Frenchman Aubin Cazals plays during the No-Limit Hold'em Mixed Max event at the Rio (Photo courtesy World Series of Poker)
Joseph Cheong of La Mirada, Calif., has been involved in some of the more interesting situations during the World Series of Poker the past few years.
In the 2010 Main Event, Cheong lost a monster 90.05 million tournament chip pot to eventual champion Jonathan Duhamel and went from a seat in heads-up play to third place and out of the tournament.
On Monday, Cheong finished runner-up to 21-year-old Frenchman Aubin Cazals in the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Mixed Max event at the Rio, a day after the match was expected to conclude.
Cheong, who earned $296,956, was denied his first individual event championship bracelet after waiting a full day for Cazals, an online poker professional currently residing on the island-nation of Malta, to qualify.
In Mixed Max, participants play three configurations of no-limit hold’em. It was the first time the game was offered at the World Series of Poker.
First day matches were played nine-handed. Second-day matches were played six-handed. Third- and fourth-day matches were played heads-up. The final 32 players were seeded according to brackets and ultimately played down to a winner.
Cheong did his part Sunday afternoon, quickly eliminating France’s Hugo Lemaire in one semifinal heads-up match.
However, Cazals’ semifinal heads-up match with Australian Warwick Mirzikinian took 9 hours and 25 minutes, smashing the record for the longest heads-up match ever at the World Series of Poker. In 2006, David “Chip” Reese took 7 hours and 6 minutes to defeat Andy Bloch in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship.
Due to the late hour, Cazals, Cheong and World Series of Poker staff decided the event would finish on an unscheduled fifth day, which began on ESPN’s main stage at noon Monday.
Cheong and Cazals played heads-up for five hours. The match ended when Cazals made three kings versus Cheong's pocket fours on the final hand.
Cazals earned $480,564 in prize money. He was also presented with his first-ever World Series of Poker gold bracelet. The inaugural event attracted 409 participants.