Things were desperate early for Brandon Fish at RunGood Poker Series Horseshoe Council Bluffs. The two-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner came into the final day with a solid stack but found himself all in and at risk for about 12 big blinds just 45 minutes into Day 2. His hit two pair against and he survived. A bit later, with just over eight big blinds, he got in against and again watched his opponent brick out.
Fish made those early strokes of good luck count as he went on to win the 283-player tournament for $34,267 and a $2,000 Blaycation package to the RunGood Cup Championship, which will be held in New Orleans this December. It's the second-biggest score in the live poker career of the Kearney, Nebraska native, pushing his lifetime winnings past $200,000.
Final Table Results
Forty-nine players began the day with chips at noon, with 36 places slated to get paid. Clint Lilienthal, Nick Manganaro, Ryan Phan, Jeff Banghart, and 2001 WSOP Main Event final table participant Stan Schrier – who was recently featured in PokerNews Where Are They Now series — were among the notable players busting en route to the unofficial final table.
What would normally have been a tense bubble spot - the final nine runners all received identical $2,000 Blaycation packages to the season-ending championship - had the drama drained. Start-of-day leader Shawn Meyer had less than two big blinds after running his queens into Tim Woodson's aces, while at the same time Scott Lodes busted at the other table.
Woodson entered the final table with the lead, but play slowed immensely as nobody busted for three hours while the blinds continued to climb. Fish was at risk relatively early on with but managed to spike a king against the jacks of Matt Sztamburski.
Woodson, who lost most of his stack with ace-king against the kings of Sztamburski, ended up being first to go after picking up jacks when RunGood Pro Ryan Tepen had kings. That sparked a flurry of eliminations with Mike Henrich (eighth), Sztamburski (seventh), and RunGood Pro Michael Sanders (sixth) all hitting the rail in a wild 10-minute stretch.
Tepen looked like the favorite with the chip lead and a résumé to match, but a turn of bad luck sent him out in fifth. First, he lost a race to Thaddeus Wolff. Then, Josh Reichard opened for a raise during Level 23 (15,000/30,000/5,000), Tepen three-bet to about 170,000 in the small blind, and Wolff shoved all in from the big. Tepen called off for around 1.1 million, and his failed to improve against .
Reichard then shipped 650,000 over an open from Wolff, only to have Wolff snap him off with queens and hold against despite a flop. Wolff had about half the chips in play three-handed, and the short-stacked Steve Bell ultimately busted out in third place.
Fish started the heads-up duel with fellow Nebraskan at about a 3:2 disadvantage, and Wolff stretched his lead to nearly 4:1. The two were fairly deep though with almost 120 big blinds in play, and Fish waited for his spot. He found it with a four-bet shove holding . Wolff called with sixes and Fish turned a set to leave his opponent dead on fourth.
That pot gave Fish the lead and he finished it moments later on a flop. Fish had bet 120,000 after Wolff checked and Wolff made it 425,000. Fish shoved and Wolff called off his stack of about 2 million with the . Fish was elated as he held for a superior flush draw, and the board bricked out to give Fish the win.
The RunGood series will continue at Tulsa Hard Rock on September 16, and of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to capture all the action.