By Matt Kaufman, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
It took four months to whittle the field of 6,868 down to just three. On Tuesday night, German Pius Heinz, American Ben Lamb and Czech Martin Staszko will battle it out for the bracelet and a hefty $8,715,638 first place prize. How did they get there?
At the beginning of the final table Sunday afternoon, the chip counts looked like this:
Martin Staszko - 40,175,000
Eoghan O'Dea - 33,925,000
Matt Giannetti - 24,750,000
Phil Collins - 23,875,000
Ben Lamb - 20,875,000
Badih Bounahra - 19,700,000
Pius Heinz - 16,425,000
Anton Makiievskyi - 13,825,000
Sam Holden – 12,375,000
With stacks fairly even and three distinct short stacks, play was going to be very cautious in the beginning.
Holden was eliminated by Ben Lamb a few hours into the final table when his A-J could not catch up to Lamb's A-K. Holden walked away with $782,115.
The 21-year old Ukrainian Makiievskyi was the second player to be excused from the final table, and in somewhat brutal fashion. Action folded to him in the small blind and he went all-in with K-Q. Pius Heinz woke up with 9-9 in the big blind and called. The flop came K-J-J, forcing Heinz to draw to 2 outs, one of which was the 9 that showed up on the turn. Makiievskyi was eliminated and Heinz took the chip lead.
Bob Bounahra of Belize entered the final table the sole amateur player, and to be frank his play at the table confirmed that fact. After some unconventional hands which got him very short on chips, Bounahra busted when he shoved A-5 into Martin Staszko's A-9.
Eoghan O'Dea's journey to the rail should be told in 2 hands. Before the dinner break, O'Dea called the preflop all-in of Ben Lamb. Lamb held Q-8 and O'Dea had A-9. Lamb rivered an 8 to cripple the Irishman. After the dinner break, the players returned and O'Dea was forced to shove his last 2.5 big blinds with anything- in this case Q-6. Martin Staszko called with 8-8 and O'Dea hit the rail.
The online legend known as "USCPhildo" was the beneficiary of a lucky suckout early in the day vs. Ben Lamb, but with 5 players left couldn't overcome a better hand again. German Pius Heinz had been opening a lot of pots, and Phil Collins moved all-in after Heinz raised a hand. Heinz called with 9-9, and Phil Collins flipped A-7. He flopped a straight draw and turned a flush draw, but none of his outs hit on the river and Collins was eliminated.
By many accounts, Matt Giannetti was the player who ran the worst at this final table. First, Ben Lamb went all-in over a Giannetti open, and Giannetti snap-called with J-J. Lamb held the A-7 of hearts and made a flush to take a 55 million chip pot. Later, Giannetti made a standard all-in shove with a short stack from the button with A-3 and Ben Lamb woke up with K-K. To make matters worse for Giannetti, Lamb flopped quads and the final 3 were set.
The final 3 players will return on Tuesday night to play down to a World Champion. Those players and their chip counts are as follows:
Pius Heinz - 107,800,000
Ben Lamb - 55,400,000
Martin Staszko - 42,700,000
Play will resume with blinds at 600,000/1,200,000 with a 200,000 ante.
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