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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

2008 World Poker Open – Event #2, $500+50 NLHE Final Table

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Play resumed at 2 p.m. with 14 players. Four players were eliminated in the first 45 minutes and they are now setting up the final table of 10. Ronald Brown was eliminated in 14th place which was good for $2,167. David Gibraltar was eliminated in 13th place also good for $2,167.

Tom Wentzel went out at the hands of Marc Truong when they got it all in on a 10-7-7-9 board. Wentzel had 10-8 for top pair and a straight draw while Truong had 8-7 for trips and a straight draw. The river was no help and Wentzel was eliminated in 12th place for $2,648. Finishing in 11th place and earning $2,648 at the hands of Nude + poker web site girl, whose name I've learned is Heather Escuin, was James Bevins. The lone female left in the tournament, she had doubled up just moments earlier with K-J all in pre-flop (she was short with about 25K in chips) and was called by A-6. She turned a king to survive and her website girlfriends jumped up and down and gave her hugs. One of which prompted a player at another table to give her a tip for the hug. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. I'll get back to you on that.

Shortly after that, a huge hand took place between two of the chip leaders Marc Truong and Matt Culberson. On a queen high flop, Culberson bet and Truong raised. Culberson decided this was it and went all in. “I know you're pushing me around,” he told Marc. “You have a queen?” Truong asked Matt.

“No, I don't,” Culberson responded, “but I know you have nothing.”

He must have been right because after a moment of contemplation Truong tossed his hand into the muck.

Short stack Roger Kamuf was eliminated in 10th place a few hands later. Kamuf received $2,648 for his one day and one hour of work.

Here are the seating assignments and starting chip counts for the final 9:

Seat 1: Tony Sapio 81,000
Seat 2: Heather Escuin 76,000
Seat 3: Matt Culberson 306,000
Seat 4: Larry Kozlove 141,000
Seat 5: Kerry Dawson 170,500
Seat 6: Burt Madden 135,500
Seat 7: David Grandstaff 171,000
Seat 8: Dan Delnoce 76,500
Seat 9: Marc Truong 147,000

It didn't take long to lose two of our short stacks. On the first bust out, Burt Madden raised to 21K. Tony Sapio must have felt it was now or never because he moved the rest of his stack... an additional 45K more with 5-3 off. With the blinds at 3,000/6,000 and having 66K left after posting the big blind, I have to say that I hate this move with a capital H. Burt had to call 45,000 to win 105,000. Not many players are going to fold there. Especially when they have A-Q as Madden did. The board came 9-8-7-8-J and Tony Sapio was eliminated in 9th place winning a total of $4,815 in the process.

A few hands later and we had our 2nd player eliminated. This time it was Dan Delnoce and Heather Escuin tangling. Delnoce moved all in first to act. Heather has been playing solid, tight poker... only playing good hands from what I can see and I overheard her telling someone that she's “scared to death.” She thought about it for ten seconds and decided A-K was a good enough hand to go with.

Delnoce was live with Q-J but received no help from the board. Heather's massive cheering section ... which is growing larger by the minute (funny how when you have 5 scantily clad women rooting for you, that you all of a sudden become the most popular poker player in the room), went nuts, dancing and high fiving one another as if their favorite team had just scored the winning touchdown in overtime. Heather had Dan covered by 2K so Dan Delnoce was out 8th place finisher winning $7,222.

David Grandstaff, in the meantime, is leaking off chips left and right. First he raised to 30K, only to fold after Kerry Dawson moved all in over the top of him. Then a couple of hands later he raised from the small blind to 38K. Marc Truong moved all in and Grandstaff folded... losing 68K of his stack without even seeing a flop. In these shallower money tournaments like this, I really hate 5-6 times the big blind raises like Grandstaff is making here. You end up over committing yourself and losing too much of your stack with marginal hands. If anything, you can actually get away with smaller raises at the end of these tournaments because the small raises are still usually a significant portion of a person's stack.

