Today witnessed the continuation of a heads-up bracelet battle between Kevin "1SickDisease" Eyster and 71-year-old Belgian Pierre Neuville in the $5,000 Event #24: No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed. Speaking with the Pokernews crew prior to matchup, with $622,998 on the line, Eyster admitted that he had been fortunate to make it through a final table lineup that included heavyweights Andrew Lichtenberger and Bryn Kenney. He noted that they were good friends and “two of the best in the world.” He also thanked Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi for overbetting a pot when he was short stacked, just prior to the final table. Had the bet been normal-sized in that particular hand, Eyster would have pushed all in and would have faced a premature exit.
The heads up match got off to a quick start, with Eyster in a comfortable position at the outset, leading 5.6 million to 2.4 million. Eyster won a 650,000 pot with K-3 on a K-9-3 board and continued the momentum with power poker that included several all-in shoves. In the final hand, Neuville shoved his last 1 million chips in the middle with K-Q and was called by a dominated K-9. A nine on the turn sealed Neuville’s fate and the tournament was over. Given his success in six handed tournaments, Eyster has been given a new nickname (one that hopefully trumps 1SickDisease) of Six-Max Kev.
Meanwhile, action continued apace in the $1,500 Event #26: No-Limit Hold'em tournament, which brought out more than 1,500 runners. The final table was solidified when Jonas Wexler, holding A-K, hit his dream flop of 5-K-A. Unfortunately, the two clubs on board were significant, with Wexler winding up all-in for 612,000 chips against Eiland’s 8-9 suited clubs. Wexler made the mistake of saying “I just need to fade a club,” which meant that a club was certain to fall on the river and knock him out. Which it did.
Dan Smith looks on as Jonas Wexler (red shorts) prays to fade a club.
Moving to the official final table, the lineup included heavyweights Dan Smith and Ryan Welch. I was a little surprised to see Smith in a big field $1,500 tournament. In a March 2014 iGaming interview, Smith was quoted as saying “I used to feel obligated to play every WSOP $1,500 No Limit event. I would calculate my hourly rate and tell myself it’s a good investment, while I actually really hated those tournaments.” Smith’s major beef with the tournaments is that there are “a lot of jerks in those fields” who don’t adjust to his aggressive and creative play by tightening leaks in their own game––rather, they belittle his play. The reality probably lies somewhere in between. When you have the reputation of Smith, people think you are always playing mind games––which is often far from the case. This can cause frustration and suboptimal play. Smith also noted that he didn’t enjoy the glacial pace of 10-handed play and “there’s always someone taking up your leg space and it makes me feel uncomfortable.” I did notice that Smith was not in the best mood at the 10 handed table leading up to ESPN stage action, calling a clock on Wexler at one point during a tough decision and seeming to fight a bad cough. Stacked relatively short with 543,000 in chips, Dan Smith was eliminated in ninth in an unavoidable coin flip A-K vs. the pocket nines of Heinz Kamutzki. He certainly did not seem happy with his (for him) paltry payday of $28,000 for his efforts.
Not a happy camper: Dan Smith takes the long walk from the table, with Starbucks as cold comfort.
Mixing it up: Gargano, Rennhack, Goodmiller, Kamutzki, Katz, and Welch