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2009 WSOP: Alenius Battles Back to Win #26 LHE

Tomas Alenius

Fifteen players returned for Day 3 of Event #26, $1,500 Limit Hold’em, in the hopes of taking down the bracelet and $197,488 in first-place prize money. Among those still in contention coming into Day 3 were limit hold’em specialist Richard Brodie and Al “Sugar Bear” Barbieri, who began the day as the chip leader with 400,000. It took only a little over seven hours to play down to the bracelet. Tomas Alenius outlasted all challengers to walk away as the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Champion.

The short stacks were active early, as four players were lost in the first 20 minutes of play. John Varner was eliminated when he raced {A-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts} against the pocket nines of Tam. Mike Schiffman was then knocked out by Richard Brodie. Schiffman was all in with {J-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} against Brodie and his {K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}. Schiffman picked up a gutshot straight draw on the turn, but failed to hit. Brodie caught a queen on the river to win the hand and send Schiffman to an early exit. Andrew Kerstine moved all in on the turn with {5-Clubs}{5-Spades} against the {10-Clubs}{10-Spades} of Rep Porter. Kerstine failed to catch a five on the river and Porter’s tens held. Yang Pen Li got all his chips into the middle on the flop of {Q-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} with {A-Hearts}{K-Clubs}. Tomas Alenius made the call with {4-Spades}{4-Clubs} for a set, leaving Li in need of running straight cards to win. The turn fell a five and Li was drawing dread.

Ken Dickenson was left with only 6,000 in chips after losing a huge pot to Glenn Engelbert. Dickenson put those chips at risk in the next hand against Richard Brodie. Brodie held {A-Hearts}{Q-Hearts} to Dickenson’s pocket nines. Dickenson’s fate took a downward spiral as the flop came down {A-Spades}{K-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}. Dickenson needed a nine and a nine alone to win the pot and stave off elimination. The turn and river both fell babies and Dickenson finished in 11th place, good for $13,543. With Dickenson’s elimination, the final ten players were combined to one table. Here’s how the final ten stacked up:

Seat 1 — Glenn Engelbert (410,000)
Seat 2 — Richard Brodie (195,000)
Seat 3 — Demetrios Arvanetes (370,000)
Seat 4 — Kim-Phong Duong (175,000)
Seat 5 — Rep Porter (370,000)
Seat 6 — Dominik Kulicki (95,000)
Seat 7 — Cole Miller (180,000)
Seat 8 — Al Barbieri (495,000)
Seat 9 — Jason Tam (255,000)
Seat 10 — Tomas Alenius (370,000)

Soon after ten-handed play began, Richard Brodie became the final table bubble boy. The board at the turn read {Q-Spades}{J-Hearts}{2-Spades}{Q-Clubs} and Brodie raised all in against Jason Tam. Tam called with {K-Spades}{10-Spades} for an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. Brodie held {A-Diamonds}{J-Spades} for a pair of jacks. The river fell the {3-Spades} to give Tam the flush and send Brodie home in tenth place with $13,543. With the final table firmly in place, players focused on winning the bracelet. Al Barbieri extended his chip lead against Jason Tam when his meager {9-Hearts}{6-Clubs} hit a straight on the {5-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} flop. After that pot, Barbieri moved up to 800,000 in chips.

Cole Miller was the first player eliminated from the final table. On the flop of {Q-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{3-Clubs}, Miller bet out and Al Barbieri put in a raise. Miller tanked for a bit before deciding to go to war with his hand. Miller three-bet and Barbieri popped it again, enough to put Miller all in. Miller called and revealed {A-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} for ace-high. Barbieri tabled {8-Clubs}{5-Hearts} for middle pair. Miller got no help on the {10-Clubs} or the {Q-Spades} river and he was sent packing in ninth place, good for $18,932. Kim-Phong Duong exited the final table on the following hand. Duong was all in preflop after calling a raise from Glenn Engelbert. Jason Tam also came along for the ride. Tam and Engelbert checked down the {6-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{10-Hearts} board. At showdown, Engelbert tabled {A-Clubs}{K-Diamonds} and that was enough to beat both the {9-Hearts}{7-Clubs} of Tam and the {A-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds} of Duong. Duong collected $21,416 for his eighth-place finish.

