Since he wasn’t able to make it to play the previous day, Phil Hellmuth finally showed up to kick off the start of day 2. He proceeded to walk around the room, microphone in hand and talk to some of the 291 remaining players on day 2.
He chatted, via loud speaker of course, to a player that owned a strip club that he played Chinese with and also shared with all of us that one time he was announcing a tournament and didn’t know who Benji Madden of Good Charlotte was.
After about 20 minutes of this, Phil was finally stripped of his ‘duties’ on the mic which was well received by the players in the tournament room who broke into applause.
Michael Binger got a bad beat early on with 10-10 vs. Chip Reese’s nephew Zachary ‘CrazyZachary’ Clark’s 8-8 when the 8 hit on the river. Even with his stroke of good luck Zach was eliminated shortly after.
Though he isn’t spotted that often, Casey Kastle, who led the no smoking rule in tournaments, made it through day 1 and was spotted on day 2 with a good amount of chips.
Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy was eliminated early into the day and stopped by to share what happened.
“A guy limped in 2nd position with like 9500 total. This was the 3rd time he had done that. One time he had limp called a raise then folded. So I limp with K-10c on the button with 13,000. The small blind completes and the big blind checks. Flop comes Qc-8c-9. I have a gut shot and a flush draw. It checks to the UTG limper, he bets 1100 into like 2500. I make it 3500, both small blind and big blind fold. He thinks for a minute and then goes all in with a sigh. I call and he asks if I have the nuts. I told him I just had a flush draw and he shows 8-8. All my outs were good as long as the board doesn’t pair and it bricked out. I had 3k left then I shoved UTG +1 with 9-9 and I ran into a guy with K-K. The flop was J-10-8 so I could have hit 10 outs there as well, but I didn’t. It happens.”
Matt Savage announced and showed off the Gold bracelet for the winner, which was 18 karat gold.
Layne Flack stopped by and told me how he busted the previous day. A guy raised, Layne shoved with A-10 and the guy called with K-7. Layne asked the guy how many miles he flew to be here in Aruba and the guy told him 3000. Layne then asked him; “Did you fly 3k miles to get it all in with k-7?” Of course the guy hit a flush and busted Layne from the event. He found consolation with a girlie strawberry concoction.
I caught up with Chip Jett and Chris Bell hanging together on break.
Chip mentioned that his wife Karina was there in Aruba, but she wanted to spend time with kids instead of playing.
Chris told me he was listening to Widespread Panic on his iPod but was planning to switch to Rascal Flats. I suggested Wham, obviously, and he laughed and said he might give it a try as long as I didn’t tell anyone. Oops. Chip said he attended a George Michael concert once so he has had enough Wham to last a lifetime.
Later in the afternoon an interesting table formed when Jordan Rich, Jason Grey, and James Mordue all found themselves sitting at the same table together. Déjà vu at its finest, all 3 made the final table the prior year.
Quickly after sitting down together, best friends Jason Grey and Jordan Rich got tangled in a massive hand. Grey got all his chips in first leaving Rich to make a decision to call for most of his stack. After thinking for over 5 minutes and amidst a crowd that circled the table, Rich finally made the call with Q-Q and Grey tabled A-A. To rub the salt in the wounds Grey ended up making quad aces.
Phil Hellmuth got back on the mic later in the day and as I passed by Matt Savage I overheard him say, "I didn’t give him the mic, he just took it." Needless to say the other players in the room weren’t thrilled.
When the night came to a close at 8pm the players near the top of the leader board included Lee Markholt, Johan Storakers, Jason ‘icufish’ Smith and Matt Brady.
Day 3 went very quickly, from the 98 players that survived, almost 20 players were eliminated within the first level of play including Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian.
After busting Scott said he was happy that he did much better this year than last year, where he busted on the first day. He also shared with me that he does daily video blogs on his website that include everything from a normal day in his life, to him playing poker, to partying with Metallica in London.
Even though his aces were good to him the day before Jason Grey couldn’t hang on to make the money this year and was eliminated on the bubble.
Shortly following were Liv Boeree, Matt Vengrin and Lee Watkinson.
Leading the group going into day 4 were Mark ‘P0kerH0’ Kroon and Lynn ‘SassyTexan’ Samples. Also up there was James Mordue, last year’s runner up.
Matt Brady was one of the biggest chip movers of the day, clashing with Kroon in two massive pots. This first halving Kroon’s stack and the second ending Kroon’s deep run in the event. Brady wasn’t done yet, he also busted former chip leader Jason Smith.
Other final table near misses were Gary ‘Debo34’ Debonardi in 22nd, James Mordue in 20th, and Lynn Samples in 16th.
The final 7 included one well known Scandinavian pro, Storakers, and a tournament pro with over $700,000 in live cashes, but no big win, Brady.
Set up to play on a stage erected over the pool just after noon were:
Johan Storakers – 2,027,000 chips
Matt Brady – 1,776,000 chips
Brandon Terry, 1,211,000 chips
Jeff Papola – 1,163,000 chips
Allie Prescott – 700,000 chips
Jason Pohl – 685,000 chips
Brian Malczewski – 366,000 chips
As is typical in a tropical location, the rain came out and forced the players in. Although it was a really cool idea playing over the pool, rain and cards don’t mix so they had to move the final table back inside to determine the winner.
Unfortunately I had to leave Aruba early, so I wasn’t able to catch the behind the scenes final table action. I won’t leave you high and dry, though. An inside source caught me up on how things went down.
Jason Pohl was eliminated in 7th place [$58,500] when his flush draw never hit against the bottom set of threes held by Jeff Papola.
Pocket threes did the trick again, this time held by Allie Prescott. Brian Malczewski got it all in with A-K and the board provided no help. Malcaewski got $83,120 for his 6th place finish.
Play slowed down a bit after this, double ups but no bust outs. Then Brandon Terry was eliminated in 5th after two big hands and took home $116,400.
Thirty minutes later prop better Allie Prescott followed suit and hit the rail in 4th place, winning $150,000.
Setting the stage for heads up play was Jeff Papola who took 3rd and a quarter of a million along with him. Papola got all in on the flop against Brady with but Brady had already flopped the flush with on a board.
Heads up play didn’t last long, within less than 30 minutes Matt Brady and Johan Storakers got it all in.
Brady limped from the small blind and Storakers raised it to 200,000. Brady called and the flop came J[c-]. Storakers checked, Brady bet out 270,000 and Storakers moved all in. Brady insta-calls and showed trip 10’s, holding . Storakers shows and needed a jack or running clubs to survive. No help came on either the turn or river and Storakers was eliminated and Matt Brady became the newest Aruba Poker Classic winner.
Storakers made $486,000 for his efforts and Brady took home a whopping $1,000,000.
Brady celebrated with a local beer and a dip in the pool, fully clothed of course.
Till next year! Despedida from Aruba!
*Like a wheel, the Round Table is a circle of adventures and victories, beats and stories, and life as it unfolds with a cast of characters that may, or may not, have joined you in your home on a local TV program. There's so much more to poker than what you see on TV. Although I won't use canvas, I will paint the full picture for you as I follow the lives of some of your favorite (and some unknown) players. The Round Table is an ongoing series of life, viewed full circle.*