That’s what I told the men in vests, those WSOP event staff persons who were helping set everything up for yesterday’s Event No. 11 final table, including unwrapping new packs of cards that would be used in the event. This was Round 3 of the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, a six-handed final table that culminated in Phil “The Chairman” Tom defeating Greg “FBT” Mueller heads up for the $477,990 first prize.
To be accurate, that actually was not the amount Tom won last night, even though that was the amount I reported when filing my narrative of the final hand. When play got down to three-handed, the remaining players cut a deal, apparently dividing the remaining prize money evenly (or close to evenly, anyway). That meant Tom, Mueller, and third-place finisher Leo “Superfluous Man” Wolpert took home about $321,000 apiece (or thereabouts).
We didn’t report the deal-making, for no other reason than we didn’t catch it when it happened. My partner Steve and I had been too preoccupied trying to get every hand of the final table reported (we did), and didn’t pick up on what was going on when the three briefly discussed terms while cards were still being dealt. After it was all over, though, I realized the significance of that discussion the final three had had earlier on when I overheard Mueller telling Tom he’d already settled with Wolpert.
Ended up being another short evening, as the final table was over and done within seven hours or so. It took over 100 hands for the first bustout, but they were all through by Hand #176. Heads up lasted 17 hands. Mueller, at about a 2-to-1 chip disadvantage when heads up began, seemed to limp in just about every single hand when he had the button, preferring to see flops than to apply any kind of pressure on his less experienced opponent playing out of position. Tom, meanwhile, played a pretty solid game, really ramping up the pressure once they got to three-handed.
(Tom, by the way, is the father of Scott Tom, the former Vice President of Operations and/or CEO of Absolute Poker whose name repeatedly came up in connection with the “super-user” cheating scandal at that site last fall.)
I do think the deal affected how the poker was played at the end of the final table. I’d been kidding about the jokers, of course. Was interesting, though, to witness the players taking control there at the end and not allowing the 52 cards to determine where the cabbage went.
I’m off today, resting up before starting my coverage of tomorrow’s Event No. 19, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event.