Vanessa Selbst Goes Back-to-Back at NAPT Mohegan Sun
The North American Poker Tour (NAPT) has only been around for 15 months, but it has already played host to an achievement most tours have yet to witness in years of existence. Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst pulled off the unthinkable on Wednesday evening by winning her second straight title in the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event, earning $450,000 and solidifying her position as poker’s newest superstar.
Selbst entered the final table second in chips, but was forced to take an unusual path to defend her title. She fought and clawed her way through a handful of bad beats and timely double-ups to reach a heads-up match against Dan Shak and, after a total of 10 hours, she was once again crowned the champion at Mohegan Sun.
“I didn’t win this in my typical fashion,” Selbst told the PokerStars Blog after her victory. “I didn’t steamroll the table. I had some luck on my side and I played a pretty good heads-up game against a formidable opponent.”
The final table began smoothly for Selbst, who crippled Steve “MrTimCaum” O’Dwyer on the third hand of the day and then eliminated a short-stacked Aaron Overton when her Ah-2h held up against the Kh-Qd of Overton, who had moved all-in from the small blind pre-flop. Former NAPT champ Joe Tehan exited in sixth place when his Kd-6s couldn’t improve against the pocket eights of Thomas Hoglund, Jr.
Things then suddenly took a turn for the worst for Selbst. With the chip lead in her grasp, she min-raised to 120,000 from the button and Shak put in a three-bet to 400,000 from the big blind. Selbst four-best shoved, having Shak’s 2.1 million chip stack covered, and he called instantly with Ad-6d. Selbst’s pocket sevens were in great shape to send Shak home in fifth place, but the board ran out 10h-8c-4h-Ah-9d to pair Shak’s ace and shoot him into the chip lead. Selbst was left with just over 15 big blinds, and the roller coaster was just getting started.
Selbst doubled through Vincent Rubianes shortly after, leaving Rubianes little to work with, and he bowed out a few hands later. Hoglund, Jr. was the next to hit the rail after his Qh-9s couldn’t outrun Tyler Kenney‘s As-7d. Just like that, three players were left battling for the title.
Selbst’s biggest break came against Kenney when she got all of her chips in pre-flop with Ac-5h against Kenney’s Ah-Kd and hit a five on the flop to double up to nearly 2.5 million, barely ahead of Kenney for second place. Shak then eliminated Kenney about an hour later with Ah-Qs against As-7c to set up a heads-up match between Shak and Selbst.
With the poker world watching closely, Selbst began heads-up play at nearly a 3-1 deficit, but she grinded her way back to even quickly by winning eight of the first nine hands. On hand #10, Shak flopped quad kings and Selbst paid off a big bet on the river, but the setback would turn out to be short-lived.
Selbst gained momentum and a huge lead when Shak made a move with second pair against Selbst’s middle set. He was able to double through Selbst twice more to stay alive, but the tournament came to a close when Shak got his remaining chips in with Jh-7h against Selbst’s Kc-7c on a Ks-7d-3s board, leaving Selbst a miracle away from history. The board completed with the 5h and 2h and Selbst had successfully finished off the defense of her title.
After some much-deserved rest, Selbst posted the following on Twitter today: “Thanks to everyone for all the love… It feels pretty incredible right now. Back to back at Partouche one time?”
With her two NAPT titles and a win at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in September, Selbst has increased her career live earnings to more than $4.5 million at the young age of 26. More than $2.5 million of that came in the past year.
Here’s a look at the final table results from the 2011 NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event final table:
1. Vanessa Selbst – $450,000
2. Dan Shak – $254,000
3. Tyler Kenney – $170,000
4. Thomas Hoglund Jr. – $120,000
5. Vincent Rubianes – $90,000
6. Joe Tehan – $70,000
7. Aaron Overton – $50,000
8. Steve O’Dwyer – $32,330
The festivities at Mohegan Sun conclude on Thursday with the final table of the $10,000 High Roller Bounty Shootout. Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier will try to match Selbst by winning the event for the second straight year, but he’ll have a talented group of players in his way, including Eugene Katchalov, Jonathan Jaffe, and Taylor von Kriegenbergh. Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the results.
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