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Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Francis Lee


1344 players entered the 23rd event at the World Series of Poker, being the $2,000 no limit hold’em tournament. The total prize pool generated by this large field rose to $2,688,000 to be shared down to the top 99 finishers. The first place prize everyone was fighting to reach was set at $507,563.

Just 134 players survived the first days play as the day finished off, as we were approaching the bubble. Phil Hellmuth made it into the second days play only to go out before the bubble failing to cash again. Senovio Ramirez was the unfortunate player to claim the bubble boy position going out in 100th place.

As soon as the bubble burst play seemed to loosen up and it wasn’t took long till we were down to the final nine players left. Andrew Jeffrey’s and Blair Hinkle headed the chip field both on just over $1 million in chips. The rest of the line up on the final table was as follows.

Final Table Chip Rankings

  • 1st Andrew Jeffreys $1,0510,000
  • 2nd Blair Hinkle $1,030,000
  • 3rd Dustin Dirksen $867,000
  • 4th David Steicke $611,000
  • 5th Mark Brockington $552,000
  • 6th Daniel O’Brien $465,000
  • 7th Stephane Tayar $323,000
  • 8th Chris Bjorin $247,000
  • 9th Domonik Kulicki $241,000

David Steike had a great run of cards at the start on this final table. Just five hands in he eliminated Stephane Tayar when having pocket Queens against :as :10c No Ace on the board eliminated Tayar in 9th place. Steike then won hands with both pocket Kings and pocket Aces with in the same orbit. Jeffreys then picked up pocket Kings and moved all in on hand 20. David Steike called tabling pocket Aces again winning a massive pot putting himself in the chip lead.

The next two eliminations came with in the next round as first of all, Blair Hinkle eliminated short stacked Domonik Kulicki into 7th place. It was Chris Bjorin’s turn to head for the rail. Bjorin had nursed his small chip stack until making a stand when getting :qs :kc Hinkle made the call with :ac :3d in a small lead. The lead proved to hold up as the final board came down :8d :10d :2c :3h :5d

Blair Hinkle continued his good luck as he eliminated Dustin Dirksen out of the tournament in 5th place. Hinkle dominated Dirksen’s :as :2c with :ad :8s going into the Flop. Dirksen took the lead after he paired a Deuce on the Flop but the :8d on the Turn finished him off.

After making a great start David Steike’s tournament came to an end in fourth place. He lost the majority of his chips to Mark Brockington before moving All In to which all three players called. Hinkle forced the other two players out of the pot after the Flop came down :8c :6c :qc Hinkle had flopped two pair with :8h :6d but Steike had a flush draw with :10c :2s No club came for Steike as the :5h and :10d filled out the board.

Blair Hinkle was very active when down to three handed, first loosing a big pot to Brockington with Fives against Queens. Then he found himself calling Daneil O’Brien all in raise with pocket Sixes. O’Brien was looking good for the double up tabling pocket Eights. The flop changed the out look of the hand giving Hinkle a set of Sixes to which O’Brien never recovered.

Blair Hinkle completely dominated heads up play and didn’t loose a single hand. The end came in a coin flip situation with Brockington having the big slick against Hinkle with pocket Sixes. Hinkle flopped a set again which easily won the pot with only an Ace coming down for Brockington. Hinkle won the $507,563 first place prize and his very first WSOP bracelet.

WSOP 2008 Event 23 Final Standings

  • 1st Blair Hinkle $507,563
  • 2nd Mark Brockington $326,552
  • 3rd Daniel O’Brien $198,132
  • 4th David Steicke $166,333
  • 5th Dustin Dirksen $135,757
  • 6th Chris Bjorin $106,404
  • 7th Dominik Kulicki $81,944
  • 8th Andrew Jeffreys $63,598
  • 9th Stephane Tayar $45,252



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