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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

2008 World Poker Open – Event #1, $300+40 NLHE Final Table

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Talk about an action packed beginning to a final table. In the first ten minutes, the two chip leaders tangled. The action started with Kimberly Robertson raising first to act. Becket Moore, the chip leader, re-raised. Robertson didn't think long before putting all of her chips in the middle and Becket must have felt as if he was committed as he called with Ace Jack. Kimberly had queens and was now the new chip leader.

That didn't last long, however. Joey Sharp started a massive rush that would last him throughout the rest of the tournament. He eliminated our first player, Campbell Davis, and after Kimberly doubled up Becket, the two of them were neck and neck in chips. At the first break, Sharp had 550K in chips with Robertson having 425K. A distant 3rd was Tim Burt. Campbell Davis received $4,351 for his 9th place finish.

Souvanh Vilayvanh started getting aggressive moving all in on 3 out of 5 hands right after the break. Johnny Grooms, in the meantime, must have been getting restless as he started heckling the railbirds. “Ladies and Gentleman,” he announced over the microphone. “If you are a nature lover, you will be glad to know that we have amongst us a hairy faced rail bird.” It's a good thing Johnny has a job that isn't as a comedian.

With the blinds at 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante, most of the action went like this. “I'm all in.” Fold. Fold. Fold. Over and over and over again. I felt like I was stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. Souvanh then had the nerve to make a raise to 80,000. What the hell? A non all in raise? Ban him from poker I say!

After the earlier Ace Jack debacle, Becket Moore found himself in desperation mode. When it was folded to him on the button and he looked down to see an ace, it was an easy all in for him. Unfortunately for him, Gerard Rodrigues (who was also short) had pocket 8's and made the call out of the big blind. The board came Q-9-5-Q and when no 9 or ace came on the river, Becket was down to 19K.

On the very next hand, Tim Burt limped in and Becket stuck the rest of his chips in. Rodrigues called but Shelly Adler was going to have none of it as she made a pot sweetening raise to 60K. Burt acted as if someone had stuck a hot branding iron on his hands... that was how quick he folded. He later said that he knew Becket was going to go all in and he just wanted to try and eliminate him. Rodrigues also folded and Adler showed pocket aces. Moore had 2-J off. A jack came on the turn but no miracle arrived on the river and Becket Moore was Eliminated in 8th place for $6,527.

Now it was James Mackey's turn to apply the pressure. Mackey moved all in about 5 times in two orbits and built his stack from about 80K to 230K in the process. In the meantime, Kimberly Robertson, Shelly Adler, and Joey Sharp are all playing unusually tight. Super tight really. The one time Shelly raises, she garners a lot of respect and everyone folds.

Joey Sharp starts to open up. He raises 3 consecutive hands... first on Shelley's big blind, then Kimberly's, and finally on Souvanh's. He picks up all three pots uncontested and adds 150K to his stack. Now that's playing big stack poker.

Sharp continues to push the table around... or so he thinks... when he moves all in first to act, from the small blind, on short stack Gerard Rodrigues' big blind. Gerard has Ace King though and isn't going anywhere. Sharp's hand? King 5. No 5 for Joey and Gerard has doubled up to 200K. It's just a small dent in Sharp's monster stack though... he does seem a bit upset after the hand but is quick to regain his composure.
How much so? Enough that he's back to raising Shelly and Kimberly's big blind on back to back hands the next two hands. They fold and he picks up the 100K he had just lost to Rodrigues.

Rodrigues doubles up again when he moves all in for 143K with jacks and is called by Souvanh in the big blind with tens. The blinds have now moved up to 15,000/30,000 with a 4,000 ante.

As this is all happening, I notice Shelly Adler becoming visibly frustrated with her cards. She is showing them to a friend and flipping them in the muck with a look of resignation. Desperate, she moves all in with K-9 suited and is quickly called by Souvanh on the button. Tim Burt looks pained as he glances at his cards in the small blind. “I can't beat pocket tens,” he says, trying to get something from Souvanh who remains motionless.

Finally, Burt says “I'm all in.”

