2015 WSOP Day 18: Florida Football Coach Bests the Pros

2015 WSOP Day 18: Florida Football Coach Bests the Pros 0001

Ghaneian Wins H.O.R.S.E. Race on Fourth Leg

Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. was supposed to be run in three legs. By the end of Day 3, the bracelet was supposed to have been on someone’s wrist. The 772 runners who entered the derby on Day 1 needed just a bit more time to finally crown a champion.

When Day 3 ended, there were still three players left running for the tape. David Levi came into the day with the smallest stack, but with a lot of experience in non-hold’em tournaments at the WSOP level. Levi was unable to battle back from the short stack, however, falling to the man to his left for the entire final table, Arash Ghaneian, in a razz pot.

Robert Campbell brought in, then got out of the pot leaving Ghaneian and Levi to battle it out with Ghaneian showing a {6-} to Levi’s {2-}. Levi check-called fourth street when he got a {5-} to Ghaneian’s {4-}. Showing {5-}{4-}{2-} on fifth street, Levi bet 160,000. Ghaneian called, despite catching a {10-}. Both players caught a {J-} on sixth and Levi bet, leaving himself just 20,000 behind. “Are we getting it in?” the ever chatty Ghaneian asked, calling the bet. Levi moved his last 20,000 in dark and Ghaneian called.

Levi immediately flipped up his hole cards showing {9-}{3-}{Q-}/{2-}{5-}{4-}{J-} for a ninty-five. Ghaneian flipped over his seventh street card, exclaiming “Deuce!” as he rolls over the {2-} to complete a seventy-six and knock Levi out in third for $100,676.

That put Ghaneian and Campbell heads up. The Australian Campbell is a relative newcomer on the WSOP stage and prior to this year’s H.O.R.S.E. had only three cashes to his name. That one of those cashes was in the mixed event from 2013 WSOP Asia might have foretold his deep run here.

The heads-up battle was a grueling affair lasting nearly three hours. Both Campbell and Ghaneian held the advantage at various stages but the bracelet was finally decided on a scooped Omaha-eight hand. Ghaneian raised on the button and Campbell called from the big blind, then check-called the flop of {5-Hearts}{6-Spades}{4-Spades} when Ghaneian made a minimum bet. Campbell check-called again, this time for 240,000 when {6-Hearts} hit the turn, and again on the {K-Spades} river. Ghaneian tabled {A-Spades}{10-Spades}{5-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} for the nut flush and the second-nut low, forcing Campbell to muck his hand.

The pot gave Ghaneian nearly four million chips and Campbell was never able to recover. Ghaneian crossed the finish line a short time later in another Omaha-eight pot when his {K-Diamonds}{Q-Clubs}{3-Hearts}{2-Spades} hand hit trip kings on the river, sending Campbell home in second with $148,096. In addition to his first gold bracelet, Ghaneian won $239,750.

51-Year-Old Florida Football Coach Wins 8-Handed Bracelet

Day 4 of Event #25: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed started with just the final table remaining. The tournament brought out 493 entries, many of which were among poker’s biggest names. When it got down to the final eight, those big names were well represented.

Three-time WPT winner Anthony Zinno was there unsealing his bag of 908,000 chips. Triple bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche started the day on the short stack of 861,000 and Dan O’Brien arrived fifth in chips with 1,095,000, already guaranteed to surpass $1 million in WSOP earnings no matter where he finished. Add in a couple of Jonathans, in Jaffe and Little, and without even mentioning the bracelet winner at the top of the chip counts, Pierre Milan, it was already a stacked final table.

Into that mix stepped a 51-year-old football coach from Florida, Jeff Tomlinson. “I don’t have any fear. I mean, I’m here to play my game,” he said after the match, acknowledging that he was up against some pretty stiff competition.

The match came down to heads up between the chip leader to start the day, Pierre Milan, and the coach from Florida, and it was an epic six-hour heads-up match. Tomlinson arrived at the final table at more than a two-to-one chip disadvantage after Milan eliminated Dominik Nitsche in third for $220,657, giving him the massive lead with almost nine million chips to Tomlinson’s four million.

The two would battle for six hours, the chip lead shifting between them. Several times Milan seemed in control of the match, on the verge of knocking Tomlinson out, but every time, Tomlinson clawed his way back up through sheer willpower and some pretty impressive poker at times.

