Esfandiari still in the running with four left in the WSOP One Drop High Roller

29 June 2013

Nearly everything about the final table of the $111,111 One Drop High Roller at the World Series of Poker, determined late on Thursday night at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, was similar to the final table of last year's $1 million Big One for One Drop.

Last year, four players who weren't professional players made the final table. This year, three businessmen with deep pockets made the final eight. Last year, the ninth-place finisher was Mike Sexton, known to most poker fans from his work as a commentator on the World Poker Tour. This year, the ninth-place finisher was Olivier Busquet, who has commentated for ESPN during its live poker broadcasts and for the Bicycle Casino's "Live at the Bike."

But most notably, the chip leader when this year's One Drop High Roller final table was determined was Antonio Esfandiari, who parlayed a chip lead at last year's final table to a tournament win and $18.3 million. Esfandiari is still in contention for this year's $4.8 million first-place prize with four players remaining. And oh yeah, he's still running pretty darn good.

Near the end of the final level of play for the night, Esfandiari held pocket 10s, dominating Richard Fullerton, the president and managing member of RBF Capital Management's pocket sixes. It looked like Esfandiari's run-good in One Drop events, however, might be in jeopardy when Fullerton flopped a six. But a 10 landed on the turn, eliminating Fullerton in fifth and giving Esfandiari the chip lead.

Esfandiari is looking to repeat as the One Drop champion at the World Series of Poker.

Esfandiari is looking to repeat as the One Drop champion at the World Series of Poker. (photo by Aaron Todd)

He later surrendered that lead, losing a race with a pocket pair to Bill Perkins's overcards near the end of play for the night and ended up as the short stack with four players remaining.

The final table will resume on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT and will be live streamed with hole cards on a 30-minute delay by ESPN3.

Perkins is the chip leader with 14.7 million chips, while Anthony Gregg has 13.9 million, Chris Klodnicki has 12 million, and Esfandiari has 9.2 million. Blinds will be 200,000/400,000 when play resumes.

Day 3 started with players looking to survive the money bubble, with 26 players vying for 24 payouts. Haralabos Voulgaris was the first to fall about 40 minutes into the day, and hand-for-hand play began.

After extending the first level of the day for an hour because of the slow pace of play during hand-for-hand action, Yevgeniy Timoshenko finally shipped his short stack of 300,000 all-in on the first hand of the second level of the day, and Perkins called.

The players were ready to reveal their hands, but were told to wait until the action was complete on the other tables. Timoshenko and Perkins started openly discussing their holdings (Timoshenko held ace-six and Perkins had ace-five), and Perkins pulled out his phone to run the odds.

"He's on his phone, his hand is dead," joked Shaun Deeb, referring to the WSOP rule that players are not allowed to use electronic devices while playing a hand.

When the hands were finally tabled, Timoshenko doubled up and the rest of the field went back to their tables, their hopes dashed of the bubble bursting.

The very next hand, Matt Glantz put out a stack of pink 50,000 chips from the small blind, meaning to push Timoshenko all-in from the big blind. Timoshenko announced a call, thinking Glantz had put enough chips out to put him all-in, but the dealer told the players not to flip their hands over since Timoshenko had only called. After a Ts-3c-5c flop, Glantz bet enough to put Timoshenko all-in and Timoshenko couldn't have been more pleased about calling.

Once again, the players were forced to wait to reveal their hands, but it was clear that Timoshenko thought he was ahead, but Glantz let it be known he had a big draw. When the hands were revealed, Timoshenko turned over pocket aces and Glantz showed queen-four of clubs. The six of clubs landed on the turn, the bubble was burst, and the field was guaranteed at least $173,723.

The march to the final table then picked up, as eliminations began to mount. First it was Steve Gross in 24th, then Dan Shak in 23th and Farshad Fardad in 22nd. Jason Koon busted 21st, then Deeb in 20th, Phil Laak in 19th, Andrew Lichtenberger in 18th, and Daniel Alaei in 17th, and the tournament was down to its final two tables.

Sexton, the only player other than Esfandiari to cash in both One Drop events, finished 16th, and Blake Bohn was 15th, taking home $208,968. Martin Finger busted just before the dinner break in 14th, and Glantz made an exit soon after his chip stack was crippled when his ace-king fell to Martin Jacobson's ace-queen of diamonds when Jacobson made a flush on the river. Both players walked away with $251,549.

And then, in the space of just five minutes, Jeremy Ausmus (12th, $308,622), Connor Drinan (11th, $308,622), and Lawrence Greenburg (10th, $384,122) busted, and the players were consolidated at the unofficial final table for the eight-handed event.

Nick Schulman was the first to be dispatched, moving all-in with 10s-9s on a Kd-10d-2d flop, only to be called by Fullerton, who had As-Qd, needing an ace, queen, jack or diamond to move ahead. The 9d on the turn gave Fullerton a flush, and Schulman was unable to boat up on the river. He won $485,029 for eighth.

On the very next hand, Brandon Steven got all his chips in with pocket sixes vs. Perkins's ace-jack. An ace and a jack hit the flop, knocking the Wichita, Kan., car dealership owner out in seventh for $621,180.

The last level of the night produced two more casualties, with Jacobson's ace-jack bested by Anthony Gregg's pocket queens. Jacobson earned $807,427 for sixth, while Fullerton took home just over $1 million for fifth.

Play was originally scheduled to end on Friday, but the tournament drew 166 players -- more than WSOP officials were anticipating.

Related Links
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Details
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