Mackey folds in the big blind and we have a three way all in showdown. Souvanh has A-K. Burt pocket 9's. Adler is literally drawing dead. She will need a flush or some kind of 4 card straight to stay alive. Burt has a gathering behind him on the rail... all eager to get their 5% cut of him (he still wouldn't give me 5%). The flop is a great one for Tim. J-8-5. He's two cards away from eliminating two players and being right with Sharp in chips.

Poker's never that kind though is it? A king on the turn and Souvanh claps his hands in glee. “Yes, good dealer. Good dealer. Yes!” The river is a blank and Shelly Adler is eliminated in 7th place for $8,702. Souvanh has approximately 400K after the hand and Burt is down to 180K.

Then perhaps the biggest pot of the final table takes place. Souvanh opens for 70K from the cutoff and Sharp calls from the big blind. There is 200K in the pot. The flop comes 6-4-4 and Joey checks. Souvanh bets 100K and Joey quickly comes over the top all in. Sharp told me after the tournament that he had Ace King. If I were to guess Souvanh's hand, I'd think something along the lines of A-J or K-Q.

And after that the final table becomes the Joey Sharp show. He raises Kimberly's big blind for about the 20th time at this final table (well at least it seemed that way to me). James Mackey then moved all in from the small blind for a little less than 150K and Sharp called with K-10 of hearts. Mackey had A-Q but a ten on the flop and three hearts by the river ended Mackey's tournament. James Mackey finished in 6th place for $10,878.

Robertson finally wins a hand when she raises under the gun to 80,000. Sharp calls out of the small blind and check folds to Kimberly's all in bet on an 8-3-2 flop. The very next hand, Sharp raises to 80K himself and Rodrigues contemplates what to do and flat calls. The flop comes A-10-8. Sharp bets 80K and Rodrigues folds pocket queens face up. Flat calling the big stacks raise 5 handed with pocket queens? It wouldn't be the last time that Gerard would make a monumental mistake and it would end up costing him.

At the 2nd break the chip counts were as follows:

Joey Sharp 1.1 million
Kimberly Robertson 300K
Gerard Rodrigues 200K
Tim Burt 185K
Souvanh Vilayvanh 170K

I guess everyone had to be somewhere because after the break we were done in less then 30 minutes. Sharp continued his massive rush when he calls Souvanh's all in. I'm standing behind Gerard Rodrigues and see that he has A-K of diamonds. I'm expecting him to go all in. It's 5 handed after all. He looks again and folds. Souvanh has K-5 and Sharp has A-Q. The board comes all rags (and yes, Gerard would have tripled up on the hand) and Souvanh Vilayvanh is eliminated in 5th place for $13,054.

Two hands later, Sharp moves all in first to act from under the gun. Kimberly Robertson calls. I'm not sure if she was tired of Sharp's constant raising or if she truly thought she had the best hand but she made a quick call with A-8.

Burt again looks pained. “She snap called,” he said. He finally folds and says that he had pocket jacks. Sharp had A-10 and Robertson received no help. The Joey show continued and Kimberly Robertson was eliminated in 4th place for $15,229.

And then there were three. Not for long though. Rodrigues moved all in and was called by Tim Burt. Gerard had K-5 of diamonds. Burt A-10 of spades. The flop came with two diamonds. No king, five or diamond came though and Gerard didn't even have enough to post a complete big blind. Burt in the meantime was up to 325K after the hand. Gerard Rodrigues was eliminated in 3rd place for $17,144 on the next hand when Sharp's 10-5 paired up on the river to best Gerards Q-2.

Sharp didn't let up at all once heads up play commenced and soon had Burt to the point where he had to make a desperation call with Q-4. Sharp's K-8 held up and Tim Burt was our 2nd place finisher.

This was Joey Sharp's tournament to win. He was the most aggressive and aware player at the table. He picked his spots well and attacked weakness when he saw it. I asked him after the tournament if it was a strategy of his to continuously raise Adler and Robertson's big blind. “I always have a hand when I raise,” he joked.

“Yea right,” I laughed.

“Nah, I was just using position and they were short and they were folding a lot.”

I asked him if he thought the hand where he check raised all in against Souvanh with A-K on a 6-4-4 flop was the biggest hand of the final table and he seemed to agree with me that it was.

A great performance for the cash game player from Georgia. Joey Sharp is the winner of Event #1 of the 2008 World Poker Open.

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