Last night, one of the players conspicuously absent from Gavin Smith’s rail was Chris Bell. There was no ill will between the two friends. Bell simply had business to take care of, that business being making his first final table of this WSOP in the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event.
Today, it was Bell’s turn to shine in the spotlight, as he defeated a tough final table that included the likes of Dan Shak, Erik Seidel, Leif Force, and David Ulliott to claim a bracelet all his own in addition to the top prize of more than $320,000. And who was on hand to cheer Bell on to victory? None other than his good friend, Smith. Now the two, who already have a host of memorable poker moments together, like their 1-2 finish in the 2005 Mirage Poker Showdown, have another one to share: the 36-hour stretch in which they both captured their first bracelet.
The final table got off to a late start when Erik Seidel’s participation in the TOC pushed back the Day 3 start time to nearly 4:30 p.m. With 22 players starting the day and a schedule that dictated only one would be left standing by the time play ended, players knew they were in for a long night. While the first couple hours of play resulted in a flurry of eliminations, it was still 11 p.m. by the time players took their seat at the official final table.
Dan Shak came to the table with the chip lead, but it only took a few hands and an elimination or two for another big stack to emerge. Chris Bell did the dirty work of eliminating Jeremy Harkin in ninth place when Bell got it all-in preflop for the remainder of Harkin’s dwindling stack holding A436 to Harkin’s AQT5. The J4475 board made Bell a straight and the second nut low to scoop the pot and bust out Harkin.
Bell then proceeded to give all those chips and more to Joe Ritzie. The two saw a flop of 965 in a multi-way pot and the fireworks ensued. The bets and raising resulted in Bell getting it all-in holding A673 for a pair of sixes with a straight and low draw combo. Ritzie had the best high hand with his A994 for a set of nines and his hand held as the T on the turn and 3 on the river made a better low than Bell’s to take the pot and double up to the chip lead.
The next elimination came when old timer Perry Green and Seidel got it in on a board of AQT9. Seidel held the jack-high flush, Green held the six-high flush and, with no low possible, Green was drawing dead and subsequently out in eighth place. Rob Hollink followed suit in seventh place, calling a preflop raise from Ritzie, then shoving in on a flop of 972. Ritzie called with A743 for middle pair and a big low draw and Hollinck needed help with his AK64. The turn and river brought no such help and Hollink hit the rail.
It looked like Bell would be the next to go, as his stack dwindled below five big blinds, but he rallied, doubling through both Shak and Leif Force to climb back up the counts. The double through Force left him short on chips and it was not long after that Force made his last stand on a flop of Q93. Shak called Force’s check-raise all-in with K5K2 for an overpair of kings and Force’s A9K7 needed to improve. The K on the turn spelled the end for Force and he was forced to settle for sixth place.
That hand helped Shak to re-establish himself as the big stack at the table, but Bell continued to gain ground, putting distance between themselves and the other three players in the field. Ritzie picked up some chips when he eliminated Seidel in fifth place. The two got it all-in on a flop of K74 and Seidel’s AJ45 had potential to make both a low and high hand, while Ritzie’s AQ62 was looking good to make a low. The K on the turn changed nothing, but the Q on the river paired Ritzie up, eliminated Seidel, and denied the longtime pro from capturing his ninth WSOP bracelet.
A big pot against David Ulliott saw most of Ritzie’s stack shipped over Devilfish’s way though, leaving Ritzie with little more than fumes. He survived a few chopped pot scenarios, but it wasn’t long before Ritzie hit the rail when he got it all in preflop holding T923 against Shak’s A2J8. The J7657 board favored Shak and sent Ritzie home in fourth place.
Minutes later, Ulliott joined Ritzie on the rail at the hands of Bell. Bell raised preflop out of the small blind, Ulliott defended out of the big, and the two saw a flop of QJ3. Bell checked, Ullott potted it, and Bell called. The turn brought the 2 and, this time, Bell took the lead, moving all in. Ulliott called, showing AT53 for a royal flush draw, a gutshot, a pair of threes, and a low draw. Bell held AQ48 for top pair and a wheel and low draw. The river 7 gave Bell the nut low and hs queens were enough to take the high hand as well. Ulliott was out in third, leaving Bell and Shak to begin heads-up play essentially dead even in chips.
Shak chipped away at Bell during the early goings of heads-up, but Bell found a double up when a lucky river gave him kings and jacks to best Shak’s flopped two pair, jacks and nines. That hand erased Shak’s progress entirely and brought them back to even.
Bell not only evened things back out, he pulled out to a sizable lead of his own and finished off his opponent during a cooler of a hand in which Bell made a full house to Shak’s nut flush. The two players saw a flop of K82 and Bell bet out. Shak raised the pot and Bell called. The turn brought the K and the money proceeded to get all in with Bell holding K89T for top full house and Shak showing A987. When the river brought no low, the pot and the bracelet went to Bell, who then headed off to celebrate with much of the same crew who was in attendance for Smith’s win just one day ago.
Here are the final table results from Event 46:
1st: Chris Bell – $327,040
2nd: Dan Shak – $202,142
3rd: David Ulliott – $150,925
4th: Joe Ritzie – $113,444
5th: Erik Seidel – $85,800
6th: Leif Force – $65,311
7th: Rob Hollink – $50,014
8th: Perry Green – $38,549
9th: Jeremy Harkin – $29,886