As day 5 of the WSOPE Main Event got under way at the Empire Casino, day 3 chip leader Ronald Lee launched an incredible one man assault on the remainder of the table – systematically disposing of Marc Inizan (9th), Brian Powell (8th) and overnight leader Dan Fleyshman (7th) within the first 5 hours of play.
He continued his impressive poker play into the early evening, with Danny Steinberg (6th) and Nicholas Levi (5th) also falling to the New Yorker’s handy card play, with Italian Fabrizio Baldassari making a late contribution when eliminating the last of the Full Tilt pros – Roland de Wolf (4th).
However, just before midnight, whatever Lee had eaten for breakfast suddenly wore off and twice he was rolled over in quick succession by Baldassari before finally being sent packing when his 55 shove was butchered by James Bord’s set of Kings. Bord who only lives a few miles up the Edgware Road in Stanmore was cheered on by some very vociferous fans, whilst Baldassari himself had some passionate support from a group of young ladies – prompting one Harrah representative to quip “No woman has ever kissed me like that”!
As Baldassari (chips – 6.260.000) and Bord (chips -4.120.000) settled down to the heads-up, there was a fantastic air of excitement over the Empire. Hand 199 started with blinds of 30.000/60.000 and an ante of 10.000 with a higher than usual level of tension in the air.
This tension started to tell on the players as, one after another, they took it in turns to stretch their legs and go for a walk. “More walks than Crufts” commented one wag, as the first eighteen hands of the heads-up produced little fortune for either player, and small pots flip-flopped without going to showdown. Hand 218 was the turning point in the whole game.
Baldassari limped in from the button holding Qs 8s, and when Bord raised by 300.000 chips Baldassari announced he was going all-in. Bord could not get his chips in fast enough, and revealed Ad Kc prompting a massive roar from the rail. 6h 5c 4h on the flop gave Bassadari hope of a gutshot, but it was not to be as Bord held on to double his stack and take a lead he was never going to forfeit.
By hand 232 it was all over. The Italian had been attempting to recover his position by playing far more aggressively, but took it a step to far when announcing he was going all-in with his pocket 5´s. Bord pounced once again with his pocket T´s and, with the community cards providing no assistance to Bassadari, the Empire erupted (the rail actually collapsed) and Bord claimed the WSOPE bracelet and £830.401 first prize money.
Highlights in a dramatic final days play at the WSOPE must have been Ronald Lee´s roller coaster ride, a masterclass in short-stacked play by Roland de Wolf and the fantastic atmosphere that surrounded Bord´s victory. Bassadari was many a little unfortunate with his choice of decisions, but that is what makes the difference at this level of the game.
Roll on WSOPE 2011!