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WSOP New Orleans tournament reports

Discussion in 'Poker on TV and in Movies' started by tomb1, May 29, 2005.

  1. tomb1

    tomb1 Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Atlanta again
    We went to Harrah's New Orleans Saturday to mingle with the Poker Gods at the WSOP Bayou Challenge (to be televised later on ESPN). Doyle Brunson was featured on all the ads and in many interviews, but he was nowhere to be seen Saturday -- he didn't make it in the money (3 tables). But of course every time we saw someone with a cowboy hat we said, "Hey is that Doyle Brunson?" That became our running joke for the day.

    Second-last day report: down from 3 tables to final table. A few locals crapped out but 3 more stayed in, including the chip leader. Howard Lederer missed the final cut (finished 12th), as did Eric Cloutier, but the Magician made the Top 9. Here's the report:

    Final day: they played late into the night, but the local boys made good -- Walter Chambers from Baton Rouge finished 1st, and Corey Bierra finished 2nd. Antonia Esfandiari (The Magician) finished 3rd. Here's the final standings, though it looks like the detailed report is not ready yet.

    We couldn't get to see the final table up close -- it was on a theater stage all draped out for the TV broadcast. There were bleachers set up next to the stage with several huge TV screens so you could watch all the action. It was weird -- you could hear the players who were just the other side of the curtain, but not see anything except on the TVs. And of course there were no hole-cams or anything else to tell you what was really going on, just the tournament director announcing. No leaderboard or player names, just the raw TV feed. And hundreds of boring hands that will never make the final broadcast. But the live action was on all the TVs throughout the casino, so you could at least see how many players were left.

    The regular poker room was very crowded, as usual for Harrahs. All the minimums on the other gaming tables were set higher than usual, but we managed to play some blackjack and roulette. Out of the 4 of us, 3 went home with some of the house's money. I also scammed a few nice BJ Roulette chips from the tables. Always the chip geek!
  2. tomb1

    tomb1 Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Atlanta again
    OK, about the chips... I couldn't tell what poker chips they were using, but they looked like simple clay chips with no edges spots.

    And here are my newest roulette chips just for a little something extra. (I had some great luck at roulette, for a change.)
  3. tomb1

    tomb1 Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Atlanta again
    OK, now they have the detailed report online at the link above. I've copied it below for your convenience.

    Harrahs New Orleans Bayou Poker Challenge - An ESPN WSOP Circuit Event
    Harrah's Casino New Orleans
    WSOP Circuit Main Event - No Limit Hold'em
    Final Day -- May 28, 2005

    Prize Pool $2,460,500
    Entries 259

    Place Name (Hometown) Prize
    1 Walter Chambers (Baton Rouge, LA, USA) $787,340
    2 Corey Bierra (Atlanta, GA, USA) $433,050
    3 Antonio Esfandiari (San Francisco, CA, USA) $221,445
    4 Nick Mao (Long Beach, CA, USA) $172,235
    5 Mark Cole (Greensboro, NC, USA) $147,630
    6 Harry Cullen (Houston, TX, USA) $123,025
    7 Imre Leibold (Tallinn, Estonia) $98,420
    8 Marlon Labbe (Lafayette, LA, USA) $73,815
    9 Cyril Gittens (Miami, FL, USA) $49,210
    10 Don Mullis (Mooresville, NC, USA) $29,525
    11 Stephen Lazar (New Orleans, LA, USA) $29,525
    12 Howard Lederer (Las Vegas, NV, USA) $29,525
    13 Tony Hellman (Louisville, KY, USA) $24,605
    14 Matt Gardner (Charleston, SC, USA) $24,605
    15 David Williams (Dallas, TX, USA) $24,605
    16 Ted Lawson (Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA) $19,685
    17 Dan Schmiech (Houston, TX, USA) $19,685
    18 Russell Rosenblum (Washington, DC, USA) $19,685
    19 Reno Williamson ( Mooresville, IN, USA) $14,765
    20 Bill Hobbs (New Iberia, LA, USA) $14,765
    21 Brandon Adams (New Orleans, LA, USA) $14,765
    22 Jeff Lipton (Palos Verdes, CA, USA) $14,765
    23 Thomas Bihl (Franfurt, Germany) $14,765
    24 Joe Leibman (Fort Atkinson, WI, USA) $14,765
    25 Eric Cloutier (Mont-Laurier, QC, Canada) $14,765
    26 Dennis Perry (Williamstown, KY, USA) $14,765
    27 Thomas Pullen (Sumrall, MS, USA) $14,765

    Battle of the Tigers!

    Walter Chambers roars to victory in all-LSU heads-up finale at New Orleans World Series of Poker championship

    What are the odds that the World Series of Poker Circuit's last championship event would produce a final showdown featuring two graduates of Louisiana State University? In the city known for Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and voodoo - some might say defying standard expectations was a "sure thing." Walter Chambers (Class of 2000) and Corey A. Bierria (Class of 199:cool: outlasted a WSOP Cicruit record field of 259 players and carved up over a million dollars in prize money. Bierria earned $433,050 as the runner up, while Chambers collected $787,340, plus the gold ring presented to all WSOP Circuit champions.

