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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | WSOP 2008 Tournaments

Event #19 - $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Final Table

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Pot Limit Omaha is a crazy game. A game of draws and re-draws. A game of holding your breath and hoping your hand holds up against your opponent's 20 outs. It was no surprise then that the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha final table at the World Series of Poker was full of action, suck outs, and bad beats. Nine players started play at 2 p.m. local time and it would only take six hours to determine the winner. The final table participants and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Vanessa Selbst 1,047,000
Jamie Pickering 329,000
Stanley Statkiewicz Jr 318,000
Thom Schultz 144,000
Eugene Todd 127,000
Mel Randolph 117,000
Craig Natte 108,000
Jamie Robbins 70,000
Ken Lairson 16,900

Ken Lairson entered the final table with barely enough chips to post the big blind. It would not take long for Lairson to be eliminated as chip leader Vanessa Selbst raised his big blind and he reluctantly made the call. Lairson had 8-7-5-2 and Vanessa had A-Q-Q-7. The flop came 3-5-10 pairing up Lairson's 5 and giving him some home. The board paired 10's on the turn though and Lairson was drawing to only one of two fives to stay alive. The river was a 6 and that was the end of the road for Ken Lairson who finished in 9th place and won $20,720.

The next shortest stack entering the final table was Jamie Robbins and he would be the next player to get knocked out when he moved all in from the big blind over the top of two limpers and Jamie Pickering decided to call. Robbins had A-K-Q-10 double suited, a very powerful PLO hand. Pickering had J-9-8-7 and it would come down to whether the board came with high or medium cards. The flop was 8-5-4 putting Pickering in the lead. The turn was a 6 which gave Pickering a straight and meant the end of the tournament for Robbins. Jamie Robbins finished in 8th place and won $28,490.

The bust outs were happening fast and furious and it would be Mel Randolph who would suffer the agony of defeat next when he got it all in on an A-6-2 rainbow flop with Eugene Todd. Randolph had A-6-4-2 for top two pair but was in big trouble because Todd had Q-7-7-2 for a set of deuces. No ace or six saved the day for Randolph and he was our 7th place finishers winning $36,261.

Craig Natte was next to hit the road when he re-raised Vanessa Selbst's opening raise. The raise was enough to put him all in and Selbst quickly made the call with A-A-8-5. Natte had K-Q-J-7 and while he was able to pair his king was unable to get anything else to go with it. For his 6th place finish, Craig Natte wins $46,621.

Poker professional Eugene Todd came into the final table with dreams of winning a WSOP bracelet but the final table did not go his way. He picked a great spot to put his chips in, coming over the top of Vanessa Selbst's raise that was called by two players. Todd had A-A-Q-6 and Selbst made the call with K-J-J-9. Selbst would need some help if she wanted to knock out Todd and she got just that when the flop came with a jack. That was enough to get the job done and Eugene Todd finished in 5th place which was good for $59,053.

At this point in the action, Selbst had 2/3rds of the chips in play and looked as if she was going to run away with the title. She continued her impressive run eliminating a short stacked Thom Schultz in 4th place. For his outstanding tournament Schultz received $72,004.

Stanley Statkiewicz raised to 46K and was called by Selbst in the big blind. The flop came 8-7-3 with two diamonds. Selbst checked and Stanley bet the pot. Selbst check raised enough to set Stanley all in and he made the call with A-A-10-8 double suited in hearts and diamonds. Selbst was ahead and had a monster draw to go with her two pair as she flipped over 8-7-6-5. The turn was a 9 giving Selbst a straight and Stanley was going to need to hit the flush if he was going to continue playing. That was exactly what he did when the 10 of diamonds came on the river. Stanley doubled up to 825K and Selbst, for the first time at the entire final table, had some competition as her stack size fell to one million.

Jamie Pickering then won a big pot off of Selbst and suddenly the three are nearly even in chips. Selbst wasn’t going to give up easily, however, and through continued aggression with raises and re-raises was able to re-establish a chip lead. Selbst raised for what seemed like the tenth time in a row and Stanley called her from the small blind. The flop came J-10-8 all spades and Stanley checked. Selbst bet 90K and Stanley asked how much was in the pot. It was determined that he could bet enough to set himself all in and he did just that. Selbst made the call with A-6-5-4 with the 6-4 being spades. Stanley must have been hoping that Selbst would fold a baby flush as he had the ace of spades to go along with Q-10-8 for bottom two pair. Stanley was unable to hit the full house and was eliminated. Stanley Statkiewicz finished in 3rd place and won $88,062.

Heads up play started with Selbst once again having a commanding chip lead at 1.8 million to 500K. That changed quickly when Pickering doubled up to almost even things up. Pickering was having a great time, drinking booze freely, chatting it up with Selbst's fans who were quickly becoming attached to Pickering.

On the third hand of the heads up, Pickering raised pot without even looking at his cards. Selbst made the call. The flop came A-Q-3 and Selbst checked. Pickering still hadn't looked at his cards but this did not stop him from betting the pot. Selbst asked him if he really had not looked and then called. The turn was a jack and this time Pickering checked. Selbst was having none of it though and bet the pot, a bet large enough to set Pickering all in. Pickering played with Selbst and the crowd for nearly five minutes as he decided whether to call or not. He still hadn't looked at his cards but finally relented as the audience cheered him on. One glance was enough for him. “I'm dead,” he said and told the crowd he had K-8-5-2. Pickering mucked and Selbst regained her commanding chip lead.

That didn't last long as Pickering won a couple of pots by jamming the pot without looking at his cards and then doubling up when he flopped a set of 5's and it held up against Selbst's wrap draw. Selbst was merely giving Pickering false hope as she proceeded to double up when she got it all in on a K-10-8 flop with 10-9-6-4 against Pickering's A-A-6-4. Selbst needed some help and she got it in the form of the 6 that came on the turn. Pickering could still win the title if a king, 8, or ace came on the river but it was a 2 and Selbst regained control.

In a surprising change of events, neither player raised and the flop came 10-8-7 with two clubs. Pickering checked and Selbst bet 90K. Pickering check raised all in and Selbst called with J-J-9-2 for the flopped nut straight. Pickering had A-Q-10-9 and would need one of the two jacks in the deck to get a bigger straight or running cards to hit Broadway. The turn was a five and the river was an ace and it was all over. Jamie Pickering finished in 2nd place winning $145,459.

Vanessa Selbst came into the final table as the dominating chip leader and while she relinquished that lead a couple of times over the course of the final table, she continually pushed until there was no more pushing left to be done. It was a sweet victory for Selbst who had three top 10 finishes at the WSOP in 2006 and 2007 and came up short. Selbst became the first woman to win an open event at this year’s WSOP. Congratulations Vanessa!

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