It’s a strange phenomenon that only seems to exist in the world of poker. There are 10 players remaining in the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, each of which are guaranteed a half a million dollars, with $8.5 million up top, and the once bustling and thriving Amazon is like a catacomb. The Rio All-Suite and Casino was once home to thousands of the greatest poker players on the planet and now only a handful remain.
When the event started, over ten days ago, there were 90 players involved who were wearing PartyPoker and bwin logo’s, either on their hoodies, sweat stained t-shirts or immaculately pressed shirts once again proving how successful it is to qualify for the greatest tournament on earth whilst playing your poker online.
The WSOP Main Event always kicks off with those immortal words’ Shuffle Up and Deal’ and this year that honour fell to the oldest person to ever play in the Main Event, 92-year old Ellen Deeb. Ellen Deeb taught her grandson Shaun Deeb to play poker and the runner-up in the $25,000 Big One for One Drop Mega-Satellite (where he won a cool $1 million) also had a great run the Main Event finishing in 319th place for $32,871. On that first day we saw the emergence of Christopher Kolla. Kolla is a close friend of PartyPoker Team pro Bodo Sbrzesny and he qualified for the WSOP through the PartyPoker Gladiator programme. Kolla doubled up very early to become one of the early chip leaders before finishing the day with a little over 50,000 chips. Another player to rise to prominence during the Day 1a shenanigans was Greek qualifier Manos Foudoulakis. The smoldering looking Grecian always had a decent chunk of chips all day long finishing as the top PartyPoker and bwin qualifier with 89,375 chips. 1,066 players entered Day 1a and amongst those finishing in PartyPoker and bwin colours were Manos Foudoulakis (89,375), David Scherzer (60,475), Andreas Nasvall (54,150), Christopher Kolla (54,025) and Robin Roths (49,175).
Day 1b was the starting day of choice for Giovanni Rizzo, and what a horrible day it turned out to be. The loveable Italian drew a table that included Eugene Katchalov and David Singer and was crippled after losing set over set very early on. Rizzo just couldn’t win a pot and was eliminated early doors, meaning that the Italian would not be making Italian history with his 3rd successive Main Event cash. Eight PartyPoker and bwin qualifiers made it through from the throng of Day 1b players and they were Robin Fisher (30,925), Hans Joachim Hein (65,575), Jody Howe (108,400), Dan Sauva (14,750), Mohammad Istakhar Sadiq (34,750), Christian Togsverd (9,850), Raphael Ayani (83,425) and Gaetano DiMaria (35,475).
Day 1c drew the biggest ever crowd for a WSOP Main Event when 3,418 players took to the felt and the PartyPoker and bwin club were well represented with the likes of Samuel Chartier, Tobias Reinkemeier and PartyPoker Team Pro’s Amatos Gomilla and Marvin Rettenmaier all choosing it as their day to start their WSOP assault. Four of those five players made it through to Day 2a/b with only Chartier finding the unfortunate early exit.
Day 2a/b was a tough day for the PartyPoker and bwin population with only 15-players surviving a brutal day of poker. PartyPoker Team Pro Mike Sexton found himself seated on the Table of Death alongside the likes of David Williams, Ronny Kaiser, Filippo Candio, Ryan Schmidt and Ilan Boujenah and it was Schmidt who eliminated Sexton very early on in a pre flop flip. In the end just under 900 players made it through Day 2a/b and 15 of them were PartyPoker and bwin qualifiers lead by Christopher Kolla on 344,600 chips.
Day 2c saw the WSOP Player of the Year (POY) Phil Ivey leave the competition as did PartyPoker and bwin qualifiers Sergio Countinho, Yevgen Chernenko, Michael Berger, Markus Jenisch, Blake Minty and Roman Gwildies. Bwin Sponsored Pro Jordi Martinez was shoving, and winning, while PartyPoker Team Pro Marvin Rettenmaier was building a head of steam. The day ended with 16 of our players through, meaning we had 31 players through to Day 3 proper.
Day 3 was the day everyone realised that there was going to be a new WSOP champion after Pius Heinz was eliminated. Bwin qualifier Jans Joachim Hein flopped a set of sixes to move into the top ten positions and we lost Stefan Lehner and Andreas Nasvall. In Level 12 we lost PartyPoker Team Pro Bodo Sbrzesny. The German finding an opponent who had flopped the nuts on a [9x] [8x] [7x] board whilst he held pocket queens. Finally, we started to see the emergence of the worlds top online tournament player Griffin “Flush_Entity’ Berger and we lost one of last years deep runners Jody Howe. In the end 18 qualifiers made it through headed by Francois Tosques on 426,000 chips.
Day 4 was the day that everyone was looking forward to. 720 players started and 666 were going to get paid and when the hand for hand bubble action came it lasted one hand. Four players were eliminated on the bubble and the WSOP officials decided to allow them to play a four man sit n go to see who would be awarded with a 2013 WSOP Main Event seat. By the time the money bubble had burst we had not lost a single qualifier meaning 18 players reached the money from a starting number just in excess of 90 players. A flood of eliminations followed the bubble including PartyPoker Team Pro Marvin Rettenmaier, Michael Weiss and Robert Schulz. At the other end of things the bwin sponsored pro Jordi Martinez came into prominence after patiently nursing the short stack for the previous couple of days. Eight people in total made it through to Day 5 and they were Manos Foudoulakis (1,343,000), Jordi Martinez (1,065,000), Hans Joachim Hein (676,000), Amatos Gomila (612,000), Daniel Sauva (586,000), Francois Tosques (555,000), Christopher Kolla (473,000) and Raphael Ayani (464,000).
Day 5 started with PartyPoker Team pro Amatos Gomila smashing people up. The Spanish Bull was playing his usual loose-aggressive style and it was causing a whole host of problems for his opponents. Kolla and Hein started to find themselves playing a push/fold game and it was one that Kolla did not survive. He lost a series of brutal all-in encounters to be eliminated in Level 21. It was at this time that Manos Foudoulakis moved into contention. He won a 2.5 million pre flop shove fest v to put him over 3 million chips. Not to be outdone Martinez won a big pot of his own [Qx] [Qx] v [Ax] [Kx] and the Spaniard was on 2.5 million. Hein managed to sneak past the 202nd place mark to record his greatest ever WSOP Main Event finish (after finishing 202nd in 2009 and 204th in 2010) and Francois Tosques was eliminated v . Level 22 saw the eventual eliminations of Hein & Gomila and Ayani followed suit in Level 23 leaving us with just Manos Foudoulakis and Jordi Martinez in the hat for Day 6.
Day 6 proved to be the final day for the PartyPoker and bwin qualifier involvement. Manos Foudoulakis was the first player eliminated. He doubled up Max Ovseyevitz after the money went in on a board of with Foudoulakis holding and Ovseyevitz . The river not helping the Grecian and he was down to 2.3 million chips. Then in a terrible series of events Foudoulakis was out. Firstly, he called a shove from A.J.Jejelowo on a board of whilst holding and Jejelowo semi-bluffing with . Foudoulakis was just about to double up when the hit the river and Foudoulakis was down to 225,000 chips. Those chips went into the middle not long after when he found and Eric Legoff called with . The board eliminating Foudoulakis in 91st place for $62,021. That left the bwin sponsored pro Jordi Martinez as our soul survivor and he lasted until 41st place when he got it in with v . Martinez gave his fans a sweat when the flop brought him a flush draw – – but the heart failed to show up on the board and Martinez was out in 43rd place for a $191,646 pay day.