Chip counts for the final table were as follows:
- Mike Schneider $1,280,000
- Kenna James $1,090,000
- Andrew Chitiea $840,000
- Scott Buller $810,000
- Richard Joel $740,000
- Devon Miller $470,000
Mike Schneider is a student at the University of Minnesota, and in the year since he turned 21 and became eligible to play in brick and mortar poker rooms, he has established himself as an expert at the game.
Coming in to the final table on the shortest stack, 21-year old Devon Miller, of Los Angeles, was defeated during the first 20 minutes of action at the final table by Richard Joel, who made the nut flush to beat Miller’s two pair. Inspired by the movie “Rounders,” during high school Miller studied books about the game and was soon playing in California card rooms despite his age, having built up a bankroll through online play. He is known today as a feared and respected $400/$800 player. He received $175,000 for his sixth place finish.
Richard Joel was next, when his pocket Eights were no match for Scott Buller’s pocket Kings. Joel, a self-described amateur, hails from Atlanta, GA, where he is retired from the casket-selling business. He took home $225,000 for fifth place, not a bad payday for someone who qualified for this event online for $34.
Andrew Chitiea of Centennial, Co, a pilot examiner for the FAA, as well as a flight instructor and corporate pilot, was the only other finalist who qualified through an online satellite, the others having paid the $10,000 entry fee. He got very lucky in early action when his all-in with K-5 beat Schneider’s pocket Sevens on a board of As-Qs-10s-Ad-Qc, as Chitiea’s King kicker played. But his luck ran out soon after, when his Q-T gutshot straight draw lost to Kenna James’ trip Kings. Chitiea, who hopes to buy a biplane with his winnings, booked a nice prize of $300,000 for 4th place.
Scott Buller, a train conductor from Lincoln, Nebraska, is the only player to have made two final table appearances at the Party Poker Million. He placed fifth at the PartyPoker Million I, won by Kathy Liebert. He has also been in the money four times out of five.
Buller’s fate in this event was sealed when he called a preflop raise from Schneider with J-2. Both players made three Jacks on the turn, but Schneider’s Seven kicker played on a board of Jh-6c-4h-Jd-5s. That left Buller severely short-stacked. He went all-in on the next hand with K-Q, but got beaten by Kenna James’ A-8. Buller received $500,000 for third place.
It was heads up between Kenna James, a well-liked poker pro from Southern California, and Schneider, the young upstart. By all accounts, Schneider showed his skill throughout the tournament, and especially at the final table. When heads up play began, he had $4,480,000 to James’ $760,000. With a dozen of his friends cheering him on, he dispatched James quickly.
In the final hand of the event, James, very low on chips, went all-in with Jh-6d. Schneider called with Qs-10c and won the hand when a Queen flopped and the board gave James no help.
The past year has been a great one for James. In addition to his second place finish here, which earned him $700,000, he took 44th in the WSOP main event, winning $235,390. He also won the WPT’s Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino, for a payday of $588,210. He finished 7th at the Monte Carlo Million, netting $100,000. Most recently, he won the $2,500 No Limit Holdem event at the LA Poker Classic, taking home $242,251.
Mike Schneider, the latest newly-minted young poker millionaire, will graduate this fall from the University of Minnesota, where he is studying journalism. He has financed his education through his poker winnings. He began playing poker four years ago, both live and online.You cannot enter the Party Poker Million V as it is over, but WSOP 2006 is near! Play with PartyPoker.com and you can win entry packages worth $11,000 ($10,000 buy-in and $1,000 spending money) to this year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas! Click here to download