Duhamel vs. Racener: Down to the Final Two at the WSOP Main Event

by Lou on November 8, 2010

We’re down to the two finalists who will play off tonight for the 2010 WSOP main event championship.  While you’ll be able to read a variety of lengthy hand-by-hand analyses in the coming days about the November Nine, here—in a nutshell—is how they got there.

Ninth Place: First out the door was amateur Soi Nguyen who was eliminated in ninth place.  He fell to Jason Senti, who held A-K to Senti’s Q-Q. It was a classic race, but it ended early when Senti floped a set and Nguyen never improved.

Eighth Place: This is a hand you’ll see over and over again in replays, and if ESPN included poker hands on web gems or their top ten plays of the day, you’d see it there too.  It’s one for the ages.

Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi and Matthew Jarvis were all-in before the flop.  The Grinder had Ad-Qd, Jarvis 9c-9h. The flop was Q-8-Q, giving Mizrachi trip queens for a huge lead.  Then a nine on the turn completed a full house for Jarvis, and it looked like a sure win for him, but an ace on the river gave Mizrachi a bigger full house, grinding Jarvis into an eighth place finish.

This was a hand in which the lead changed on every betting round.  You don’t see hands like this too often, especially at the final table of the WSOP main event. Jarvis’ consolation was a cool $1 million for his efforts.

Seventh Place: While play dragged on seven handed, Michael Mizrachi went on a rush to take the chip lead with 60 million, and looked like a formidable foe at this point in the competition.  After the dinner break Joseph Cheong had 10c-10s but was way behind when Jason Senti’s Ad-Ks found a flop it loved: Kd-Kh-Qc.  Senti looked like he was poised to make a run, but the Jd on the turn and 9d on the river card gave Cheong a runner-runner straight and Senti was sent packing in seventh place.

Sixth Place: John Dolan, who I predicted would win it all, was a strangely silent presence at the final table.  He was never able to gain traction, and finally moved all-in from the small blind with Q-5.  Jonathan Duhamel called with 4-4. The fours held up and Dolan was unceremoniously eliminated in sixth place.  This elimination lacked the previous drama of the Grinder-Jarvis hand in which Mizrachi’s bigger full house skewered Matt Jarvis, or the runner-runner straight Cheong caught to beat down Senti’s trip kings, but Dolan was gone nevertheless.

Fifth Place: Michael Mizrachi was still in front of the pack when he ran straight down after catching a few bad hands.  First he doubled up John Racener when his A-8 was unable to overcome Racener’s Big Slick, and lost his chip lead in the process. Then he doubled up Duhamel on what was essentially a coin flip.  Mizrachi finally shoved with Qd-8h, only to find Duhamel waking up with a pair of aces.  The Grinder received no help on the turn or river and was eliminated in fifth place, though he won 2.3 million in the process.  His hopes of winning the 2010 WSOP Player of the Year were also ground down in the process as Frank Kassela took the title.

Fourth Place: Filippo Candio, the animated and volatile Italian seemed like he was tranquilized at the final table. He was extremely quiet and didn’t play many hands at all.   He finally pushed his short stack in with Kd-Qd but found himself up against Cheong’s A-3. An ace flopped.  That was good enough though Cheong wound up making a wheel for good measure.  Candio’s fourth place finish paid him $3 million.

Third Place: At this point it looked like the final two would be Cheong and Duhamel.  Racener was bringing up the rear and was a long way behind too.  The two leaders each had approximately 100 million while Racener had barely one-fifth that amount.

Rather than working to eliminate Racener, Cheong and Duhamel went to war a number of times while Racener deftly stepped out of their way.  On Hand No. 213, the twenty-fifth hand of three-way play, Cheong started the action and Duhamel reraised. By the time the raising war ended, Cheong had shoved all-in with his sixth bet.  He held As-7h.  Duhamel called with a pocket pair of queens that held up and took down a 180 million pot, perhaps the largest in WSOP history.

Six hands later Cheong held Qs-10c and Duhamel had As-2c. The flop was Ks-9c-6c, the turn the 6h, and the 7c on the river eliminated Joseph Cheong in third place.  It was a $4-million payday for Cheong, but it is John Racener who goes up against Jonathan Duhamel for all the marbles Monday night.

Duhamel has a huge chip lead with 188,950,000 to Racener’s 30,750,000.  While that amounts to a 6-to-1 edge, Duhamel demonstrated that he’s not afraid to get involved in big confrontations.  That means this mano-a-mano contest could be over in just a few hands, or it might mean that Duhamel’s aggressive play doubles up Racener a few times, and if Racener doubles up twice, he will have the chip lead and anything might happen.

They’re playing tonight for a differential of $3,398,355.  That’s the difference between the first place payout of $8,944,310, and the runner up’s $5,545,955 payday.  They begin play with the blinds at 600,000-1,200,000 and antes of 200,000.  That gives Racener only about 14 rounds of play in which to make something happen, so expect to see some early all-in pushes as Racener looks to gain traction against his rival.

While I bombed out on my prediction of Dolan to win it all, I picked Racener to finish second—something I never thought would happen when three-handed play began and Cheong and Duhamel had a near monopoly on the chips in play.

You can see tonight’s play by pointing your browser to www.ESPN3.com .  There are no hole cards, so you’ll have to deduce the player’s hands just like you would if you were at the final table with them, but with only a five-minute deal, it’s as near to real time TV as you’ll get, although you can also follow live blogging of the event in real time at http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/updates.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: