WPT on FSN Legends of Poker Part III: All Hail, Josh Hale!
Season XI of the World Poker Tour on Fox Sports Network continued Sunday night with the conclusion of the Legends of Poker from The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California. What had begun with 622 entries in the $3,500 Main Event was down to the final four, each looking to claim their shares of a $2,111,690 prize pool and the $500,000 first-place prize.
In the recap of Part I, Jeff Madsen became the first elimination of the final table, and in last week’s recap, Greg "FBT" Mueller followed him out the door. It happened when the former hockey player looked down at the from under the gun and moved all in for 2,025,000. Max Steinberg called with the from the small blind, the board ran out , and a disappointed Mueller made his way to the payout desk to collect $97,100.
Here’s how things stacked up this week at the top of the broadcast, which began with the blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000:
WPT Season XI Legends of Poker Final Table
|1||Max Steinberg||6,560,000 (54 BBs)|
|3||Raouf Malek||5,495,000 (45 BBs)|
|5||Josh Hale||5,575,000 (46 BBs)|
|6||Ali Eslami||1,070,000 (8 BBs)|
Eslami Sliced and Diced: On just the second broadcasted hand, which happened to be Hand #95 of the final table, Josh Hale limped from the button with the only to have Ali Eslami move all in from the small blind for 1.455 million with the . Max Steinberg then looked down at the in the big and took his time before calling. Hale quickly got out of the way.
“Sorry Ali,” Steinberg said as he got up from his chair, “I can’t lose a flip.”
“Apparently I can’t get knocked out,” Eslami responded while referencing his recent "chip-and-a-chair" story. Unfortunately for Eslami, his comeback was cut short as the board ran out and Steinberg took down the pot with a pair of kings.
“It was an absolutely wild ride,” Eslami said in his elimination interview with Matt Savage. “If this doesn’t make for a good show I don’t know what will. It was great fun. I really thought when I built back from that, I had a shot to win this thing. I did have a shot I guess, but I got a little bit unlucky at the end there.” Eslami finished in fourth place for $133,700.
Ones to Watch: In the latest installment of Ones to Watch, which features young players on the rise, southern belle Dee Dozier of Alabama was featured. If you’re like me and don’t really know too much about Dozier, here are some facts revealed during the segment:
- She relocated to Los Angeles about a decade ago.
- She has a small dog named Gamble.
- She has two passions: poker and music.
- She has roomed with Taylor Von Kriegenbergh and Mike Sowers.
- She wrote and performed a song (which was aired) called La La La Love. It was actually quite good.
*Check out Dozier's Ones to Watch segment at the end of the recap.
Malek Straightened Out: On Hand #119, which happened in Level 32 (75,000/150,000/25,000), Raouf Malek opened for 300,000 from the button with the and Max Steinberg, who held the , defended from the big blind. The flop saw Steinberg check-call a bet of 325,000, and then both players checked the turn.
The river was a big card that completed both players’ gutshot straight draws, but of course, Steinberg’s was better. Steinberg led out for 900,000, Malek raised to 3 million, and Steinberg moved all in. Malek called and was left shaking his head upon discovering the bad news. He earned $192,400 for his third-place finish.
Did You Know?: Max Steinberg, who took more than a 3-to-1 chip lead into heads-up play, won a bracelet this past summer at the 2012 World Series of Poker? He did so by topping a field of 2,795 players in Event #33 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em to win $440,238. Needless to say, a WPT title would strengthen his résumé.
Hale Doubles Into the Lead: In Level 33 (100,000/200,000/25,000), Max Steinberg opened for 500,000 with the and Josh Hale defended holding the . The flop gave both players a little something, and Hale proceeded to check-raise all in over the top of Steinberg’s 550,000 bet. Steinberg asked for a count before making the call and was a 58% favorite to win the hand. The turn made Steinberg a 75% favorite, but the peeled off on the river to double Hale into the chip lead.
All Hail, Josh Hale!: Thirteen hands later, on Hand #145 of the final table, the blinds were at 125,000/250,000/25,000 when Hale finished the job. It happened when he opened for 550,000 with the and Steinberg, who had dwindled to 3.25 million, moved all in with the . It was a flip that came down in Hale’s favor as the board ran out to give him a full house, the $500,000 first-place prize, and a $25,000 seat in the WPT Championship. Meanwhile, Steinberg took home $293,490 for his runner-up finish.
Tune in Next Week: A whole new WPT tournament is set to air on Sunday, April 7 on FSN, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action here on PokerNews.
*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.