Almost two weeks ago, over 500 celebrities, poker players, and media descended upon the Commerce Casino for one of the most fun-filled tournaments on the poker calendar. Essentially a free roll with a one-time add-on being donated to charity, the World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational attracted the likes of Teri Hatcher, Nick Cassavetes, Playmates Sara Underwood and Jayde Nicole, Sam Simon, and other celebrities among a slew of poker professionals.
Wednesday, the final six resumed under the lights and cameras of the WPT television set, and it was LeRon Washington who took down the $100,000 first-place prize, along with a WPT bracelet and a buy-in to the WPT Championship at the Bellagio in April.
Heads-up play lasted about two hours, which was an accomplishment in itself, considering that Washington began with a nine-to-one chip advantage over his opponent Sean Urban. Urban fought admirably, doubling up twice to pull even with Washington after about 30 minutes of play, and even taking a small lead at one point. Washington, however, did not relent, and on a board reading , Urban pulled an untimely bluff, moving all-in with his busted flush draw (), and getting called by Washington, who held . That hand crippled Urban, and Washington finished him off on the next hand.
The first to be knocked off the final table Wednesday night was Steve Elliot, who was followed by poker pro Thor Hansen who finished fifth, and Neev Baram in fourth place.
Out of the six at the final table, all the buzz surrounded former reality TV star, Trishelle Cannatella, who finished third. Cannatella, was part of the Real World cast when the popular MTV series was in Las Vegas. Since then, she has been no stranger to the poker scene. Cannatella is frequently spotted hanging out with poker players and was signed as a sponsored player for Absolute Poker. Most recently, she won a charity poker event at the Hard Rock in February.
Unfortunately Cannatella's hot streak came to end on Wednesday night when she ran into the soon-to-be champ LeRon Washington. She raised to 300,000 preflop with and was called by Washington who held . The flop was , and Cannatella bet 500,000, only to see Washington make the call with his pair and draw. The turn was the and, after a check by Washington, Cannatella moved all-in and was called by Washington. The hit on the river, completing Washington's straight, and eliminating Cannatella from the event.
The conclusion of the LA Poker Classic Celebrity Invitational marks the conclusion of the last side-event of the series. The final table of the WPT LA Poker Classic main event gets underway this afternoon at the Commerce where one of the final six will walk away with over $1.7 million.
*Photo Courtesy of LAPCNews.com