Patience isn’t much of a virtue when playing short-handed. With more hands dealt, the blinds moving rapidly around the table, and players aggressively raising and reraising with much weaker hands, you simply can’t sit back and wait. You’re forced to play.
Just ask Isaac Galazan.
In what we can tell is the first WSOP tournament of its kind, Isaac outlasted 548 players to take down Event # 6, the $2,500 Short-Handed (6/table) No-Limit Hold-em championship. Isaac, an ex-pat nightclub owner living in Bangkok, mixed it up with some big names at the final table, including Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari (5th, $63,000) and Harry Demetriou (2nd, $163,850), and ultimately cashed a $315,125 prize and his first gold bracelet.
Galazan got off to a great final table start by knocking out New Yorker David Barnes (6th, $50,415), who went all-in with A-Jo after Galazan reraised to $50,000. Galazan called, and his pocket 10’s held as Barnes drew blanks.
While it was no surprise to see the likes of Esfandiari at this final table, as aggressive play is key when you’re facing just 6, the Magician was neutralized by his short-stack arrival, and was gone quickly in 5th place as Harry Demetriou’s pocket 8’s held up against his K-J.
The first nine hands of heads-up play between Galazan and Demetriou was typical bet/fold fare. Then on the 10th hand, Galazan took a commanding lead. Betting $30,000 at a 6c-5s-2h flop, Galazan quickly went all-in after Demetriou reraised him to $90,000. Demetrious called, sensing a bluff and holding middle pair and a gut-shot straight draw, but Galazan turned over pocket 9’s that held and doubled him up. Two hands later and the final one of the night, Demetriou was on the button and he moved all-in with Qc-9s. Galazan called, showing Kh-Js. No queens or nines fell, and Galazan’s K-J held for the victory.
All in all, event #6, with it’s short-handed play from start to finish, delivered some of the best action yet at this year’s WSOP, and we’re looking forward to the next short-handed no-limit event, the $5,000 buy-in tournament, on June 29.