When the final table of the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic began on Wednesday, April 9th, the two names that stood out were the seasoned pros – Erik Seidel and Ted Forrest. It was even more exciting that they were the two chip leaders at the table, even though the other four players had just as much motivation to win as the better known pros.
Seidel was seeking his first ever WPT title to add to his long and impressive poker resume that included eight WSOP bracelets and countless other successes. Forrest won his first WPT at the 2007 Bay 101 Shooting Star tournament, but he didn’t want a second title any less.
As the action got underway, the players with their chip counts were seated as follows:
With plenty of time left in the level, blinds were at 15,000 and 30,000 with a 4,000 ante. Action began slowly, with each player seemingly very cautious, waiting for big hands, and not wanting to make any drastic moves.
The only exception was the seventh hand when Adam Katz raised pre-flop to 85k, and Robert Richardson called from the big blind. When the flop came 10-6-4 with two clubs, Katz bet 150k, and Richardson check-raised all-in for 437,000 total. Katz called with 8-7 (no clubs), and Richardson showed K-5 of clubs for the flush draw. The turn and river were the Jack and Ace, and though neither were clubs, they still allowed Richardson to double with King high.
After that, chips were traded for quite some time until one of the pros decided to make a drastic move. Ted Forrest raised to 70k, Andrew Barta reraised to 210k, and Forrest came over the top with an all-in move. Barta had only 722k and would be all-in if he called, which he did with pocket Kings. Forrest had pocket 9’s. The board was Q-J-4-4-7 and did nothing for Forrest, who doubled up Barta, and dropped Forrest down to 830,000 and short-stack status, just below Richardson.
Katz continued to ride a roller coaster after doubling up Richardson earlier. The two tangled again, and Forrest threw some of his short stack into the mix. Forrest limped, Katz limped, and Richardson checked. The flop came 7-6-2 rainbow, and Richardson checked. Forrest bet 80k, and both players called. After the turn of a 10, putting two hearts on the board, Forrest bet 160k, Katz called, and Richardson check-raised all-in for 807,000. Forrest took some time before folding, and after a long time, Katz folded. Richardson took the sizable pot and sat at a more comfortable 1.5 million in chips.
On the very next hand, Richardson limped from the small blind, Forrest raised from the big blind to 80k, Richardson reraised to 180k, and Forrest pushed all-in. Richardson immediately called with pocket Aces, and Forrest turned over pocket Jacks. The board came 7-6-2-3-7, and Richardson won with two pair. Ted Forrest was eliminated in sixth place with $103,360.
Frank Cieri had quietly been chipping up throughout the final table play to sit with over 1.3 million. Possibly feeling more confident and less intimidated by the cameras and lights over time, he got involved in a big pot. He raised to 120k pre-flop, Barta reraised to 310k, and Cieri called. After a flop of J-9-8 rainbow, Barta bet 380k, and Cieri check-raised all-in for over 1,019,000. Barta folded, and Cieri took a pot of 1.46 million to sit closer to 2.5 million total, second only to Erik Seidel.
Nearing the 70-hand mark, Katz came in for a raise to 110k, and Richardson called from the big blind. Upon a flop of Q-6-5 with two hearts, Richardson led out for 140k, and Katz moved all-in for 765k with Q-J for top pair. Richardson called with K-7 of hearts. The turn was a 6, and the river was a K. Neither were hearts, but Richardson won with his Kings and sixes. Adam Katz was sent back to the online poker world with $151,811 for fifth place.
With four players remaining, Seidel remained in the chip lead with over 4 million, Cieri and Richardson had about 2.7 and 2.4 respectively, and Barta brought up the rear with a little over 1.1 million.
Cieri, inching closer to 3 million, became more aggressive. When the 80th hand of the night began with Richardson raising to 150k, Cieri called from the big blind. After the flop showed K-J-4 with two clubs, Cieri moved all-in for 2.8 million, only having Richardson covered by a few thousand chips. Richardson finally called with K-10 for top pair, and Cieri showed J-10 of clubs for middle pair with a flush draw. The turn and river were 3 and Q, neither being a club, and Cieri was left with only about 200,000 in chips. Richardson, on the other hand, became the chip leader with more than 5.7 million.
Four hands later, Cieri got a walk in the big blind. On the next hand, he moved all-in from the small blind for 215,000. Richardson called from the big blind with K-6, and Cieri showed Q-7. The board came 8-8-6-3-9, and Richardson won the pot. Frank Cieri, the funeral director, cashed out with $200,261 for his fourth place finish.
Three-handed action began with the following chip counts:
The three remaining players entered into a long stretch of seeing few flops and playing with extreme caution. Prior to this tournament, Seidel had years of experience in long tournaments, patient play, and carefully executed strategy. Barta had some tournament experience and Richardson had none in such a setting, so Seidel was probably banking on the fact that this would play in his favor.
Many hands later, a hand went to the river, much to the delight of onlookers. Richardson raised from the small blind to 120k, and Barta simply called from the big blind. The flop came , which prompted a 200k bet from Richardson and an all-in call from Barta. Finally, Richardson called with , and Barta showed for two pair. The turn and river were 6 and 10, and Barta doubled up to over 3 million.
Over the next thirty hands, Seidel slowly chipped back up. By the time the 150th hand was dealt, with a 10,000 ante and blinds at 40,000 and 80,000, Seidel had a slight chip lead with 3.7 million, Barta was second with 3.4 million, and Richardson was slightly behind with 3.1 million.
By the time the next level started, however, with 60,000 and 120,000 blinds and a 15,000 ante, Seidel had risen to a dominant first place position with nearly 5 million, while the other two players were in the 2 million range.
Barta made numerous all-in moves, mostly pre-flop, and got no callers. Finally, on the 227th hand, after Seidel raised to 280k, Barta moved all-in from the big blind for 3.16 million with A-Q, and Seidel called with pocket Jacks. The board produced J-6-3-5-6, and Seidel’s trip Jacks won the pot and increased his chip stack to about 8.4 million.
Crippled with only 30,000 chips left, Barta was forced all-in from the small blind on the next hand. Richardson limped behind and Seidel checked. Richardson and Seidel checked all the way to the river on a board of 8-5-4-J-J. Seidel showed A-Q, and Richardson mucked his cards. Barta showed Q-10, which couldn’t beat Seidel’s Ace high. Andrew Barta, the musician from Hungary, was sent away in the wee hours of the morning in third place with $281,011.
After 4:00am EST, heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
The first hand of two-handed action began with Seidel on the button, and he raised to 260k. Richardson called. The flop came A-K-9, Seidel bet 300k, and Richardson check-called. After the turn of an 8, Richardson moved all-in for his last 1.275 million with 9-7. Seidel called with A-J for a higher pair. The river card was a King, and Seidel won with two pair, ending the marathon.
Robert Richardson, the first-time WPT competitor from Michigan, took second place for $558,792.
Erik Seidel won his first WPT title at the Foxwoods Poker Classic, along with $992,890 in prize money. Congratulations, Erik!