It seemed like it was the 'calm before the storm' in the Amazon Room at the Rio on Wednesday. It was officially Satellite Day as several single table, super and mega satellites were ongoing throughout the day. There was the small factor of finishing off the preliminary events that have started over the last couple of days, though, and there was plenty of action to be had there.
There was the Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event (with wunderkind Jeff Madsen making another final table push) as well as the $5000 Deuce to Seven Lowball (with rebuys) event taking place. The final $1500 No Limit event was in its second day and, finally, there was the final table of the $1500 Limit Shootout event to take care of. 524 players started the tournament on Monday and six men made their way to the final table, which set up like this:
Seat 1: Ralph "Rep" Porter
Seat 2: European professional Anders Henriksson
Seat 3: Mariano Garcia
Seat 4: Bellagio cash game player Victor Perches
Seat 5: WPT and WSOP Circuit final tablist Tom Schneider
Seat 6: 2005 WPT Reno champion Arnold Spee
The six men had run the gauntlet of beating two tables to make it to this point and all started with the same chips (150K) and the blinds at 1K/2K with a 2K/4K betting limit and one hour levels.
To say there was no action in the first two hours of the event would be an understatement. With such largess in the chip stacks and low blinds and betting levels, the action was pretty much just for positioning purposes. Victor Perches was the major mover in the first couple of hours, however, as he continually was involved in pots. Arnold Spee was also active as well as he tried to keep pace with Perches.
One player who had a tough time of it in the first couple of hours was Mariano Garcia. He couldn't seem to catch a hand at anytime and, when he did, he was beaten by draw outs on the river to his opponents. This left him in seriously dire straits when the blinds first moved to 2K/3K and 3K/6K betting limits and then to 2K/4K blinds with a 4K/8K betting limit. When he and Ralph Porter went into a betting war on an all spade flop of 10-7-3, it wasn't long until Garcia was all in. Garcia had hit the board for the top pair with his A-10, but it was a useless exercise as Porter had hit the nut flush with the A-J of spades. Essentially drawing dead from the flop, the turn card of the deuce of clubs sealed his fate and Mariano Garcia was eliminated from the final table in sixth place.
Another player who found the going tough at the final table was Tom Schneider. During a break after the first couple of hours, I was able to ask how things were going for him at the final table. "I've been sucked out every way possible," he reported with a wry smile. "I've had pocket Aces beaten by Q-9, had pocket Queens beaten by J-9...you name it, it's happened to me." He was supported by his wife and son as they attempted to get him back into the tournament, but it wasn't to be for the Arizona resident on this day.
Schneider moved in from the small blind against Arnold Spee and Spee was happy to look him up. The two have a little bit of a history, as Spee was highly critical of Schneider's play at this year's World Poker Tour event in Reno (where Spee was attempting to defend his crown). It even went to the point of Spee calling Schneider a "donkey", which has since earned Tom the nickname of "The Donkeybomber" (Schneider normally wears a hooded sweatshirt when he plays). Schneider's K-3 was in firm control of the hand as Spee could only manage a 9-6 of hearts, but the board certainly didn't cooperate. The flop of the Ah-7h-6 gave Spee the lead in the hand and an unnecessary eight of hearts added insult to injury to send Tom Schneider home from the Rio in fifth place.
Once the blinds went up to 3K/6K with 6K/12K betting limits, we lost another one of our competitors at the table. Ralph Porter was able to withstand the assaults of both Spee and Perches for some time, but eventually it began to erode his chip stack. He was crippled by Anders Henriksson when Anders hit a boat against him, leaving him a stack that was on life support at 8K. The very next hand, Victor Perches raised and Porter tossed in the last of his chips with a 10-8 of hearts. Perches had him covered with the A-4 offsuit that he held and solidified his lead when he flopped an Ace. Once the rest of the board blanked out, Porter was out of the event in fourth place.
Perches and Spee began to distance themselves from Henriksson as the level continued. When the blinds went up to 4K/8K with 8K/16K betting limits, the European pro was left with little ammunition to go to war with. When he hooked into a hand with Victor Perches, it didn't take much time for the chips to all move to the center of the table preflop. Anders turned up the preflop lead with his A-8 over the K-10 of Victor, but once again the flop didn't realize the odds when it came up K-7-6. There was no Ace to come to the rescue and Anders Henriksson was gone from the final table in third place.
As heads up action started, Spee held a two to one lead over Perches (600K-300K) and the two professionals headed into battle. Perches began to use those skills honed at the tables of the Bellagio and slowly began to chip away at Spee's lead. Victor continued the assault until he held a two to one edge and continued to expand it as the end of the level came and the twosome stepped away for some dinner before continuing the fight.
With the blinds moved up to 10K/15K and betting limits of 15K/30K, the chip edge that Perches had built up was evident to the audience surrounding the final table:
It only took two hands after the dinner break for the players to decide the bracelet for the Limit Shootout event. Perches raised from the button and was called by Spee as they took in a flop of A-J-9. Perches continued to apply pressure with a bet and Spee came along for the turn card of the six of diamonds. This time, Spee bet out 30K and was reraised by Perches for his final chips. After tossing them in, Spee turned up Q-J for second pair but Perches had a hammerlock on the hand with the A-6 for two pair. Once the river blanked off, Victor Perches was the sole survivor of the Limit Shootout.
1. Victor Perches, $157,338
2. Arnold Spee, $78,679
3. Anders Henriksson, $50,068
4. Ralph Porter, $39,339
5. Tom Schneider, $28,610
6. Mariano Garcia, $17,882
As the audience applauded the efforts of both men, Victor accepted congratulations from his friends and supporters. Now when he visits the Bellagio for his next cash game, Victor Perches will have a new piece of jewelry to sport in a World Series bracelet that should draw some respect.
Ed Note: Draw some respect by playing….5 Card Draw Poker online at Pokerroom.com