Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #15
Plenty more money was being dished out this week as two big tournaments drew to a conclusion. The first European Poker Tour event to be held in Italy proved to be very popular and even though the original cap of 500 entrants was raised, the tournament was still a sell out at the new capacity of 701. With the exception of the Caribbean Adventure which drew a lot of American players, this was the biggest field of the EPT season so far, probably helped by the fact that it was one of the smaller buy ins at €5000.
Amongst the seasoned players in San Remo was another former pro sportsman trying his hand at poker in the shape of former skier and Olympic gold medallist Alberto Tomba. It was downhill progress all the way for the Italian though as he failed to make much of an impact on this occasion. His fellow countrymen accounted for around a quarter of the field and it was one of them who was grabbing all the headlines in the early stages. Dario Minieri predictably got himself involved in a lot of big pots, and whilst his high chip turnover saw the size of his stack fluctuate wildly over the first few days, it seemed to be working for him as he held the chip lead going into the final table.
In second place was American James Mercier who had also been one of the bigger stacks since the early stages, and at the final table it was Minieri and Mercier who seemed to take charge until the two of them clashed. With three players left, small stack Anthony Lellouche gladly got out of the way whilst the two chip leaders moved all in on a flop of 8 7 2. Minieri held the made hand with Q Q whilst Mercier was drawing with A 4. The 4 on the turn gave Mercier thirteen outs on the river and he found one when he completed his flush to eliminate Minieri.
With a big chip lead, it was all over soon afterwards when Mercier won a race with overcards against Lellouche’s pocket sevens and the American picked up €869,000 in only his second ever live tournament.
That was the final leg of the tour before the grand finale in Monte Carlo later this month, and over in America the World Poker Tour is also wrapping up with the last regular leg of season six. The venue for the twentieth WPT event of the season (not all of which were open events though) was the largest casino in the world – Foxwoods in Connecticut. Already the record holder (in terms of gaming floor space rather than hotel rooms) Foxwoods plans to sprawl further still this summer with the addition of an extra two million square feet of floor space, but it seems that’s not being done with poker tournaments in mind. With only half the number of runners that EPT San Remo got, all 346 entrants were able to play on the same day one as the $10,000 main event kicked off.
A generous starting stack of 300 big blinds meant that around two thirds of the field survived the first day, but David Pham managed to scatter his entire stack around the table in just over an hour by playing virtually every hand. More successful was end of day one chip leader Raj Patel who won this same event in 2007. Patel’s defence of his title continued valiantly as he placed second in chips after day two and third at the end of day three. Just as the prospect of back to back victories was becoming a realistic proposition, Patel made an ill-timed shove when play was down to two tables and his king high was no match for the pocket aces waiting for him in the big blind.
Not for the first time in his career, Erik Seidel had been steadily picking his way through the field without often risking his entire stack in the manner that someone like Minieri happily would do. With a decent run of cards and the experience of knowing which players to exert pressure on as the final table loomed, Seidel ominously claimed the chip lead going into the final day’s play. His most notable adversary at the final table, Ted Forrest, was not far behind but was the first player to bust from the final six after twice getting his money in pre-flop with a smaller pocket pair. After another couple of eliminations, three handed play lasted an agonising six hours before eventually Seidel’s J J held up when Andrew Barta moved in with A Q and then Seidel found himself heads up with Robert Richardson. Fortunately the next elimination came much more swiftly when on the very next hand Richardson moved in on the turn with third pair. An easy call for Seidel with top pair was not followed by any dramatic reversal of fortune and he collected $992,890 for yet another tournament win.
The WPT Bracelet
As if he does not have enough bracelets already (eight WSOP titles to date) Seidel will now collect another one for his latest achievement. The WPT have announced that they will be awarding championship bracelets to every winner of a WPT main event so far at a ceremony during the grand finale at Bellagio later this month. A diamond bracelet commissioned by Tiffany might sound nice in principal but the first pictures of them released by the WPT have not been especially well received. In fact they look a bit like a bondage accessory and it’s hard to imagine someone like Doyle Brunson proudly sporting one of these.
In other news it has emerged that when Annette Obrestad won the WSOP Europe last year, someone swiped a chip from her stack. The clip below shows her applauding Martin Johnson calling down Kenny Tran’s river bet with only king high, and in doing so knocking a chip from the top of her stack. The stationary hand to her left jumps into life once it detects the rogue chip and liberates it from Annette’s stack by incorporating it into a riffle of that player’s own chips. There have been suggestions that it was Aleksander Vathne in the orange cap next to her (that player appears again later in the clip behind Joe Beevers) but at present this is unconfirmed.
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