WSOP TODAY: June 3; Hellmuth adds to all-time cashes record

Highlights from day 8 of the 2012 WSOP (June 3)

Aussie Warwick Mirzikinian has entered the WSOP record books – just not quite the way he’d hoped. When Aubin Cazals sat down with Mirzikinian at 1pm on Sunday, he had no idea he was taking the first step of what would turn out to be a record-breaking journey in the semi-finals of Event #6, the $5000 No Limit Hold’em Mixed Max.

By 8pm players and spectators began buzzing with questions about the longest heads-up match in tournament poker history. The answer – seven hours and six minutes, when David “Chip” Reese defeated Andy Bloch in the first $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event in 2006.

By 10pm, everyone inside the tournament arena — and a worldwide audience following the action online – knew they were witnessing something that had never happened before. As things turned out, seven hours was a mere sprint compared to the brain-bashing nine-hour and 25-minute marathon match that took place in the Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas.

For Mirzikinian, all those gruelling decisions, all that thinking and re-thinking, all that careful planning and contemplation wiped out in a futile session that would have had the exact same financial consequences had he busted out on the first hand, instead of the 350th – some nine hours earlier.

In a small consolation for Mirzikinian, Casals went on to defeat former November Niner Joseph Cheong to pocket the first prize of USD $480,564. Amazingly, both players started the final with about 375 big blinds due to the unique format of this event. As things turned out, the final lasted "only" five hours and ended when Cazals made trip kings versus Cheong’s pocket fours on the final hand.

• A 71-year-old financier from Hartselle, Alabama has collected $264,400 – one of the largest Omaha High-Low Split prizes in poker history. Remarkably, this marked champion Herbert Tapscott’s (pictured above) first time ever cash in a WSOP event in Las Vegas, proving once again that it’s never to late to triumph on poker’s grandest stage.

Gavin Griffin barely missed what would have been his second WSOP gold bracelet victory, eight years after his first win when, at 22, he became the youngest winner in WSOP history (at the time). Instead, Griffin has to settle for $163,625 as a consolation prize.

The tournament also gave Phil Hellmuth yet another opportunity to pad his record as the all-time career cashes leader in WSOP history. The 11-time gold bracelet winner cashed for second time this year, and 88th time overall – which now adds even more distance from his many challengers.

However, Men “The Master” Nguyen also cashed in this tournament, which was his 74th time in-the-money. Nguyen continues to rank second to Hellmuth in that category.

• Action at the Rio today includes day two of Event #9 (actually 9A and 9B), the $1500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Re-entry tournament. Today’s session begins with the survivors from the first two playing sessions, which took place on Saturday and Sunday. There are 514 players remaining with Giorgio Medici leading the pack.

Event #10, the $5000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud tournament continues with 91 survivors return for day two, and Bryn Kenney atop the leaderboard. Entry totalled 145 players with a prizepool of $681,500 and first prize of $190,826. Event #11, a $1500 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha tournament, also starts today.

• Additional reporting, Nolan Dalla,

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