Tag Archives: world series of poker

The Science of Winning Poker

Bluffing still matters, but the best players now depend on math theory

By

CHRISTOPHER CHABRIS
July 26, 2013 6:56 p.m. ET

The World Series of Poker, 2010. Associated Press

More than 6,300 players, each paying an entry fee of $10,000, gathered in Las Vegas early this month for the championship event of the 44th annual World Series of Poker. The tournament ran for 10 days, and just nine players now remain. They will reunite in November for a two-day live telecast to determine who wins the first prize: $8.3 million.

Poker didn’t get this big overnight. In 2003, a then-record 839 players entered the championship for a shot at $2.5 million. The winner was an amateur with the improbable name of Chris Moneymaker. After ESPN devoted seven prime-time hours to his triumph, online poker took off and tournament participation ballooned, as did prize pools. The U.S. government’s ban on the major online poker sites in 2011 reined in enthusiasm, but the game has continued to grow in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

This growth over the past decade has been accompanied by a profound change in how the game is played. Concepts from the branch of mathematics known as game theory have inspired new ideas in poker strategy and new advice for ordinary players. Poker is still a game of reading people, but grasping the significance of their tics and twitches isn’t nearly as important as being able to profile their playing styles and understand what their bets mean.

In no-limit hold’em poker, the game used for the World Series championship, each player is dealt two private cards and attempts to make the best five-card hand that he can by combining his own cards with five cards that are shown faceup and shared by all players. Those cards are revealed in stages: The first three are the “flop,” the fourth is the “turn,” and the fifth is the “river.” Players can bet any amount they like at each stage.

Suppose you hold a pair of sevens, and before the flop is dealt you go all-in (bet all of your chips). One player calls your bet, and everyone else folds their hands. You both turn your cards face up, and you are happy to see your opponent show a pair of sixes. You are in great shape, since you have the better hand. But when the flop arrives, it contains a six, giving your opponent three sixes, and your own hand doesn’t improve, so you lose. Was your all-in play correct?

In terms of results, it wasn’t, because you lost all your chips. But according to the math of hold’em, a pair of sevens is favored to beat a pair of sixes 81% of the time. So if you can go all-in with sevens and get your bet called by players holding sixes over and over again, luck should even out, and eventually you will be a big winner.

Poker theorist David Sklansky once wrote that you should consider yourself a winner as long as you had the higher probability of winning the hand when all the money went into the pot. This attitude is consistent with the underlying mathematical reality of poker, and it can smooth out your emotional reactions to losses and wins. What matters is the quality of your decisions, not the results that come from them.

A few years ago, a young pro named Phil Galfond published a crucial refinement to Mr. Sklansky’s point. He showed that the right way to analyze a poker decision is to consider your opponent’s “range”—that is, the full set of different hands that he could plausibly have, given all the actions that he has thus far taken.

So if, for example, you believed that your opponent would only call your bet if he held sixes or a better pair, then at the moment he calls—before he turns up his cards—you should be unhappy. You want to see the sixes and be an 81% favorite, but you are much more likely to see a hand like eights, nines or higher, and against any of these your likelihood of winning is only about 19%. In fact, against this range of pairs from sixes up to aces, your “equity”—your winning chances averaged over all of those possible hands—would be just 27%.

Of course, in poker, you rarely know your opponent’s range precisely, nor does he know yours. In our example, if your opponent thinks you would never go all-in without at least a pair of tens, he probably won’t call you with anything worse than that. So his calling range depends on what he thinks your range could be.

In practice, this means that you should not make a particular play (such as an all-in bet) only when you have a superstrong hand, because this makes it easy for an observant opponent to deduce your range and fold with all but his own superstrong hands. If you sometimes make a strong play with weak hands—the ancient practice of bluffing—your opponent has a harder time narrowing your range down. This concept, known as “balancing” one’s range, supplements an expert’s intuition about when to bluff with logical explanations of why and how often it is the right play.

Calculating equities for ranges is too complicated to do while you are playing. Today’s top tournament players advise up-and-comers not to memorize formulas but to improve their feeling for ranges by playing with poker calculation apps that rapidly estimate odds by simulating thousands of hands.

