“It’s been a long day man,” Jordan Morgan (photo) said to the tournament director with 20 minutes remaining in Level 31 of Event #44: $1,500 No Limit Hold’Em.
Both he and his opponent, Evan McNiff, decided to bag their chips and fight for their first World Series of Poker bracelet in overtime, in a totally unexpected fourth day of the NLHE event.
Why was it unexpected? Mainly because of the final table’s fast pace. The official nine-handed final table was set after the first three hours of what should have been the final day of the tournament. From that point on, it took two hours to cut it down to just two final competitors.
Michael Anselm was the first eliminated from the final table. He open-shoved his stack from early position with #ah#9h. Bryan Dillon re-shoved over the top from the next position with #ad#kc, pairing his king and winning the hand.
Ryan Spittles followed Anselm two hands later by going all-in with #ah#kh. Although he had the big advantage preflop against Jason Johnson’s #ad#10h, postflop action changed the situation dramatically. Johnson spiked a ten to send Spittles to the rail in eighth place.
The next elimination was made by McNiff, who gathered momentum and increased his already big stack. The victim was Joseph Iarussi, who must have thought he was in front after a check-shove by his opponent on the #2d#7s#7d#4h board. Iarussi had #9h#9d and called for his tournament life, only to see his hand dominated by #6h#7h.
Immediately after that, Robert Chorlian packed his things and got out of the way of the five remaining, while Morgan and McNiff had their first big clash of the event. On the #2s#6d#4h#6h#5d board, Morgan led out and McNiff pushed all-in. His opponent quickly called with #5s#5h and the boat, crushing Morgan’s smaller boat built with his #2h#2d.
Bryan Dillon couldn’t do much on hand #57 of the final table after moving all-in with #8d#8c and losing a race against Johnson, while Ryan Foley tried to steal Morgan’s blind a little while later to finish in fourth place.
Johnson was the other victim of Jordan Morgan, calling an all-in on the river with made two pairs only to see his opponent holding a set.
At that point, Morgan went on a tear having a big 4-to-1 chip advantage over the last opponent standing in his way, Evan McNiff. Nevertheless, McNiff didn’t back down and fought for another six long hours before agreeing to go into overtime.
The momentum shifted as Morgan couldn’t finish off his opponent. McNiff won a key pot on hand #175 when he value-bet his flush on the river and was ready to celebrate on hand #199 when he put his opponent at risk with his #kc#kd. Morgan had #as#kh and was hopeless looking at the #10d#jh#2c#8c board. The river, however, saved him by bringing the #ac.
So the fight continued until they agreed to take a much-needed rest.
The play will resume at 1 PM Pacific Time with the two remaining players having almost even stacks:
- Jordan Morgan – 4,445,000
- Evan McNiff – 4,170,000
Who will win the heads-up marathon?