Yesterday, the $25k Mixed-Max event was down to 16 players and right now there are only two players remaining, waiting for the start of their heads-up match. Vanesa Selbst and Jason Mo will determine the winner of the second WSOP gold bracelet awarded this year.
The original plan was to play down to the final four players, who would return today to play in two semifinal heads-up matches and then play the final match for the title. That meant that twelve eliminations were needed to complete the day and the first one to exit was Noah Schwartz. He fell in a blind versus blind battle against Selbst, who started the day second in chips.
Only a few minutes later, it was Barry Hutter who headed for the rail after the river helped improve Al Decarolis’ hand and crack his pocket Kings. Following the pattern were Calvin Andersen, who exited in 14th, and Nick Schulman, the unlucky 13th place finisher, after which players took a redraw and the tournament was down to three 4-handed tables.
The next two to go were Kevin Song and Richard Lyndaker. Lyndaker shoved his stack from the button into the big blind of Ryan Fee and Fee made the eventual call with #ad#7c. It was ahead of Song’s #qc#jh and by the river, Lyndaker made the nut flush to send Song packing. Brian Green fell in 10th, after which Darren Elias got into a confrontation against today’s starting chip leader, Decaloris. Elias was sent to the rail in 9th by a mighty #9s#2s that turned into trip deuces, resulting in another table merger.
The final four was quickly approaching as Aaron Jones made his exit in 8th place. Jones got into a preflop raising war against JC Tran and all the chips eventually ended up in the middle. Jones held a very strong hand for a 4-handed table, #ah#qh, but was well behind Tran’s #ad#kd and the board provided no help, sending Jones home with $112,752 to his name.
The next bounty went to Selbst, who four-bet shoved her powerhouse #9d#8s and was met by a quick call from Fee holding #ad#kh. Despite the preflop advantage, Selbst out-flopped Fee by hitting the nine and that was good enough to send Fee home in 7th ($112,752).
It was Tran’s turn once again as he called the all-in of Robert Tepper. Tepper was ahead with #ad#7h all the way to the river and fifth street improved his hand to the nut flush. It was, however, no good, as the river allowed Tran to make a straight flush and Tepper was out in sixth, receiving $171,461 for his efforts.
The remaining five players merged into one table to play for one more elimination before entering the heads-up stage. It took some time, but eventually it was Matt Giannetti who moved all-in with #ah#5h from the button, only to be called by Decarolis and his #ac#10h in the small blind. Both players hit an Ace, but Decarolis’ kicker played and Giannetti was sent to the rail with a $171,461 reward.
Although it was initially planned to pause the tournament at this point, it was decided that the players would play on until the final two.
Decarolis was paired with Selbst, while Mo played Tran. Although Decarolis entered his match with about a 3:1 chip advantage, Selbst found a way to even the odds and strike the final blow. The last hand saw both players take a flop of #4d#7h#9s. Selbst checked, Decarolis bet, Selbst moved all-in, and Decarolis made the call. Selbst was well ahead with #9h#8h against Decarolis’ #ac#kh, and as the turn and river bricked, Decarolis was out in third and received $290,622. Quite a performance for the amateur, who actually booked his first live tournament cash with this finish.
The second match was quite a bit shorter, although there were more chips in play. Tran started with the lead, but it was Mo who booked the win. After getting Tran to just 10 big blinds, the last hand saw Tran making a call for his tournament life with #ad#qd. He was in great shape against Mo’s #jh#10s, but Mo hit a Jack on the flop to propel him into the lead that he would hold all the way through the river. Fourth place for Tran added another $290,622 to his tournament earnings.
Selbst and Mo will play heads-up for the title, the bracelet, and $871,000 first place prize money later today. Selbst will be looking to capture her third WSOP bracelet, while it would be Mo’s first. From a purely mathematical standpoint, Mo is the favorite as he will be starting with 5.86 million against Selbst’s 3.96 million. But Selbst has already proved that she knows how to make a comeback during her match against Decarolis, so it will be an interesting battle for sure.
In other news, Event #3, $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha, is down to the final six players and one of these six will be receiving their gold bracelet today. The finalists are Steve Billirakis, Brandon Shack-Harris, Matthew Ryan, Iori Yogo, Morgan Popham and Robert Paddock.
The series is really heating up now, as there are quite a few other events running as well. From today onward we will likely have at least one bracelet awarded every day, so there will be plenty of action ahead!