$1,000 + $90 NL
An improbable comeback was cut short of a championship when Jonathan Lessin (Oceanport, NJ) won the nearly $88,000 first prize when he beat Michael DeMartino (Laurence Harbor, NJ) for the title. DeMartino, who was one card away from not cashing, took home $48,888 for second place.
"It was a pretty good turn of events," DeMartino said, while beaming with his parents standing by. The turn of events actually came on the river when 37 players remained and 36 cashed. DeMartino hit a spade to give him a flush with A 2 vs A Q which helped him survive the bubble.
"I was lucky to start the day," said the runner-up who began Day 2 with the lowest chip stack of 26k. "But after that, I started to hit some hands and play some good poker."
On the final hand DeMartino lost to Lessin who held 9♦ 8♦. Lessin flopped an 8 and faded straight cards on the river for the win.
"Luck is part of the game," said Lessin, who officially won $87,988. "This is awesome, I'm exhausted, but (feel) awesome."
Lessin cashed in his biggest luck chip when he was in a monster pot with Jason Young (Suffern, NY) while playing three-handed. Young, a WSOP Bracelet holder, turned two pairs and was all-in against Lessin's ace-king for only a pair of aces.
The river paired the board and gave Lessin, who only had a 14% chance to win the hand, a higher two pairs and the 4 million chip pot. "I've been on the other end of that hand, a hundred million times," says Lessin, "It was nice to be on the right end this time."
Lessin took the big chip advantage into heads-up play and after one hour was able to end DeMartino's miracle run.
"I'm disappointed I didn't win," said DeMartino, "but what are you going to do?"
The tournament began Saturday with 336 players and included another WSOP Bracelet winner Mike 'Little Man' Sica (North Brunswick, NJ), but he failed to make it through Day 1. When play resumed on Day 2 Ramon Rivera, (Brentwood, NY) was the chip leader, but finished in 20th place ($2,444).
The total buy-in of $336,000 was divided between the top 36 players.