There was a flurry of activity around the Amazon Room on Tuesday as there were three final tables on the schedule and the start of the $1500 No-Limit Hold 'Em event. While that field drew well over 2000 players, there were others who were interested in the two Omaha tournaments (both at $1500 and one of them a rebuy tournament) that would play out over the course of the day and there was Event #25, the $2000 No-Limit Hold 'Em Shootout, that would also have a conclusion at the end of the night.
The Shootout was an event that drew the ire of some players when they came to the felt on Sunday. 600 runners came to the line and found out, rather than having a full table of ten players on the first day, the tables would be short handed (six players) so they could get to the magical ten that would make the final table (in a shootout event, you have to eliminate your table before you can move on to the next). Of course, there are significant differences to playing a short handed table versus a full one and it seemed that this outraged many players (including some who, rather than play, simply let themselves be blinded off and out of the tournament).
While it was unfortunate that this move was made for the first day of the event, there was still ten men on the felt Tuesday afternoon ready to go for the first place prize of $240,222 and, perhaps more importantly, the World Series bracelet that would go to the champion of the event. The table lined up like this as they came to the line:
Seat 1: Buffalo, WY's Jeffery Helberg
Seat 2: World Poker Tour champion Roland DeWolfe
Seat 3: David "The Gunslinger" Bach
Seat 4: Poker professional Chad Layne
Seat 5: One of the top Internet players around, Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf
Seat 6: Jerald "Reno" Williamson
Seat 7: Adam Kagin
Seat 8: Poker pro David "The Dragon" Pham
Seat 9: Oklahoma City's Charles Sewell
Seat 10: Jason Dewitt
Since this was a shootout event, all of the final table players started with 200K in chips and a blind structure (a 500 ante with blinds at 2K/4K) that was quite generous. In addition to this, the time of levels was left at sixty minutes for this tournament. Every other final table at this year's World Series has expanded to ninety minutes at the final table and, with these adjustments, it definitely ensured that the audience in attendance would be entertained by some excellent poker play.
In the early action, Jeffery Helberg stepped to the front of the line when he took a 200K pot off of Jason Dewitt. There were some other very interesting moves that occurred as, after losing a large pot to Charles Sewell, Jerald Williamson was able to double through Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf when the two got all the chips in the center preflop on Hand 12. Woolf had the mighty Big Slick but it shrunk tremendously in the face of Williamson's pocket Kings and none of Woolf's Aces came on a board of 2-8-9Q-6.
Other doubles that occurred were between the aforementioned Dewitt (with pocket Aces) over David Bach (pocket Kings), Williamson pulling the feat off against Sewell and (perhaps the most fun hand of the early going) David "The Dragon" Pham against Helberg. On Hand 32, Pham and Helberg got the chips to the center on a flop of Kh-8-3h. Helberg turned up the lead hand with the K-10, but Pham had plenty of opportunity to draw out with his 8h-6h (second pair and flush draw). The turn was an innocent nine, but lightning struck for Pham as the river delivered the four of hearts for the flush, crippling Helberg and establishing Pham as the leader of the tournament.
After a change in blinds to 3K/6K (with the same 500 ante), "The Dragon" ended the job that he had started with Helberg earlier. On Hand 43, Helberg moved his stack of 30K into the center and was looked up by both Pham and Charles Sewell. The two players checked the board of J-2-2-J-5 down and all three players turned up an Ace. Pham, however, also had a five for a better two pair than Sewell and the eliminated Helberg, who went home in tenth place.
Only five hands later Roland DeWolfe entered the fray against Adam Kagin, which resulted in our next elimination. The champion of the 2005 WPT tournament at the Aviation Club in Paris basically allowed Kagin to bet himself out of the tournament after Adam raised preflop to 20K and DeWolfe called. The flop of 10-K-2 brought another 25K bet from Kagin and another smooth call from DeWolfe. Once the Ace hit on the turn, Kagin fired the rest of his stack to the center and DeWolfe immediately called him down. The Ace had been magic for Kagin with his A-9, but DeWolfe's A-Q thoroughly dominated him. The "insult to injury" Queen on the river put Adam Kagin out of the tournament in ninth place.
With two hours of action out of the way, we had only lost two of our final table players. Once the blinds were raised to 4K/8K (with a 1K ante) though, it seemed to light a fire under every player at the table. Over the next two hours of play, several participants would begin a parade to the cash out window at the Amazon Room as they were eliminated. It all started on Hand 62 when a short stacked "Neverwin" Woolf moved all in and Dewitt called. "Neverwin" was caught in a move as he turned up his Q-J of diamonds and Dewitt had him covered with A-K. Two kings came on the flop and, after the turn card paired Woolf's Jack, he was drawing dead and out of the tournament in eighth place.