    Chambers' victory was remarkable for at least a couple of reasons. First, although he arrived as the chip leader going into Day Four, he suffered a number of crushing early blows which nearly knocked him out of the tournament. In fact, when play was seven-handed, he was one of the lowest stacks. Even worse, Chambers had the worst possible seat at the final table, with most of the chips on his immediate left. Maybe it was the home crowd cheering him on, maybe it was voodoo luck, or maybe it was just that fact that Wally Chambers played the best poker of his life that he managed to board a "Streetcar Named Desire" and get off at a stop called the winner's circle.

    Three days earlier, the championship event began. Day One ended with 109 players remaining. Nick "Chairman" Mao was the chip leader. Day Two ended with Antonio "the Magician" Esfandiari as the leader. Then, after Day Three, the final nine assembled for the finale, which was taped for broadcast by ESPN.

    One of the most dramatic things about the final table was who was not there. Don "Final Table" Mullis did not make the cut. Mullis, who is tournament poker's hottest player at the moment, went out one shy of making it to this finale, finishing 10th. Mullis had made it to the final table an astounding 7 of 11 times at WSOP Circuit events dating back to Lake Tahoe last month. He survived fields numbering as many at 847 players in some events, which is a true testament to his talent as a tournament player. With Mullis' elimination at the end of Day Three, the final table was set. The nine finalists on Day Four, with starting chips counts were as follows:

    SEAT 1: Walter Chambers Chip Count - 576,000
    SEAT 2: Nick "Chairman" Mao Chip Count - 522,000
    SEAT 3: Harry Cullen, Jr. Chip Count - 202,000
    SEAT 4: Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari Chip Count - 320,000
    SEAT 5: Imre Leibold Chip Count - 169,500
    SEAT 6: Marlon Labbe Chip Count - 163,000
    SEAT 7: Cyril "Sid" Gittens Chip Count - 338,500
    SEAT 8: Corey A. Bierria Chip Count - 191,000
    SEAT 9: Mark Cole Chip Count - 107,000

    Players were eliminated as follows:

    9th Place - Cyril "Sid" Gittens lasted only a few hands. The Trinidad-born Floridian was dealt J-J and moved "all in" after the flop came A-10-9. It was the wrong move, with the wrong cards, at the wrong time. Antonio Esfandiari called instantly with A-K, good for top pair, top kicker. Gittens was down to just a few outs. Two blanks sealed Gitten's fate - a 9th place finish worth $49,210.

    -- On the hand, Esfandiari picked up 340,000 in chips. That catapulted him into the chip lead for the first time.

    8th Place - Ninety minutes into play, Marlon Labbe was getting short on chips and made his last stand with A-Q of spades. Harry Cullen, Jr. was delighted to be heads-up holding the dominant A-K, but he had a scare on the flop. Two spades to a 10-8-5 flop gave Labbe several outs, and when the board paired with an 8 on the turn, Labbe still had a number of ways to win or chop the pot. But a blank 3 brought disappointment in the end, which put Labbe on the rail in 8th place. This was Marlon Labbe's first trip to any final table, so he could certainly be proud of his $73,815 in winnings.

    -- While Esfandiari continued to hold the chip lead - three players (Chambers, Mao, and Cullen) were very close in chips. Esfandiari had the position advantage on all three of the big stacks, while Walter Chambers was unquestionably in the worst seat - with all three big stacks acting behind.

    -- Mark Cole doubled up with A-K versus Esfandiari's Q-9. That gave Cole 245,000 in chips.

    -- A few hands later, Harry Cullen pole vaulted close to the chip lead when he turned a full-house against Walter Chambers' nut flush. Chambers flopped a heart flush, and after the board paired on the turn, Chambers moved "all in" and was called instantly by Cullen holding fours full of jacks. That hand left Chambers on life support and put Cullen into his best position of the tournament (640,000 in chips to Esfandiari's 730,000).

    -- After being close to the felt, over the next two hours Walter Chambers went on a roll. He went from short-stack to the chip lead with several well-timed raises which, more often than not, went uncalled. Chambers seemed to take advantage of some timid play at this stage and rocketed from about 100,000 to over 600,000, before the next player was eliminated.

    7th Place - Imre Leibold traveled the greatest distance of anyone to play in this tournament. The Estonian poker player has enjoyed some tournament success in Europe. He recently won the Baltic Open Championship. However, Leibold could do no better than 7th place in this event. Leibold had the best hand when he moved "all in" with 6-6. Esfandiari was in the big blind and called a small raise with 9-2. Esfandiari's trash turned into treasure when he flopped a nine, essentially leaving Leibold with just two outs. Leibold missed, which translated into a payoff of $98,420. What a way to spend a vacation.

    6th Place - Harry Cullen, Jr. went card dead about mid-way through the final table. He committed his last 140,000 with A-7, which was called by Esfandiari, with K-Q. The final board showed K-J-8-9-10 which completed a straight for the Magician. Cullen, who is in the oil and gas exploration business had his well come up dry. He did manage to earn $123,025 in the tournament.

    -- Mark Cole doubled up to 250,000 against Chambers. Then, Chambers won the biggest pot of the tournament. Nick "Chairman" Mao lost a 600,000 pot to Walter Chambers, who made a full house. This was one of the turning points of the tournament.

    5th Place - Mark Cole made a big leap forward at the final table. He arrived as the shortest stack, and lasted nearly six full hours before meeting his inevitable doom. With blinds and antes racing around Cole moved "all in" with 10-10 and was called by Esfandiari, with K-J. The flop (Q-6-3) was good for Cole, but a king on the turn was the crushing blow. Esfandiari's higher pair held up and Cole was toast. Cole, who owns a restaurant business in North Carolina collected a nice gratuity from this event -- $147,630.

    -- Entering the seventh hour of play, Walter Chambers became the first player to cross the million chip mark, with Esfandiari close behind at 900,000. Meanwhile, Nick Mao and Corey Bierria had less than 300,000 each.

    4th Place - Nick "Chairman" Mao was about to enter the red. He was dealt 7-6 and flopped two pair. Unfortunately, Walter Chambers hit a better flop with a heart flush. Mao was down to four outs, needing another 7 or 6 to make a full house. But, the miracle card did not come. Mao, who was born in Cambodia and works as a real estate broker in Southern California, earned $172,235 for 4th place.

    -- Chambers increased his chip lead to nearly 2 to 1 over Esfandiari, with Bierria hanging on for dear life, with just under 200,000.

    -- Bierra doubled up with 4-4 against Chambers giving him some extra life at the final table, then Esfandiari won a modest-sized pot, which put both of the chip leaders over one million.

    -- That didn't last long. Five minutes later, Esfandiari lost half of his chips when he made a 360,000 bet when the turn showed J-5-4-10. Chambers announced "all in" and Esfandiari didn't think long before releasing his hand. That big pot rocketed Chambers up to 1.8 million and left Esfandiari to struggle for 2nd place with Bierria.

    3rd Place - Things went from bad to worse for Esfandiari. He suffered every poker player's nightmare when he was dealt K-K. That would normally be a good thing, but when your opponent is dealt A-A, holding an underpair is a sure ticket to elimination. Even worse, the pocket aces belonged to Wally Chambers - who easily covered Esfandiari's chip count. Five blanks fell which might have been five nails in Esfandiari's coffin. Expectations that Esfandiari might run over the final table and seize his second WSOP title were crushed, and the Magician disappeared in 3rd place, good for $221,445.

    Esfandiari's loss was certainly Bierria's gain. The elimination of a player who just a short time earlier was close to the chip lead was worth an extra $210,000 in prize money to Bierria. Flashbacks of Glen Cozen's famous backdoor runner-up finish in the 1993 World Series of Poker flared into everyone's mind old enough to remember a desperately short-stacked Cozen leaping up and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional prize money when the two chip leaders at that final table (John Bonetti and Jim Bechtel) went to war.

    The heads up duel between Walter Chambers and Corey A. Bierria began with Chambers holding a commanding chip lead - 2,400,000 to 160,000. Bierria doubled up on the second hand of the duel, to 340,000 in chips. But that was his last breath. The final was dealt when Chambers had 8-7 versus Bierria's 3-3. It looked like Bierria might double up again when the turn showed K-10-2-9. But an 8 on the river gave Chambers a higher pair and the tournament was over.

    Corey A. Bierria played a flawless tournament, outlasting all but the last opponent. The New Orleans-born owner of a small business, who currently lives in Atlanta, was cheered on by an enthusiastic group of friends and family. One of his supporters was his fiance, who encouraged Bierria to play in this tournament.

    The winner, Wally Chambers is a 31-year-old business owner from Baton Rouge, LA. Fittingly, he earned his degree in psychology. Those mental skills certainly paid off in this tournament as he won the biggest prize on the World Series of Poker Circuit this year - a whopping $787,340 for first place.

    This event concludes the first season of the World Series of Poker Circuit, a highly-successful run of five tournament stops which included Atlantic City, San Diego, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and New Orleans. The Circuit hosted 42 events and awarded over $20 million in prize money. With the World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas starting next week, the world's most prestigious poker tournament series is expected to award a whopping $100 million in prize money to winners. This makes the World Series of Poker the richest event in all of sports.

    Report by Nolan Dalla - World Series of Poker Media Director

    Harrah's New Orleans Poker Room Manager - Rick Korte
    World Series of Poker Tournament Director - John Grooms
    World Series of Poker Circuit Director - Ken Lambert

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