WSOP Event #29: A golden day for John Duthie and PokerStars?

wsop2009_thn.gifToday could be momentous for John Duthie, and a pretty good one for PokerStars, too. All that stands between the Team PokerStars Pro and his first WSOP gold bracelet is Leo Wolpert and the best of three gruelling heads-up matches.

Welcome to the final of the WSOP $10,000 World Heads-up Championship, where Duthie, creator of the EPT (an idea that came to him in the bath, no less), is already guaranteed a tasty $386,363 but is eyeing the first golden prize of $625,682.

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John Duthie

The atmosphere at the final table is strangely more relaxed then yesterday's quarter and semi-final matches, when Duthie dispensed with Steve O'Dwyer and then Nathan Doudney in pretty brutal fashion. That's not to say the other two did not play well, they did. It's just that Duthie was more or less flawless.

Today Duthie wears his peaked PokerStars cap at the table again, and proudly sports his Team PokerStars Pro logos. He is also struggling in the early stages of match one, with Wolpert opening a 3:1 chip lead in the early running. He was picking up many small pots from Duthie, but unable to find the killer blow.

Duthie is playing a few mind games to keep his opponent guessing. They agreed to play a side bet where the first player to land the button on the WSOP logo in front of each other wins $100 - Duthie wanted to raise that to $50,000 but Wolpert declined.

Then Duthie moved all in to a Wolpert raise on the 4♦[10c]7♣ flop. "We are playing best of three, right?" Duthie asked of the dealer. Of course he knew they were, but the little speech was designed to get Wolpert asking himself if Duthie was gambling because of it, or was he disguising a monster. He settled on the latter and folded.

STOP PRESS John Duthie won a key put to put him marginally ahead in match one. He raised pre flop to 120,000 - Wolpert re-raised and Duthie wasted no time in moving all in. Call!

Duthie: [10c][10s]
Wolpert: A♠Q♣

His match one life was on the line, but the board ran K♦7♥[10h]K♣9♥ to give Duthie the full house and a healthy stack once more.