So long, Vegas
July 22, 2011, Posted by Pokerfarm
Las Vegas is a crazy place. A city fuelled on gambling, booze and adrenaline, a place where there is no morning, noon and night. One man's dawn is another man's dusk where it's easy to fall into a sub-conscious state of being. They say four days is too long in Vegas, nevermind eight weeks. Well I'm happy to report that we've come out the other side - The WSOP is over and it's time to come home.
The Pokerfarm arrived in Sin City two months back, fresh faced and full of optimism. The boys were sleeping soundly at night, their heads filled with dreams of bracelets and glory. After a gruelling two months now is the time for reflection. It's been an immense summer in so many ways. From the very first event to the very last hand of the series The Pokerfarm have been involved in some capacity.
There's been agony and ecstacy in equal measures; for some it has been an epiphany and for others it has been an arduous struggle. We've had the youngest triple crown winner in poker history arrive at the gates of poker superstardom, yet for some of our established poker superstars it's been a brutal summer of badbeats and sickening monotony.
Throughout all of it, we’ve been there and caught a fair bit on camera as you might have seen…
The boys got off to an extraordinary start in the very first event of the series. The $25k Heads-up World Championship turned out to be pound-for-pound likely the most accomplished field ever assembled in a poker tournament. The Pokerfarm troops sent into battle in this one included Sam Trickett, James Bord, Luke Schwartz and of course Jake Cody.
A certain Mr Cody, who wasn't even planning on playing the event, announced his credentials to the world. If people hadn't heard of him before, they certainly had now. Jake absolutely steamrollered his way to the bracelet, defeating the likes of Gus Hansen and Yevgeny Timoshenko in the final.
It's evident that there is some absurd talent coming out of the UK poker scene right now and Jake is testament to this. To win the first bracelet of the series for the UK and the Pokerfarm was insane and tt was fairly apparent that Jake's rail felt the same way! If you didn't catch it before, watch our recap here.
After the celebrations ended, it was back to business for the boys and amazingly we were right back in the thick of it. Darren Kramer, Toby Lewis and Jarred Solomon were all running well in the $10,000 pot limit holdem championship and all 3 boys had made it down to the final 27. Darren Kramer lost a flip early to come 27th, and Toby’s jacks couldn’t hold in a huge pot one off the final.
Fortunately Jarred Solomon had bulldozed his way to the final as chip leader. Surely we weren’t going to win back to back bracelets? It was as tough a final table lineup as you could expect, with the likes of Sam Stein, Stephen Chidwick and Nicholas Levi all involved. Jarred's rail were out in force and he put up a great showing to come within a whisker of his first bracelet. He managed a valiant 2nd spot and just couldn't over come Amir Lehavot for the title but $350k would have helped to ease the pain of the near miss. We spent the final day of the tournament with Jarred and Darren - Relive the action in this video...
It had been only 24 hours that the dust had settled on Jarred's 2nd place that news was coming in of ANOTHER Pokerfarm deep run. This time it was Pokerfarm’s Matt Perrins who had never played 2-7 draw lowball, and decided on Saturday that he would try and learn the game so he could play in event 9, the $1500 2-7 event.
What happened from there on in is boy’s own stuff. Matt himself admitted that he wasn’t 100% sure of the rules in the early stages, but as the tourney went on he found himself more comfortable with the dynamics of the game and started to destroy the rest of the field, eventually reaching a decorated final table that included Chris Bjorin and Jason Mercier. It's fairly well documented that Matt is best friends with Jake Cody (you can hear their interview on the Pokerfarm Podcast) and here we were with two young lads from Rochdale on the verge of winning WSOP bracelets in back to back weeks; you couldn't make it up.
Matt was fearlessly aggressive and it wasn’t long before he was heads up with Chris Bjorin with an 11-1 chip lead! The writing was on the wall, and it didn’t take long before we had our second bracelet winner of the summer, defeating a field of 275 and picking up a cheque for just over $100k.
