The World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans $1,600 Main Event concluded on Monday as the final nine players of a 694-player field battled down to a champion. It took approximately eight hours of play, and when the dust settled, Justin Truesdell had emerged with all the chips, earning a seat in the National Championship and taking down the $204,748 first-place prize.
The day got off to a quick start as an elimination occurred right out of the gates. It happened when Ramon Martinez and Daniel Lowery went to a flop of together. Martinez led out with 75,000 from the cutoff and Lowery called from the button. The turn brought the , Martinez checked and Lowery bet 93,000. Martinez announced all-in after a short pause and Lowery called.
Martinez was drawing live but bricked when the river fell , sending him to the rail in ninth place for $19,156.
Not long after, George Miro moved all-in under the gun for 310,000 and Dominic Gabaldon called from middle position.
Miro needed some help and found a little as the flop gave him added gut-shot straight draw outs. He seemed optimistic, but would ultimately be left wanting as the turn and river both blanked. Miro graciously shook hands with the remaining seven players before making his way to the payout desk in eighth place to collect $24,130.
After Shane Smith was eliminated in seventh place, a huge hand developed that changed two players’ fortunes. Andrew Nguyen and Anthony Vidmer had been squaring off against one another in big pots all afternoon, and eventually one swelled to massive proportions. It began when Nguyen opened for 85,000 and Vidmer raised to 170,000 behind him. The blinds released and action was back on Nguyen. He responded by re-raising to 505,000 more. Vidmer announced all-in and Nguyen called.
Things got especially exciting when the dealer spread the flop, giving Vidmer about the best sweat possible. Nguyen couldn't watch with so many outs to fade and walked off stage — depending on his rail's reaction to know if his hand would hold. Vidmer used his, "One time dealer, one time!"
Much to the latter’s dismay, and the former’s delight, the turn and river failed to change a thing and Nguyen took down the 4.4 million pot while Vidmer slid to 1.6 million.
From there a short-stacked Michael Hallen was eliminated by Lowery when his failed to overcome his opponent’s when the board ran out . With that, Hallen finished in sixth place for $39,781.
The next elimination occurred when Gabaldon opened for 165,000 under the gun and was met with a three-bet to 440,000 by Nguyen on the button. Both blinds got out of the way and Gabaldon made the call. The flop saw Gabaldon move all in for around 700,000 and Nguyen snap-call.
Nguyen was ahead with a pair of jacks but Gabaldon had flopped a flush draw. The crowd was on its feet as the dealer burned and turned the , a blank for Gabaldon. That meant he needed either a king or spade on the river, but it was not meant to be as the appeared.
Gabaldon finished in fifth place for $52,086, and combined with his seventh-place finish in Event #4: $355 NLHE for $3,453 and fifth in Event #8 $1,080 NLHE for $14,058, he captured the Harrah's New Orleans Casino Champion title and earned a seat in the National Championship.
A little while later, Truesdell made his presence known when he doubled through Lowery before the two tangled just two hands later. It happened when Lowery opened for 120,000 from the under-the-gun position only to have Truesdell three-bet to 350,000 from the button. The blinds quickly got out of the way and Lowery instantly four-bet to 650,000. Truesdell shifted in his chair and moved all-in, prompting Lowery to snap-call off for around 1.35 million more.
Lowery was out of his seat and by his rail with his back turned even before the dealer put out the flop. His supporters were cheering loudly as he was primed for a double, but all the excitement vanished in an instant when the dealer burned and turned the . Suddenly Truesdell's rail came to life while a dejected Lowery looked on. The river was no help to Lowery and he exited in fourth place for $69,105.
The next to go was Vidmer, who three-bet shoved all-in with and found a caller in Nguyen, who held . The board ran and Vidmer, the start-of-the-day chip leader was eliminated in third place.
Heads-up play began with Nguyen holding a nominal 400,000 lead over Truesdell with the blinds being relatively low. That meant it was likely going to be a long affair, which it was for a couple levels until the two worked a deal where each would lock up $160,000 and then play for the remaining $11,400, a WSOP Main Event seat and a spot in this year’s National Championship. They also agreed to play short 20-minute levels as opposed to the normal 75 minutes.
Soon after, a monster pot occurred that saw Truesdell double to 12.6 million after making a flush with , which bested Nguyen’s on a board. After taking the overwhelming chip lead, Truesdell put unrelenting pressure on his opponent for a few more hands. In what would be the last, Truesdell moved all-in from the button holding and Andrew Nguyen called off for less than a million with . "Let's get it over," Nguyen said.
Both players were on their feet and the rail crowded in as the board ran out . With that, Truesdell clinched victory.
WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans Final Table Payouts
*Denotes heads-up deal
With Truesdell’s victory, the 2011/2012 WSOP Circuit concluded until July when the second annual National Championship will take place.
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