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2009 WSOP: Cantu Claims Second Bracelet in #48 PLO/8

Brandon Cantu

The final table of Event #48, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, kicked off with Brandon Cantu leading the pack at 1.025 million. Joining him at the table was fellow bracelet-winner Lee Watkinson. Both were gunning for their second bracelets and were looking to use their experience to help them achieve that goal. Ultimately, Cantu and Watkinson faced off against each other, with Cantu pulling off a dramatic come-from-behind victory to take home bracelet number two.

William McMahan was the first player to exit from the final table. Tommy Vedes raised to 36,000 preflop and McMahan potted to 120,000 total. Vedes then raised enough to set McMahan all in, and McMahan made the call. McMahan held {A-Spades}{A-Hearts}{K-Clubs}{Q-Hearts} and Vedes had {A-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}. The flop was a monster for Vedes when it fell {8-Spades}{4-Hearts}{4-Spades}. McMahan was left needing an ace, or two perfect runners. The turn fell the {5-Clubs} and the river the {J-Clubs} to send McMahan home in ninth place, good for $22,862.

A couple of hands later, Ronnie Hofman headed out in eighth place. Hofman moved in on the flop of {7-Spades}{4-Hearts}{2-Hearts} and was called by Lee Watkinson. Watkinson flipped over {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} for two pair and Hofman held {A-Spades}{K-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}{J-Hearts} for nothing but air. The turn {7-Clubs} left Hofman only needing to pair one of his cards to survive. The river {3-Spades} sealed the win for Watkinson and Hofman exited to collect his $25,618 payday.

Aaron Sias was next to fall at the hands of Ted Weinstock. Sias raised to 56,000 preflop and Weinstock potted, which was enough to put Sias all in. Sias made the call and flipped over {A-Spades}{3-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}. Weinstock held {A-Hearts}{A-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{K-Hearts}. The flop of {A-Clubs}{2-Spades}{10-Diamonds} gave Weinstock a set of aces and a low draw for Sias. Sias was unable to complete his low as the {K-Spades} fell on the turn and {9-Diamonds} hit the river. Sias finished in seventh place and took home $30,028.

In a pair of hands, Lee Watkinson became the new chip leader at this final table. Watkinson had been using aggression to pick up pots throughout the final. In one such pot, Watkinson raised 70,000 preflop and was called in two spots by Steve Jelinek and Ted Weinstock. On the flop of {J-Hearts}{10-Spades}{8-Clubs}, Watkinson check-raised all in after Jelinek bet out 100,000. Both of his opponents folded to move Watkinson up to 863,000.

Watkinson moved into the chip lead after Brandon Cantu’s stack took a severe hit when he was scooped out of a multi-way pot. Steve Jelinek raised to 87,000 preflop and Brandon Cantu and Ted Weinstock both called from the blinds. On the flop of {K-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{7-Clubs}, Cantu potted to 252,000, enough to put both of his opponents all in. Both made the call and Cantu rolled over {A-Spades}{3-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{9-Hearts} for a low draw and pair of nines. Weinstock flipped over {A-Hearts}{3-Clubs}{4-Spades}{7-Hearts} for a pair of sevens, gutshot straight draw and the same low draw. Jelinek tabled {A-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{4-Hearts}{K-Spades} for top pair and the nut-low draw. The turn fell the {8-Spades} to give Jelinek the low and the river fell the {7-Spades} to give Weinstock trip sevens for high. After the pot, Cantu was left with 670,000 in chips.

Steve Jelinek was the next player to fall, eliminated in sixth place. Tommy Vedes potted to 70,000 preflop and Jelinek re-potted to 222,000. Vedes called and the flop came down {K-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{6-Spades}. Jelinek moved in for 184,000 and Vedes called. Jelinek held {A-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{K-Spades}{Q-Hearts} for kings up and Vedes tabled {A-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} for trip sixes. The turn {A-Diamonds} left Jelinek needing a king or the case ace to stay alive. The river fell the {2-Diamonds} and Jelinek headed out in sixth place, good for a $36,893 payday.

Tommy Vedes hit the rail next in fifth place. Mathieu Jacqmin raised to 90,000 preflop and Vedes called. On the flop of {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{8-Hearts}, Jacqmin check-raised all in after Vedes bet out 225,000. Vedes called all in for slightly less and tabled {K-Diamonds}{Q-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} for an open-ended straight draw and flush draw. Jacqmin flipped over {A-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} for trip eights, a low draw, and the nut-flush draw. The turn fell the {9-Diamonds} and the river {2-Hearts} to eliminate Vedes, who received $47,617 for his strong finish.

Brandon Cantu regained the chip lead after doubling up through Mathieu Jacqmin. On the flop of {A-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}, Jacqmin made it 500,000 to go and Cantu attempted to move in, but verbally called. The verbal declaration stood and the {2-Spades} fell on the turn. Cantu moved in for his last 135,000 and Jacqmin called. Jacqmin held {A-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{J-Hearts} for two pair and a live four for his low. Cantu held {A-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}{Q-Clubs}{3-Clubs} for a pair of aces and a live three for his low. The {4-Hearts} river gave Cantu a wheel and he scooped his way back to 1.465 million in chips.

Ted Weinstock and Brandon Cantu called a 100,000 raise preflop by Mathieu Jacqmin to see the flop of {6-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}. Cantu bet out 300,000 on the flop and Weinstock moved all in for 500,000. Jacqmin then also moved in and Cantu got out of the way. Jacqmin held {A-Spades}{A-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} for a double-nut draw and a pair of aces. Weinstock held {A-Hearts}{2-Spades}{6-Clubs}{K-Spades} for a pair of sixes and nut-low draw. The {9-Diamonds} on the turn gave Jacqmin his nut flush and the river {6-Hearts} prevented a low from forming. Ted Weinstock headed out in fourth place and took home $64,727.

The chip lead changed hand a couple of time before the next elimination. After taking out Ted Weinstock, Mathieu Jacqmin moved up to 1.4 million in chips and stood as chip leader. Then Lee Watkinson used aggression to move into the chip lead with 1.6 million. Watkinson then took a massive chip lead after sending Mathieu Jacqmin to the rail. Jacqmin potted from the small blind and Watkinson called from the big. The flop fell {9-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{Q-Spades} and Jacqmin check-raised all in after Watkinson bet pot. Watkinson snap-called and Jacqmin found himself needing help. Watkinson held {Q-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} for a flopped set while Jacqmin had {A-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{2-Spades} for a flush draw and a weak pair of sevens. The turn {8-Clubs} gave Jacqmin a low draw, but the {K-Hearts} on the river sent a stunned Jacqmin out in third place for $92,946.

Lee Watkinson held more than a 2.5-to-1 chip lead going into heads-up play. Watkinson had 2,485,000 to the 945,000 of Brandon Cantu. Watkinson continued to use his aggression to knock Cantu down to only 470,000 in chips. Cantu then doubled up to 840,000 after flopping a set of jacks and moving in. Wakinson called with a Broadway draw, but failed to hit. Cantu then took a page out of Watkinson’s book and used aggression to build his stack to 1.3 million. Cantu regained the chip lead briefly before Watkinson battled his way back to a 2.2 million chip lead.

In the end, it came down to two decisive pots. First, Brandon Cantu was all in preflop with {A-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}{6-Hearts} against Watkinson’s {A-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{5-Spades}. The board did not produce a low and Cantu won the hand with only a pair of sixes to take a 2-to-1 chip lead on Watkinson. On the final hand of the tournament, Cantu raised to 150,000 preflop and Watkinson made the call. The flop fell {6-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{Q-Clubs} and the rest of Watkinson’s chips went into the middle. Cantu held {A-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{10-Clubs} for a pair, flush draw, and a low draw. Watkinson held {2-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{5-Spades}{7-Hearts} for a wrap and a low draw. The turn missed both players when the {9-Spades} hit, and the river {4-Hearts} gave Cantu trip fours and the victory. Lee Watkinson finished as runner-up and will take home $141,873 for his well-fought battle.

This final table started with two veteran poker players looking for a second WSOP bracelet, and in the end, Brandon Cantu and Lee Watkinson squared off for the gold. Cantu caught a rush of cards at the right time to overcome Watkinson’s massive chip lead and walked away as a two-time bracelet winner. Cantu also took home the $228,867 top prize. The WSOP is now in its home stretch as the Main Event is only five days away. Stay tuned to as we bring you coverage of the remaining events of the World Series of Poker.

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