Matt Perrins - 2-7nl WSOP bracelet winner
Pokerfarm HQ started to buzz a few days after Matt's ridiculous feat in the 2-7NL when reports came in that three of the boys were deep in the $1500NL triple chance tourney. Sam Trickett, Martins Adeniya and Luke Schwartz were all at the business end and we were looking good for yet another bracelet. Unfortunately the wheels came off for all of them, with Luke finishing 42nd for $7453, Martins coming 23rd for $10,636 and Sam getting down to the last two tables before perishing in 16th place for $12,952. It was another great showing but sadly not meant to be this time.
Close but no cigar for Martins in the triple chance
It wasn't long before we had news of another Pokerfarm player making a deep run. This time it was Pokerfarm grinder, theory geek and all-round nice guy Alex Martin. Alex's run evoked a great amount of support as he has been one of the most loyal Pokerfarm players and coaches, having been involved with the farm right from the start. He had made the final table of event 20, a $1k NL affair, and was headed to the final as chip leader.
Alex got off to a good start at the final with QQ>K4 but then hit a few bumps in the road along the way. His 77 was cruelly counterfeited on the river to lose a chunk, and then AQ couldn't hold v 67 all in preflop. The slide continued until Alex 4bet shoved AJ into the QQ of eventual winner Jason Somerville and couldn't get there on a teasing 89T board. It wasn't meant to be but a tasty 5th place and $114k won't have hurt. We charted Alex's progress in this video, for those that missed it...
After the most insane rush of results at the start of the series things started to quieten down a little. A lot of the boys got involved in the cash games. Darren was especially fond of one of the big PLO games which he discussed with Jesse...
During the middle of the series some of the players seemed to hit a wall. After an unbelieveable start to the WSOP, some of the guys had been putting in massive sessions down at the Rio to no avail. Badbeats and bad luck had tainted their perceptions of the series, something all too common amongst poker players. One such player who has seemingly bemoaned his luck every day of every week of his life as a poker player is Jean-Robert Bellande. JRB is one of poker's characters; friend of the stars, never without a beautiful woman on his arm nor a smile on his face, JRB was finding it tough and we caught up with him a few times in his 'Broke Living' series. Bobby gave us all a candid account of his WSOP throughout, and midway it was apparent that the going was getting tough...
The 2 weeks before the main event were somewhat quiet. Some of the guys made deep runs but sadly there were no final tables to talk about. Sam Trickett was one of the boys having a tough time in Vegas; after a sensational year there was a weight of expectation on Sam's shoulders but he just couldn't seem to get the rub of the green, falling just short in a $1500nl event again, this time in 57th spot for $7516. The very next day it was Martins Adeniya who provided a sweat in the $5k 6max nl, this time busting in 19th for a creditable $24,942. Martins proved he was the nearly man yet again, having had so many close calls lately it's surely his time to win a title soon.
Tough times for Trickett
And so we arrived at the main event. In celebration of making it this far, we decided to record a nightly series documenting the days of our players at the main event, launching our 'Poolside' series. This was a nightly show with Jesse, Rury and Cindy Flashflood.
There were a total of 31 hopefuls representing The Pokerfarm and our sponsors Matchbook in the main event. An amazing 6865 players showed up in total over the 4 first days to guarantee a top prize of nearly $9 million. Day 1 survivors included Darren Kramer, Stan Topol, Josh Green, Wes Pantling, Sam Trickett, James Bord, Jeff Lisandro, Martins Adeniya, Jake Cody, Matt Perrins, JRB, Greg Ronaldson and Matthew Wood.
Day 2a saw only Greg Ronaldson and Wes Pantling make it through but the bulk of our guys remaining were set to play day 2b. Day 2b was a mixed affair, with our South African contigent of Darren Kramer and Stan Topol making it through with JRB, Sam Trickett, Jake Cody and John Hewitt. That left just 8 guys in the hunt going into day 3.
Day 3 was moving day and John Hewitt started to put his foot to the pedal, having a storming run and ending up on 500k by end of play. JRB and Jake both had good days and got through with c100k each. Darren Kramer squeaked through with fellow South African Greg Ronaldson and we were getting close to the cash.