It didn't take long for David to exit after that. He opened for 40K this time and Matt Culberson flat called him on the button. They got it all in on an A-7-4 flop. Grandstaff had A-6 for top pair but he was crushed by Culberson's flopped set of 7's. No runner, runner miracle for Grandstaff and he was out. David Grandstaff finished in 7th place winning $9,630 for his efforts.

Larry Kozlove picked up two big pots to put him among the chip leaders behind Culberson and Dawson. On the first hand, he moved all in over the top of Culberson's 30K opener. Matt folded. The second hand, Burt Madden opened for 35K and folded when Larry came over the top all in again.

The action is what you typically see at this stage of a tournament. Someone opens and everyone folds. Every once in a while there will be a contested pot or an all in re-raise but 9 hands out of 10, that is how a hand plays out.

Kerry Dawson has been building his stack steadily from the outset of the tournament and he is mixing his play up with a variety of different sized raises and limps and has been involved in two of the bigger hands at this final table.

In the first hand, Culberson opened for 35K and Larry Kozlove called. Dawson called as well. The flop came J-4-4. Culberson checked, Kozlove bet 60K, and Dawson moved all in. Culberson folded and Kozlove muttered “I knew I should have re-raised pre-flop” before tossing his cards to the dealer.

The other notable hand crippled Marc Truong. Dawson limped in from the button and Madden completed from the small blind. Marc checked his option and we saw a J-5-2, two diamond flop. Marc led out for 20K and Dawson quickly called. Madden folded. The turn was a 7 of hearts. Marc again bet 20K and Dawson called even faster this time. The river was a king. Marc bet 20K one more time but this time Dawson wasn't calling. He moved all in with a flick of his wrists. Marc counted the remainder of his chips... there wasn't much left and the pot was sizable. He looked at his hand... containing a jack but finally relented to the pressure and mucked.

It didn't take long for Truong to exact some revenge though when he moved all in over the top of Dawson's 30K opener a few hands later. Dawson called the additional 53K with J-6 of hearts and saw that he was drawing nearly dead when Marc showed pocket jacks. Three queens arrived and Truong was back in it with nearly 150K.

Conventional wisdom says to avoid other big stacks when you are a big stack. Dawson must not have gone to “conventional poker” school. When Matt Culberson raised to 30K, Dawson re-raised to 100K. Culberson called. The flop came 9-9-4. Dawson went all in. Matt told me after the tournament that he tried to think of what hands Dawson could have that he wouldn't have moved all in pre-flop with like he had so often. “I remembered a hand yesterday where he moved all in pre-flop with pocket kings and he didn't do that here. When I asked him if he had a big hand, he kept acting like he was going to show me and I had a feeling he wasn't that strong... that he had something like a big ace.”

Culberson made the tough call. With pocket 5's. It turned out to be the correct call as Dawson had A-J. Culberson still had to hope the turn and river would reward him for his gutsy call... and it did. After the hand Matt was up to 750K while Dawson was down to 100K.

Heather showed a bit of her inexperience later when Larry moved all in for a total of 28K. The blinds were 6K/12K with a 2,000 ante meaning there was 58K in the pot and Heather had to call 16K... or 3.5:1 on her money. Most seasoned players wouldn't have even looked at their cards here... but she did and folded.

Dawson then moved all in 3 times without getting a call and built his stack up to 150K. He wasn't done though. Culberson opened for 40K on Dawson's big blind and Kerry moved all in for 101K more. Matt folded and Dawson was putting himself back into the mix of things. He did so even more when he did the same exact thing a couple hands, later this time at the hands of a Marc Truong raise. Marc folded and now Dawson was back up to 250K.

We finally had our next elimination and with it half the rail was eliminated as well. Marc Truong limped in from the cutoff and Heather Escuin moved all in from the button. Marc said to Heather “I'm going to double you up” and made the call. Marc had Q-J and Heather once again had A-K. The flop was great for Heather. All rags. The turn was another blank and Heather's girlfriends were on the edge of their seats ready to explode. The poker gods weren't in a ‘be nice to nude + poker website girls’ today though because they brought a jack on the river sending moans (no, not that kind you perverts) throughout the crowd. Heather Escuin finished in 6th place for $12,307.

