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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

LAPC Preliminary Events Concluded

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Commerce Casino, located in a suburb of Los Angeles, California, boasts of being the poker capital of the world with 243 gaming tables and some of the best poker games to be found. Players from around the globe flock to Commerce in January and February each year for the incredible cash games – almost any game spread at almost any limit – and the L.A. Poker Classic tournament series.

One-table satellites for the preliminary events began as early as January 7th, and the first event of the series began on January 24th. As pros and amateurs – and everyone in between – descended upon Commerce, the numbers of players for the tournaments were impressive. And the tournament staff accommodated everyone and kept the events running in an ordinary manner. By most accounts, the LAPC is one of the best-run set of tournaments anywhere.

Of the 28 preliminary events, a number of them were won by players with recognizable names and poker resumes. The first was event #9, which was the $1000 ladies no-limit hold’em won by Vanessa Selbst. She is known for having made the final table of the 2007 World Series of Poker ladies event and finishing in eighth place, but more so for having placed third in the first ever 2008 WSOP $5000 world championship heads-up no-limit hold’em tournament.

Paul Darden, 2001 WSOP $2500 seven-card stud bracelet winner and 2002 World Poker Tour 49’er Gold Rush Bonanza winner, took down the $1000 Omaha hi-lo prelim event at the LAPC after being somewhat absent from the major tournament circuit for awhile. And Max Pescatori, 2006 WSOP $2500 no-limit hold’em champion and 2007 Italian Poker Championship winner, claimed victory in the $1000 limit hold’em event.

Online poker stars who are proving to be quite the contenders on the live tournament circuit took a few events, such as Vivek Rajkumar in the $2500 no-limit hold’em, and Jordan Rich in the $1000 seven-card stud and the $500 no-limit tag team event. And Michael Binger, who is famous for taking third place at the 2006 WSOP main event for over $4 million and tying an all-time record for the most cashes (8) at the 2007 WSOP, won the 27th event of the LAPC series – the $1500 no-limit hold’em tournament.

But without a doubt, the most dominant player in the 2008 LAPC thus far has been Men “The Master” Nguyen. He won three preliminary events – the $300 seven-card stud hi-lo, the $1500 no-limit hold’em, and the $2500 limit hold’em event. He also cashed in three other tournaments, bringing his current year LAPC total winnings to $150,837. In addition, his brother and student, Ut Nguyen, won the $500 no-limit hold’em turbo six-handed event. It seems that the Nguyens are on a bit of a roll to begin the year.

Following is a list of the events, with the number of entries in parentheses, and the winners of each event:
  1. $300 no-limit (1191) Kimya Williams $77,631
  2. $300 limit (387) Bob Pacleb $30,408
  3. $300 Omaha hi-lo (368) Stan Zdanowich $28,918
  4. $300 no-limit w/rebuys (811) Bud Lavassani $158,144 (1,552 rebuys)
  5. $500 seven-stud (136) Paul Vinci $19,850
  6. $500 no-limit (533) Shan Jing $64,595
  7. $500 no-limit shootout (280) Ben Keiky $38,010
  8. $1000 ladies no-limit (82) Vanessa Selbst $26,500
  9. $300 seven-stud hi-lo (173) Men Nguyen $15,129
  10. $1000 no-limit (265) Thu Nguyen $71,980
  11. $1000 Omaha hi-lo (134) Paul Darden $41,580
  12. $500 no-limit 6-handed turbo (251) Ut Nguyen $38,945
  13. $1500 no-limit (201) Men Nguyen $81,870
  14. $1000 limit (150) Max Pescatori $42,320
  15. $1000 no-limit shootout (160) Jack Rosenfeldt $46,640
  16. $1000 no-limit w/rebuys (765) Mark Nasser $167,541 (1,634 rebuys)
  17. $2500 no-limit (167) Vivek Rajkumar $113,425
  18. $1000 no-limit (268) John Pires $72,780
  19. $2500 limit (52) Men Nguyen $42,870
  20. $500 no-limit tag team (89) Jordan Rich $16,820 Craig Gray $16,820
  21. $2500 no-limit (149) Cody Slaubaugh $101,175
  22. $1500 limit (93) Kevin Song $46,015
  23. $500 no-limit shootout (300) Jinyun Lin $42,190
  24. $1000 seven-stud (88) Jordan Rich $32,260
  25. $500 no-limit (605) Marisol Banuelos $73,435
  26. $1500 no-limit (320) Michael Binger $126,730
  27. $1000 no-limit (416) Jaka Faraz $104,900
With that, the WPT stepped in for the $10,000 buy-in L.A. Poker Classic main event that began on Saturday, February 23. The final tallies showed that 665 players ponied up the funds to play and created a prize pool of $6,384,000. The first place winner will pocket nearly $1.6 million of that.

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