Already the 1996 World Series of Poker Main Event champion and the winner of the 2009 NBC National Heads-Up Championship, Huck Seed made it a trifecta of sorts this past weekend, winning the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions (TOC) in what was a comedy of scheduling errors.
Let’s review.  The TOC began on Sunday, June 27th, as scheduled.  It was supposed to be played down to nine players, who would then return on Sunday, July 4th, to finish it out.  It would have been nice had things worked like that, since those were two days in which there were no bracelet events, but things were changed even before the tournament started.  When the members of the field were announced a couple weeks before the event began, it was decided that they would play four levels on the first day, then play four levels on June 28th, and then the players who remained would reconvene on July 4th to play down to champion.
But alas, that didn’t work out.  At the end of the second day, there were still 17 players left, which made finishing the tournament on the United States’ Independence Day unlikely.  So, WSOP officials changed it up again, having the players come back on July 3rd to play down to a final table and then have the final table take place on July 4th, as scheduled.  Confused yet?  But wait, there’s more.  Because there were events being run on July 3rd, there was a chance that players involved in the TOC would be active in other tournaments at the same time.  If this proved to be the case, then all 17 players would be asked to begin play at 9:00am on July 4th, which is like asking people in “normal” lines of work to punch in at 4:00am.
And then things got even more confusing.  Phil Hellmuth was still alive in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship when it was time to re-start the TOC Saturday, so the decision was made to fit in one level during that tournament’s dinner break so that the TOC players wouldn’t have to start quite as early on Sunday.  The problem was that Huck Seed and Joe Hachem weren’t there yet and supposedly Hachem was at least a half hour away.  So, play was postponed until Sunday, slightly later – 11:00am – than originally scheduled.
Fortunately, the cards were in the air at 11:00am as hoped on July 4th, and the tournament actually concluded before the Main Event was to start.  Up until the cash bubble, play was fast and furious, with lots of all-ins.  Allen Cunningham was the first to depart, finding himself on the short end of a set-over-set against Johnny Chan, who made quads on the river for good measure.  The chip leader to start the day, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, was next to go, falling to Daniel Negreanu, who took a commanding chip lead.  The next hour or so saw a string of eliminations, including Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Antonio Esfandiari, Scotty Nguyen, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, and Phil Hellmuth.
Once play was down to the 10-handed final table, things slowed down, as only one more player needed to be knocked out to get to the money.  That player was Erik Seidel, although he did go out with a little drama.  He was dead to rights when he went all-in pre-flop with Q-8 against Jennifer Harman’s A-A, but even though the flop of K-A-K gave Harman a full house, Seidel had a remote shot at a royal flush, as he had the Queen of Spades to go along with the Ace and King of Spade on the board.  Then, when the Jack of Spades hit on the turn, it almost felt like the impossible would happen.  But it didn’t, and Seidel was gone.
T.J. Cloutier exited a short time later, but it took over two hours for the next player, Annie Duke, to be eliminated.  Hers was painful, too, as Barry Greenstein spiked a Jack on the river to allow his A-J to overcome Duke’s A-Q.   The other remaining female, Jennifer Harman, hit the rail next, followed by Negreanu, whose A-A got sucked out on by Hachem’s 5-5.  At the dinner break, with five players remaining, Johnny Chan was the chip leader with 234,300, followed by Hachem, Greenstein, Howard Lederer, and Seed.
Lederer made quick work of both Greenstein and Hachem after dinner, catapulting himself into the chip lead.  He doubled-up Seed soon after those eliminations, allowing Seed to get back in the game.  After that it was back and forth, back and forth, with stretches of short-stacks surviving all-ins followed by lots of small ball.  Eventually, Lederer knocked out Chan, giving him a 468,000 to 342,000 chip advantage going into heads-up play against Seed.
Lederer increased him chip lead initially, but a bit over half and hour into heads-up play, Seed caught a lucky double-up (9-6 versus 10-10) to take the lead, 550,000 to 260,000.  And just 10 minutes later, with “The Professor’s” stack dwindling, it was over.  Lederer pushed pre-flop with Q-8, while Seed called with A-2.  Lederer picked up a straight draw on the turn, but it never came to fruition and Seed won the fourth Tournament of Champions and $500,000.
2010 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions – Final Table Results
1.    Huck Seed — $500,000
2.    Howard Lederer — $250,000
3.    Johnny Chan — $100,000
4.    Joe Hachem — $25,000
5.    Barry Greenstein — $25,000
6.    Daniel Negreanu — $25,000
7.    Jennifer Harman — $25,000
8.    Annie Duke — $25,000
9.    TJ Cloutier — $25,000

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