Why this sudden leap forward in the strategy of a game that has existed for over a century? Computer analysis has contributed, just as it has wrought changes in backgammon and chess theory. But the real cause of the advances that have accompanied the poker boom has been the boom itself.

With 10 times more people seriously playing the game, the collective creativity and thinking power of the poker world has grown by at least an order of magnitude. The growth of poker theory is a perfect example of how innovation accelerates in interacting communities. Today’s poker players are in a world-wide arms race to discover new ideas and refine their playing styles, led by the younger generation of more mathematically minded pros. And collective progress comes from the application of collective intelligence: Putting more minds to work on a problem makes the discovery of new and better solutions much more likely.

Jason Lee

1. Each player is dealt two private cards. The goal: to make the best five-card hand using the five faceup cards shared by all players.

2. Player A gets two sevens; Player B gets two sixes. Neither player knows what the other has yet, but a pair of sevens is favored to beatapair of sixes 81% of the time.

3. After the shared cards are dealt and the players reveal their hands, Player B wins with three sixes, beating the odds.

—Mr. Chabris is a psychology professor at Union College, the co-author of “The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us” and a chess master. He played in his first World Series of Poker this year.

Advertisements

As Bitcoin Price Soars, SealswithClubs Reaches New Traffic High

The BTC-only poker room is benefiting from recent virtual currency enthusiasm, with cash game traffic doubling since early September.

Image

Bitcoin-only site SealswithClubs (SwC) has seen its cash game traffic more than double since its seasonal low in early September. The individualistic site offers an online poker room to US players that exclusively uses the Bitcoin virtual currency rather than legal tender.

Bitcoin has had a volatile ride recently. From an exchange rate low of $65 in June, the price of a Bitcoin rocketed to a high of $900 before falling back to a little over $600 today. Players who kept their bankroll in Bitcoin accounts at SwC have enjoyed the ride.

SWC cash game traffic graph (see below) mirrors the Bitcoin price graph, suggesting that the site benefited from sentiment about the currency. The latest boom has come as the US Senate has been holding hearings on potential Bitcoin regulation.

While regulation may be against the initial philosophy of early proponents of the currency, it would legitimize it and potentially create a much greater demand—sending the price up.

The SwC founders prefer to remain anonymous, but Bryan “The Icon” Micon provides a public face as the “Seals Team Pro Chairman.” A desktop client and an Android app are available, and rake at no limit tables is set at a relatively low 2.5% with a cap of the lesser of 3 big blinds or 0.005BTC.

Canadian Jonahtan Duhamel wins WSOP 2010 Main Event

JONATHAN DUHAMEL WINS 2010 WSOP MAIN EVENT CHAMPIONSHIP

Jonathan Duhamel is the winner of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship.

Duhamel, from Boucherville, Quebec became the first Canadian citizen in history to win poker’s world championship.  Two Canadians had previously finished in the runner-up spot in the 41-year-history of poker’s undisputed world championship.  Tuan Lam took second place in 2007, to Jerry Yang.  Fellow Canadian Howard Goldfarb did the same in 1995, losing to Dan Harrington.
Duhamel, a 23-year-old poker pro, collected a whopping $8,944,310 in prize money.  He was also presented with the widely-cherished and universally-revered gold and diamond-encrusted gold bracelet, representing the game’s sterling achievement.

The triumph was not easy.  Duhamel overcame a huge field of 7,319 entrants who entered what was the second-largest WSOP Main Event in history.  The tournament began on July 5th, and took more than four months to complete, including the customary recess prior to the November Nine.

Duhamel’s route to victory was a determined one, albeit peppered with a few unwanted detours.  He arrived at the final table — which began on Saturday, November 6th — with the chip lead.  He held about one-third of the total chips in play.  Duhamel lost some of his momentum during stage one of the finale, which included the elimination of seven players playing down to the final two.  Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi seized the chip lead at one point during play, but ultimately finished fifth.  Joseph Cheong also proved to be a formidable foe during the long battle, but ended up as the third-place finisher.

Stage two of the November Nine’s grand finale was played on the main stage inside the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas.  The final duel was played to a packed house of nearly 2,000 spectators and a worldwide audience following the action over the Internet.  Millions more will watch the final crescendo of the WSOP Main Event on Tuesday night, when the championship premiers on ESPN television.  The two-hour program will debut at 7:00 pm PST.
The runner up was John Racener, from Port Richie, FL.  Despite the disappointment of defeat, he could take great pride in a noble effort that resulted in overcoming all but one of the more than 7,000 players who began the pursuit of ever poker player’s greatest dream.  Racener collected poker’s supreme consolation prize — $5,545,955 in prize money.

As the Canadian champion, Duhamel was only the sixth non-American to ever win the WSOP Main Event.  He followed in the hallowed footsteps of Mansour Matloubi (UK — 1990), Noel Furlong (Ireland — 1999), Carlos Mortensen (Spain — 2001), Joe Hachem (Australia (2005), and Peter Eastgate (Denmark — 2008).

 

WSOP Main Event Final Table 2010 Wrap-Up

Wow.

As we sit here on the stage absorbing what we’ve just seen, it’s hard to find words to close this day out properly. But we’ll try.

It was just after high noon when our November Nine filed onto the stage and into their seats under the bright lights of the made-for-TV set. They were soon engulfed by a crowd of close to 2,000 spectators all decked out in matching shirts, patched up like your grandfather’s trousers, and screaming multi-lingual cheers in unison at full throat. Bruce Buffer soon took the stage to utter the most famous words in poker, and suddenly a poker game broke out amidst all the madness and pomp.

It took 28 hands to find our first casualty of the day, and it was the amateur to fall first. Soi Nguyen was content to flip his {Q-Diamonds} {Q-Spades} against Jason Senti’s {A-Diamonds} {K-Clubs}, but a third queen on the flop was all she wrote for Nguyen.

The second victim was also sent packing on a coin flip, albeit an exciting coin flip. Michael Mizrachi’s {A-Diamonds} {Q-Diamonds} loved the {Q-Spades} {8-Diamonds} {Q-Diamonds} flop, but Matthew Jarvis’ {9-Clubs} {9-Hearts} liked the {9-Spades} turn a little bit better. It looked like he’d just saved his tournament life, but the {A-Spades} river gave the pot back to The Grinder and sent Jarvis off in eighth place.

Seven-handed play dragged on for an eternity, and Michael Mizrachi took advantage of the table to build himself a fairly sizable chip lead with more than 60 million. There were still seven when they broke for dinner just before 7pm. When they returned, yet another exciting (and similar) coin flip broke out. Jason Senti’s {A-Diamonds} {K-Spades} out-flopped Joseph Cheong’s {10-Clubs} {10-Spades} in a big way as the dealer rolled out {K-Diamonds} {K-Hearts} {Q-Clubs}. The turn {J-Diamonds} was a little sweat for Senti, and the river {9-Diamonds} was a total disaster. Cheong’s straight pushed his opponent straight out the door, and Senti collected seventh-place money on his way to the bar.

John Dolan fell next in sixth place, his {Q-Diamonds} {5-Diamonds} unable to win a race (imagine that, a race) against Jonathan Duhamel’s {4-Diamonds} {4-Clubs} despite turning 16 outs to survive.

The demise of Michael Mizrachi began when his {A-Diamonds} {8-Diamonds} doubled up John Racener’s {A-Spades} {K-Diamonds} to knock him out of the chip lead. A few minutes later, he doubled up Jonathan Duhamel on a big coin flip, and it all came crashing down a few minutes later. Jonathan Duhamel played his {A-Diamonds} {A-Clubs} slow, and he lured Mizrachi into a shove when his {Q-Diamonds} {8-Hearts} flopped top pair on the {5-Diamonds} {4-Spades} {Q-Clubs}. The chips went in, and there was no further help for Mizrachi, ending his near-legendary run in fifth place. That officially gives Frank Kassela the title of 2010 WSOP Player of the Year, incidentally.

Three hands later, the volatile Italian (who was surprisingly un-volatile today) fell in fourth place. Filippo Candio got his chips in with {K-Diamonds} {Q-Diamonds}, but he could not get there against Joseph Cheong’s {A-Clubs} {3-Clubs}. Cheong flopped an ace and made a wheel by the time it was all said and done, and Candio took just over $3 million for his efforts.

When they began three-handed play, Cheong and Duhamel were running away with the show. They were each approaching 100 million while John Racener sat patiently by with his 20-ish million. Cheong, however, was in no mood to sit patiently. He went to work quickly and was the first player to crest that magical 100-million-chip mark. He and Duhamel proceeded to wage all-out war hand after dramatic hand while Racener folded his buttons, sat on his hands, and waited for the fireworks.

And the fireworks, they came. In Hand #213, 25 hands into the three-way, a battle of the big-stacked blinds broke out. It started with Cheong opening the pot, and the betting action ended with him six-bet shoving all in with {A-Spades} {7-Hearts}. Duhamel probably didn’t like the idea of playing a 180-million-chip pot, but he didn’t waste any time calling with {Q-Clubs} {Q-Diamonds}, putting himself at risk in the process. There was no ace for Cheong, and he was crushed from 95 million all the way down to just ten. It was, as far as we can tell, the largest pot in the history of the WSOP!

Cheong doubled up once in the meanwhile, but six hands after the blowup, he was gone in third place. That’s good for more than $4 million, but it doesn’t come with a ticket to Monday’s finale.

There are only two of those, and they belong to Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener. For handicapping purposes, it’s Duhamel with the big chip lead, but don’t sleep on the short stack. Racener has been playing some fine poker of late, and his short-stack abilities were certainly on display here today.

There are 13 minutes, 52 seconds left in the current level, and the button was awarded to the big stack; Jonathan Duhamel will begin with position on Monday. We’re scheduled for an 8pm start here in Las Vegas.

It’s Duhamel. It’s Racener. It’s $8.9 million and the 2010 WSOP Main Event gold bracelet. Who ya got? Find out how the final chapter plays out right back here on Monday night.

WSOP ME 2010 Final Table, the story of Joseph Cheong or How to spew 5 Million dollars

JOSEPH CHEONG TAKES THIRD PLACE IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

When they began three-handed play, Cheong and Duhamel were running away with the show. They were each approaching 100 million while John Racener sat patiently by with his 20-ish million. Cheong, however, was in no mood to sit patiently. He went to work quickly and was the first player to crest that magical 100-million-chip mark. He and Duhamel proceeded to wage all-out war hand after dramatic hand while Racener folded his buttons, sat on his hands, and waited for the fireworks.

And the fireworks, they came. In Hand #213, 25 hands into the three-way, a battle of the big-stacked blinds broke out. It started with Cheong opening the pot, and the betting action ended with him six-bet shoving all in with {A-Spades} {7-Hearts}. Duhamel probably didn’t like the idea of playing a 180-million-chip pot, but he didn’t waste any time calling with {Q-Clubs} {Q-Diamonds}, putting himself at risk in the process. There was no ace for Cheong, and he was crushed from 95 million all the way down to just ten. It was, as far as we can tell, the largest pot in the history of the WSOP!

This is how it played:

John Racener has the button.

Joseph Cheong raises to 2.9 million from the small blind after Racener folds his button. Jonathan Duhamel reraises from the big blind to 6.75 million. Cheong doesn’t buy it and four-bets to 14.25 million. Duhamel comes back with a five-bet to 22.75 million.

Cheong goes back and checks his hand while thinking about his decision. The room is completely silent while Cheong tanks. The crowd grows a bit restless after a minute or so, but settles back down before Cheong takes some more time. Cheong moves all in and Duhamel makes the call!

Duhamel: {Q-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}
Cheong: {A-Spades}{7-Hearts}

Cheong moved all in for a massive 95.05 million! Duhamel has less chips. This pot also has a lot riding on it for John Racener, the bystander in the confrontation. Time for the flop…

The flop is spread, {9-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} and Cheong still needs to hit while Duhamel stays in front.

