On Wednesday, the final eight players of the 2012 World Series of Poker National Championship reconvened on the ESPN Main Stage to battle down to a winner. The 157-player field had created a prize pool of $1,570,000, of which $416,051 was reserved for first. After six levels of play, Ryan Eriquezzo, who qualified for the event by winning the $1,600 Main Event at Caesars Atlantic City, emerged victorious to capture his first WSOP gold bracelet.
The ESPN cameras were rolling to capture the action for an August 7th broadcast, and they weren’t disappointed as chip leader Yung "Andy" Hwang, who started with 1.224 million, and an eclectic mix of WSOP Player of the Year Leaderboard buy-ins and qualifiers from around the country put on quite the show.
Action started fast as it took less than a level for the first elimination, which came when David "ODB" Baker raised to 28,000 from middle position and Amanda Musumeci moved all in for 217,000 from the hijack. Nikolas Stone made the call from the big blind, which inspired Baker to get out of the way.
The board ran out and Musumeci exited the stage through the ESPN Main Stage tunnel in eighth place, good for $48,576.
It took awhile for the next elimination to occur, but it happened when Sam Stein moved all in for 195,000 total and was called by Stone in the small blind.
Stein was behind, but he was drawing to live cards. Unfortunately for him, the board would run out an uneventful and Stone scored his second elimination of the day.
From there, Baker moved all in from under the gun and was called by Huy Nguyen in the hijack. The rest of the field got out of the way and it was off to the races.
Baker was the one at risk and in need of improvement, but he was put in a bad spot when the flop fell to give Nguyen a set. Baker, who won a bracelet in Event 37: $2,500 Eight-Game Mix and finished tenth in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (not to mention two other final tables), would finish in sixth place and add another accomplishment on his already impressive 2012 WSOP résumé when the was put out on the turn followed by the on the river.
Another player fell just before the dinner break when Hwang, who began the day as a big chip leader, grew short and moved all in preflop for 319,000 and was called by Stone.
Hwang was in bad shape and in need of some help, but the flop was anything but. Stone's supporters, of which there are a lot, erupted in celebration when their man hit a ten to extend his lead. The turn did give Hwang a wheel draw, but the river would not complete it. Hwang no doubt had high hopes heading into the final table, but he leaves with a $103,322 consolation prize for his fifth-place finish.
After the dinner break, a whole level passed before the next knock out. It finally came in Level 28 when Stone put in a standard raise from under the gun and was called by Matt Keikoan on the button. Both blinds got out of the way and it was heads-up action to the flop. Stone check-called a bet of 100,000, bringing about the turn.
Stone checked once again, but this time he check-raised Keikoan's bet of 200,000 up to 600,000. Keikoan thought for a few moments before moving all in, and Stone snap-called.
Stone held the nuts with a queen-high straight, but Keikoan held a set and could still win if the board paired on the end. The crowd was on its feet as the dealer burned and put out the . Keikoan became Stone’s fourth elimination of the final table and exited in fourth place, good for $137,485.
Not long after, Eriquezzo moved all in from the small blind and put the pressure on Nguyen, who only had 365,000 in the big blind. The latter made a quick call and was the favorite to double.
Nguyen's supporters were optimistic, but their hope was drowned out when Eriquezzo's rail erupted on the flop. Their man had paired his king to take a commanding lead. Nguyen sat helplessly as the turn and river put an end to his National Championship run in third place.
Stone entered heads-up play with a slight chip lead over Eriquezzo, but the latter notched an early double. From there, the two battled back and forth, but in the end the WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Main Event champion finished the job by eliminating Stone in second place.
Congratulations to Ryan Eriquezzo, winner of the 2012 National Championship!
2012 WSOP National Championship Final Table Results
|6th||David “ODB” Baker||$79,002|
That does it for our coverage from the 2012 WSOP National Championship, but there is still plenty of action to follow in the $10,000 Main Event, which you can view simply by clicking here.