The next day saw all five of our players make the cash. Jake hung in to cash in 647th place, while Darren was ousted in 387th. Greg Ronaldson was looking good to go very deep but finally came up short in 198th spot. We were now down to two players, and in all honesty it was an unlikely two who were flying the flag for the Farm.
Jean Robert Bellande had shared his heartbreak with us for the whole WSOP, and was primed to go far for the second successive year in the main event. He sat overnight with over a million in his stack. Our second player nearing the top of the chip counts was John Hewitt. John had been grinding low stakes online cash games for The Pokerfarm up until now living out in Costa Rica. He had a deep run in a $1500nl event earlier in the series for $17,000 and this had obviously got his blood pumping. He was getting close to some life changing money.
Our two survivors in the main event
Day 6 of the main was a nail biter. It was a tale of mixed fortunes for our last 2 players, as JRB's stack finally combusted when his AT couldn't outrun AJ. He finished in 65th place for just over $100k after a great run and plenty of TV time. It's fair to say that JRB won over a lot of his critics this year and showed he could also play some cards too.
That left one man. John Hewitt was headed for day 7 of the main event, Quietly going about his business, John had chipped upto $5,000,000 in chips and sat 16/57 going into day 7. Pokernews had hardly reported on the young grinder who was now a force to be reckoned with, and people started to ask who this young guy from Costa Rica was.
Day 7 was no different for John as he climbed up the chipcounts again. We were starting to get close to the really serious money now as the field was whittled down to just 22 and John sat with 13 million in chips, guaranteed at least $300k! It was a remarkable story that John had made it so far and we were all sweating a possible return in November to cheer on John at the final table.
John Hewitt - Day 8 of the main
So we arrived at day 8 of the WSOP main event. Our man John Hewitt was within touching distance of reaching the November Nine. The tension was palpable. His day 8 started well when his KcJc managed to get there on a 2-club ace high flop against his opponent's pocket eights. John was starting to gather momentum and he looked to be a lock for the November Nine. Things only got better as John's QQ won another massive pot, propelling him to nearly 30 million. Poker never goes that smoothly though, and John's push for a final table spot suffered a crushing blow when his AK couldn't hold against Pius Heinze's KJ all-in preflop.
James Bord shows John his support
Before long, we were down to one table. Ten players remained and nine of them would reach the life-changing WSOP final table. John was in the bottom few stacks and called shortstack Matt Gianetti's all-in shove with AT to lose to JJ. He was now getting short and when he opened the pot with KQ decided to go with his hand against Badih Bounahra who had him crushed with KK. Soon after, Eoghan O' Dea finished him off and that was it. We sat back in shock. Shock of being so close to the unreachable. Shock of what had just happened in the blink of an eye. John had just bubbled the biggest final table in the world and we were all numb.
John looks on resigned to his fate
Now that there's been time for the dust to settle, John's 10th place has to be looked at as a massive accomplishment, and nothing short of that. Someone always has to bubble the main event final table and unfortunately this time it was John's time. What the critics hadn't acknowledged was that a 100nl grinder had just played the game of his life for 8 days straight and made $600,000. We're certainly proud of John's achievement and obviously it would have been out of this world for him to reach the November Nine. Regardless of this, it capped off a memorable 2 months in Vegas and gave us all an almighty sweat.
So what about the figures we hear you ask? Well, there have been some immense results from our boys with Jake Cody and Matt Perrins's bracelets being the highlights. We had heartbreak for Jarred, John and Alex, and a whole heap of other deep runs over the series. As it stands, the boys at The Pokerfarm cashed for a staggering $2,030,466 in total this summer.
So it's been a momentous WSOP. We've won bracelets and come heart-breakingly close to victory. We've searched high and low for Phil Ivey, shot guns with Liv Boeree, and sang Karaoke with Kara. We've hung out with Jungleman and Durrr and even found Daniel Negreanu in our cupboard. We've partied and celebrated, wallowed and commiserated. The WSOP has had it all and we hope you've enjoyed the ride with us. Stay tuned as there will be much more to come from us over the coming months. We're off for a well-deserved rest now, turn the lights off on your way out...
Stay tuned for some video highlights of The Pokerfarm's time in Vegas as well as some more interviews and outakes from the series.