Today the 2014 World Series of Poker will see the start of two events (Event #9: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em and Event #10: $10,000 Limit Omaha Hi-Low Championship) and the conclusion of two others (this one and Event #6: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout); however, it's safe to say that all eyes will be here on Event #7: $1,500 Seven-Card Razz as the WSOP's most decorated player, Phil Hellmuth, attempts to capture his fourteenth bracelet.
Yesterday, Hellmuth notched his 101st cash by making the money and then went on to make his 50th WSOP final table. Hellmuth, who won the razz event at the 2012 WSOP for his 12th bracelet, will start the day second in chips.
The only man in a better position to make a run at the $121,196 first-place prize is Greg Pappas, a poker industry veteran who bagged up 391,500. Also in a good position is last year’s runner-up, David “Gunslinger” Bach, who you may recall showed off his mixed-game chops when he won the 2009 Poker Players’ Championship.
The final table also includes Brandon Cantu (175,000) and Ted Forrest (171,000). The former is a two-time bracelet winner that finished third in the razz event Hellmuth won two years ago. The two butted heads numerous times at that final table, and leading up to this one they engaged in numerous verbal jousts while taking turns getting under the other’s skin. We expect the two to attack each other here on Day 3, both verbally and in their gameplay.
As for Forrest, who has played a quiet and steady game leading up to the final table, he has five gold bracelets on his résumé including the 1993 WSOP $1,500 razz title, and he's in a good position to make a run at No. 6. Brock Parker, also a two-time bracelet winner who grinded his way to the final table, is still alive with 138,500, as are short stacks Yuebin Guo and Kevin Iacofano, who’re bringing up the rear with 90,000 and 45,500 respectively.
Play is set to get underway at 2 p.m. local time, which is just over an hour from now. Join the PokerNews Live Reporting Team then to see if Hellmuth will capture his fourteenth bracelet or if one of the others players will stand in his way and become a part of history.
It didn't take long for the first elimination of the day to occur, and it's no surprise that it was the short stack at the final table.
It happened when Greg Pappas called the bring-in bet with an showing and Hellmuth completed with a . Kevin Iacofano reraised with a , Pappas called, and Hellmuth pushed back. A series of raises saw Iacofano get his last 28,500 in the pot and he needed to survive against two opponents.
Pappas and Hellmuth actually created a side pot when the former bet both fourth and fifth and received calls from the "Poker Brat." Hellmuth took the lead on sixth, promptly bet, and Pappas called. Hellmuth then bet seventh and Pappas raised him. Hellmuth called and discovered the bad news.
Iacofano finished with a Q-8-6-4-A low, which was no good as Hellmuth and Pappas held a seven-five and six-four low respectively. Hellmuth seemed distraught to be beat, and he got up out of his chair and wandered toward the back of the ESPN main stage as Iacofano collected his things and exited to a nice round of applause.
Yuebin Guo was extremely short stacked coming back from the break, and he wasted little time in getting it in. He did so by completing with an , which Brock Parker called with a , and then got the remainder in on fourth street.
After both boards were run out, Guo ended up making a Q-J-6-2-A low, but that was no good as Parker made a 10-8-4-3-2 low. Guo will take home $14,517 for his seventh-place finish.
Greg Pappas completed with a and received a call from Phil Hellmuth, who was showing a . Brandon Cantu came along with a , and then all three players saw fourth. Pappas bet, Hellmuth called, and Cantu raised. Pappas three-bet, Hellmuth folded, and Cantu got the rest of his chips in.
Pappas: / /
Cantu: / /
Hellmuth: (x-x) / fold
Pappas ended up making a Q-10-6-3-2 low, which meant all Cantu needed was a card lower than a king that didn't pair the board. He squeezed out his card and initially stated that it wasn't paint, but as he peeled back a little more he discovered it was. Only a king would send him out the door, and as he peeled back to full exposure he saw the monarch staring back at him.
Cantu, who placed third in the razz event two years ago when Hellmuth won, slapped the card on the table, shook his head, and then took his leave in sixth place for $19,183.
Two back-to-back hands have spelled the end for Brock Parker.
In the first, Phil Hellmuth completed with a and Parker raised with a . Hellmuth called and then bet the next three streets. Parker called all three and then checked after Hellmuth had checked seventh street in the dark.
Hellmuth: (x-x) / /
Parker: (x-x) / /
Hellmuth ended up making an 8-7-6-3-2 low, and it was good as Parker mucked and dropped to just 50,000.
In the next hand, Parker brought it in with a and Ted Forrest called with a . David Bach called with a of his own and it was three-way action to fourth street. Forrest bet, Bach called, and Parker raised. Forrest called, Bach ended up folding, and it was heads-up action to fifth street. Forrest bet, Parker raised all in for 24,000, and Forrest called.
Forrest: / /
Bach: (x-x) / fold
Parker: / /
Forrest made an 8-7-5-4-2 low, which was good enough to beat Parker's 10-7-6-2-A low.
Phil Hellmuth completed with a and then called when David "Gunslinger" Bach raised with a . Hellmuth then check-called a bet on fourth street before leading out on fifth. Bach raised, Hellmuth reraised, and Bach called off his remaining chips.
Hellmuth: / /
Bach: / /
Bach was ahead with a nine low when the last of his chips went in, but Hellmuth managed to catch an 8-7-6-4-3 low on the river. Bach was drawing live, but when he squeezed out his cards he discovered another deuce to pair.
Bach has to settle for fourth place and $34,979. He was no doubt hoping to do better, but notching a fourth-place finish after finishing runner-up in this event last year is an impressive feat indeed.
Phil Hellmuth had the bring-in with a and called when Greg Pappas completed with a . Hellmuth then called a bet on fourth street when both players picked upa six, and then bet when Pappas checked fifth street. Pappas check-raised all in and Hellmuth called him.
Pappas: / /
Hellmuth: / /
Pappas ended with a Q-10-8-6-2 low, but it was no good as Hellmuth had a Q-7-6-5-4 low. Pappas, a poker industry veteran, received a nice round of applause as he exited the stage in third place.
Phil Hellmuth brought it in with a and then raised when Ted Forrest completed with an . Forrest pushed back with a reraise, Hellmuth called and it was off to fourth street. Hellmuth caught a and bet after Forrest received a . Forrest called and then bet himself when he took the lead on fifth. Hellmuth called and then called bets on both sixth and seventh.
Hellmuth: (x-x) / /
Forrest tabled an 8-5-4-3-A low and it was good as Hellmuth mucked. With that pot Forrest has clawed his way into the chip lead for the first time.
After winning a couple small pots, Phil Hellmuth took Ted Forrest for a big one to reclaim the chip lead.
It began when Hellmuth brought it in with a and then raised when Forrest completed with a . Forrest called and then bet fourth. Hellmuth called and then put out a bet of his own when he took the lead on fifth. Forrest raised, Hellmuth called, and it was off to sixth street. Hellmuth maintained the lead and bet, which prompted Forrest to call.
Hellmuth bet on last time on seventh, and it did the trick as Forrest released his hand.