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Blumstein, Ott and Pollak through to Main Event final day

Sat, Jul 22, 4:18pm by Senior Writer

The final three for the WSOP Main Event has been decided, with Scott Blumstein remaining in a powerhouse position to claim the US$8.1 million first prize when he comes back on the final day to take on Daniel Ott and Benjamin Pollak.

Day 2 ended with the tournament’s cult figure, 64-year-old Brit John Hesp, bowing out in a  showdown with Pollak. Hesp had been battling away at the bottom of the chip pile for most of the day but held in there before finally electing to go all-in with his remaining 11 million in chips.

Hesp’s move was more out of exasperation as he held 9-7 on suit, while Pollak was in a strong position with Ace-Jack off-suit. The flop came down K-10-6 meaning Hesp needed a 7, 8 or 9 to stay in the tournament. But the 4 of the turn gave him no cheer and he exited when a 4 came up again on the river.

Hesp had previously played in nothing more than 10 pound games back home in England but picked up a life-changing $2.6 million by finishing in fourth place.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful. Words can’t explain the incredible excitement and wonderful fantastic amazing time I’ve had,” he said afterwards.

“I’ve loved this, I’ve lived the dream.”

Hesp was a massive breath of fresh air for the Main Event with his multicolour jacket and hat lighting up the final table as much as his friendly personality.

He and Blumstein chatted constantly throughout the first two days, even when Blumstein took more than half of Hesp’s stack halfway through Day 1.

Blumstein holds 62.7% of the chip stack heading into the final day, having built himself from 178 million to 224 million across the 60 hands.

But the big mover on Day 2 was Ott, who was by far the busiest player on the day, knocking out both Damian Salas and Antoine Saout while jumping from 16 million chips to over 88 million.

Pollak resurrected his chances with his win over Hesp, but with only 45 million chips, 30 million less than he had when the day started, he holds just 12.7 per cent of the stack and the Frenchman faces a huge task to stay in the hunt.

It took 27 hands for the first casualty to emerge and surprisingly it was Salas who found himself eliminated. He held Ace-10 off suit and looked in good shape when A-3-2 came down at the flop, going all in. But Ott held a pair of fours and when the turn brought a 6, there was an outside chance of a straight. It arrived when Ott pulled a five on the river, ending the Argentinian’s challenge. He collected $1.425m for seventh.

Twenty hands later it was Bryan Piccioli’s turn to bow out. Again, it was Ott in the showdown, holding K-K to Piccioli’s A-7. The popular American needed an ace, any ace, to get stay alive, but the flop went Q-5-2, the turn and river, 8 then 7 and he departed with $1.675m for his efforts.

Then just four hands later, Saout, who had twice gone all-in and doubled his stack already on Day 2, departed. His luck run out against Blumstein, who again had fortune fall his way. Holding 5-3 to Saout’s K-J, Blumstein was able to see a straight when the flop fell J-7-6. The 4 that Blumstein desired came on the turn. But Saout fell straight in when the jack fell on the river, giving him a triple, and he pushed his chips in.

He departed with $2 million in fifth position, two positions lower than where he finished in 2009.

Blumstein continued to bully the pack with he and Ott giving us a preview of the final day as they went back and forth before Hesp took the risk against Pollak, lost out and left the tournament without its biggest drawcard.


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