Rep Porter was the next player to make his exit from the final table. At the river, the board read {2-Spades}{5-Clubs}{7-Spades}{4-Spades}{7-Hearts} and Porter put the last of his chips into the pot. Demetrios Arvanetes made the call and flipped over {J-Spades}{10-Spades} for a flush. Porter mucked his hand and headed out in seventh place with $25,313. Dominik Kulicki picked a bad time to attempt a double-up and he became the sixth-place finisher ($31,325). He three-bet all in against Jason Tam and was called. Tam tabled pocket aces and Kulicki showed {K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}. Kulicki caught a queen on the flop, but that was the only face card to hit the board. Tam’s aces held and Kulicki hit the rail.

Demetrios Arvanetes put the last of his chips in on the turn against both Glenn Engelbert and Tomas Alenius. At the river, the board read {3-Clubs}{J-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{J-Clubs} and action was checked around. Engelbert flipped over {7-Spades}{7-Diamonds} for a boat and that was enough to win the pot and make Arvanetes the fifth-place finisher ($40,681). Glenn Engelbert then lost most of his stack to Al Barbieri when Barbieri turned top two pair against him. Engelbert shoved all in the next hand after three-betting Tomas Alenius. Alenius and Jason Tam both made the call. The flop came {8-Spades}{8-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} and Alenius bet Tam out of the pot. Alenius revealed {A-Hearts}{A-Clubs} to Engelbert’s {Q-Spades}{7-Spades} and Engelbert needed help to avoid elimination. The turn gave him outs to a straight when the {6-Clubs} fell, but the {5-Clubs} river sealed his fate and Engelbert headed out in fourth place, good for $55,576.

It was still anyone’s game three-handed. Jason Tam led with 970,000 in chips, but Tomas Alenius was right behind him with 930,000 and Al Barbieri held 850,000. Barbieri started to slide and was down to just 290,000 before taking his last stand. Jason Tam three-bet a raise from Barbieri preflop and both saw the flop of {A-Spades}{J-Clubs}{8-Spades}. Action was four-bet before the two saw the {7-Hearts} turn. Tam bet out and Barbieri called all in. Barbieri held {J-Spades}{10-Diamonds} for a pair of jacks and a gutshot straight draw. Tam revealed {A-Diamonds}{K-Spades} for top pair. The river fell the {4-Diamonds} and Barbieri was eliminated in third place. The protégé of the late John Bonetti took home $80,072 for his strong performance.

Jason Tam took a huge chip lead into heads-up play. Tam sat with 2.175 million to the 720,000 of Tomas Alenius. However, limit hold’em can be highly volatile and Alenius started taking pot after pot until he held a slight edge of 1.5 million to 1.4 million for Tam. During the 50,000 and 100,000 betting round, one pot swung the momentum over to Alenius’ favor. On the flop of {J-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{8-Spades}, Alenius check-raised a bet from Tam. The turn fell the {A-Spades} and Alenius bet out. Tam made the call and the river was the {8-Diamonds}. Alenius bet out again and Tam made the crying call. Alenius flipped up {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs} for eights full and that was enough to take the pot. Alenius moved up to 2.2 million with that pot and Tam was down to his last 500,000.

In the final hand of the tournament, Tam four-bet all in preflop and Alenius made the call. Alenius held {A-Spades}{4-Clubs} to the {Q-Spades}{5-Clubs} of Tam. The flop came down {10-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{2-Hearts} to keep Alenius in the lead. The turn and river fell running kings and Tomas Alenius became the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Champion. Jason Tam finished in second place, taking home $122,000.

Day 3 of this event started with Al Barbieri in the chip lead and the favorite to win this event. However, fortunes in limit hold’em can and often do change on the turn of a card and Barbieri ultimately finished in third. Tomas Alenius from Sweden began the day around the middle of the pack and kept himself out of danger early on. He then picked up a series of pots at the right times to take the lead and eventually the gold WSOP bracelet. In addition to his new jewelry, Alenius received $197,488 in prize money. Congratulations to Tomas Alenius, winner of Event #26, $1,500 Limit Hold’em.

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