In one decisive hand near the end of the match, even WSOP Live commentator Jason Somerville couldn’t help but express appreciation for the play. Milan limped on the button and then called Tomlinson’s raise to 500,000. Tomlinson led out for 350,000 on the flop of {Q-Clubs}{8-Spades}{2-Diamonds} and Milan called. When the turn came another deuce, the coach check-called a bet of 350,000 from Milan. On the river {3-Clubs}, Tomlinson again checked to Milan, who fired out a bet of 250,000. Tomlinson put on a masterful performance, checking his cards, and fumbling with his chips, tanking for quite awhile before raising to 1,250,000.

Milan looked stunned at the raise, and Somerville in commentary booth was lavishing praise on Tomlinson. When Tomlinson flipped over {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts} for the turned boat, it was clear he’d been masterfully “walking the dog” and Milan eventually made a crying call of the beautifully-sized river check-raise, mucking his hand when he saw the full house. The pot gave Tomlinson more than a three-to-one chip lead, and he never looked back, taking down the tournament just a few minutes later.

Milan earned his second-place prize money of $350,994 with a hard-fought, grueling heads-up battle. Ultimately, the experience and grit of Tomlinson won the day, and the $567,724 along with his first gold bracelet may be all the sweeter for coming on such a talented final table. The full results for the final table are below.

FinishPlayerPrize
1Jeffrey Tomlinson$597,724
2Pierre Milan$350,994
3Dominik Nitsche$220,657
4Jonathan Jaffe$158,373
5Andrius Bielskis$115,507
6Jonathan Little$85,616
7Anthony Zinno$64,484
8Dan O'Brien$49,331

Curtis Krushelniski Crushes $1K Omaha Events

The largest live non-hold’em tournament has concluded on Day 3. Event #26: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha saw 1,293 entries to set a new record for a live poker tournament outside of the hold’em format. The final day began with just 16 players on Saturday, and only one remained by the time the day ended.

Just one Canadian was left for the final day. Curtis Krushelniski from Macklin, Saskatchewan returned to the table with 325,000 chips for a position in the middle of the pack. He turned that into a middle-of-the-pack finish on the final day, finishing eighth for $20,830. This was only his second-ever WSOP cash, but his first was also in the same event last summer where he finished deep as well — 13th for $9,299.

When the day came to an end, it was because Mark Neumann and Aaron Wallace were heads up for the bracelet, and Wallace had the best of it with all the chips in on the turn with the board reading {7-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{3-Spades}{10-Spades}. Wallace held {k-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{3-Diamonds} to Neumann’s {q-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{6-Spades}. The {2-Clubs} on the river secured the victory as he had made a full house with threes full of sevens on the flop.

Wallace earned $226,985 for his win, and a shiny WSOP gold bracelet.

Brian Hastings is Seven-Card Stud Champion

Day 3 of Event #27: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship featured a final table well-versed in the seven-card format. Leading the way with nearly twice as many chips as his nearest rival was Brian Hastings. Hastings cashed in all three of the seven-card variants in last year’s WSOP, so it was no surprise to see him deep in this one.

Joining Hastings at the final table were several players with solid resumes in seven-card or mixed games. Scott Clements came to the table fourth in chips and his 40 WSOP cashes are littered with mixed-game results. Chris George was fifth on the list to start the day and is a seven-card beast. More than half of his 17 WSOP cashes came in the seven-card format.

Fresh off his third bracelet in Event #9: $1,500 Razz, Max Pescatori showed up at the final table with the sixth-biggest stack, determined to demonstrate his skills at the high side of seven-card stud. Oxana Cummings unbagged the smallest stack at the final table, playing just 128,000 to start the day, but her two cashes in seven-card stud in the 2014 WSOP, and the $1,500 and $10,000 level shows she is no stranger to stud.

Rounding out the final table were Dan Kelly in seventh position, perhaps better known for his hold’em and Omaha results, and relative newcomers to WSOP action Harley Thrower and Mikhail Semin in second and third.

