First Swedish WSOP Champion Crowned
During the early hours of this morning, I, along with many others, was glued to my TV screen as I streamed the action from the final table of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. The three-handed action was fantastic and highlighted the skill of the players who managed to make it that far, and right around half past six in the cold crisp English morning, I witnessed the crowning of the 2014 WSOP Champion.
Tuesday’s action followed on from 12 hours of action from the Rio all Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Monday where we saw the November Nine reduced by two thirds to just three players. The original plan was to play down to just two, but the relatively high number of big blinds, and an unusually late start time of 6pm, conspired to ruin this plan.
Ninth place was claimed by Mark Newhouse, which is exactly the same position he claimed last year. Ninth-place money had already been distributed to the players, so Newhouse wasn’t able to add anything to the $730,725 he had already earned back in July. Newhouse was busted by Tonking, whose pocket queens started out ahead of Newhouse’s pocket tens and stayed there.
Eighth place was taken by Brazilian Bruno Politano when he shoved his last 13.6 big blinds over the line from the button with QsTc. Felix Stephensen made the call from the big blind with 7c7s. The flop fell 2c6h3h, which was no help to Politano. The turn of Kc left him looking for one of six outs in the deck, but the 9h wasn’t one of them. Politano picked up an extra $216,352 for a total eighth place prize of $947,077, and he never seemed to lose the smile that had been on his face all day.
One of the three Americans to make the final table was the next to go. Dan Sindelar only lasted another six hands after the elimination of Politano. He four bet shoved over raises from Stephensen and van Hoof with pocket jacks. Three-bettor van Hoof made the call with Ah3h and was the one needing to hit the community cards. Hit he did, as the flop was spread to show 7h2hAd, giving van Hoof a pair of aces. The 3d turn, and Qs completed the cards in the middle of the felt, and the massive pot was shipped over to now dominant chip leader van Hoof. Sindelar collected the balance of his $1,235,862 payday, and the final table continued.
It took another 36 hands before another player left the table, and this time it was Spaniard Andoni Larrabe. He jammed his last 8.325 million chips into the middle with JcTc after van Hoof had opened the pot with a standard raise. Van Hoof dipped into the tank before making the call with Kh5h. The flop increased Larrabe’s deficit, as it fell 8d3hKs to give van Hoof a pair of kings. The turn and river were meaningless, and van Hoof won the pot to cement his chip lead. Larrabe finished in sixth for $1,622,080.
Play continued for another 69 hands before a chip crippled Billy Pappas was all in blind with just 50,000 with the ante sitting at 150,000. Jacobson raised to 2.25 million from the cutoff, and Felix Stephensen made it 5.5 million from the small blind. Van Hoof went into the tank before he announced a raise to 12 million. Jacobson got out of the way, leaving the all in Pappas and van Hoof to see who’s cards were better. Pappas was holding pocket sevens, while van Hoof had found pocket jacks. The community cards couldn’t save Pappas, and he finished in fifth place for a very nice $2,143,174.
Four-handed action lasted a total of 15 hands, before Will Tonking was sent back to New Jersey in fourth place. He got his 20-big-blind stack into the middle with pocket deuces, against Martin Jacobson’s pocket tens. An all-club flop gave Tonking some flush outs, but the poker gods were not smiling on him as the final two community cards were bricks. The cage had the balance of his $2,848,833 prize money waiting for him to collect. There were only another 20 hands of poker before play was suspended with three left after 12 hours of play.
The final day was going to start with chip counts as below:
Jorryt van Hoof – 89,625,000
Martin Jacobson – 64,750,000
Felix Stephensen – 46,100,000
Each of the final three returning player had the chance to be the first from their respective countries to hold the WSOP ME Championship. The play three-handed was a master class of late-tournament, no-limit hold’em poker, with all three of the remaining players showing a level of skill that most of us would kill to achieve. Many on Twitter took the time while they watched to commend the quality of the play:
This might be the most talented final 3 the WSOP ME has ever seen (will ever see?). Anyone think another trio is better?
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) November 12, 2014
My prediction before the final table started was 1. Stephensen 2. Jacobson 3. Van Hoof After watching I have changed my mind a bit. — Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 11, 2014
Not all was positive about the broadcast in the Twitter-verse though. Several of the elite of poker made comments about some of the strategy being wheeled out by booth analyst Antonio Esfandiari. High-stakes regular Justin Bonomo seemed to sum up the prevailing thoughts from the majority of the community with this sentiment:
It’s a shame that the viewers are misled to believe that the commentators know more about poker than the players at this final table.
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) November 12, 2014
The final day started off with the quality of play as high as it was when they finished the penultimate day of the event. The players didn’t seem to be afraid of confrontation, but no-one was going out of their way to run over the table with pure aggression.
In the 48th hand of the day, original final table chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, was the third-place victim of Martin Jacobson. Van Hoof opened to 3.6 million (2.25 big blinds) only to see Jacobson three-bet to 9.2 million from the small blind. Van Hoof spent some time in the tank before announcing he was all in for 46.2 million. Martin pretty much snap-called, and showed that his AsTc was ahead of van Hoof’s Ad5d. The flop was fanned to show Th5s2h to give both players a pair, but leaving van Hoof needing to hit again to save his tournament life. The Qc appeared on the turn, leaving van Hoof looking for one of the two remaining fives. The Qs river sealed his fate, and gave him his resulting $3,806,402 payday.
Although the WSOP refuses to endorse or facilitate deals, they still happen, but according to media on site, Jacobson had rued out any deals early in the final table process.
Speaking with few sources, no deal discussed b/w these three. Likely won’t be heads up, either. Told Jacobson and van Hoof won’t deal. #WSOP
— Donnie Peters (@Donnie_Peters) November 12, 2014
The heads-up battle lasted 35 hands, with Jacobson firmly in control throughout. It seemed to be inevitable that the Swede was going to be the one to raise the bracelet at the end of play. The inevitable happened when Jacobson shoved for an effective 17.8 big blinds over Felix’s opening raise. Felix made the call with his Ah9h, but was in need of some help from the poker gods when Jacobson’s pocket tens were turned over. The rails were going nuts, with half of them screaming for a ten and the other half screaming for an ace. The dealer dealt the three cards for the flop, and when they were turned over it wasn’t good for Felix. The 3s9cTc gave Martin a set of tens, leaving Stephensen drawing very thin for his tournament life. The Kd on the turn sealed the deal, and the irrelevant river was the 4c. Stephensen ended the day with a $5,145,968 payday, which could never be described as a bad result.
Martin Jacobson, however, ended the 2014 World Series of Poker with a cheque for $10 million and the WSOP Championship. Jacobson had been a big man of European poker for a while, with 11 major final tables to his name. These included a third and two second-place finishes in EPT Main events, as well as fourth place in the 2011 EPT Berlin main. Many in the industry have added their voices on social media to the cheers for the new champion. Congratualtions to Martin Jacobson on his first major title, and it seems he saved it all for the big one.