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Straight cash, homey - WSOP Main Event hits the money

13 Jul 2013

By Vin Narayanan
LAS VEGAS -- For 18 players, Friday was the worst day of the World Series of Poker Main Event. For 648 players, Friday was the best day of the Main Event.

The Main Event, which began with 6,352 players, is only paying its top 648 players this year. And with 666 players starting Day 4 play, 18 were going to go home disappointed. The rest would win at least $19,106.

The Main Event champion will win $8,359,531.

The suspense surrounding the money bubble didn't last long Friday. The field reached hand-for-hand play about an hour into the first level of the day. And with friends and family crowding the rail, hand-for-hand action lasted just two hands.

Yuri Dzivielevski finished in 650th, which is the absolute worst place to finish in. Dzivielevski didn't win any money AND he didn't get the free buy-in to next year's Main Event that's awarded to the person who finishes one spot away from the money. As if that wasn't a big enough kick in the teeth, Dzivielevski -- who had pushed all in pre-flop -- was ahead of Gaetano Preite after the first three cards hit the board. Dzivielevski had Ks-8d and a king came up on the flop. Unfortunately for him, the next two cards on the board were twos, giving Preite quad deuces.

Dealers stand up during hand-for-hand play on the money bubble.

Dealers stand up during hand-for-hand play on the money bubble. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

The 649th-place finisher was Farzad Bonyadi. At the start of Day 4 play, Bonyadi looked like an unlikely candidate to end up busting one spot short of the money.

"I started with 276,000 in chips today. I thought I was going to double up on the guy," Bonyadi told WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla shortly after his elimination. "He had three outs and he caught it. But that's poker."

On a board reading Jd-5s-3s-10s-Kh, Bonyadi's opponent, Nick Schwarmann, turned over Ac-Qh for an ace-high straight. Bonyadi had As-Jc for a pair of jacks. Schwarmann pushed all in on the river and Bonyadi called.

Although Bonyadi was disappointed with the result, he was excited to play in the tournament.

"This is the one tournament where everybody gets excited. All the people sure got excited when I went broke," Bonyadi told Dalla laughingly. "I made everyone happy."

The eliminations continued at a rapid pace after the bubble burst. Andres Garcia was the first player to be eliminated after the bubble burst. He won $19,106 for finishing 648th.

Garcia was the first of hundreds to exit the tournament with some money in their pocket. But the Main Event field barely noticed any of the eliminations -- save one.

Doyle Brunson exits the tournament Friday.

Doyle Brunson exits the tournament Friday. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

When Doyle Brunson busted out of the tournament in 409th, the Amazon Room gave him a rousing ovation.

The poker icon had evoked images this week of golfer Tom Watson at the 2009 British Open. In summer of 2009, the 59-year-old Watson played like he was decades younger and finished the third-round at Turnberry with a one-stroke lead.

In the final round of the tournament, Watson needed to birdie 18 to win his sixth Claret Jug. But he made par on the hole and went on to lose to the younger Stewart Cink in a playoff.

Brunson played like Tom Watson this week. The 79-year-old poker icon ended Day 1B of the Main Event with 55,000 in chips. But on Day 2A of the tournament, he ran his chip stack up to 224,000. And when Day 3 ended, Brunson had 626,000.

The wheels fell off the wagon for Brunson on Day 4, much as they did for Watson during the four-hole playoff.

Brunson started bleeding chips and had about 300,000 when he was dealt Kd-10c. He bet 86,000 and forced some folds, but Martin Stazhkov went all in, and Brunson called for the rest of his stack.

As word spread throughout the Amazon Room that Brunson had moved all in, fans crowded the rail of the TV stage hoping to get a glimpse of what might be Brunson's final Main Event.

Many of the fans had smartphones in hand. Some were catching the moment on video -- ignoring the posted signs about capturing video. Others took pictures. But everyone wanted to record the moment.

