Dario Sammartino Holds Dominant Lead at Final Table of $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
19 June 2019
PokerBrave (1119 articles)

The final table of the 2019 World Series of Poker’s $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship couldn’t get to the six players left that seems to be the trend of this year’s tournament, but they got close. They will come back today with six players left and determine the champion, with Italy’s Dario Sammartino holding a dominant lead over the remainder of the field.

Tough Task with Sizeable Day 2 Field

The challenge of getting to the final table (officially eight-handed) on Thursday was going to be difficult on its own. With 20 players remaining from the 172-player field, to get to the six remaining players was almost impossible. Even getting to the official eight-handed final table was going to be tough, as players such as Sammartino, Jennifer Harman, Justin Bonomo, Anthony Zinno, Brian Hastings, Phil Galfond and Greg Mueller as just a few of the competitors. Eventually, however, the blinds would take their tolls and allow for today’s lineup to be assembled.

Bonomo was one of the first to go on the day. After losing a sizeable chunk of chips in Stud Hi/Lo against Yehuda Buchalter, Mikhail Semin and Zinno, Bonomo would get all his chips to the center in the same discipline against Mike Ross. Bonomo was in OUTSTANDING shape from the start with rolled up Queens, but Ross caught an Ace on Fifth Street for a pair of Aces and a prayer. That prayer came in when he found a third Ace for trips and, once Bonomo failed to pair his board or find the final lady in the deck, he was out in 19th place.

After Bonomo’s departure, it was Mueller’s time to catch fire. He knocked out David Brookshire in 18th place and Ville Haavisto in 17th place to bring the tournament to the final two tables. At this point, Mueller was only looking up at Sammartino, who had him edged by only 75,000 chips.

One of the welcome sights in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament was the return of Harman to the felt. Battling from the short stack from the start of the day, Harman was able to demonstrate her legendary skills but eventually the blinds caught up with her. In Hold’em, Harman would get her final chips in on a 10-6-6 board against Hasting and Tom Koral. The two men would check a five turn and Hastings called a singular bet from Koral on the eight river and the cards hit their backs.

Koral was the first to table as the called player and he showed an A-J. Hastings had him out-pipped, however, as he turned up an A-K to take the side pot. A chagrined Harman tossed out her A-Q after that to show that Hastings has also gotten her, knocking the Poker Hall of Famer out of the tournament in 16th place.

Sammartino Continues the Charge

While all of this was going on, Sammartino continued to, and would extend, his lead. Although Mueller drew close, Sammartino would put some space between them in beating Galfond and Nick Guagenti for a big pot in Hold’em. He would then scoop a pot in Omaha Hi/Lo against the same two opponents to crack the two million chip mark.

The Sammartino “freight train” would continue to rumble through the other disciplines. He scooped Galfond in Razz for a big chunk of chips and, even though he would double up Hastings and give some chips to Zinno, would not drop under the two million mark in chips. But it was another couple of hand with Zinno that would firmly entrench Sammartino atop the standings.

After Zinno completed with a six, Sammartino would raise the action and Zinno came along. Zinno showed a 6♠ 4♠ on Fourth Street, which was good enough for a bet and Sammartino, with an A♥ 10♥ showing, made the call. On Fifth Street, Sammartino would pair his ten, which was enough to get Zinno out of the hand. The very next hand, Sammartino and Zinno would clash again, with Zinno unable to overcome Sammartino’s hidden Kings. The two hands cost Zinno north of 800K in chips and put Sammartino over the three million mark.

Sammartino kept his foot on the gas despite holding the lead. By the time the unofficial final table of ten was determined, Sammartino held 4.1 million chips, dominating Scott Clements’ 1.61 million stack. Mueller came up the leaderboard again, knocking out Marco Johnson in ninth place to take over the second place slot, but Sammartino continued to pound the opposition. He knocked Galfond down to scraps in Hold’em and, after Galfond would fall in eighth place at the hands of Craig Chait, the table was paused and chips bagged for action on Friday.

1. Dario Sammartino, 5.03 million
2. Craig Chait, 1.63 million
3. Scott Clements, 1.355 million
4. Greg Mueller, 985,000
(tie) Daniel Ospina, 985,000
6. Mikhail Semin, 215,000
7. Matthew Gonzales, 130,000

(Phil Galfond, eliminated in eighth place, will receive official credit for a WSOP final table finish)

Holding almost half the chips in play (the other six competitors have 5.3 million), it can be said this is Sammartino’s tournament to lose. But with the blinds as high as they are, even in the non-Hold’em segments of the event, it would only take a couple of missteps for him to come back to the pack. And the end prize that will be awarded this evening is one that every person on the felt is looking at: the shiny WSOP bracelet and a payday of $425,347.