Friday saw the continuation of festivities in the Venetian DeepStacks tournament schedule and, in particular, the PokerGO Tour’s Venetian High Rollers events. Up for the players on Friday was the $15,000 No Limit Hold’em version of events and it featured what has become commonplace for the events during this run. One, there was a smallish field for the tournament, and two, there was a familiar face sitting atop the heap when the tournament concluded.
Continuing In the Same Manner
To say the third event of the PokerGO Tour at The Venetian followed in the footsteps of its predecessors would be an understatement. Event #1, a $10,000 tournament, only drew in 34 entries, while Event #2, another $10K event, was able to pick up a few more at 37 entries. With the kick up in the price of poker, it was expected there would be a bit of a slide in the numbers and that held true.
The $15,000 buy-in drew out only 26 entries in total to establish a prize pool of $390,000 and only four players would receive any of the bounty. Still, the three tables that started the tournament featured some of the bigger names in the poker game. Defending PokerGO Tour champion Ali Imsirovic, Erik Seidel, Chris Brewer, Sam Soverel, and other “High Roller” denizens were a part of the festivities, but the winner of the first two events, Punnat Punsri, was strangely absent at the start of the action (he would take advantage of late registration, although he would not make it to the money).
Perhaps showing more gamble than smarts, the first TWO eliminations came on the very first hand of action. Justin Saliba started the betting and both Jesse Loris and Brewer came along for the ride. The 5-3-2 rainbow flop saw the action checked around to Loris, who issued an innocent 13K bet. Saliba called, but Brewer pushed in for the remainder of his 100K starting stack. Both Lonis and Saliba made the call, and the cards went to their backs:
Brewer: pocket Jacks
Lonis: pocket deuces
Saliba: pocket fives
Brewer overvalued his pocket pair after the flop and, with both Lonis and Saliba flopping sets, was left with only two outs to beating them. A ten on the turn did not do anything and the case five on the river only made things better for Saliba. In one swing on the very first hand, Saliba knocked out Brewer and Lonis, his quad fives over Lonis’ boat and Brewer’s measly two pair (Brewer would be responsible for a reentry, would bust again, fire another bullet and come up just short on the money bubble).
Foxen Begins His Charge
The four players who would divvy up the prize pool started the action like this:
Michael Wang, 1.485 million
Alex Foxen, 490,000
Erik Seidel, 345,000
Steven Grady, 280,000
The “wild card” at the table was Grady, who prior to this tournament had a grand total of $24K in lifetime tournament earnings. But this tournament would give him the memory of a lifetime, besting the Poker Hall of Fame Seidel in a hand that sent him out in fourth place.
After Grady raised the betting out of the small blind, Seidel would call off his stack for less and the duo turned up their cards:
Grady – K♠ 4♣
Seidel – A♣ 4♠
Seidel had the edge pre-flop, but it would not hold. The 10-10-5-K-3 board brought the only card that would bring salvation for Grady, allowing him to take out Seidel (at his second final table of the schedule) in fourth place.
Grady threatened to make a run further up the ladder, but his fortunes ended there. After Wang opened the betting, Grady moved all in and Foxen looked him up. After Wang got out of the way, Grady showed pocket tens for battle against Foxen’s A-Q. The “Big Chick” was enough, with an Ace in the window on an A-4-J flop. Another Jack on the turn and a deuce on the river did not bring anything to aid Grady, who left in third place.
As soon as Grady had left the table, Foxen and Wang decided to end the tournament with a straight ICM chop. Foxen, as the player with more chips, was given the title and the tournament was over.
1. Alex Foxen, $153,615*
2. Michael Wang, $134,985*
3. Steven Grady, $62,400
4. Erik Seidel, $39,000
(* – denotes two-way deal at final table)