The NLHE inaugural event got off to a fantastic start with 62 participants.
Although this was a premier series, the event still attracted some top poker stars, including TJ Cloutier, Stan Schrier, Chad Layne and the “Quiet Lion,” Richard Brodie. Other bright lights seen at the tables were Louis A, Tom F. and Gavin Griffin.
The structure was superb, giving players plenty of play for their buy-ins. Levels lasted a full hour until the final table, which were increased to 90 minutes. The structure went up so gradually, that not even the shortest stacks were forced to make desperate moves early. In addition, the payouts used were TEAR’s.
The tournament ran smoothly, surprisingly so, given that this was the first event in a new series. Players were amiable throughout.
TJ was one of the quickest casualties, in the first level, when his pocket fours ran into Louis pocket jacks. Most players were knocked out not long afterward.
By 5:30 pm, the final table had already been set. Players decided to make the final table ten handed, although the 90 minute levels wouldn’t begin until one had been eliminated.
In a series of three beats, a player who came to the final table as one of the chip leads was eliminated, each time with the best starting hand.
Only two women entered this event, but one of them was still in action when there were nine. Mary went in as the short stack with AT, but was up against two opponents, one which held 77 and Gavin Griffin, who held 85s and spiked an eight.
Very quickly the final eight became six, Gavin falling in eighth place when his ATs met AK.
The one seat was seasoned veteran Tom Christopher who held 10,500.
Kelly Dorn was the short stack in seat two with 4,375 chips.
Chad Lueck was our chip leader in the three seat with over 18,000 in chips.
Ned Cruey had the four seat with 6,000 in chips.
Rick Juhasz was in the five seat with 11,000 in chips.
New to tournaments,with only one year of experience Giui Luong, making his 21st final table, was in the six seat with 11,600 in chips.
The final six started off with a bang, as one player went all-in during the first three out of five hands. Just when it looked like this group would be a fast playing one, they settled into a rhythm and played more slowly, using the structure to their advantage.
The first to fall was Ned Chuey. In the BB, he held KJs and defended against a button raise by Kelly Dorn. When the flop came with a king, Ned went for a check-raise. Kelly happily obliged, but found himself pot-committed, when Ned’s check-raise all-in was only a little over one thousand more in chips. An ace came on the turn, and Ned was eliminated in sixth place, paying $3,905. Ned did not make a happy exit, refusing to believe his bad luck and kicking over his chair along with quite a few expletives.
Play was five handed for quite some time, until short stacked Rick Juhasz went in with pocket fives, and was called by Giui Luong’s pocket tens. The flop helped Luong, who ended up with tens full of aces. Rick was rewarded with $4,745 and many congratulations of a tournament well played.
The remaining players played on for a while, but asked the tournament director for a chip count deal. At this point, Chad Lueck was still well in the lead with 25,000, but a deal was struck with the following pay-outs:
1st Place Chad Lueck $14,000
2nd Place Tom Christopher $12,680
3rd Place Giui Luong $12,320
4th Place Kelly Dorn $10,000
The final four were all gentlemen, and played extremely well. There was very little stress at this table, as they were jovial throughout, laughing and chatting all the way until a deal was struck. Everyone seemed very pleased with the deal, congratulations and back patting was seen all around the table.
Tomorrow begins event two. The game is Seven Card Stud, the buy-in is $1000.