WSOP Event #29: PokerStars' John Duthie makes final of $10K Heads-up
If this had been a boxing match the referee would have stepped in long ago and stopped the fight. If it had been a bar brawl John Duthie would have been carted off by the law and thrown in the cells. Of course this was only a game of poker, but such was the ferocity of Duthie's relentless aggression that Nathan Doudney may have felt as though he was lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
Victory in this marathon match took Team PokerStars Pro Duthie into the final two of the WSOP $10,000 World Heads-up Championship, where he'll play either Jamin Stokes or Leo Wolpert over the best of three beginning tomorrow (tues) at high noon local time.
Duthie is now guaranteed $386,363, but will be putting on the gloves again as he fights for the $625,682 first prize and gold bracelet.
He started today as he meant to go on, offering only these words to your blogger to describe his mood as he entered the tournament area: "Kill, kill, kill!" I hasten to add he was referring to his upcoming opponents, not me.
Eight returned to play today from the initial 256 runners, and Steve O'Dwyer was the first victim to feel the force of Duthie, the Brit who created the PokerStars European Poker Tour, now preparing for its sixth successful season.
O'Dwyer was a tricky customer, but after several hours he pushed on a turned flush draw only to walk into Duthie's turned straight.
Duthie then had to wait two hours to play his next opponent in the semi - Nathan Doudney. He took an early chip lead, and never really looked likely to give it up.
He pounded Doudney, raising and re-raising. Doudney then won a nice pot to threaten to come back into it again, but like a boxer getting up of the canvas just before the count was up, he was soon receiving heavy blows once more and put back on his backside.
Observers were saying Duthie was playing almost flawless heads-up poker, and as his stack continued to grow - first a 2:1 chip lead, then 4:1 then 5:1 - and Doudney looked more dejected, few could argue.
It was not all one-way traffic, as the fact it took Duthie more than three hours to polish him off would confirm.
In the end, it was a pretty standard knockout blow. Doudney raised to 120,000 from the button, and Duthie moved all in. Call.
The board ran 9♦4♦4♠6♣2♥, and that was that.
Duthie had some support on the rail at various times, including many Brits, and two Team PokerStars Pros in Vicky Coren and Mayrinck.
Congratulations, John, on an epic performance so far - and best of luck for tomorrow!