The $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha tournament began on Thursday, June 12th and wrapped up on its third day. Its final table was an exciting one with quite a few changes in chip lead status and quite the diverse list of players. But in the end, it was the professional from Milan, Italy who took down his second WSOP title.
The dual pot-limit hold’em and Omaha event brought an interesting mix of 457 players to the Rio in Las Vegas. A mix of well-known pros and amateurs looking to solidify their place in poker history showed up to play, and the final table reflected that blend. Those players, seating assignments, and chip counts were as follows:
Play began at 3pm with Kyle Kloeckner having only the slightest chip lead over Allen Cunningham and all other players trailing by a decent margin. The first round of the final table would be hold’em.
Almost as soon as the cards got in the air, a key hand took place and may have set the tone for the pace of the final table. Chipleader Kyle Kloeckner made an initial raise, and short stack John-Paul Kelly reraised all-in for his last 64K with . Kloeckner called with . The board came , and the decision was made. John-Paul Kelly was to leave in 9th place with $22,599.
Minh Ly was one of the shorter stacks coming into the day, and the first hand he played didn’t help the situation. After Jonathan Depa raised, Minh Ly reraised the pot from the big blind. Depa reraised all-in with , and Ly called with . The cards dealt were , and Depa’s full house was good for a double-up through Ly.
Ly was left with only 4K and would be all-in for the small blind of the next hand. Kyle Hegeman simply limped and Allen Cunningham checked his big blind option to make it a three-way to see the flop. The board was checked through as it came 9-6-4-9-8, and the cards were flipped over. Ly showed K-2, Cunningham the K-5, and Hegeman K-Q. The latter won, and Ly was gone in 8th place with $30,482.
Play slowed quite a bit throughout the rest of the hold’em level and the Omaha level that followed. When the next hold’em round ensued, Greg Hurst doubled through leader Kloeckner, and the action picked up a bit from there. Lennart Holtkamp doubled through Hegeman, and Pescatori took a beating, losing a big pot to Depa, then allowing Hegeman to double through him.
Kloeckner had been taking some serious hits since the beginning of the tournament, and after taking a hit from Pescatori in an Omaha round, his became the lowest chip stack at the table. He did double through chip leader Holtkamp to get back to 400K, though, and stay in play.
Holtkamp was hurting from the Kloeckner double-through, and then he got involved with Pescatori again. After several players saw a limped flop of , Holtkamp bet, and Pescatori was the only caller. When the turn showed an , Pescatori was the first to bet. Holtkamp check-raised all-in for his last 165K with , and Pescatori called with . The on the river ended it, and Holtkamp was sent away in 7th place for $38,365.
Cunningham had not been doing so well but found a spot to move. He doubled through Depa, leaving Depa with only 11K back. Depa then took the opportunity to double through Kegeman but was still desperate. Depa then had no choice but to be all-in with half of his chips already in the small blind, so he pushed with 6-3 against Pescatori’s K-J. The board came Q-J-4-6-10, and Depa was solidly out in 6th place for $48,876.
Cunningham’s roller coaster ride continued. He lost some chips when Hegeman doubled through him, then lost more when Kloeckner did the same. But Cunningham knew what to do. He proceeded to double through Pescatori and Kloeckner twice to get back up to 450K.
Soon after, Pescatori limped in, Hegeman raised, and Kloeckner and Pescatori called. The flop brought , and Hegeman moved all-in for his last 125K with . Kloeckner called with . Pescatori folded. The turn was a followed by an irrelevant river card, and Kloeckner won with the straight. Kyle Hegeman was eliminated in 5th place with a $62,015 prize.
The most seasoned pro at the table took another hit. Cunningham lost a sizable pot in the Omaha round by folding to Pescatori and sat with only 210K back. Cunningham then got involved with all of his remaining chips against Kloeckner. Cunningham had J-9-7-2, and Kloeckner had A-A-10-3. The board was good to Kloeckner with A-7-6-5-3, and Allen Cunningham was removed from the game in 4th place for a cash of $62,015.
The players took a dinner break and returned to chip counts that showed Kloeckner with a significant lead over his opponents, with Pescatori in second and Hurst in third. But nary a few hands went by before Pescatori picked up a serious pot from Kloeckner to trade places on the leader board.
Not long after, Kloeckner raised a pot to Greg Hurst, who reraised. Kloeckner called, and the flop came . Kloeckner bet out with , and Hurst called all-in with . The turn and river were and , and Hurst was forced to accept 3rd place and the $94,599 corresponding payout.
Heads-up play began between Pescatori and Kloeckner, and though chip counts were relatively close, Pescatori started two-handed action strong and took a pot from his opponent to propel him into the 1.5 million chip range.
In the Omaha round, it was Pescatori who raised initially and Kloeckner who called. The flop brought . Pescatori bet again, and Kloeckner check-called. After a showed up on the turn, Pescatori bet once more, this time with a pot-sized bet. Kloeckner considered his options and pushed all-in with J-10-10-3, and Pescatori called with K-J-8-7. The river was a , and that ended it. Kyle Kloeckner took 2nd place and a check for $152,410.
Full Tilt Pro Max Pescatori won the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha tournament at the 2008 WSOP. Along with the title, he was awarded a WSOP gold bracelet and $246,471 in prize money. Congratulazioni!