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Monday, June 16, 2008 | Francis Lee


The 25th event at the World Series of Poker 2008 was the $10,000 Heads up no limit hold’em world championship. The maximum amount of entrants allowed was 256 players all fighting for the $539,056 first place prize.

Day one would consist of three rounds, so after each round was complete there would only be half the field left. The day would end when the last 32 entrants were left standing. The bubble was set to burst after the second round meaning the top 64 players made the money.

The second day decided who would be in the semi finals reducing the field to just four players. Day two started off with round four and it took quite a while to get to the last round which was the quarter finals. The line up was as follows

Quarter Finals

  • Kenny Tran vs. Brandon Adams
  • Vanessa Selbst vs. Robert Mizrachi
  • Lyle Berman vs. Alec Torelli
  • Jonathan Jaffe vs. Gavin Griffin

On the first table Kenny Tran beat Brandon Adams when he rivered two pair Jacks and Kings, when behind against a pair of Aces. Vanessa Selbst cracked Robert Mizrachi’s pocket Kings by hitting trip Aces on the Flop. Gavin Griffin let a big chip lead slip in his match up against Jonathan Jaffe. Griffin eventually lost missing a gun shot straight draw on his final hand when Jaffe had top pair.

The last table to finish was the marathon battle between Lyle Berman and Alec Torelli. After four hours of play the blinds eventually caught up with them both. The final hand came when Torelli lead all the way down the cards with :5h :kh against Berman’s :qs :6d So the final four was set to return on the last day to fight it out for the bracelet.

Semi Finals

  • Kenny Tran vs. Jonathan Jaffe
  • Vanessa Selbst vs. Alec Torelli

The match up between Kenny Tran and Jonathan Jaffe started off with Jaffe dominating Tran in the opening exchanges. They played around sixty hands with both players taking the chip lead at certain stages.

The last hand came when the pre flop betting ended with Jaffe moving All In. Tran went into the tank for a while before announcing the call tabling pocket Jacks. Tran found he was up against :ks :8d and was favourite to win. The Jacks held up moving Kenny Tran into the final.

The second semi final was a little quicker than the first, Alec Torelli took control of this match early on and finished Venessa Selbst off in 35 hands. Selbst was unlucky to loose the last hand as she had top pair after the Turn, with Torelli on a straight draw. The River completed Torelli’s straight eliminating Selbst from the event. Selbst who had made the semi finals in the same completion last year, will have to wait another year to try again.


  • Kenny Tran vs. Alec Torelli

The final was a best out of three match up between the aggressive Kenny Tran, and the more tactical Alec Torelli. The first match started with Torelli taking the lead 18 hands in with some aggressive raising in key pots. Tran came back at Torelli taking the lead in the same amount of hands. Tran made his advantage count winning the first match on the 93rd hand. Tran paired a four on the Flop with :as :4c against Torelli’s :ad :jc

The second match started exactly the way the first did, with Torelli taking the lead. It was as if Torelli wanted to tie the match up in quick time after the way he lost the last match. Tran bided his time and came back at Torelli evening up the chip counts on the 65th hand. From this point Tran took control and finished off the event winning on the 80th hand of play. Tran won the last hand hitting a club flush on the River when Torelli had top pair. Kenny Tran collected the $539,056 first place prize and his very first WSOP bracelet, not forgetting the Heads Up World championship crown.

WSOP 2008 Event 25 Final Standings

  • 1st Kenny Tran $539,056
  • 2nd Alec Torelli $336,896
  • 3rd Vanessa Selbst $108,288
  • 4th Jonathan Jaffe $108,288
  • 5th Lyle Berman $54,144
  • 6th Brandon Adams $54,144
  • 7th Gavin Griffin $54,144
  • 8th Robert Mizrachi $54,144



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