Pescatori was the first to exit after being crippled on a hand against Dan Kelly. Kelly hit the nut flush to take a huge pot from Pescatori who was left holding a worthless Broadway, and just 20,000 chips behind. He exited in eighth spot on the next hand for $28,031. Semin and Thrower were the next two bust outs, finishing in seventh and sixth respectively for $33,967 and $41,829.

Oxana Cummings was able to nurse her short stack through to a fifth-place finish, pocketing $52,453. She got the last of her chips in against Hastings, and even though she made a pair of kings on sixth street, she wasn’t able to withstand the rungood of Hastings who hit the nut flush on seventh, taking the pot. Cummings fifth-place finish for $52,453 improved on her 16th place in last year’s event, and clearly marks this lady as one to watch in seven-card stud.

Chris George and Dan Kelly were the next two to go, with George collecting $67,114 for fourth and Kelly earning $92,691 for third. That left Brian Hastings and Scott Clements heads up for the bracelet.

Heads up was a relatively short affair, and less than an hour into the battle, Brian Hastings was holding the bracelet. Clements put up a valiant fight, entering heads up a two-to-one chip dog. He chipped up early in the battle, and made a last late push as well, but Hastings kept pushing relentlessly, draining Clements' stack. On the final hand, Clements had a chance to draw to a bigger flush on seventh and double up, but the card didn’t come and he was forced to settle for second. He took home $148,001, while Hastings earned $239,518 plus his second career bracelet.

2015’s Monster Stack is Less Monstrous than 2014’s

The two starting days of Event #28: Monster Stack $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em have come to a close, and the attendance is down from last year. When registration closed on Saturday’s Day 1b, a total of 7,192 players had paid the buy-in to create a prizepool of $9,709,200. The winner will receive $1,286,942. Last year, nearly 700 more players played the Monster Stack.

Many, many Canadians are returning for Sunday’s Day 2 as 2,060 players return to the felt. Just 720 of those will earn a payout in this event, so there is still plenty of play before the money bubble approaches.

The top Canadian stack at the end of Day 1b was Allen Michel with 124,200 chips. Some of the other top stacks to survive the day include Demosthenes Kiriopoulos (112,300), Gylbert Drolet (111,900), Denis Cyr (104,000), Christopher Hlady (99,900), Toufic Chehayeb (98,200), Alexander Allison (93,400), Ian Modder (92,300), David Ottosen (90,300), James Gibson (90,100), Gerald White (89,600), and Nicholas Soliven (88,000).

PokerNews Canada is on the tournament floor doing special coverage of PlayNow Poker satellite winners in the Monster Stack and we’re also keeping our eye on the Canadians in the field. You can find hourly posts of the action here on our reporting page.

Day 2 begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday and will play another 10 one-hour levels.

Watson and Leah Make Day 2 of 2-7 Championship; Nick Schulman Leads Overall

Event #29: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship was sure to attract some of the best players in the game. The tournament drew 77 runners and at the end of the day just 32 players remained competing for a share of the $732,800 prizepool. Top spot among the 14 paying spots will earn $224,383, while a minimum cash will be $14,693.

Two of Canada’s top poker minds, both named Mike, showed up to try for the lowball championship. Mike Leah and Mike Watson both advanced to Day 2. Watson will start the day with the fourth biggest stack of 114,000 while Leah will start Day 2 with 45,000.

The rest of the field is full of poker’s top players. 2014 WSOP Player of the Year George Danzer hasn’t had much success at this year’s series yet, but he’ll be playing 60,700 to start Day 2. Shaun Deeb is fresh off his win in the recent $10,000 pot-limit hold’em championship and hungry for more. He’ll bring 121,200 to the table on Sunday. Another player fresh off a championship win is Brian Hastings who just won the seven-card stud championships and managed to catch late registration in the deuce-to-seven. He’ll bring a small stack of 38,500 into Day 2.

Add in Dan Smith (121,900), Paul Volpe (95,800), Erik Seidel (62,700), Phil Galfond (54,000), Rep Porter (52,900), and Eli Elezra (25,300) and you get a tournament where there are no easy tables. Two-time bracelet winner Nick Schulman has over $2 million in earnings at the WSOP, and he’ll be leading the pack on Sunday with 229,000, nearly twice as many as the second-place stack of Dan Smith with 121,900.

Action kicks off at 2 p.m. Vegas time.

Details and photo courtesy of the WSOP Live Blog.

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