After a few small raise-and-take pots to begin play, a confrontation between Dan Kelly and Joe Kuether resulted in the latter's elimination.
The action began when Kuether open shoved all-in from middle position for 1.325 million with . Kelly made the call from the next seat over and rolled over Kuether's worst nightmare, the .
Needing a miracle to catch up and down Kelly's rockets, Kuether watched a flop of arrive, and with it, a glimmer of hope. Kuether needed a lucky lady to make an appearance on the turn or river, which woulf be good for a Braodway straight and an unlikely double, but the on the turn was the wrong kind of paint. A on the river ended the proceedings, and Kuether was left to watch the final table with the rest of us.
Hand #3: From under the gun Kelly opened for the standard 160,000 and watched as Theron Eichenberger shipped his short stack of 405,000 into the middle.
Kelly made the call with and had live cards against Eichenberger's .
After a good flop for Eichenberger's ace-high, the turn brought Kelly outs in the form of a flush draw, and the river hit his suited connectors. Kelly continued his climb toward the chip lead, and Eichenberger headed to collect the first six-figure score of his life.
Hand #63: Desilva raised to 265,000 from the hijack, and Liberto three-bet for an amount large enough to force Desilva all-in if he elected to call. With in the hole, the young Desilva did just that for about 2.1 million, and he found himself as a major favorite against the of Liberto. In the last hand before break, Desilva watched as the dealer delivered his fate.
With middle set on the flop, and his opponent holding no spades, Desilva was in great shape to score the double. Liberto would have to catch a ten, but the odds were stacked squarely against him.
Now Desilva was searching for tens or fives to complete a miraculous straight to send Desilva packing.
With that, Liberto exhaled in joy and turned to his supporters on the rail, who were already celebrating his good fortune. Desilva, meanwhile, absorbed his bad beat like a professional, offering congratulations to Liberto and wishing his former tablemates well as he departed the main stage.
Hand #73: Liberto opened for 320,000 from under the gun and Hunichen shoved all-in for an additional 875,000. Making the call, Liberto revealed the and found himself trailing the tabled by Hunichen. The flop came , and with it, Liberto found four additional outs to the wheel straight.
He would not need them, however, because the turn delivered the and put him squarely in the lead. When the fell on the river, Hunichen's deep run came to an end he was eliminated in 6th place, earning $229,575 for his efforts.
Hand #80: Chen opened to 325,000 from the cutoff, Liberto called in the small blind, and Kelly decided to three-bet shove for his last 2.95 million. Chen got out of the way, leaving Liberto to contemplate his decision. After checking and rechecking his cards, Liberto finally tossed calling chips into the middle and rolled over . Kelly was ahead with his , but only by the thinnest of margins, and the young online phenom was racing for his tournament life.
The flop was a dry one for Liberto, and Kelly's pocket pair had preserved its lead through three board cards.
The ultimate sweat card arrived on the turn, giving Liberto lifelines in the form of flush and gutshot straight possibilites, in addition to his overcards. The railbirds hovered closer to the table to await the river's decision.
Liberto hit both ways, spiking a pair while improving to a flush to add a bit of flourish to the elimination.
Hand #175: One hand back from break, and we have our latest elimination. Chen opened for 800,000 from under the gun, and Liberto three-bet jammed for 3.05 million. Chen quickly called with , and he had Liberto's in terrible shape. The players stood in anticipation while the dealer fanned the flop.
The nine in the window briefly had Liberto's cheering section going crazy, but the ten that followed it quickly silenced their celebration. Liberto would need a second nine to arrive on the turn or river, but the and came instead, sending the gracious young competitor to the payout desk for a impressive six-figure haul.
Hand #187: After Bennington opened for 800,000, Chen called in the small blind, and Gray re-shoved for approximately 5.5 million. Bennington got out of the way, and Chen made the call with , but he was dominated by the tabled by Gray.
The five board cards would decide each man's destiny, and when the flop fell , fate was in Chen's corner. His supporters in the stands exploded in excitement, but their hoots and hollers were quieted at the sight of the , as Gray picked up a club flush draw to improve his chances. Both players craned their necks to watch the dealer burn and turn the decisive last card.
The black card made everybody in the room catch their breath, but the spade was a blank for Gray and he was eliminated courtesy of a bad beat.
Hand #195: Bennington limped in from the button, and Chen raised it up to 1,000,000 even. Bennington three-bet to 1.6 million, good for a minimum raise, and Chen responded with an all-in declaration. Bennington quickly called with his , but found himself needing major help when Chen revealed the . The fans in attendance here at the Mothership stood to cheer, and the dealer fanned the most important flop of both player's lives.
Bennington blanked the flop, and he was left searching the deck for the two remaining treys.
No help arrived for the good doctor, and Michael Bennington was eliminated one spot short of the historic million dollar payday. Nonetheless, he takes home $741,902 for his amazing run, after playing through a talented field for four grueling days of three-bets and bluffs.
It began on Saturday with 6,343 entrants across two starting flights, creating the largest single-day starting field in World Series of Poker history. Fast forward four days, 35 one-hour levels, 6,432 eliminations, and only one player remains standing. Benny Chen is the sole survivor, earning $1,198,780 for his historic achievement.
With a roughly 3:1 chip lead to begin heads-up play, Chen sealed the deal on the eighth hand of the duel. After Michael Bennington limped on the button, Chen raised from the big blind. Bennington clicked it back before Chen re-raised all in. Bennington called for his tournament life with , well behind Chen's . The board rolled out , locking up the victory for Chen.
Congratulations to Chen for his historic accomplishment! We hope you enjoyed our hand-for-hand coverage of this final table, and urge you to follow our coverage for the remainder of the summer as more bracelets are awarded. For now, good night from Las Vegas!