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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

2008 World Poker Open – Event #3, $500+50 NLHE Final Table, Part 2

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*Continued from Part I *

We are now down to 6 players:

Seat 1: Tony Hartmann
Seat 3: Rhudy Maxwell
Seat 5: John Von Holle
Seat 6: Frank Kassela
Seat 8: Jonathan Tare
Seat 9: Terry Stewart

Jonathan Tare has been aggressive when he's been first to act and continues this behavior when he raises first to act from the cutoff on Tony Hartmann's big blind. Tony will have none of it and raises Tare's 24K raise (the blinds are now 4K/8K) to 85K. The raise is too much for Tare's liking but he lets Tony know of his displeasure by saying “boy, you are just pushing me around.” And he is... with pocket kings... as he shows them to perhaps send a message that he's raising only with legitimate hands. Aces 3 times and kings.

Frank and Tony are bantering back and forth about the 2005 PLHE WSOP final table they played at together. Kassela tells me it took him nearly a year to get over the beat he suffered at the hands of Chan... he was that close to a bracelet. “I was playing so damn good that whole tournament,” he said.

In more recent poker action, Rhudy Maxwell hasn't done anything since he doubled up through Hartmann and is once again extremely short. He moves all in, first to act, from the small blind and John Von Holle calls with A-8. Rhudy was hoping for a fold as he shows the computer hand... Q-7. As would be the case many times tonight, luck was on the short stacks side as a queen flopped and when a second one came on the turn, Maxwell was guaranteed a double up and now had 75K in chips.

It wasn't but five minutes later when Maxwell would again put all of his chips in the middle. It was folded to Terry Stewart on the button and Terry made it 30K to go. Rhudy looked at his cards and shook his head as if he wasn't happy with them. Then he pauses. Then he moves all in. Hmmmm. I was almost positive he had aces or kings, but you couldn't fault Stewart for calling with his hand... pocket jacks. Sure enough, Rhudy did have aces and he doubled up and had gone from zero to hero in a matter of two hands.

INSERT PHOTO TITLED TARE.JPG

Frank Kassela raised to 26K from the button and Jonathan Tare went to a move he had used several times already by re-raising a positional raise. This time he went all in for 124K more. Stewart was in the big blind and looked at his cards and without hesitation or much thought said “I'm all in” - this bet was for 91K total. Now it was back to Frank who said out loud “I have A-Q, I'm not sure I can fold here.”

And then... he calls... and he does indeed have A-Q. Tare was making a move and shows 10-9 of diamonds but Terry Stewart wasn't... he has aces. As is usually the case when A-Q runs into aces, the aces hold up and we have a new chip leader in Terry Stewart who now has 350K+. Kassela is down to 175K and Jonathan Tare is our 6th place finisher winning $9,879.

The very next hand, Frank Kassela raised to 26K first to act and Terry Stewart once again wanted to tangle with him and flat called. The flop came 10-10-9. Kassela bet 60K and as he had done when he had aces, Stewart was decisive with his action stating “I'm all in.”

Kassela didn't believe him though, and with half his stack already in the middle, made the call with pocket 7's. He was drawing to two outs, however, as Stewart had K-10 of hearts and had flopped trips. And while I'm sure you've come to expect that two outer to hit, it doesn't here and Frank Kassela is eliminated in 5th place winning $11,855.

Terry Stewart takes his new found wealth and starts opening up his game with raise after raise. It gets to the point that when it's folded to him, in the small blind, I can just write in my pad “Stewart raises Hartmann's big blind.” And he does... over and over again... and each time Hartmann looks at his cards, glares at Terry, and folds.

Stewart is rubbing his hands together like a kid in a candy store. “Are you cold,” I ask him?

“No,” he said. “I'm excited.”

He has over 600K in chips by now and is in command of the tournament. It's his to lose and I understand his excitement but poker can turn the happiest person into a depressed psychotic in mere moments... and it would.

Rhudy Maxwell raised to 45K and Stewart continued his aggressive play by moving all in from the big blind. Maxwell wasn't folding A-Q and called. It was a race as Stewart had pocket 4's. It was a sprint though as a queen flopped and Maxwell who had been down to under 50K less than 30 minutes ago, now had over 300K. Stewart took a hit to his massive stack but was still the tournament chip leader with 440K.

It was no surprise then when Stewart raised yet again on Hartmann's big blind. Tony looked down to see A-4 of spades and decided enough was enough. “I'm all in,” he said. His timing couldn't have been worse though as Stewart actually had a hand this time with pocket 6's and made the call. The flop comes 5-2-8. Hartmann picked up 4 additional outs to go along with his ace. The turn is a 7. If the river isn’t a 3 or ace, and it will be all over for Tony. The river deflates Terry... he can't believe what he sees when the 3 is turned over. At 600K moments earlier, he is now down to 300K. Hartmann has 325K now and it is anyone's tournament.