The turn brings the {6-Spades} and everyone in this room in on the edge of their seat awaiting the river card.

The river completes the board with the {8-Spades} and that’s it! The sea of red Montreal Canadians jerseys swarms Duhamel on the stage and begins the chant of, “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!” Cheong sits back in his chair to assist with the final and official count of the stacks. His cheering section stands stunned, many shaking their heads. Cheong was left with under 10 million in chips.

Cheong doubled up once in the meanwhile, but six hands after the blowup, he was gone in third place. That’s good for more than $4 million, but it doesn’t come with a ticket to Monday’s finale.

WSOP ME Final Table Heads Up, Duel in the Desert Racener vs Duhamel

DUEL IN THE DESERT:  DUHAMEL AND RACENER TO BATTLE FOR 2010 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

It’s Jonathan Duhamel vs. John Racener!

Note:  Press Conference with final two players is scheduled for the Rio Masquerade Stage, starting on Sunday at 1:00 pm.

Las Vegas, NV (November 7, 2010) — It’s taken four months, two days, and seven hours to reach poker’s ultimate showdown.

The two final green-felt gladiators in the quest to become the undisputed 2010 Wold Poker Champion are:

SEAT 1:  Jonathan Duhamel (Boucherville, Quebec) — 188,950,000 in chips

SEAT 2:  John Racener (Port Richey, FL) — 30,750,000 in chips

The crescendo of the November Nine reached its near-final furious finale when Jonathan Duhamel eliminated Jospeh Cheong on what turned out to be the final hand of Final Table — Day One.  The last hand was dealt at 1:49 am on Sunday AM.  The long 13-hour session included the elimination of seven players, leaving only Duhamel and Racener to compete in a heads-up duel for the world title.

Third-place finisher Joseph Cheong, from San Diego, CA collected $4,130,049 in prize money — a nice consolation prize, but a painful exit nonetheless from what was close to a nearly insurmountable chip lead at one point in at the final table.

The fourth-place finisher was Filippo Candio, from Sardinia, Italy.  As the first Italian player ever to make it to the Main Event Championship final table, Candio proudly collected $3,092,545.

The fifth-place finisher was Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, from Miami, FL.  Undisputedly the most famous and most accomplished of the final nine, Mizrachi suffered a blistering final hour when he went from chip leader to the rail, losing every key late hand of importance.  Mizrachi took some consolation in his payout, which amounted to $2332,992 in prize money.

The sixth-place finisher was John Dolan, from Bonita Springs, FL.  He ran card dead at the worst possible time, hopelessly falling victim to a bad run of cards in the later stages of play.  Dolan busted out when his bluff failed.  Nonetheless, he managed to scoop a monster-sized check from his initial $10,000 investment.  Dolan received $1,772,969 in prize money.

The seventh-place finisher was Jason Senti, from St. Louis Park, MN.  He began final table play with the shortest stack, but moved two spots up the money ladder.  Senti collected $1,356,720.

The eighth-place finisher was Matthew Jarvis, who took a terrible beat en route to a disappointing end result.  Jarvis was the victim of one of several astounding final table hands which resulted in a cyclone of emotional twists and turns and ultimately, chip lead changes.  Jarvis received $1,045,743 in prize money.

The ninth-place finisher was Soi Nguyen, from Santa Ana, CA.  The only amateur player among the final nine, Nguyen collected $811,823 in prize money — an incredible accomplishment considering this was his first time to cash in a major poker tournament.

The final duel of the Main Event is set to begin on Monday night.  Heads-up play will resume November 8th at 8 pm PST, when the final two survivors will play down to a winner.  Coverage of the final table will air in a two-hour telecast on Tuesday at 10 pm ET on ESPN.

The winner of this year’s WSOP Main Event, the second largest in the 40-year history of the WSOP with 7,319 entrants, will take home a staggering $8,944,310 in prize money.  He will also be presented with the most coveted achievement in all of poker — the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship gold bracelet.

