Carlos Mortensen scored a World Poker Tour hat trick with his victory at the inaugural Hollywood Poker Open. After picking up his third WPT main event win in Lawrenceburg, Ind., Mortensen now ties Gus Hansen for the most WPT titles. With the $393,820 he added to his bankroll, Mortensen also moved in front of Daniel Negreanu to claim the top spot on the all-time WPT money-winner list. Mortensen has accumulated more than $5.6 million in winnings from the 56 WPT Main Events he has played.
The Hollywood Poker Open was the first WPT event held at the Hollywood Casino in Indiana. It attracted a very small turnout; only 144 players took a shot at the $10,000 no-limit hold'em tournament. Yet, no matter how small the prize pool, no one seemed willing to go home without a piece of it. Players gave up on the plan to play to the money on Day 3, and it took another four hours on Day 4 to burst the money bubble with the eliminations of Shawn Buchanan, Dwyte Pilgrim, and Gevork Kasabyan.
The marathon bubble left the remaining players short on chips, so the trip to the six-handed final table was quick. Eric "Rizen" Lynch finished in tenth place, earning $23,019. Ty Reiman was out in eighth for a $55,907 payday, and Todd Terry came up just short of the final table, earning $72,349 for seventh place.
Mortensen began the final table with a slight chip lead, but even he had fewer than 60 big blinds. Jerry Payne started with only 13 big blinds and was quickly eliminated in sixth place, earning $88,791. Ravi Raghavan followed him out the door in fifth, picking up $105,234. Two hands later, Chris Bell lost a race to finish in fourth place. He earned $124,966 in his 12th WPT cash.
After Bell's elimination, Mortsensen, Mike Mustafa, and Frank Calo were nearly even in chips. They traded big pots back and forth until Calo found himself on the short side. He got his chips in ahead when he flopped top two pair, holding on a board. Mortensen called with , and Calo needed to dodge the open-ended straight draw to stay alive. Calo even picked up a flush draw with the on the turn, but the on the river gave Mortensen a set. Calo earned $167,717 for finishing in third place.
Guaranteed at least second place money, Mortensen had already locked up the top spot on the all-time WPT money list. Mortensen and Mustafa were close to even when they began their intense heads-up battle. Carlos quickly took the chip lead, but Mustafa ground his way back to even and then took the lead. Finally, after more than two hours without an all-in, both players saw a flop they liked. Mortensen check-raised the board, and Mustafa moved all-in. Mortensen called as fast as possible, tabling for the flopped straight. Mustafa showed for top two pair. He needed to improve to a full house to eliminate Mortensen, but the turn and river were blanks. Mustafa was left crippled with three big blinds. He managed to double through Mortensen twice, but the third time Mustafa's couldn't hold up against Mortensen's .
Mustafa earned $223,623 for his second-place finish, not bad for his first WPT cash. Carlos Mortensen picked up far more than $393,820, a $25,500 WPT World Championship entry, and a shiny new bracelet. With his victory at the Hollywood Poker Open, Mortensen further cemented his spot in World Poker Tour history.
Final Table Results
1st: Carlos Mortensen - $393,820
2nd: Mike Mustafa - $223,623
3rd: Frank Calo - $167,717
4th: Chris Bell - $124,966
5th: Ravi Raghavan - $105,234
6th: Jerry Payne - $88,791
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