Kurnaz was the last player eliminated in the round of 16 after making a straight on a very draw-heavy #kc#jc#10c#10s#ah board. Suriano had an even bigger hand: #ks#kh for the boat.

Against Ankush Mandavia, the Italian slowplayed his turned trips and let his opponent bluff his missed draw.

High Roller Daniel Colman was Suriano’s last victim in his journey to the final. Colman took the lead early on but once the Italian got it going, he was not to be denied. In the last hand, Colman needed a lucky board to improve his #ac#5d against #8h#8c. Instead the board gave Suriano a full house and a ticket to the final round.

Who will win the Heads-up championship?

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Florian Gheorghe