WSOP Main Event Day 8: Oh William
William Thorson is out in 22nd place - and there was something very sad about seeing him go. While the Team PokerStars Pro waited for his chips to be counted, taken from him and handed to his conqueror, there was a sense that the crowd didn't realise what they had just lost - a European poker heavyweight on a mission to end his own personal nightmare.
Instead, one of poker's most natural talents was dispatched by the same hand that had put an end to his Main Event dream in 2006.
Into level 31, Thorson looked down at J♦T♦ and moved all-in for 5 million behind John Dolan's opening bet of 375,000 and calls from John Racener and Brandon Steven. While Dolan and Steven stepped aside Racener had found kings and was happy to call.
The flop of 2♥6♦A♦ gave Thorson hope for a rally, and got the attention of those on the rail looking for commitment-free drama. But the 2♠ followed by a 5♣ on the river meant that for a second time Thorson's deep run was halted by kings.
Thorson graciously shook hands with those at his table, including Michael Mizrachi, who for the large part was the main attraction for the packed rail and who may have realised a big threat to his own hopes had been dealt with.
Thorson later admitted that he'd almost put Racener on kings or aces but had taken the decision to push, thinking anything less would force Racener to fold.
But as Thorson pointed out earlier in the Main Event, what stung about 2006 was his belief that he'd made a mistake, re-raising with jacks. While Jamie Gold's kings sent Thorson into a long period of painful reflection, this time there's no such angst.
A few regrets perhaps, on both sides of the table. Till next time.
HOW THIS POST WOULD HAVE LOOKED OF THE HOUR
Thorson's elimination came just as PokerStars Blog's collective finger was about to press publish on another post. For very obvious reasons, we held the front page on that post to include the details of Thorson's bust. If we hadn't, this is what you would have seen:
"They tend to come in bunches," said a sage on media row. He might have been talking about drunk, whooping meat-heads in Ed Hardy shirts, or even Atomic Fireball shivers. But he was actually referring to eliminations from the World Series of Poker Main Event. And he was right.
After Johnny Lodden became the first to hit the rail this afternoon, there was a brief hiatus in the slaughter. But in short order we then lost Matthew Bucaric (to Filippo Candio's turned flush), Mads Wissing (to William Thorson's turned two pair) and Ronnie Bardah (ace-king into Candido's aces).
Then, on the final hand before the break, Johnathan Duhamel won a massive pot from Robert Pisano that left them at either end of the chip-count leaderboard. Here it is in patented "Of the Hour" format:
CRIPPLING TURN OF THE HOUR
Jonathan Duhamel check-called a flop bet from Robert Pisano on 2♦5♣3♣ board. When the turn came A♣, Duhamel bet out around 1.8 million. Pisano shoved on him, and Duhamel snap-called with 4♠5♠, the turned straight.
Pisano shook his head and turned over A♠K♥. The 6♥ on the river changed nothing and Duhamel took nearly every chip Pisano had. Duhamel took the whole of the next 20-minute break after the hand to count/stack all his chips (more than 21 million) and shadow-box around the table.
RETURN TO THE MAIN NARRATIVE OF THE HOUR
That hand took us to the break and although adrenalin kept Duhamel jigging throughout, Pisano slouched off for a smoke and a reassessment. He returned to a stack of only 320,000 (not even two big blinds) and an expression of scarcely-concealed woe. He was going to need to mount the biggest comeback story of them all to make the November Nine.
He didn't manage it.
In the small blind on the first hand back, Pisano was all in blind. He picked up four callers, including Pascal LeFrancois to his immediate left. The flop came Q♥[10s]2♣, which everyone checked, and Pisano must have feared the worst when LeFrancois bet 180,000 on the 2♠ turn. That left them heads up.
Pisano checked his hand for the first time - and it could have been worse. His J♠9♦ was at least alive, even though it was behind LeFrancois's Q♠8♣. "King ball!" bellowed Pisano's rail. "Put a king out there!"
The dealer tried his best, but the J♦ was as good as a blank. Pisano drifted into the night as the announcer's "Congratulations to our 23rd placed finisher" never sounded so hollow. Pisano wins $317,161.
MEMORY OF THE HOUR
When we covered the last day of action in last year's WSOP, we were at 120,000-240,000 (30,000) blinds and antes, Right now, we're a couple of levels away from that at 80,000-160,000 (20,000)
OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I think you have me me confused with a different kind of Englishman."
RAILBIRD OF THE HOUR
One-time tournament chip leader James Carroll returns to follow the progress of Adam Levy.
NEVER, EVER AGAIN MOMENT OF THE HOUR
Purchase of $8.50 Supreme four-bite Pizza Hut personal pan pizza by PokerStars blogger Brad Willis
FIREBALL WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS OF THE HOUR
Dry mouth. Despondent. Less chatty.
FROM THE VAULT OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I didn't know it was your dog." --July, 2009