World Series of Poker Update  

WSOP Report:  Event #27, Pot-Limit Omaha


Ivey Takes Fifth - Can he do 30?
Phil Ivey wins fifth WSOP gold bracelet, defeats Robert Williamson in marathon heads-up match.

Event #27: Pot-Limit Omaha (with re-buys) Championship
Location: Rio, Las Vegas
Buy-in: $5,000
Re-buys/Add-ons: 229
Number of Entries: 134
Total Prize Money: $1,765,568

What do Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Bones Berland, T.J. Cloutier, Ted Forrest, Berry Johnston, Layne Flack, and Stu Ungar all have in common?

If you answered that all of the above players have won five gold bracelets (lifetime wins) at the World Series of Poker -- you're right. On June 28, 2005 Phil Ivey won his fifth WSOP title, becoming the youngest player in history ever to reach such a lofty position. Still in his 20s, Ivey has won more bracelets than great players twice his age and shows no signs of slowing down. Only 14 players in WSOP have won five or more lifetime gold bracelets.

"I think I can win 30," said Ivey afterward. "Tournaments are much tougher to win now because the fields are (so big). I don't play as many tournaments for that reason, but I still think I can get to 30."

The notion that any single player, even a player with Phil Ivey's level of skill and self-confidence, could possibly reach 30 lifetime victories seems remote at first glance. But given what Ivey has accomplished in just seven years of tournament poker, don't bet against the player who started out grinding an hourly win rate in the cardrooms of Atlantic City over a decade ago.

This tournament was special for a number of reasons. It was arguably one of this year's more exciting final tables, loaded with superstar talent and just enough wild cards to make the night unpredictable. Five of the nine players were former gold bracelet winners, with a staggering 20 titles shared between them - Phil Hellmuth (9), Allen Cuningham (4), Phil Ivey (4), Eddy Scharf (2), and Robert Williamson III (1).

Perhaps just as impressive was the fact that Robert Williamson III was making his fourth straight final table appearance in this event. Widely-acknowledged as one of the world's top Pot-Limit Omaha players, Williamson solidified his reputation as a master of the game by making it through a grueling level of competition for a fourth consecutive year. Williamson came into this year with previous 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes. Phil Ivey arrived with 494,000 in chips, over twice the level of his closest rival. Players were eliminated in the following order:

10th Place: Richard St. Peter
Richard St. Peter took poker's toughest beat when he made an ESPN-televised final table, but he busted out first (10th place) which was officially the bubble.
9th Place: Claude Emile Cohen, $52,555
Claude Emile Cohen was the first player to exit in the money. Cohen started with two pair, but busted out, losing to Davood Mehrmand's trip aces.
8th Place: Phil Hellmuth, $70,075
Phil Hellmuth has played as well as anyone at this year's WSOP. But thus far, he has been unable to win the elusive 10th title he seeks. Two days after Johnny Chan became the all-time leader in WSOP wins, Hellmuth hoped to draw back to even with a victory. It wasn't to be. Hellmuth took a horrible beat when he flopped a set of queens, which lost to Robert Williamson's higher set (kings).
Note: This was Hellmuth's 49th time to cash at the WSOP. He now owns the lifetime record for most cashes - one ahead of Berry Johnston.
7th Place: Eddy Scharf, $87,595
One of the tournament's most exciting hands took place when Phil Ivey knocked out two players with a flush. Eddy Scharf flopped bottom set (deuces). Sigi Stockinger flopped top set (queens). Ivey had the nut-flush draw and hit a spade. The board did not pair. That eliminated Lufthansa airline pilot Eddy Scharf in 7th place. Scharf has won two gold bracelets.
6th Place: Sigi Stockinger, $105,115
On the same hand, Sigi Stockinger went out. The Austrian initially posed the biggest challenge to Ivey (second in chips), but flopping top set and losing was a crushing blow.
5th Place: Surinder Sunar, $122,635
Surinder Sunar was the shortest stack and watched happily as two players went out. That moved him two spots up the money ladder. Sunar went out a few minutes later when he failed to connect on a flush draw.
4th Place: Allen Cunningham, $140,150
This was Allen Cunningham's third final table appearance so far in at WSOP 2005. His quest for bracelet number five was destroyed when he flopped top set and lost to Phil Ivey's flush. Ivey flopped a flush and the board failed to pair.
3rd Place: Davood Mehrmand, $192,710
Ivey was over a million in chips, and Davood Mehrmand seemed delighted just to be sitting at the dinner table. Mehrmand didn't play many hands and, getting short on chips, shifted gears. Incredibly, Mehrmand stunned his two opponents by winning a number of key pots and seized a slight chip lead. That lasted about two hours. Then, after the trio had been playing three hours together with no end in sight, Mehrmand made a surprising play with a straight draw (wrap) which was called down by Ivey. Mehrmand missed his draw and was out.

Runner up: Robert Williamson III, $350,380
When heads-up play began, Phil Ivey enjoyed a 3-to-1 chip lead over Robert Williamson - 1,400,000 to 425,000. It took another 90 minutes to clobber Williamson's dream of staging a comeback. On the final hand, Williamson bet aggressively with top pair, overcards, and a flush draw. He picked the wrong time to play a hand strongly. Ivey had flopped a straight and the big hand held up.

1st Place: Phil Ivey, $630,685
Phil Ivey was born in New Jersey. He has played poker professionally for 10 years. He moved to Las Vegas a few years ago to concentrate on high-stakes games. Ivey routinely plays in the biggest cash games in the world.

Ivey seriously believes he can win 30 gold bracelets. At this rate, he will have number thirty at the 2021 World Series of Poker at the age of 48. Is inconceivable that even Ivey's optimistic estimate may be too low?
View final results.

Tournament reporting by Nolan Dalla /


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