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
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
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
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
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 / worldseriesofpoker.com