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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

2008 World Poker Open – Event #8, $500+50 NLHE Shootout

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A shootout is a unique event. It starts out as a series of single table satellites with the winner from each table moving on. In this case, 210 players started, so 21 players would advance. It took nearly 8 hours before the final table had reached its winner and play resumed until they had reached the magic 21. Now play reverted to normal tournament play with each player starting out with the number of chips they ended up with after winning their table. One problem though... only 18 were to be paid. Fortunately, the remaining 21 were able to come to an agreement that let the 19th-21st place finishers get their buy in + $1 back.

The 10th to 21st place finishers were as follows:

10th: Mike Gillilan $1,102
11th: Jennifer Nunley $1,102
12th: Teddy McBride $1,102
13th: Michael Reed $919
14th: John Gwinn $919
15th: Tim Pughsley $919
16th: Adam Kagin $735
17th: Anil Jirani $735
18th: Lendra Hammock $735
19th: Steve Young $551
20th: Paul Fleck $551
21st: Adam Lippert $551

The final table started with the following lineup and chip counts:

Seat 1 – Richard McCrary 83,400
Seat 2 – Don Saiban 44,200
Seat 3 – Tony Sevnsom 131,900
Seat 4 – James Ponthier 75,100
Seat 5 – Charles Casavant 23,400
Seat 6 – Jeremy Ausmus 22,100
Seat 7 – Bryan Palomo 59,500
Seat 8 – Curtis Smith 17,300
Seat 9 – Donald Howell 58,100

It didn't take long for us to lose our first player. With the blinds at 1,000/2,000 and a 300 ante, Charles Casavant moved all in for just over 20K, first to act, and was called by Richard McCrary. Casavant had A-6 of diamonds but was in trouble as McCrary had 10's. The board came K-8-7-K-9 and Charles Casavant was our 9th place finisher winning $1,837.

Now that Casavant was out and he had made a little more money, Curtis Smith decided it was his time to gamble. Gambling with kings is usually a good thing though and it was against James Ponthier and his pocket 8's. When the flop came 10-7-6, Smith had to sweat a bit though as now any 9 would also give Ponthier the winning hand. The king on a turn eliminated two outs for James and no 9 came on the river to double Smith up to 27K.

Richard McCrary started to show the table that he was here to gamble (and as you'll see later... he really was “here to gamble”) when he started open raising, consistently, to six times the big blind. The third time he tried it, Jeremy Ponthier said enough is enough and moved all in for 25K more. McCrary was getting better than 2:1 to call but decided not to and Jeremy was up to over 50K after the hand.

The blinds jumped to 1500/3000 with a 400 ante and Don Saiban had run out of time. He open raises to 10K from middle position leaving himself with 14K . Tony Sevnsom figured out how much it would be to set Don in and re-raised him enough to do just that. As expected, Don called. Don had A-J and Tony 10's. The flop came 9-7-4. A ten on the turn meant only an 8 on the river could keep Don in the tournament but it was another 9 and Don Saiban was eliminated in 8th place winning $2,756.

The final table was, for the most part, a two man show. If Richard McCrary didn't raise, Tony Svensom, one seat to his left, usually did. Tony opened to 10K and James Ponthier made the only move he had shown thus far at the final table. “I'm all in,” he said.
It was for 31K more and after thinking it through, Tony decided to make the call. The hands were almost a reverse of the hand that knocked out Don Saiban. This time it was Tony with the big ace... A-Q and James had the 10's. The flop came J-10-4 so Tony could only win with a king. It didn't come and James doubled up to 90K while Tony dropped to 80K.

After the hand James said to Tony “you had exactly what I put you on.” Oh really? I love it when people say that about a pre-flop opening raise. Especially from a player who has open raised about 5 times already. I don't think anyone can make a determination of the type of hand a person has from an opening raise that is consistent. It's from re-raises and post-flop play that you can make these kind of “reads.” I used to delude myself into thinking that I always knew what people had too but I know that now it's merely all guesswork and trying to reduce it to a probable range of hands and when an aggressive player makes a first to act standard pre-flop raise there are about 150 probable hands you can reduce their hand to.

Tony again raises first to act to 10K and Curtis re-raises over half of his short stack. Tony thinks better of it and folds what he later says is A-Q. Curtis shows aces and Tony explains why he folded... “That was a weird bet and I knew all the money was going in on the flop and I had a feeling I was going to need a lot of help.”

After losing the majority of his stack in a later hand, Curtis moved all in for 12K from the cutoff and Donald Howell called. K-9 for Curtis and 7's for Howell. Curtis hits a 9 on the flop and doubles up.

Tony again raised first to act... to 10K... from the button and Jeremy moved all in from the big blind for 22K more. Tony figures out that he's getting the right price (he has to call 22K to win 50K) and makes the call with the A-4 of clubs. Jeremy is ahead with his pocket 9's. The flop comes J-J-8 keeping Jeremy in the lead. The turn is a king giving Tony a few additional outs to win the pot. I just know the king is going to hit on the river but I'm wrong. It's the ace that hits and Jeremy Ausmus is our 7th place finisher winning $3,674.

