Kevin “1SickDisease” Eyster Wins WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown

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Kevin Eyster led the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Showdown after Day 3. He led after Day 4. And aside from a few minutes, he led Day 5 all the way through, winning his first World Poker Tour title and $660,395.

Eyster, going by the screen name “1SickDisease” (and variants) is a highly respected online poker player, with over $3.2 million lifetime tournament earnings. He currently ranks 225th on the World Wide Rankings and was as high as 4th back in March 2010. According to PocketFives, he has over 2,700 online tournament cashes, averaging more than $1,200 each.

This was Eyster’s first major live tournament victory, though he did come close in the past. In March, he finished second in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Black Hawk Main Event for $85,852, the biggest cash of his career.  In 2010 he had a couple deep runs over in Europe: a 16th place finish in the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final ($79,876) and an eighth place finish in the WSOP Europe High Roller Heads-Up event ($72,576). This WPT victory has taken his career winnings on the live tournament circuit up over $1.1 million.

It was a dominating final day for Eyster. He went into the six-handed final table with 5.68 million chips, 1.2 million more than his next closest competitor. He was never in any semblance of danger at any point during Day 5 and maintained his chip lead the entire way, save for three hands. And those hands weren’t even consecutive, meaning he immediately regained his chip lead after losing it.

Eyster took definitive command of the tournament during three-handed play. He already had a nice chip lead, holding 7.26 million chips versus about 4.5 million for each of his two opponents, but at that point, things can still go very wrong with one bad hand. But on hand 107 of the final table, Eyster put a stranglehold on the event. He min-raised to 160,000 pre-flop, Ben Tarzia called, and Eyster’s friend Zo Karim re-raised to 460,000. Both players called. Everybody checked the Q♠-T♣-7 flop. When the 9 was dealt on the turn, Tarzia checked, Karim bet 385,000, Eyster called, and Tarzia ended up folding. Karim checked the 6♣ on the river, prompting Eyster to bet 500,000. Karim thought a while and decided to call. Eyster revealed K♠-Q for top pair and Karim folded. That took Eyster up to 9 million chips, while the other two men had just over 7 million combined.

Eyster grew the lead from there, falling back a bit late in three-handed play before going into heads-up against Tarzia with a 12.775 million to 3.49 million chip lead. From there, it was academic. After just a short time, Tarzia moved all-in with 7♠-7 and Eyster made the call with A♣-T♣. An Ace was dealt on the flop, giving Eyster the better pair and his first WPT victory.

World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Showdown – Final Table Results
1.    Kevin Eyster  –  $660,395
2.    Ben Tarzia  –  $389,750
3.    Zo Karim  –  $252,190
4.    Paul Dlugozima  –  $171,950
5.    Daniel Letts  –  $122,275
6.    Jeff Madsen  –  $100,000

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