WSOP November Nine: Senti sent packing in thriller

wsop2010_thn.jpgAnd then there was one.

The news here at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas is that Jason Senti's World Series of Poker is over. He has just busted in seventh place, earning $1,356,720 for his troubles, leaving Johnathan Duhamel as the final PokerStars player remaining. But it's testament to Senti's brilliant day today that for a little while it seemed he could be going much higher.

Senti came to the table with the short stack, but put his chips to work early and was responsible for the elimination of Soi Nguyen. He moved up to more than 20 million at one point, and watched as Matthew Jarvis went out in eighth. But as we've known for a long, long time, nothing is guaranteed in poker. Nothing except high drama when all the chips go in the middle.

Here's how the hand played out. It was folded to Senti in the cut-off, and he made it 1.85 million to play. Joseph Cheong, one seat to his left, re-raised to 4.95 million, and when it came back to Senti, he shoved for his whole stack.

Cheong called instantly, and we were looking at a race. Senti's A♦K♣ needed to catch against Cheong's [10s][10c] - but catching alone was not enough.

The flop was great for Senti. It came K♦K♥Q♣, giving him trips. Both players stood impassive as the J♦ turned, which gave Cheong a life-line. Lo and behold, the 9♦ came on the river, giving Cheong a straight and sending gasps around the Penn and Teller Theater. Similar to the Matt Jarvis/Michael Mizrachi hand from earlier, the money had gone in when they were about a 50-50 shot, but fortunes had veered wildly.

When the smoke cleared this time, it was Cheong with the smile on his face and Senti sent to talk to reporters.

"Of course the flop was amazing," Senti said. "And I felt really good about it. I wasn't too happy with the turn. Then my luck finally ran out."

jason_senti_eliminated.jpg

It was a pretty good summary of the final hand, but left out all of Senti's excellent work from earlier in the day, where he moved into contention despite that short stack. "Most people would have put me in ninth," Senti said, and he acknowledged that his tactics of shoving early had worked to perfection. "No one wants to bust first," he said.

Senti revealed plans to play on the NAPT in Los Angeles next week, and then at the PCA in January. Having previously been happy to fly under the radar, Senti now says that his life has changed and he's preparing for a higher-profile life. "I can't not feel good after finishing seventh out of seventy-three hundred people. I'm feeling pretty good about poker right now."

Regrets? Not really. Well, maybe one: "I'm happy with the way I played and the way it turned out," he said. "Except for that last hand."

Senti has now hit the bars of Las Vegas with his 100-strong rail, who bellowed his name even as he made his way to the rail. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of this guy.

Chip counts after Jason Senti's bust:

Michael Mizrachi 61,700,000
Joseph Cheong 58,325,000
Jonathan Duhamel 39,325,000
Filippo Candio 27,975,000
John Racener 16,575,000
John Dolan 14,750,000

Howard Swains
@howardswains in World Series of Poker