A short stacked Larry Kozlove moved all in with Q-7 and was called by Marc Truong and Matt Culberson. They checked down the 8-Q-K-4-T four spade flop. Marc turned over the ace of spades for the nut flush and blushed a little as he admitted that “I didn't know that I had the flush.” Larry Kozlove finished in 5th place for $14,455.

It didn't take much longer before we were three handed as Burt Madden moved his short stack all in with 10-9 of diamonds and was called by the big stack of Matt Culberson who held A-7 of hearts. No help arrived for Madden and an ace on the river sealed the deal. Burt Madden finished in 4th place for $16,852.

Kerry Dawson had experienced a roller coaster of a final table but was still left with 3 players left so anything was possible. He definitely had a crazy image and was by far the most aggressive player at the table. This aggression led to his demise on his final hand. He minimum raised the big blind to 32K from the button and Marc Truong made it 100K to go from the small blind. As soon as Culberson folded, Dawson said “I'm all in.”

“Damnit,” said Marc, slamming the table with his hand.

He counted down his chips and saw that there wouldn't be much left (probably 125K) if he folded.

“I call,” he said. Definitely not sure of himself.

After Dawson turned over J-10 offsuit he was. Pocket Jacks for Marc. Dawson's run was over as the board came A-9-6-9-3. Kerry Dawson finished in 3rd place for $19,260.

Heads up play started with Marc Truong facing a 500K to 850K chip deficit. Culberson quickly went to work at making it an even bigger hole to climb out of when he called a 100K bet from Marc on a 5-8-J-9 board. The river was another 8 and both players checked. Truong had 10-9 for second pair but Matt's K-9 outkicked him and won the pot.

Culberson continued to grind away at Marc's stack with a series of bets and raises including one hand where Marc raised out of turn. Johnny Grooms was called over and ruled that if Matt just called that Marc would have to raise. Culberson mulled this over and completed the small blind. Marc raised to 50K and Culberson came over the top for 200K total. Marc folded.

On a Q-5-4-10 board, Marc led out for 50K and was raised by Matt to 100K. “I'm all in,” said Marc.

Matt jumped out of his chair triumphantly. “I call,” he said and proudly showed his slow played Q-4. Marc had 10-7 and was drawing to two outs. Would it end here? Of course not. I wouldn't ask an open ended question like that without having the customary 2 outer hit on the river. And with that miracle, we suddenly had a whole new ball game as Truong was back up to 430K.

That whole new ballgame shifted into Truong’s favor when the two combatants got it all in on a 9-8-3-2 three spade board. Matt had 2's for a turned set. Marc had K-5 of spades for a turned flush. “Pair the board,” Matt pleaded... to no avail when a 4 came. Now Marc had the chip lead with 850K to Culberson's 450K.

That lasted all of oh... 2 minutes when the two players got it all in yet again... this time pre-flop. Marc had 8's this time while Matt had A-Q. An ace on the turn and Matt won what Johnny Grooms called “a big ole big un”... a pot with more than 1 million in chips leaving Marc with less than 300K.

After that hand, Matt went into attack mode winning six straight pots with bets or raises and Marc was under 150K when he decided enough was enough and moved all in. “How much is it?” queried Matt.

The dealer counted the chips down for him.

“Dude, if I beat you with this hand, I apologize in advance,” Culberson told Marc. “I call.”

The hands were revealed: J-7 of hearts for Matt. Queens for Truong. The flop was 7-3-2. A little hope for Culberson. The turn was a 3 and Culberson's only hope was one of two 7's left in the deck. The river was a blank... oops I mean it was the two outer 7 (come on, this is poker, the two outer ALWAYS hits!)... and just like that the tournament was over. Marc Truong played a great tournament and finished in 2nd place for $38,278.

Gutsy calls, aggressive play, a bad beat suffered, and a bad beat given. That was the recipe of success for Matt “Cubby” Culberson in winning event #2 of the 2008 World Poker Open and $72,705 in the process. He played a great, controlled, final table and is well deserving of his win. Congrats Matt!

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