Over the course of this World Series, we’ve seen several established pros claim their first bracelet and observed numerous final tables stacked with pros who have been on the poker scene for almost a decade. Then the final table of the $1,500 Six-handed No Limit Hold’em event came along.
We’ve seen a couple of rookies make a splash so far this WSOP, with Nick Mitchell final tabling his first WSOP event and Joe Elpayaa making an impressive showing in the $5,000 Shootout. This final table featured a trio of young’uns making their WSOP debut and no one at the table was older than 26. The format of the event might explain the relatively young age of the final table participants. Six-handed games rose to popularity on the virtual felts and products of the internet poker phenomenon tend to excel, therefore it did not raise too many eyebrows when the final six players in the 1,663-person field were all born after 1983.
After several close calls, the 2010 WSOP now has its first 21-year old winner in the form of Carter “bdybldgpkr” Phillips. The European Poker Tour Barcelona winner and online poker pro Phillips, took a massive chip lead into the final table and never relinquished it as he mowed over the competition, including good friend Craig Bergeron.
While Phillips had chips a plenty, David Diaz and Hugo Perez were sitting on short stacks. Diaz took his last stand shortly after the final table began. Craig Bergeron opened for a raise to 70,000 and Diaz moved all-in from the big blind for his last 475,000 or so with AJ. Bergeron called with pocket tens, which improved to a set as the board ran out T9467 to eliminate Diaz in sixth place.
The next elimination came in a cooler of a hand in which Samuel Gerber four-bet all-in and Russell Thomas called with AK. He was trailing Gerber’s KK and, when the board ran out J949Q, the field was cut to four.
After that play slowed down a bit, though there were still a decent amount of big pots, including a big preflop pot in which Gerber and Phillips raised back and forth until Phillips six-bet all-in. Gerber reluctantly released the hand and Phillips couldn’t resist showing him his K-6. That hand a double up for Perez cut Gerber’s stack down, but he doubled through Bergeron to jump back to second in chips.
Gerber’s double up left Bergeron with less than 350,000, but he doubled through Phillps then Gerber to get back up to 1.8 million chips. Shortly after double up number two, Bergeron called Perez’s all-in shove for 385,000. Bergeron’s KJ held up against Perez’s Q8 on a J8532 board and Bergeron surged to 2.2 million while Perez headed for the door in fourth place.
Phillips then extended his chip lead from sizeable to substantial thanks to a massive pot against Bergeron. Phillips opened for a raise on the button and Bergeron made it 295,000 to go out of the big blind. Phillips paused briefly before announcing he was all-in. Bergeron called instantly with pocket sevens and Phillips’ J7 looked to be in bad shape—that is, until the flop fell AJ8. The turn and river brought no help for Bergeron and Phillips took a more than 3-1 chip advantage into heads-up play against Gerber.
The heads-up match lasted less than 15 minutes. Gerber made a move, reraising all-in with Q8 and Phillips quickly called with AK. The A97 flop put Phillips in good shape, though the J on the turn did give Gerber a straight draw. The river brought the 5 and the 21 year-old WSOP rookie garnered a gold bracelet to go along with his EPT honors.
“After turning 21, winning a bracelet was my main goal and my main priority. I won the EPT event over in Barcelona in September, but winning something on home turf just means that much more,” Phillips stated following his first major US victory.
After his success on the EPT, Phillips is used to being in the poker limelight, but he still thinks this win means a lot more than his victory abroad. “I think because it was six-max, deep in this field was the toughest tournament [field] I’ve ever played,” Phillips explained. “I think the European Poker Tour is a little softer than deep in these tournaments. I feel like this tournament was definitely harder and winning it was a bigger accomplishment.”
Phillips isn’t satisfied with just one title either. His short term plans include vying for bracelet number two and he hasn’t ruled out a shot at poker’s elite Triple Crown either. Even though the young pro has only played one World Poker Tour event, he plans to try to fit in more once the WSOP wraps up. Europeans be warned though, Phillips still intends on logging plenty of table time abroad in his quest to become the first two-time EPT champion.
If Phillips nabs another EPT honor, he will be in a league of his own. Until then, he is in the good company of Jeff Madsen, Steve Billirakis, Annette Obrestad, Eric Froehlich, Joe Cada and other young guns who picked up their first bracelets before the age of 22.
Here are the complete results from the $1,500 Six-handed No Limit Hold’em final table:
1st: Carter Phillips – $482,774
2nd: Samuel Gerber – $298,726
3rd: Craig Bergeron – $189,661
4th: Hugo Perez – $124,690
5th: Russell Thomas – $84,256
6th: David Diaz – $58,483