Anyone for No-Limit Omaha Eight?
At this tournament there were some well known faces, just returning home from Aruba. Others were former winners from earlier this week, in previous events. The field was enthusiastic and ready for hot Omaha action.
In a suprising turn of events, players were allowed to vote on the payout structure they preferred, from a list of available TEAR’s payouts. Players seemed very pleased that they were given a voice in this decision, not forced to accept the payout percentages decided by a cardroom. The vote was overwhelmingly in support for one particular payout, which was the one used.
The final table wasn’t set until 9:00 pm, due to the tough competition and an excellent structure, which will propel the best of the best to final table.
When it became nine-handed, there were three short stacks hanging on by threads. Eventually one of them had to fall, then another, then the third, and suddenly six players found themselves in the money.
Gioi Luong was the chip leader, with 24,300. If you recognize his name, it is because he was one of the winners in the first event, on Monday. With only one year of tournament experience, and no previous Omaha cashes, he found himself on his 22nd final table this year, and the overwhelming leader in a game he felt might be his weakest.
Charlie Shoten, enjoying a fantastic year himself, was in the second lead, with 14,000 chips. Charlie seemed to be in the zone, tossing his handball back and forth, cracking jokes and obviously comfortable.
Max Pescatori is no slouch. Making back-to-back final tables, he was the third chip lead with 10,800.
Larry Eubanks is a player who seemed in his element all day. Known for several big wins in the southwest, he freerolled this event and was on top of his game. He started the final table with 8,800.
Steve Kaufman listened to music most of the day and played well short stacked. He had 8,200.
Emil Goralewski was the shortest stack, with 6,100.
Charlie, Larry and Gioi got into a groove that didn’t seem to stop. Looking comfortable and pleased with their play, they dominated most of the final table action.
The first to fall was Steve Kaufman, who just couldn’t seem to get much going on once the players were in the money, and went all-in on a hand he never showed. He was awarded with $2445.
Max’s best game is Omaha Eight, but he feels that he made one critical error in his final table play, which cost him the win. He never quite recovered from losing that large pot, and was blinded out in fifth place, honorably receiving $2800 in prize money.
Emil hung on with a short stack for many rounds, scooping pots with hands close in value, until the final hand, which wasn’t shown. His prize was $3330.
The remaining three players counted their chips, and found that although Larry was now in the lead, he had no more than 1500 over any other player. These three gentlemen decided on an even split for $8920.
Larry doesn’t feel that Omaha is his best tournament game, in fact, it was fourth down on his list. He has had some good wins recently, however, and feels on top of his poker game. He always has a quick, easy smile, and a nice word for someone.
Charlie feels that Omaha may not be his best game, but he approaches all tournaments in the same way, waiting for the time to move, then making those moves when he knows he will win. His recent tournament record is phenomenal, and he feels he is playing the best poker of his life. It is obvious that he has reached a place of great success in both his life, and his poker career.
Gioi was ecstatic to reach his 22nd final table this year. He was overcome and flushed with happiness to have such an ending in a game he considers his worst. He didn’t just squeak into the money like so many other new Omaha players, but he played to win, and his gamble paid off.
Gioi and Charlie wanted to play for 1st place bragging rights and to have a little no-limit Omaha fun. Larry begged out, and watched the action unwind.
To say that these two had a fun time is an understatement. Giggling like schoolgirls, they played no-limit for a few hands, until Charlie was crippled. Then Charlie decided he would play blind, all-in, every hand. Gioi laughed when the dealer asked him if he wanted to call, and said, “Call? I’m going all-in!” This continued for a couple of hands, until Charlie tried to make a low with three in his hand and two on the board. Gioi cried foul and took the chips. Charlie gave them up with a shrug and a smile, settling for 2nd place and a fun ending.