So, who will become the 2010 world poker champion?

WSOP Main Event Final Table: The Heads up is set, Cheong takes third place

JOSEPH CHEONG TAKES THIRD PLACE IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

The duel is set.  It’s Jonathan Duhamel versus John Racener.

The crescendo of the November Nine reached its near-final furious finale when zig-zagging Duhamel eliminated Cheong on what turned out to be the final hand of Final Table — Day One.  The long 14-hour session included the elimination of seven players, leaving only Duhamel and Racener to compete in a heads-up duel for the world title.

The third-place finisher was former WSOP Circuit gold ring winner Joseph Cheong, from San Diego, CA.  He collected $4,130,049 in prize money, an astronomical consolation prize that still somehow failed to heal the fresh wounds of a poker pro with broken dreams.  Making the disappointment more painful, Cheong held the chip lead about an hour before busting out.  He lost the key late hands that destroyed what at one point was viewed as a potentially insurmountable advantage.

That sets up the heads-up stage of the world championship, coming up on Monday night.  It also concluded an extraordinary day (and night) filled with twists and turns, and several exciting moments.

The fourth-place finisher was Filippo Candio, from Sardinia, Italy.  As the first Italian player ever to make it to the Main Event Championship final table, Candio proudly collected $3,092,545.

The fifth-place finisher was Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, from Miami, FL.  Undisputedly the most famous and most accomplished of the final nine, Mizrachi suffered a blistering final hour when he went from chip leader to the rail, losing every key late hand of importance.  Mizrachi took some consolation in his payout, which amounted to $2332,992 in prize money.

The sixth-place finisher was John Dolan, from Bonita Springs, FL.  He ran card dead at the worst possible time, hopelessly falling victim to a bad run of cards in the later stages of play.  Dolan busted out when his bluff failed.  Nonetheless, he managed to scoop a monster-sized check from his initial $10,000 investment.  Dolan received $1,772,969 in prize money.

The seventh-place finisher was Jason Senti, from St. Louis Park, MN.  He began final table play with the shortest stack, but moved two spots up the money ladder.  Senti collected $1,356,720.

The eighth-place finisher was Matthew Jarvis, who took a terrible beat en route to a disappointing end result.  Jarvis was the victim of one of several astounding final table hands which resulted in a cyclone of emotional twists and turns and ultimately, chip lead changes.  Jarvis received $1,045,743 in prize money.

The ninth-place finisher was Soi Nguyen, from Santa Ana, CA.  The only amateur player among the final nine, Nguyen collected $811,823 in prize money — an incredible accomplishment considering this was his first time to cash in a major poker tournament.

The final duel of the Main Event is set to begin on Monday night.  Heads-up play will resume November 8th at 8 pm PST, when the final two survivors will play down to a winner.  Coverage of the final table will air in a two-hour telecast on Tuesday at 10 pm ET on ESPN.

The winner of this year’s WSOP Main Event, the second largest in the 40-year history of the WSOP with 7,319 entrants, will take home a staggering $8,944,310 in prize money.  He will also be presented with the most coveted achievement in all of poker — the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship gold bracelet.

So, who will become the 2010 world poker champion?

WSOP ME Final Table 2010 Fantastic Finish for Filippo (4th)

FANTASTIC FINISH FOR FILIPPO

The 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event final table — otherwise known as the “November Nine” — has crossed the midway point.  There are now more players out on the rail watching and wishing, than still remain seated in poker’s richest game.

The latest player to bust out was Italian poker pro Filippo Candio, from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.  He joined fellow finalists Soi Nguyen (9th), Matthew Jarvis (8th), Jason Senti (7th), and John Dolan (6th) as outsiders now looking in – along with a capacity crowd packed inside the Penn and Teller Theater and a worldwide audience following all the action from Las Vegas.