Eight hands later, DeWolfe knocked out his second player of the final table as he went to battle against "The Gunslinger" David Bach. After Roland raised the pot to 27K, David went all in and brought an immediate call from DeWolfe. Bach was completely at the mercy of the cards when his pocket Queens were outshone by DeWolfe's pocket Kings. Once no lady came on the board for David, he was leaving the Rio and the final table in seventh place.
Another eight hands later (Hand 78), "The Dragon" roared again as he went heads up against Jason Dewitt. After Jason raised from early position for 25K, Pham called from the small blind to take a flop of 3-3h-10h. David checked to Jason's 32K bet and drew a reraise from David to 120K. Dewitt called off the last of his chips and turned up pocket fours (with a heart) but the flop had been magic for Pham and his 10-9. An eight of hearts brought more outs for Dewitt but the river was dry as Jason Dewitt was gone from the final table in sixth place.
After a level raise to 6K/12K (2K ante), Chad Layne moved his 95K stack to the center of the table on Hand 89. Layne had been very quiet for most of the tournament until this time, when he started to move all in as his only defense. It worked until this hand, when both David Pham and Charles Sewell called from the blinds. Sewell and Pham checked the board of 4-3-8-4 to the turn, where Pham bet 120K and forced out Sewell. Pham had controlled the hand from the start with pocket Jacks and, when Chad only could turn up an Ace-10, he was drawing to three outs in the deck. A ten came on the river but it wasn't enough as Chad Layne left the tournament in fifth place.
On the very next hand, the one man wrecking crew of David Pham dumped another player from the final table. He raised a pot to 38K and "Reno" Williamson moved all in over the top for his last 63K in chips. Pham paused for just a moment, then said to Williamson, "I have to call (as he was getting the pot odds for it)." He did and turned an Ace-9 to Williamson's Q-9. An Ace on the flop sealed the verdict for Jerald Williamson and he retired from the tournament in fourth place.
Down to three players, Sewell, DeWolfe and Pham shuttled the chips around the table until the penultimate hand just before the dinner break that probably decided who would win there. Pham raised the final hand before the meal break to 40K and was called by Sewell, who had limped from the button. On a 5-10-7 rainbow flop, Pham fired a 70K bet and was met by a raise to 200K from Sewell. Another five came on the turn and Pham checked. Charles chose this moment to attack and put 200K into the pot, which a reluctant Pham called. A four on the river brought another check from David and another 200K in chips from Charles. As "The Dragon" considered his options, the beeping of the timer sounded the end of the level. While this was going on, Sewell looked to his family on the rail and smiled at them. "The Dragon", being the professional he is, caught this and thought for just a few more seconds before calling. "Good call," lamented Sewell as he only turned up a Q-3 for Queen high. Pham's read had been right on once again as he turned up A-Q for Ace high and took an over 900K pot.
After the players returned from dinner, the leader board looked something like this:
Both DeWolfe (through Sewell) and then Sewell (through Pham) doubled up to shift the chips around somewhat before, on Hand 126, Roland DeWolfe raised the pot to 45K from the button. Pham called out of the small blind and the two saw a flop of 10-Ad-2d. Pham check-called a bet of 90K from DeWolfe and the two received a turn of a seven. Pham once again checked to DeWolfe and, once Roland hit the pot with a 250K bet, "The Dragon" moved all in. DeWolfe called and showed an Ace-6, which was beaten (but just barely) by Pham's Ace-8 (with the eight playing at this point). If another deuce or a seven came on the river, the two players would chop the pot. Much to Roland's dismay, the river King ended his evening and DeWolfe was out of the tournament in third place.
With all but a quarter million of the chips in play, it was only a question of how long David Pham would take to end the event. The answer was "not very" as a very game Charles Sewell took the next two hands without challenge and moved all in on the third hand of heads up play (Hand 129). Pham called him and turned up pocket Jacks to Sewell's A-8. When there was no Ace to save Charles after the board was dealt (Q-10-7-7-4), David "The Dragon" Pham had captured his second World Series of Poker bracelet.
1. David Pham, $240,222
2. Charles Sewell, $124,488
3. Roland DeWolfe, $65,520
4. Jerald Williamson, $49,140
5. Chad Layne, $43,680
6. Jason Dewitt, $38,220
7. David Bach, $32,760
8. Dustin Woolf, $27,300
9. Adam Kagin, $21,840
10. Jeffery Helberg, $16,380
As Pham basked in the afterglow of his victory (it had come so quickly that the bracelet had yet to be brought to the table), the two Omaha events of the Tuesday of action at the World Series of Poker were swinging into their final table activities. My colleague Stephen Yoh was on hand for those as we continue on, only ten days away from the start of the 2006 World Series of Poker $10,000 Championship Event.
Ed Note: Single table shootouts available always at Pacific Poker