Stazhkov had pocket tens, and the board missed both players, sending Brunson home.

On his way out, Brunson smiled, acknowledged the fans and did an interview for ESPN. Then he hopped on his motorized scooter and exited the Amazon Room.

Brunson, who has won the Main Event twice and reached the final table five times, is the only player who has cashed in five different decades at the WSOP Main Event. He won $28,063 today.

Victor Cianelli has more than 2 million in chips.

Victor Cianelli has more than 2 million in chips. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

When Day 4 action ended early Saturday morning, 239 players remained in the tournament. Jon Lane has the chip lead with 2.839 million. Sami Rustom (2.485 million), Grayson Ramage (2.438 million) and Victor Cianelli (2.197 million) are close behind.

Dick van Luijk, who was the first player in the tournament to crack the 1-milion-chip barrier, exited the tournament after losing a pot of around 2 million to Jason Mann. Van Luijk won $32,242 for finishing 300th.

In the 2-million-chip hand, the board read 9x-6x-4x and van Luijk moved all in for 900,000. Mann thought about it and then called. Mann had pocket aces. Van Luijk had Kx-6x and couldn't catch up.

Another veteran that exited the tournament Friday was Marcel Luske.

"I feel sick," a frustrated Luske told Casino City after busting out of the Main Event. "When you call hand in which you bust, and you see other people hitting a three-outer while you have ace-queen, you feel sick."

"I have ace-queen and the flop came ace-queen-10," Luske said. "I was really surprised he was playing king-jack (pre-flop). He had to have put me on ace-king or a made hand. And it made me sick. The guy had been playing like a mouse over there. In the last three hours, he played two hands. And now he decides to play jack-king with a raise on the button and a flat call from me so I must have a hand -- and the guy on the button was the chip leader. But he won with it. It was very surprising."

Luske had entered the Main Event with a strategy of playing conservatively during the first three days, and then become more aggressive as the tournament wore on. But he wasn't happy with the way he executed the strategy.

"I wasn't aggressive enough today," Luske said. "When I was going down to 850,00 and 800,000 around the dinner break, I didn't want to be disturbed," Luske said. "But there was somebody on the rail drunk. I hate that because my father used to drink once a week and there were always problems. It affected me, and I think it's very bad for poker.

"It's not good for the World Series with people overdoing it. . . . It did affect me. I just wasn't feeling the flow.

"It's just how the day went. I hade ace-queen in the hand before the guy went all in with ace-jack. I gave him a better hand because I still had the chip leader behind me. It's a nasty game, poker. And when you feel good, you have a much better chance.

"I certainly enjoyed playing for three or four days. I had some good moments. This was a bad one." Luske won $37,019 for finishing 261st.

One player that had a good moment today was Ronnie Bardah. He joins Christian Harder and Chris Bjorin as the only players to cash in four straight Main Events. Bardah ended the day with 980,000.

Notable chip stacks
Jon Lane 2,839,000
Sami Rustom 2,485,000
Grayson Ramage 2,438,000
Victor Cianelli 2,197,000
Seaver Kyaw 2,060,000
Yann Dion 2,025,000
Kevin Williams 2,007,000
Jackie Glazier 1,595,000
Max Steinberg 1,591,000
Yevgeniy Timoshenko 1,563,000
Rep Porter 1,526,000
Annette Obrestad 1,186,000
Ronnie Bardah 932,000
Vitaly Lunkin 839,000
Greg Merson 635,000

Notable eliminations
Erik Seidel $21,495
Marcel Luske $37,019
Humberto Brenes $19,106
Paul Wasicka $24,480
Mark Kroon $24,480
Allen Cunningham $32,242
Pablo Rojas $32,242
Matt Affleck $28,063
Lauren Kling $28,063
Tuan Le $28,063
Dick van Luijk $32,242
Ludovic Lacay $32,242
Melanie Weisner $32,242
Sarah Herzali $37,019
Bertrand Grospellier $32,242
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