We get our first confrontation between the two big stacks when it is folded to Richard McCrary in the small blind who raises Tony's big blind to 15K. Tony jacks it up... 30K more. Richard looks back at his hand and carefully counts out 30K. I can tell that he likes his hand. He wants to call... maybe even re-raise... but he eventually decides against it and folds his hand face up. Pocket 7's.

The very next hand it's folded to Richard McCrary on the button who decides he's not going to get pushed around any more. He moves all in... a huge over bet. Tony folds in the small blind but Ponthier looks at his cards and nearly jumps out of his seat. “Why did you bet so much,” he asked. “Do you have aces or kings? Only two hands beat me.”

“I call.”

He flips over queens.

McCrary's hand? A-4 offsuit.

“I can't believe you pushed with that.”

“I got to.”

The flop J-J-7.

The turn is an ace.

“YESSSSSSSSS,” yells McCrary at the top of his lungs, jumping out of his chair and leaping into the air. “That's what I come for. I come to gamble. I come to gamble.”

The river is another ace.

“Gamble boy. I come to gamble.”

And James Ponthier is our 6th place finisher winning $4,593 for his two out bad beat.

We reach 5 handed play and the chip counts are as follows:

Richard McCrary 210K
Tony Svenson 125K
Bryan Palomo 100K
Curtis Smith 17K
Donald Howell 40K

The big stacks decide to tangle yet again, this time when Tony raises Richard's big blind from under the gun to 12K with the blinds at 2000/4000 with a 500 ante. Richard calls and the flop comes A-J-9. Richard checks and Tony bets 20K. Richard calls quickly. The turn is a 7 and both players check. The river is a 10 making the board A-J-9-7-10. Richard leads out for 25K and Tony deliberates for a moment before declaring that he is all in. Richard almost beats him into the pot and proudly flips over his slow played set of aces. Only one problem for McCrary... he'd let Tony hit the nuts on the river. Tony has K-Q for the nut straight and now is the massive chip leader with 260K. Richard is down to 85K.

Curtis Smith has no choice but to call all in from his big blind after Richard McCrary raises from the cutoff... he only has 10.5K left after posting the blinds. He's at least live as he has 5-2o to Richard's A-J and he even takes the lead on the Q-7-5 flop but a running K-10 turn and river give McCrary the straight and Curtis Smith is our 5th place finisher winning $5,511.

Donald Howell in the meantime is folding more than the laundry service at the Bellagio. He has maybe played two hands the entire final table, but if it was moving up he wanted to do... moving up he did... as there are only 4 players left.

Just as I am thinking this, Donald moves all in for 29K from the button. Richard calls him from the small blind and is way ahead of Donald with his A-9 of hearts as Richard has A-5. The flop comes J-6-3 and the turn is a 3. A harmless 2 means that Donald Howell is our 4th place finisher. He wins $6,430 for his ladder climbing efforts.

Bryan Palomo is unusually quiet and focused for a 24 year old. Throughout the final table, he has been patient and when he's decided to enter a pot he has done so aggressively and followed through with it. He makes it 14K to go from the button and Tony calls him from the big blind. The flop comes A-2-2 and Tony checks. Bryan bets 15K leaving himself with 45K. Tony check raises all in and now it's back to Bryan who keeps looking back at his cards and studying Tony. Tony is bobbing lightly back and forth in his chair. Bryan folds what he later tells me was pocket 8's. Tony confirmed later that he did have an ace.

Bryan moves all in twice and is not called but the third time is a charm and Richard looks him up. Bryan has Q-8 of spades and Richard has A-9 of hearts. “I had A-9,” Tony says. What little hope that brought Bryan is quickly eliminated as an ace flops. No runner runner miracle and Bryan Palomo is our 3rd place finisher winning $8,928.

Richard McCrary has a slight 300K-250K chip lead. The blinds are 3,000/6,000 and a 1,000 ante. Richard takes control of the heads up match from the very beginning, raising and betting at every possible opportunity. It looks to me as if Tony is waiting to trap Richard and his overaggressive nature but it's going to be too late if he doesn't pick up a hand because over the course of 10 hands it's gone from 300K-250K to 385K-165K.

Tony is an amiable player from Houston, Texas who has a former WPO main event final table participant, Jeremy Tinsley, sweating him. On a 10-9-8 flop, he decides it's time to double up or go home. McCrary calls him.

A-10 for Tony. Top pair, top kicker.

J-9 for Richard. Middle pair, straight draw. A virtual coin flip to determine if McCrary is the winner or if Sevnsom will double up and take over the chip lead.

The drama is over quickly as a queen comes on the turn.

“YES! YES! YES!” McCray yells. “I knowed it. I come to gamble.” His celebration echoes throughout the tournament room and people have flocked to the final table area to watch the final hand.

Only a jack on the river and a split pot can save Tony but it's not to be and Tony Sevnsom is our 2nd place finisher winning $17,158.

Richard McCrary said several times he came to gamble and gamble he did. Sometimes gambling pays off in poker and in the case of Event #8 at the 2008 World Poker Open it did. Richard McCrary is our winner and takes home $31,042 and a seat into the WPT main event for being a “good gambler.” Congratulations on your win Richard!

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