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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Kenna James and Tao of Pokerati Take Top Dream Team Poker Honors

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Dream Team Poker was nothing new, as it held several high-profile tournaments that garnered media attention since its inception, but to host one with the cooperation and in the midst of the 2009 World Series of Poker was another thing altogether. It was expected to be a big one, as there had been a booth set up at the WSOP all summer and boasting of the possibility of hundreds of teams. While it didn’t turn out to be the record-setting tournament that organizers hoped, it was a success nonetheless.

The tournament began on July 12, amidst the 2009 WSOP Main Event at the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas. Players bought in for $560 per person, which equaled $1,680 per team. Though more than 150 teams registered to play, only 122 teams (meaning 366 players with three on each team) followed through with their buy-ins and showed up to participate in the tournament.

A total of 15 of the 122 teams were repeat entries from the previous event held at Caesars in March of 2009, including Bluff Magazine, Tao of Pokerati, and Wicked Chops Poker. But the vast majority of players and teams were new to the team poker concept. Some of those teams included well-known poker pros, like Barry Greenstein, Gavin Smith, Justin Bonomo, David Williams, Evelyn Ng, Pam Brunson, Liz Lieu, Jerry Yang, Marsha Waggoner, Kenna James, Barbara Enright, Susie Isaacs, Paul Darden, David Levi, Tom McEvoy, Bryan Micon, Dustin Woolf, Tom Franklin, TJ Cloutier, Lacey Jones, Thor Hansen, Men Nguyen, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Amir Vahedi.

It was interesting to note that after registration was complete, there were three all-women teams in the tournament but a total of 59 women altogether, which made up more than 16 percent of the field, more than 10 percent more than in most open poker tournaments.

When the first day of play concluded, the field had diminished to only 27 players left standing, though 26 teams were represented because only one team - Tao of Pokerati - left had two players, which put them in the lead to win the team prize. On an individual level, the chip leader was Rob Diaz from Team Reckless, and he held on to 332,000 chips.

Action started on Day 2 with those 27 players at three tables, and it didn’t take long for Team Tao of Pokerati to capture the top team prize. Their combined 30 points put them in first place, which garnered them a total of $33,017 to be split amongst the three players - Dan Michalski , Pauly McGuire, and Lana Maier. A total of ten teams received prize money.

And when the tournament finally wrapped late into the evening hours on the second day, it was poker pro Kenna James, playing for Team Poker Host, who beat Judy Tejwani of Team SOCRR in the heads-up match to win. While all of the final 36 individual players in the event were awarded a cash prize, it was James who took home $16,473 for his victory. He reportedly told Tejwani “You are officially the toughest soccer mom I have ever met!”

With regard to the Dream Team Poker format, James said, “I have to hand it to the Dream Team Poker team, they really run a class event. From all the information they provide, to having them out there, to having the music in the background, they really know how to generate the feeling that this event is all about. It was really special.”

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