When any kind of “moment of truth” arrives, often times all you can do is cross your fingers and say a prayer to your deity of choice that everything goes off without a hitch. Yesterday’s iSeriesLIVE €10,000 Kick-Off Event was a big moment of truth. Would things get off without a hitch? And just as importantly, would people respond to the concept of in-game betting on poker players?
The answer to the first question was mostly yes. The answer to the second question was resoundingly yes.
As with any new product, there were a few glitches that need to be worked out. We know it, we’re on it, and we promise that the next event is going to be even better than this one was. But as far as these things, when James Dempsey eliminated Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott to win the event about 10h after play began, nobody at iSeriesLIVE could have been happier about the way things turned out.
The day started with our ten invited players seated around a crescent-shaped table, yukking it up with each other. And despite some early fireworks – Phil Hellmuth and Maria Ho were both dealt A-K on the first hand; Carlos Mortensen lost 90% of his stack with queens to Faraz Jaka’s set of 3s – there was no elimination for the first four hours of play. Every time a player was at risk, they won the pot, whether the pre-flop favorite or a heavy dog. The extended “first elimination” bubble gave everyone who placed a “first eliminated” bet an excellent sweat for their money.
Those of you who chose Phil Hellmuth to be first eliminated, and for Daniel Negreanu to outlast Hellmuth, cash your tickets at the window. Phil’s stack took a spill when he went in for the kill against Devilfish with pocket queens against Fish’s pocket 6s. The 6 came, of course, and from there Phil was whittled down until he lost a flip with ace-queen against Daniel’s pocket 9s.
Daniel did not fare much better than Phil, however. He made a strong shove as the third to act on a king-high flop over a bet by Faraz and a raise by James. James tanked for six minutes before finally calling with top pair; Daniel showed an open-ended straight flush draw that never came in.
That pot made James the dominant chip leader, helped in no small part by an earlier hand in which he picked up aces against Faraz’s kings to double up. From there James played a patient game, letting the increasing blinds and the relatively shallow stacks eat up the other players. Four-handed, James was still the clear favorite over Devilfish, Carlos Mortensen and Maria. Carlos and Maria soon exited in 4th place and 3rd place, respectively.
By the time heads-up play started, James had only a small lead against Devilfish. They played back and forth a short while before each picked up an ace: ace-queen for James, ace-eight for Devilfish. The money all went in pre-flop and Devilfish never improved.
All in all it was a good night for James — and a great night for iSeriesLIVE and poker fans.
iSeriesLIVE Kick-Off Event Results
1st: James Dempsey (€100,000)
2nd: Dave Ulliott
3rd: Maria Ho
4th: Carlos Mortensen
5th: Eoghan O’Dea
6th: Faraz Jaka
7th: Tobias Renkemeier
8th: Daniel Negreanu
9th: Marvin Rettenmaier
10th: Phil Hellmuth