From Oct. 31 through Nov. 11, the 2013 Gold Strike Fall Poker Classic, a 16-event series, played out at the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Robinsonville, Miss. The keystone tournament of the series – the $800 Main Event – attracted 277 entrants and created a prize pool of $198,831. After three days of intense play, Mick Donovan of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. emerged as the last man standing to capture the $59,645 first-place prize.
Final Table Results
|1st||Mick Donovan||Mt. Juliet, TN||$59,645|
|2nd||Gil George||Desoto, TX||$31,813|
|3rd||Mark Sparks||Jonesboro, AR||$17,895|
|4th||Josh Huie||Rome, GA||$13,918|
|5th||Michael Plaxco||Muscle Shoals, AL||$11,930|
|6th||Austin Buchanan||Winter Park, FL||$9,942|
|7th||Edward Labate||Las Vegas, NV||$7,953|
|8th||Donna Jetter||Nashville, TN||$5,965|
|9th||Luke Martin||Conway, AR||$3,977|
According to Gold Strike Poker, the first elimination of the final table occurred when Edward Labate moved all in from the cutoff holding and Luke Martin called off from the small blind with . The board ran out an uneventful and Martin was eliminated in ninth place for $3,977.
With the blinds at 8,000/16,000, Donna Jetter open-shoved for her last 50,000 or so and received a call from Michael Plaxco in the big blind. Jetter was ahead with the , but Plaxco held two live cards with . Unfortunately for Jetter, the flop brought two tens to give Plaxco trips. Jetter earned $5,965 for her eighth-place finish.
Not long after, Labate moved all in for 53,000 with and received a call from Plaxco, who was ahead with . The flop paired both players, but Labate’s jacks were well out in front. A on the turn changed all that as Plaxco found two pair to take the lead. The blanked on the river and Labate was bounced in seventh place for $7,953.
The next player to go was Austin Buchanan, who was fresh off a fourth-place finish in the World Series of Poker Circuit Harvey’s Lake Tahoe. It happened when Plaxco opened with a raise and then called Buchanan’s all-in shove.
Buchanan got his chips in as a big favorite, but poker can be cruel as he found out when the flop brought Plaxco two pair. Buchanan failed to catch from that point forward and had to settle for sixth place and a $9,942 payday — no doubt disappointing considering he began the final table as the chip leader.
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Despite knocking out three players, Plaxco was unable to stave off elimination himself. He was crippled on a flop when he put in a huge all-in over bet and Gil George called off.
Plaxco was technically ahead, but George held a big draw to the nut flush and a straight. The turn was of no consequence, but the river was as it gave George a straight and the chip lead.
Not long after, Donovan opened for 50,000 at the 12,000/24,000/3,000 level and Plaxco moved all in for 654,000. Donovan made the call with and he was glad he did as he had Plaxco’s dominated. The board ran out a dry and Plaxco was sent to the rail in fifth place for $11,930.
After Josh Huie fell in fourth place when his failed to overcome the of George, it was time for Mark Sparks to go. It happened when he moved his short stack all in on a flop with . Donovan had him crushed with the , and ended up winning the pot when both the turn and river blanked. Sparks earned $17,895 for his third-place finish.
Donovan went on to defeat George in heads-up play and captured the $59,645 first-place prize. Despite finishing as runner-up, George was in good spirits and even posed for a photo with the champion.
*Photos courtesy of Eric Harkins/IMPDI.