By now you’ll have probably heard that Antonioi Esfandiari won the special $1m buy in event at the WSOP. For that he collected over $18m and promptly scoots to the top of the all time money list. He also received a platinum bracelet supposedly worth $350,000, which is a teensy bit of overkill!
The final table consisted of 3 amateurs who I suspect are already billionaires, five active professionals and Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 main event winner, who I don’t really know how to categorise. He’s certainly a “businessman” but maybe “retired professional” would be more suitable for these circumstances. I wonder what the last tournament he entered was? Whenever it was, he’s proved the old adage that class is permanent. Here’s the list of the prize winners:
1. Antonio Esfandiari – $18,346,673
2. Sam Trickett – $10,112,001
3. David Einhorn – $4,352,000
4. Phil Hellmuth – $2,645,333
5. Guy Laliberté – $1,834,666
6. Brian Rast – $1,621,333
7. Bobby Baldwin – $1,408,000
8. Richard Yong – $1,237,333
9. Mike Sexton – $1,109,333
Spare a thought for those “poor” players who busted close to the money and received nothing at all. It’s a tough racket!
Mikhail Smirnov, the man who folded quads eights face up, played an interesting hand the day after. He got it all in with pocket nines and knocked out two opponents (A10 and AA) by making quads nines! See, he was just waiting for a better spot! Unfortunately for him, he didn’t go on to cash though.
I watched the action from six players down to the winner and that only took about 3 hours between 1.45 am and 4.45am. Given the slow pace the actual hands were played and the breaks when players were knocked out – I’d be surprised if that even amounted to 50 hands. The very first hand I saw was Sam Trickett busting Brian Rast, who held the nut flush and had been slow playing. He was ahead as well, up to the river – whereupon the board paired and Trickett turned over not a full house but…..quads! It was definitely a tournament for quads.
And there was me sitting there as Trickett pondered his move saying to myself “he doesn’t look very happy here”. See I ain’t lost it!
Other highlights on the final table were a large pot between Esfandiari and Trickett in a hand that took 10 minutes to play. The tension was absolutely unbearable. Remember if you will that in the televised coverage the viewers don’t get to see the cards and it can make for quite entertaining viewing as the commentators tie themselves in knots trying to predict what they have.
Preflop the action went “bet” by Guy Laliberte, “min raise” by Esfandiari with what turned out to be AK and “min reraise” by Trickett with 98s.
Laliberte folded and Esfandiari took three minutes to call Trickett’s min reraise preflop! Each decision he just check called, except the river which went check check as Trickett surrendered (he’d been bluffing) and I swear Esfandiari was the coolest person in the house. The tension really was immense by the river. Even to watch it was almost unpleasant.
But that was nothing compared to the hand he played with Einhorn. Einhorn later said he learned a big lesson from this hand.
Esfandiari floated Einhorn twice on the flop and the turn and stole it off him on the river when he checked to him.
The flop had three spade and on the turn there were four spades but still Esfandiari kept calling. The commentators were speculating just how big a flush each player had.
Einhorn checked the river and Esfandiari pounced to take the pot
Einhorn showed his A8 – no spade.
And Efandiari showed his hand as well 109 offsuit. No spade either!
Incredible stuff when you think about the stakes. Any bet by Einhorn and Esfandiari has to fold, yet he kept floating those bets ready to steal when he smelled weakness.
Esfandiari said afterwards that to prepare himself mentally he sat down in the shower for 10 minutes in the morning and just pretended he was about to go and play a $10 sit n go. I reckon his plan worked. And I’d say he deserved the win for his play on that hand.
One thing I could not believe at the end. When the two were heads up – with first prize of $18m and a second prize of $10m, after each hand they were showing each other their cards! I just thought this was incredible that they would freely reveal such information as if they were playing a home game. Can it possibly be ideal strategy to give away this much information to a world class player? I suspect the delights of having locked up a min cash of $10m was taking control at this point. And it’s a bit rich for me to sit here criticising the men who are out there battling it out heads up for $28m!
Apparently next year they will be running a new even bigger competition to keep up the wow factor – a $1m rebuy.
(OK that’s absolutely not true)