Everyone laughed this morning when I told them that the final table of Event 4 would end some time between 3am and 5am local time. I have to admit, I had a sliver of hope it would be earlier when the tournament got to three-handed in record time. But nobody could have anticipated the epic heads-up battle between Dan Heimiller and eventual champion Michael Chow.
Chow and Heimiller battled, and battled, and battled. Then they battled some more. Heimiller had Chow all in at one point. Chow had Heimiller all in. Each time the short stack survived and then went on a tear to re-balance the stacks and start the grind all over again.
Each player demonstrated tremendous skill not just in the heads-up portion of the match, but in the 10 hours of play that led up to it. This tournament started with 26 players left today. There were five bracelet winners in the field (Heimiller was one of them). It wasn't an easy slog to the final table.
Chow also had to contend with a case of what looked to be severe exhaustion. Without his gaggle of supporters on the rail, cheering on every big pot at the final table, there's no telling whether Chow would have been around at the end trying to knock Dan Heimiller out in 2nd place. They gave Chow an energy boost for sure.
For his win, Chow will bank $237,140, his largest tournament score to date. He'll also get a WSOP gold bracelet, which will be presented to him at a ceremony tomorrow afternoon. Congratulations Michael!
Mike Chow checked a flop, and Dan Heimiller bet. Chow called, and he check-called again after the on the turn prevented a low and completed a flush draw. The river produced the , and Chow checked one more time. With his hands back to shaking, Heimiller stuck in another bet. Chow called, and Heimiller clearly wasn't happy about it. He showed for just a pair of nines. Chow turned up for a king-high straight. His rail went nuts screaming and cheering when the dealer pushed almost all of the chips in front of Heimiller to Chow.
Heimiller was left with 125,000 after the hand. He was in the small blind next and called all in with his last 25,000 chip. No more delaying the inevitable.
To the screams of the rail, the board ran out . Chow took the whole pot with a king-high straight. Heimiller came up short of a second bracelet, but at least he goes home with $146,505 for his efforts.
And we're pretty much back where we started. Dan Heimiller raised his button and was called by Michael Chow. Chow check-called a bet on a flop of . Both players checked the turn, inducing Chow to bet the river. It's a line we've seen before. Previously Heimiller had folded. This time he raised.
Chow tanked for about two minutes, with his supporters on the raily watching anxiously. He finally called and was shown for three deuces and the nut low. Both were good for a scoop for Heimiller, who once again has about 1.5 million chips.
It was Dan Heimiller's turn to be all in this heads up match. Michael Chow raised preflop, and Heimiller called. Dan check-called a bet on the flop, his hand shaking as he slid out one of his last precious stacks of pink chips. Heimiller checked again after the appeared on the turn, and Chow bet. Heimiller moved all in for only another 30,000 on top of the 200,000 bet. Turns out it was a cooler of a flop. Heimiller showed for a flopped flush with a low draw. Chow had flopped top set with .
His rail chanted for the board to pair, but their pleas were drowned out by the screams from across the room where Michael Mizrachi was busy winning the $50k Players' Championship. The dealer must not have heard the request, because the on the river failed to pair the board. Heimiller doubled back into contention.
Another huge pot has gone to Michael Chow. Chow bet the turn of a board and Dan Heimiller called behind. The river was a third club, the . Chow bet again.
"If you have a flush, I have to pay you," said Heimiller. He called the last bet and Chow did indeed show a flush, . Losing that pot pushed Heimiller down to 500,000 chips. He's in critical territory now.
It's not lookng good for Dan Heimiller. He check-called all three streets on a board. Michael Chow showed , and with an eight-high flush and an 8-3 low, Chow took the whole huge pot. Heimiller was left with just 1.2 million.
Heimiller check-called all three streets on a board. Chow showed , and with an eight-high flush and an 8-3 low, Chow took the whole huge pot. Heimiller was left with just 1.2 million.
A very tired-looking Dan Heimiller opened from the button. Michael chow, not so chipper himself, called. On a flop of , Chow checked and called a single bet. Both players checed the turn. On the river, Chow bet into Heimiller, who called. Chow had a decent hand, for two pair, sevens and fours, and a low. But Heimiller was better on both fronts with , tens and fours and a better low.
Mike Chow raised, and Dan Heimiller called, then bet out after the flop. Chow called to see the turn. Same action, Heimiller bet, and Chow called. The river was the , and Heimiller gave up. Chow checked behind, and Dan tabled , hoping his low was good. But Chow showed to win the whole pot.
With only 18 big bets between them now, each pot is a substantial portion of their stacks. Two scoops in a row could be all it takes to put someone on the ropes.