More than 40 years ago, at the 1982 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, Jack “Treetop” Straus lost a pot that left him with a solitary chip in his stack, which he found hidden under a napkin. As he hadn’t declared himself all-in, Straus was allowed to continue with his single chip and famously went on to become the 1982 WSOP Main Event champion; the phrase chip and a chair was born.
Fastforward to the weekend just gone, and German ace Christoph Vogelsang wrote a chip and a chair story of his own. Vogelsang was one of 120 entrants in the $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed event, part of the Triton Super High Roller Series in Monte-Carlo. Although Vogelsang has over $28 million in live cashes, only two victories adorn his resume: a $25,000 NLHE event at Aria for $261,376 in July 2017 and his famous $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl win, worth $6,000,000, in May 2017.
There is no doubt about Vogelsang’s ability, although his methodical approach to poker is not always well-received by his fellow players of the poker community as a whole; neither his his love of completely covering his face with clothing. The 38-year-old German has a tendency to “go into the tank” for what seems to some as massively overthinking trivial spots, so much so that seasoned pro Scott Seiver called Vogelsang’s approach unethical and akin to angle shooting after the Germany spent an age in his decision-making during his heads-up battle with Dan Smith at the 2022 World Series of Poker. Love or loathe Vogelsang style, it obviously works.
During Day 2 of this event, before the money bubble burst, Vogelsang’s victory drought looked set to continue because he found himself armed with only a single big blind. Being micro-stacked is bad enough, but it is an even more perilous position when you’re duking it out with some of the world’s best tournament players.
Not only did Vogelsang survive until the bubble popped, he became a poker champion for the first time in six years and walked away with $2,644,000 for his efforts.
$100,000 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed Final Table Results
*reflects a heads-up deal
The all-important bubble burst on the first encounter during the hand-for-hand phase. Lewis Spencer jammed with ace-ten, and Thai star Punnat Punsri looked him up with king queen. A queen on the river spelled curtains for Spencer, and the surviving 20 players captured a $156,000 min-cash.
Dan Smith was the first player to bust. The likes of Kiat Lee, Steve O’Dwyer, Santhosh Suvarna, Ferdinand Putra, Karl Chappe-Gatien, Viacheslav Buldygin, Artur Martirosian, and Michael Watson joined Smith at the cashier’s desk.
The player count went from 11 to nine after Nacho Barbero stacked Johannes Straver and Elton Tsang in the same hand. Straver moved all-in for nine big blinds, and both Barbero and Tsang stuck along for the ride. Barber and Tsang checked on the king-ten-four flop, with Tsang check-calling a bet on the ace turn. Another ten landed on the river, Tsang checked again before calling Barbero’s shove. Tsang showed ace-queen, and Barbero ace-ten for a rivered full house. Straver was gutted as his queen-jack turned a straight but it meant nothing.
Barbero headed into the dinner break before the commencement of the final table with a monster-sized chip lead. The Argentinian’s stack contained 113 big blinds, with Punsri’s 52 big blinds the next largest. Vogelsang was lurking in the middle of the pack with 25 big blinds in his arsenal.
Francisco Benitez‘s time at the final table was limited, as his pocket queens lost to Daniel Dvoress‘s ace-queen of spades, which improved to a flush. Benitez specializes in online poker tournaments but has been making waves in the live arena of late. This will not be Benitez’s last massive haul.
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Then came the elimination of the five-time Triton champion and all-around poker legend Phil Ivey. Ivey made a stand with king-queen and ran into Punsri’s dominating ace-queen. The community cards failed to rescue Ivey, and he bowed out in eighth.
Jonathan Jaffe can count himself unlucky with how he busted in seventh. Jaffe doubled through Danny Tang, but the next time he was all-in, with ace-queen, he ran face-first into Benjamin Heath‘s pocket aces. Jaffe failed to shoot down Heath’s rockets, and he was done and dusted.
Aces reared their heads again to send Dvoress to the showers in sixth. Dvoress committed the last of his chips with queen-nine of clubs, and Vogelsang had one of the easiest calls of his career, as he had a pair of aces in the hole. No drama from the board meant the dangerous Dvoress was toast.
The final six-figure prize of the evening was claimed by Heath, whose latest deep run ended in a fifth-place finish. Again, it was the resurgent Vogelsang who reduced the player count. Heath open-shoved from the small blind with queen-jack, and Vogelsang called with ace-nine. An ace on the flop left Heath with one big blind, which Vogelsang claimed with his pocket fives. No chip and a chair story for the British hero.
Fourth place and a cool $1,068,000 went to Punsri. Barbero’s jack-eight spiked a jack on the flop to best Punsri’s king-seven of diamonds, spelling the end for the Thai grinder.
Heads-up was set soon after when Tang’s ace-king was demolished by Barbero’s dominated ace-seven. Tang looked set to a much-needed double-up, but a seven on the flop and another on the river left Tang void of chips. Tang consoled himself with $1,296,000 in prize money.
Barbero held a 47 big blind to 33 big blind advantage over Vogelsang, and the pair struck a deal that saw Barbero clinch $2,198,000, Vogelsang $2,144,000, leaving $500,000 and the trophy for the eventual champion.
A topsy-turvy one-on-one encounter saw both players enjoy the status of chip leader, but Vogelsang eventually came out on top in the early hours of Monday morning. The final hand saw Barbero’s queen-eight of diamonds go to war with Vogelsang’s king-ten. A queen on the flop looked to have won the pot for Barbero, but it was his German opponent who had all the luck this time around, with the king of diamonds awarding Vogelsang the pot and the title of champion.
Next up for the high roller series is the final day of the $30,000 NLH 7-Handed event. Thirty-four of the 145 starters remain, and Bulgaria’s Dimitar Danchev is the man to catch, although only one big blind separates Danchev from Ole Schemion in second place.
Lead image courtesy of Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive