Racener and Duhamel to Go Heads-Up

Cutting the fat from this year’s WSOP Main Event final table didn’t take quite as long as it did last year, but it was nevertheless a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. We’ll break the action down in a moment, but here’s where the placings stand going into heads-up action tomorrow:

Soi Nguyen – 9th – $811,823

Matthew Jarvis – 8th – $1,045,743

Jason Senti – 7th – $1,356,720

John Dolan – 6th – $1,772,959

Michael Mizrachi – 5th – $2,332,992

Filippo Candio – 4th – $3,092,545

Joseph Cheong – 3rd – $4,130,049

John Racener – 30,750,000 chips

Jonathan Duhamel – 188,950,000 chips

Canadian Jonathan Duhamel was the chip leader coming to the final table on Saturday, and he’ll far and away be the chip leader tomorrow. American pro John Racener has held on thus far, but with a slim fraction of Duhamel’s chips many consider the championship race to be settled. If you haven’t been following the final table action live, then here’s what you missed last night…

Coming back from the dinner break, the players were quiet, and the first few hands were pretty passive-aggressive with a series of all-in calls promptly followed by “everyone folds.” Before long the Grinder started putting the pressure on the rest of the table and as a result put a little more distance between his stack and former leader Duhamel’s.

After a series of decisive but unsurprising hands, the room was rocked out of its coma in Hand #116 when Cheong called Senti’s all-in. Cheong revealed a pair of 10s while Senti showed A-K unsuited. The flop came down as K-K-Q, and the Senti contingent exploded with applause. A J on the turn gave Cheong some hope, and the event got its second big river surprise when the fifth card came up a 9. Senti was out in 7th.

It was same ol’ same ol’ again as the final six clung to their chips for the next dozen hands. Short-stacked John Dolan decided that Hand #129 would be the best time for him to make his final stand, and Duhamel rose to the challenge. Dolan showed Q-5 unsuited and Duhamel showed a pair of baby 4s. An all hearts flop changed nothing for either player, and ultimately Duhamel’s 4s took the hand, putting Dolan to bed in 6th place.

The first signs of trouble for Mizrachi came in Hand #139 when he called Racener’s all-in with an A-8 only to watch Racener’s A-K catch a break with another K on the turn. It was a welcome win for Racener and the beginning of the end for The Grinder. Racener put his extra chips to good use and followed up a big loss in Hand #148 with another double-up – this time off Duhamel – in Hand #149. Duhamel responded by doubling up in the next hand and simultaneously taking another chunk off Mizrachi when The Grinder attempted to take him out with a pair of failed 3s in Hand #150.

Mizrachi goes on the prowl and takes six more pots before locking horns (and losing) to Duhamel who slow plays a pair of pocket rockets for the win in Hand #185. The table takes a break as the poker press swarms around a disappointed Mizrachi, and when the final four return it takes only three more hands to finish off another player.

The first Italian finalist, Filippo Candio, is put out in 4th when Cheong outdraws his significantly better pair of suited connectors in Hand #188. There is no break, and Cheong – riding high off his recent takeout – dominates the next several hands and becomes the first player to top the 100 million chip mark. Duhamel knocks him down a notch (or two) with a big tangle on Hand #197 that puts Duhamel up to 110 million and Cheong back down to 80 million.

At this point, the action is pretty much already heads-up. Racener knows he’s low on ammunition, and he plays tight and smart, taking only what he can for the next several hands. Cheong and Duhamel go at it again in Hand #213. At this point Cheong is leading, so when both go all-in and Duhamel wins Cheong is still in the game but with less than 10 million chips remaining. He doubles up with a small refund from Duhamel in Hand #215, but he’s staggering, and no one is surprised when Duhamel finishes him off in Hand #219.

The final two have been determined. It will be early leader Jonathan Duhamel and pro favorite John Racener going heads-up for the title on Monday. It’ll be a story to beat David and Goliath if Racener can rally tomorrow night.

Related Entries