Saturday was four years to the day that Phil Hellmuth won his eleventh (and last) World Series of Poker bracelet. When he made it to the final table of Event #16, the $10k 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship, it seemed like fate had determined this would be the night Phil made it an even dozen. But this is Vegas, not Hollywood. Instead, it’s a happy ending for John Juanda, who picked up the gold and the $367k, while Hellmuth settled for just shy of $227k.
The final table featured a host of bracelet buddies, including Greg Raymer, Steve Sung, Richard Ashby, Hasan Habib, Nick Schulman and David Baker. When it got down to heads-up action, Hellmuth had the advantage, but Juanda kept at it, and three hours later the fat lady had sung for Hellmuth. Despite coming so close to his goal, Phil was magnanimous in defeat, handing Juanda the ultimate compliment: “You’re just so fucking scary.” It’s Juanda’s fifth bracelet, and he’s the first repeat winner at the 2011 WSOP.
It must be quite a relief for Juanda to change the narrative after being accosted by James Bord earlier in the tournament. Angry over Full Tilt Poker’s apparent inability to pay its US players following the events of Black Friday, Bord allegedly accused Juanda, a Team Full Tilt member, of being “a fake and disgusting human being.” The altercation reportedly ended with Juanda being escorted out of the building by security. We guess Bord can call Juanda what he likes, but on this day at least, the WSOP calls Juanda a winner.
Elsewhere, Brian Rast has taken Event #15, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em, earning his first bracelet and $227k. From a starting field of 765, the final table took less than six hours to reach a conclusion. Heads-up play began with Rast holding a slight chip lead over Allen Kessler, who ended up settling for second and $140k. Ironically, Rast hadn’t intended to take part in the event, having just arrived in town after a lengthy plane flight, but was talked into taking part by Antonio Esfandiari. Don’t forget to duke the man, Brian…