Filippo was eliminated when his playing card: Kd playing card: Qd failed to connect to a final board that showed playing card: Ah playing card: 7d playing card: 2s playing card: 5h playing card: 4h.  Joseph Cheong held playing card: Ac playing card: 3c and ended up with a straight on the hand.The significance of becoming the first player in Italy to make it to a Main Event final table was not lost on the blossoming new tournament star.

I was very proud to represent my country and do things for poker in Italy,” Candio stated shortly after being eliminated.  “I am pleased with the way I played.  I think there are going to be many more players from my country who (do well) at the World Series.”

The last two hours has included a flurry of action, resulting a huge momentum shift.  Joseph Cheong now appears to be the player to beat as play becomes three-handed.
Play will continue all night until only two players remain.  Last year’s final table (first day) followed a similar pattern and concluded at 5:00 am.Heads-up play will resume on Monday, November 8th at 8 pm PST when the final two will play down to a winner.  Coverage of the final table will air in a two-hour telecast on Tuesday at 10 pm ET on ESPN.

The winner of this year’s Main Event, the second largest in the 40-year history of the WSOP with 7,319 entrants, will take home $8,944,310 in prize money.  He will also be presented with the most coveted achievement in all of poker — the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship gold bracelet.

Who will become the 2010 world poker champion?

WSOP Main Event 2010 Michael “the grinder” Mizrachi its out in 5th place!

GRINDER GONE!  MICHAEL MIZRACHI TAKES FIFTH IN WSOP FINALE
My personal favorite its out. 

The 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event final table — otherwise known as the “November Nine” — has crossed the midway point.  There are now more players out on the rail watching and wishing, than still remain seated in poker’s richest game.

The latest player to bust out was Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, from Miami, FL.  He was the most well-known and most highly-accomplished player of this year’s finalists.  Mizrachi busted out when his top pair (queens) fell to Jonathan Duhamel’s pocket aces.

The Grinder unwillingly joined former fellow finalists Soi Nguyen (9th), Matthew Jarvis (8th), Jason Senti (7th), and John Dolan (6th) as outsiders all looking in – along with a capacity crowd packed inside the Penn and Teller Theatre and a worldwide audience following all the action from Las Vegas.

The last 90 minutes has included a flurry of action, resulting in three chip-lead changes.  Mizrachi lost a huge pot when he came out on the wrong end of a coin flip holding pocket threes versus Jonathan Duhamel’s A-9.

Two nines hit the board, giving Duhamel more than 50 million in chips for the first time in several hours.  He had been the chip leader coming into the final table, then went south the last several hours.  Duhamel’s good fortune catapulted him into second place, behind Joseph Cheong, who regained his chip lead at Mizrachi’s expense.

With four players remaining, the chip leader is Joseph Cheong, from La Mirada, CA.

Play will continue all night until only two players remain.  Last year’s final table (first day) followed a similar pattern and concluded at 5:00 am.

WSOP Main Event 2010 John Dolan its out and we’re down to five

The latest player to walk the plank away from the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event final table was John Dolan, from Bonita Springs, FL.  He received $1,772,959 in prize money.  Dolan was short stacked and moved all-in on a bluff attempt.  The bold move failed as Jonathan Duhamel called the raise and won what remained of Dolan’s stack, with pocket fours.

Table play has been aggressive up to this point.  However, cards have fallen in a manner which has produced only four eliminations after ten hours of play (minus 90 minutes taken for the dinner break).
Play will continue all night until only two players remain.  Last year’s final table (first day) followed a similar pattern and concluded at 5:00 am.
Heads-up play will resume on Monday, November 8th at 8 pm PST when the final two will play down to a winner.  Coverage of the final table will air in a two-hour telecast on Tuesday at 10 pm ET on ESPN.
The winner of this year’s Main Event, the second largest in the 40-year history of the WSOP with 7,319 entrants, will take home $8,944,310 in prize money.  He will also be presented with the most coveted achievement in all of poker — the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship gold bracelet.

Who will become the 2010 world poker champion?  Keep it here at WSOP.COM for all the latest news, chip counts, and photos from the grand finale to find out.  Be sure to tune in to ESPN’s telecast on Tuesday at 10 PM EST, to see how it all unfolded.