Day 3 Completed
|Blinds||100,000 / 200,000|
Day 3 Completed
Congratulations to Aaron Massey, Winner of WinStar World Casino's River Poker Series Main Event ($651,559)!
After five straight days of poker and 1,396 entries, a winner has finally emerged in the Global Events Center at the WinStar World Casino. Aaron Massey was able to defeat Andy Robinson heads up to earn the $651,559 first-place prize and the title of champion of the 2012 River Poker Series Main Event.
Players flocked from all over the country to participate in what is considered by many to be one of the best kept secrets in American tournament poker. With the $2,500,000 guaranteed prize pool and the option to enter three different times over three different starting days, this tournament attracted circuit grinders, top name professionals, and the working-man alike. World Series of Poker bracelet winner David "ODB" Baker recently described this event as "probably the best value in the country".
Unfortunately for Baker, he was one of several players to fire three bullets only to come up empty handed on the end of the third day. Vanessa Selbst, Dwyte Pilgrim, Greg Raymer, AJ Jejelowo, Larry Wright, Allen Kessler, Ryan Lenaghan, and 2011 River Poker Series Main Event champion Bronson Tucker were all among the unlucky group to enter this event three times only to come up short of cashing.
Day 2 saw 141 players from the first three starting days combine to compete for their share of the prize pool. Notable names to find their way to the exit on Day 2 after cashing include Corey Burbick (104th), Maria Ho (90th), Chris Moneymaker (86th), Heath Herring (81st), Robert Salaburu (62nd), AP Phahurat (35th), Kurt Jewell (34th), and David "Doc" Sands (20th).
Fifteen players returned for Day 3 and the play kicked off at a lightning pace. By the end of the first level we had reached our final table and players moved over to the featured table of the Global Events Center.
Unofficial Final Table Seating Draw
Justin Gardenhire became the final table bubble boy when he ran his pocket jacks into the pocket kings of Andy Robinson before the flop. With Gardenhire's elimination, the official final table was set.
Matt Shepsky became the first player to hit the rail when he moved his short stack all in before the flop holding two fours. Cord Garcia woke up with pocket queens in the small blind and Shepsky was forced to settle for a short final table experience.
Chris Hooper was eliminated from the tournament shortly after shipping a good amount of chips across the table to last woman standing Patricia Cardner. Hooper opened to 145,000 from middle position only to have Peter Zhmutski three-bet to 445,000 from the button. Hooper called and open shipped all in when the flop fell . Zhmutski snap called with and Hooper's ace-jack failed to improve on the subsequent streets.
After about 45 minutes of play, Cord Garcia became the next player to exit the Global Events Center. Matt Newcombe opened to 200,000 before the flop and Garcia three-bet all in for 875,000. Newcombe called with and saw that he was ahead of Garcia's . Newcombe's hand held and Garcia was made to settle for seventh place and an $83,640 payday.
A little more than an hour later, the last woman standing would fall. Matt Newcombe three-bet to 730,000 before the flop and was called by Patricia Cardner. The flop fell and Newcombe instantly put Cardner all in. She called with only to find that Newcombe held a better pocket pair with . Cardner failed to improve and became the sixth-place finisher.
Soon after, Peter Zhmutski busted in fifth place when he moved all in holding on the flop. Aaron Massey snap called with and Zhmutski found no help on fourth or fifth street. Not long after, Matt Newcombe raised to 325,000 preflop and Jay Merchant called. The flop fell and after a series of raises, Merchant was all in for his tournament life holding . Newcombe, however, continued his domination by tabling for trip nines. The turn and river were the and , thus sealing Merchant's fate as the fourth-place finisher.
After a hard fought three-handed battle, Newcombe's domination finally came to an end during a hand with Massey. Newcombe opened to 310,000 from the button and Massey three-bet to 800,000 from the big blind. Newcombe called and the dealer produced a flop of . Massey continued for 500,000 and Newcombe called. The rolled off on the turn and Massey bet 925,000. Newcombe announced all in and Massey snap called with for a set of nines. Newcombe showed and was drawing to eliminate Massey. Fortunately for Massey the river was a blank-- the , and Massey was able to double up and take a huge chip lead.
Newcombe busted a few hands later when he moved all in with and was called by Robinson's . Newcombe's hand didn't improve and he was eliminated in third place.
"This is life changing money," Massey said with a huge grin as he played heads up with Robinson. "It's all going to be okay now."
It was going to be more than okay, as about twenty minutes into heads up the match came to a head. Robinson opened with a raise and Massey three-bet all in. Robinson called and the hands were turned up.
The board fell and Massey's cries of joy echoed throughout the Global Events Center. Massey's friends rushed the table to give him hugs and words of congratulations. PokerNews also extends its congrats to Massey as he overcame the large field to clinch the largest score of his life.
Final Table Payouts
That does it for our coverage here in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Congratulations again to Aaron Massey and thanks again for following our coverage at WinStar World Casino. Be sure to check back at PokerNews for the latest updates on upcoming tournaments!
Aaron Massey opened to 500,000 on the button and Andy Robinson three-bet to 1,200,000 from the big blind. Massey immediately four-bet shoved with the bigger stack, sending Robinson into the tank. After about 20 seconds, Robinson called all in for about 7,500,000.
Massey was a big favorite to seal the deal and maintained the lead through the flop. The turn card left Robinson with only three outs to keep his hopes alive, but the was not one of them.
Andy Robinson's excellent Main Event came up just short of the top prize, but he'll earn $334,030 for his runner-up performance.
Andy Robinson opened to 400,000 on the button and Aaron Massey called from the big blind.
The flop fell and Massey checked. Robinson bet 500,000, Massey called, and the turn fell. Both players quickly checked, delivering the on the river. Massey fired 1,350,000, receiving a quick fold from Robinson.
Andy Robinson opened to 350,000 on the button and Aaron Massey popped it to 775,000 from the big blind. A call from Robinson landed a flop which Massey fired 810,000 at. Robinson folded quickly, giving the pot to Massey.
Two hands later Robinson limped on the button and Massey checked his option.
The flop came down and Massey check-called 150,000 from Robinson to see the turn. Another check from Massey led to a bet of 400,000 from Robinson. Massey, though, popped it to 1,075,000. Robinson called, landing the river.
Both players checked and Massey immediately stood up.
"Counterfeited," Massey said, as he showed .
Robinson tabled for kings and fours, just as Massey had suspected.
"Knew you had a king," Massey said.
On a flop of both Aaron Massey and Andy Robinson checked. The turned and Robinson check-called a bet of 325,000 from Massey.
The hit the river and Robinson called once again. Massey announced a bet of 1,000,000 and Robinson snap called, showing for a rivered pair of aces. Massey mucked and Robinson took down the pot.
After Aaron Massey folded on the button, Matt Newcombe went all in for about 2,000,000 from the small blind. Andy Robinson called instantly from the big blind.
The board ran out and Newcombe was forced to settle for third place and $195,160 in winnings.
Matt Newcombe opened to 310,000 on the button and Andy Robinson folded his small blind. Aaron Massey three-bet to 800,000 from the big blind, Newcombe called, and the flop came down .
A bet of 500,000 came from Massey and Newcombe called to see the turn. Massey fired again, this time for 925,000. Newcombe paused for a few seconds before raising all in.
Massey snap called all in for 5,025,000 and tabled for a flopped set. Newcombe was behind, but had plenty of outs with with a flush draw and inside straight draw.
The river was black...but it was a safe for Massey to score the massive double up.