In the meantime, Johnny Grooms is amusing himself by turning all the televisions in the tournament room to Spongebob Squarepants and announcing that “we do not have Fox upstairs for the football game but it will be broadcast live on AM radio.”

Hartmann asks Grooms if he used to be a DJ at a strip club... yea, he has that kind of announcing voice. It's good to see someone not taking themselves so seriously but still doing a good job.


John Von Holle is the short stack of the 4 and open raises to 40K leaving himself with less than that. Tony Hartmann wants so badly to set him in but has a feeling he's beat and he says as much when he folds 6's face up. John gives Tony's confidence a boost when he shows him pocket 9's.

Hartmann limps in on the button and the flop comes Q-5-4. Rhudy leads out for 40K and Hartmann, as he is prone to do when he has a big hand, thinks about it forever and then makes the minimum raise to 80K. Maxwell wants to call or raise but can't make a decision. “Just fold, we're going on break,” Hartmann says trying to goad Maxwell into calling or raising. Maxwell doesn't bite the bait and folds what he told me was Q-9. Tony flashes a set of 5's. I'm not sure why he kept showing his hands as it only seemed to reaffirm what I, or the other players, probably already knew.

The players return from a short break and the “Terry raises Tony” show continued. It was getting so obvious that Terry's friends were laughing in the bleachers and Terry was joining them in their pleasure. You could sense Tony's frustration but I knew he was waiting for the right spot to play back at him.

Play continued for 30 minutes with not one flop seen. If someone raised, everyone else folded. It would take an aberration... a limp from Terry Stewart in the small blind... for us to finally see a flop. The flop came A-Q-2 and both players checked. On the 7 turn, Terry bet 30K and Hartmann called. The river was a 6. Stewart carefully counted out some chips and placed his bet into the middle. 80K. Hartmann called with pocket jacks. The jacks were good as Stewart only had a 7. “Maybe now you'll quit raising me,” Tony said.

Terry raised the next hand.

Rhudy had once again allowed himself to get short stacked. He moved all in from the small blind and John called. Rhudy had A-4 and John had 6's. The flop came J-5-2. The turn was a 7. The river was an ace and just like that John was crippled with only 60K left and Rhudy was once again back in action with 250K.

The next 3 hands went like this:

John raises, everyone folds.
John raises, everyone folds.
John raises, everyone folds.

And in those 3 hands, John had gone from 60K back up to 170K. The first all in was probably the best opportunity for someone to make a call. With the blinds at 10,000/20,000 and a 3,000 ante, Stewart had to call 40,000 to win 102,000 or 2.5:1. He made the mistake of looking at his cards and decided that 92o wasn't worth the chance of doubling John up.

15 minutes pass until John moves all in again. This time he is called by Rhudy Maxwell and finds himself in terrible shape facing 10's with his pocket 7's. No help for John and he is at 15K after the hand and bemoaning the luck he has had at the final table. John is all in on the big blind, the next hand, and his 10-2 loses to Rhudy's 10-7 when Maxwell flops two pair. John Von Holle finishes in 4th place for $13,831.

We start three handed play with Stewart having a 450K-300K-300K over the other two players. It's taken us over 5 hours to get to this point but it will take less than 15 minutes for it to finish. Rhudy completes the small blind and Terry and him see a 9-8-3 flop. Rhudy checks and Terry places a 60K bet which Rhudy just calls. The turn is another 3. “I'm all in,” says Maxwell, pushing all of his chips into the middle. Before he is even done doing so, Terry has responded with “I call” and has flipped over 5-3 for turned trips. Maxwell had slowplayed top pair with J-9 and the slowplay was going to be his demise as no 9 came on the river. Rhudy Maxwell finished in 3rd place for $15,806.

The heads up match lasted two hands as Tony decided he was going to not let Terry push him around. Terry opened the pot for 60K with 10-9 of spades and Tony moved all in with K-4. Terry didn't give it much thought with a 3:1 chip lead and made the call. The flop came A-J-3 with two spades giving Terry a flush draw. The turn did not bring the flush but it did give Terry a pair of 9's and when no king came on the river the tournament was over. Tony Hartmann finished in 2nd place for $31,613.

I talked with Terry Stewart briefly after his win. While this was only his second tournament, he had spent a lot of time discussing tournament strategy with his poker friends. It was these discussions that led him to being so aggressive at the final table. It was this aggressive play, in my opinion, that won him the tournament because he was able to handle the few times he got unlucky over the course of the evening (getting jacks when someone had aces and losing with 6's to A-4) because he had accumulated enough chips to do so. The big hand for him was obviously when he got aces when Kassela and Tare had raised and re-raised before it got to him but there is no doubt he EARNED this win by playing relentless big stack poker.

Terry Stewart is the 2008 WPO Event #3 winner turning $550 into $61,255.
Not bad for a day’s work. Congratulations Terry!

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