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Iowa Man Wins $1 Million Mansion Poker Dome Grand Final

Iowa Man Wins $1 Million Mansion Poker Dome Grand Final 0001

On May 28th, 2006 Rhowena Colclough won the very first Poker Dome quarterfinal match, and the race to the one million dollar Grand Final was underway. Since then, over 200 competitors have played in the most sophisticated TV poker facility ever built – the Poker Dome.

Every player, dealer, and TV crew member had been working toward this one day – a day where one lucky and skilled Poker Dome player would walk away with $1,000,000. The million dollars was on player's minds, and the nerves were beginning to show.

"I have been thinking about this day since I qualified 21 weeks ago. I think about it every time I wake up in the middle of the night, which is usually about 5 times a night" said Jerry Schrader, a professional locksmith and safe cracker who is going to try to find the right combination for winning today.

Although all the players have won two separate six player matches to come through to today, the nerves were still running high, as all six knew one of them would walk away with one million dollars, and the other five would walk away with nothing. "I think I am going to set the record for the highest heart rate today" noted Andrew Rogers, the talk of tiny Montgomery, Minnesota {population 3,000} "They took my sitting heart rate about two hours ago, and it was 112 – they couldn't believe it – they checked it twice."

Four 'normal guys', and two professional poker players were going to go after the one million dollar prize. The seat assignments were:

Seat One: Andrew Rogers – Montgomery, MN - Poker tournament host

Seat Two: Dennis Waterman – Sedona, AZ – Professional poker player

Seat Three: Ben Ludwig – Philadelphia, PA - Investment banker

Seat Four: Jerry Schrader – Woodbridge, VA – Locksmith

Seat Five: Rob Sherwood – Manchester, U.K. – Professional poker player

Seat Six: Rodel Tuazon – Des Moines, IA – Mortgage professional

Cards went in the air about 5:30 local time, and the tension was high. Some of the players had been waiting for nine months to get here, and finally – the time was upon us.

Andrew Rogers picked up right where he left off last July 9th, when he last played a hand in the Poker Dome. Rogers got out to a hot start when he took about ½ of Rob Sherwood's stack, and he shot up to the chip lead early.

One player who was not as fortunate was Jerry Schrader. Schrader got in trouble early, and never recovered. On a flop of {9-Spades} {a-Diamonds} {k-Spades}, Schrader made his move with {a-Hearts} {6-Hearts}. Waterman had trapped Jerry though, and after Waterman turned over {a-Spades} {j-Clubs}, Schrader was going to have to hope for some serious luck to save him. No luck came, and Schrader was gone. In the exit interview, Schrader cracked "I guess I have to go to work Monday after all".

The next hour featured a clinic in power poker by columnist Dennis Waterman. Dennis built his stack steadily, often at the expense of Andrew Rogers.

Alas, it was Rogers who was next to go. After running into a dry spell of cards, Rogers decided to push his {a-Hearts} {4-Hearts} a little too hard, and moved back over the top of Waterman, who had re-raised him. Waterman called right away, and showed {a-Diamonds} {q-Diamonds}. No miracles for Rogers, and the very first Poker Dome qualifier was out in 5th place, but probably still the talk of his tiny hometown in Minnesota.

Ben Ludwig ran into a unlucky situation a few hands later when his {k-Hearts} {j-Hearts} got helped by a flop of {k-Spades} {8-Diamonds} {6-Clubs}. Ludwig committed himself to the pot, but Rob Sherwood had slowplayed {a-Diamonds} {a-Clubs}, and when no help came for Ludwig, he was crippled down to 9,000 chips with blinds of 2,000 and 4,000. Ludwig did a tightrope act for the next few hands, and split two pots, then doubled up to get back to 34,000 chips.

Ludwig was finally eliminated on a really big hand. Dennis Waterman opened with {3-Clubs} {3-Hearts}, and Ludwig came back over the top for all his chips with {a-Diamonds} {q-Diamonds}. Still to act, Rob Sherwood found {9-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} in the big blind, and moved all in for his last 47,000. Waterman had no choice but to fold, and folded his two threes. Sherwood's pocket nines held up, and the once short stacked Englishman was right back in the game.

Down to three handed, the chip counts were

Dennis Waterman 165,000

Rob Sherwood 75,000

Rodel Tuazon 60,000

The next hour was all Waterman. The twenty year pro was really moving the chips, and making his opponents do his bidding. At one stage, Dennis re-raised Tuazon with {a-Spades} {j-Spades}, and Tuazon folded {a-Hearts} {k-Clubs}. Dennis maintained his control of the table, and got down to heads up after Tuazon eliminated Rob Sherwood, when he had Sherwood dominated {a-Diamonds} {6-Hearts} to {q-Diamonds} {6-Diamonds}. No help for Sherwood, and he had a long flight to the U.K. in front of him after getting zero for finishing 3rd place.

Down to heads up, one player was going to walk away with $1,000,000, and the other would go home empty handed. When heads up play began, Waterman had Tuazon out chipped 198,000 to 102,000. With the blinds at 5,000/10,000, the action was going to be quick.

After a few hands, Tuazon had managed to scrape up to the chip lead, edging Waterman 153,000 to 147,000. On the final hand, Dennis opened the betting with a raise, and Tuazon looked down, and found {9-Hearts}{9-Clubs}. Tuazon re-raised all in, and Waterman had a tough decision. Waterman took his maximum time, but ultimately decided to call with {10-Spades} {7-Spades}. The flop held a 9, which meant that Tuazon had flopped a set. You might think this was bad news for Waterman, but the flop also held a Jack, meaning Waterman actually had live outs for the win (any 8) The turn was a six, and the river was a four and it was over.

Nearly one year and hundreds of players in the making, The Mansion Poker Dome Challenge was finally over. We had found our $1 million winner. His name is Rodel Tuazon. Rodel is now $1 million dollars richer, which is a good thing. You see, win or lose, Tuazon has a wedding to go to today – his own.

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