It was another exciting day at the 2018 World Series of Poker. One player picked up his first WSOP bracelet after running through a gauntlet of the best players in the game, while the $10,000 Razz Championship features a host of top professionals as they head to the final day of competition.
Event #53 - $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better
Twenty players returned for the final day of battle on Thursday in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better tournament, looking at a long day of work ahead. Leading the chip counts was Nathan Gamble with his stack of 834,000, but it was the remainder of the field that drew the attention of the railbirds. Among the other 19 players, 17 WSOP bracelets were represented, including Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, Eli Elezra and Quinn Do, forming a difficult path for anyone to take the title.
Although Gamble started the day with the lead, that quickly disappeared. Joey Couden bounced Brad Albrinck from the tournament in the biggest hand of the event to that point, his A-K-9-6 leaving Albrinck’s A-K-8-3 drawing dead after the 9-5-K-9 flop and turn. That pot shot Couden up over a million in chips (1.3 million, to be exact) and a new sheriff was in town.
It was still anyone’s tournament to take once the final table was determined. Elezra staked his claim to the bracelet by knocking off Negreanu in ninth place and Gregory Jamison in eighth, but Couden would counter by sending Dustin Pattinson to the rail in seventh. Bruno Fitoussi, who had been quiet to this point, got in the mix in eliminating Kim Kallman in sixth place. With five players to go, Couden was looking at Christopher Conrad, Fitoussi, Elezra and Matusow as his remaining opposition, a great “dream table” lineup but not one you’d want to see for a tremendous amount of cash and a WSOP bracelet.
It didn’t faze Couden, however. After Elezra sent Conrad from the tournament in fifth, Couden bested Matusow in a “flush over flush” situation for a 1.3 million pot that left Matusow on fumes and Couden holding 3.4 million chips. Fitoussi would finish off “The Mouth” in fourth place but, after Couden dispatched Elezra in third, Couden would enter heads-up against the legendary French pro with nearly a 3:1 advantage.
Couden would never let Fitoussi see the light of day, a glimpse of what the championship might look like. Over almost 90 minutes of play, Couden kept Fitoussi at a distance before finding the hand to end the festivities. All the chips went to the center with Fitoussi holding a K-K-Q-2 against Couden’s A-Q-5-3 and the “flop gods” went against the Frenchman. Coming down 8-A-6, Couden flopped the low (8-6-5-3-A) to guarantee a split pot and, with the ace, bested Fitoussi’s kings. A 10 on the turn didn’t offer any help and, once the trey came off on the river, the hand and the championship were pushed to Couden after battling through a triumvirate of poker’s best.
Event #56 - $10,000 Razz Championship
It promises to be an exciting day in what is arguably one of the most unexciting events in tournament poker. The $10,000 Razz Championship – in the only discipline in poker where the object is to make the WORST hand, not the best – brought out 119 players for action. On Friday, 13 of those players will come back.
WSOP bracelet-holding Calvin Anderson is the one best poised to pick up the jewelry, leading the way with his 962,000 in chips. John Hennigan, who already has a 2018 WSOP bracelet (and a second-place finish in another event) on his resume, is back looking for another taste of WSOP gold. But there isn’t a weak seat in the house, even all the way down to the short-stacked Eric Rodawig (31,000) in 13th place.
Because of the glacial nature of the game of Razz, Friday’s action may not be enough to determine a champion – but one of these men will be the owner of a new WSOP bracelet at some point, however.
Play will resume on Friday at 2 p.m. Pacific time, with the hopes of crowning a champion early Saturday morning.
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