Monday, April 24, 2006

2006 WPT Championship: The Final Table

The final table of the largest tournament in the history of the WPT begins tonight at the Bellagio. 6 players are left out of the original 606 who bought in for $25,000 each. The prize pool for the 2006 WPT Championship is in excess of over $14 million, with $3.7 million awarded to first place.

The action started last Tuesday with a shark infested field that was top heavy featuring the best pros in the world, along with a few satellite winners, online qualifiers, and daring souls who bought in directly like 23-year old law student Vanessa Rousso. By the end of day three, the unknown player quickly caught the attention of the media and her fellow players. She ended up bubbling out of the TV table last night, but took home over $260K for six days of work.

The media swelled to record numbers and the tourists and fans flocked to the tiny Fontana Room seeking out photos, autographs, and glimpses of their favorite pros. Poker players are the new rock stars, and I witnessed the affect of poker's popularity first hand. People from all over the world are hooked and fixated on poker in a not-so-healthy addictive way. I see the same glimmer in these people's eyes that I used to see in the bloodshot eyes of crackheads back in the late 1980s in NYC. Or they had the same look in the eyes of devout Christians jacked up on the power of the Lord.

There's no stopping the poker bug. It's become a part of our entire culture. And just over night, unknown players can become super stars. It almost happened to Vanessa Rousso and it could happen to you. That's why you keep playing...

Anyway, back to the final table... James Van Alstyne will begin his second day in a row as the chipleader. He coughed it up a few times yesterday, but managed to end the day with the lead. Men the Master started yesterday as one of the short stacks. He was sandwiched in between the two remaining female players at one point. With Coronas in reaching distance of his chips, he hung tough. Although he was always one of the short stacks, Men the Master avoided elimination. Roland de Wolfe won the WPT Paris event at the Aviation Club this past summer, and is seeking his second victory on the WPT this year.

Here are the chipcounts for the final table:
1 James Van Alstyne $8.07M
2 Joseph Bartholdi $ 7.135M
3 Claus Nielsen $ 5.875M
4 Davidson Matthew $ 5.765M
5 Roland De Wolfe $ 1.86M
6 Men "The Master" Nguyen $1.49M
Here's the payouts for the final table:
1 $3,760,165
2 $1,903,950
3 $1,025,205
4 $659,120
5 $439,375
6 $292,915
Stay tuned for live blogging updates starting at 5pm PCT. I have been experiencing technical issues all morning and will do my best to provide coverage.

* * * * * Live Blogging Update * * * * *

3:33pm... I arrived in media row to set up in the Tower Ballroom. It was nice to see a spot reserved for me thanks to Aimee from the WPT. This is her last event for the WPT. She's leaving and I'm gonna be sad. She was an amazing media liason and always made sure she saved me a seat in media row. I'm in between Steve Hall and BJ who is freelancing this event. Spaceman and the PokerWire girls are sitting in front of me. I got to the Bellagio early and ate some chocolate mint gelato, which rocked. I ran into Thang one of the floor people here atteh Bellagio. He hooked me up with a food comp for the day. It expires at Midnight.

3:35pm... I almost got a lapdance from one of the Poker Wire girls. The lights went out as she was plugging in her power source and she nearly tripped. I broke her fall. Jen had one of the random wildSunday nights in Las Vegas. She joked, "I was so drunk last night that I was dancing on a pole..."

3:38pm... The crew is doing last minute prep on the set including the lights. All the players chips are getting unbagged and stacked up. There's very little room to walk in media row, which is actually two rows with very little walking space.

3:41pm... Here's the final table seat assignments.
Seat 1: Joe Bartholdi (Dan Diego, CA) $7.135M
Seat 2: Roland De Wolfe (London, England) $1.86M
Seat 3: Men "The Master" Nguyen ( Bell Gardens, CA) $1.490M
Seat 4: Claus Nielsen (Aarhaus, Denmark) $5.875M
Seat 5: James Van Alstyne (Las Vegas, NV) $8.07M
Seat 6: Davidson Matthew (Toronto, Canada) $5.765M
3:40pm... Andy Bloch gave me a his Expert Insight DVD on Blackjack. I'm gonna do a review soon. I joked that I'm gonna watch it tonight with Grubby, then run out and use his methods. Andy Bloch was part of the MIT blackjack team and is boycotting WPT events.

3:45pm... Marcel Luske sighting here in the Tower Ballroom.

4:01pm... I just got back from the stage and snapped pictures as the players sat down. Mike Sexton would go over some things with them. Men the Master was the last to show up. He walked in with Scotty Nguyen. James Van Alstyne's stack wasn't right and he was trying to get the proper amount of chips that he ended Day 6 with.

4:05pm... Steve Lispcomb took the microphone and spoke to the audience. He was stalling for Linda Johnson who was running late. He said how cool it was to see the stage get set up for every final table over the last four years.

4:12pm... Linda Johnson is here now. Her flight arrived only a few minutes ago. She's literally out of breath as she took over the mic. "She's exhausted," commented BJ as she ran down the rules for the audience.

4:15pm... If you have never been to a WPT event, there are bleachers on three sides of the final table with cameras and the announcer's booth on the fourth. Before the action starts, Linda Johnson asks the audience to do a few things so they can tape it for the episode. We begin with a round of light or casual applause for a minute followed by a thunderous applause and standing ovation. It was fun the first time I saw it and I used to participate. Now I write through it as everyone in the crowd does their best acting performance. This goes on for a about ten minutes as the crew logs crowd shots.

4:20pm... Smoke break.

4:29pm... Vanessa Roussou was introduced to the crowd and stood up. She was wearing a black juicy sweat suit.

4:30pm... Players were announced to the crowd. Men the Master had the loudest railbirds. One of Claus' fans waved a Danish flags. The final table has an international flair. Men was born in Vietnam and three other players who made the final table are non-Americans.
Seat 1: Joe Bartholdi (Dan Diego, CA) $7.135M
Seat 2: Roland De Wolfe (London, England) $1.86M
Seat 3: Men "The Master" Nguyen ( Bell Gardens, CA) $1.490M
Seat 4: Claus Nielsen (Aarhaus, Denmark) $5.875M
Seat 5: James Van Alstyne (Las Vegas, NV) $8.07M
Seat 6: Davidson Matthew (Toronto, Canada) $5.765M
4:31pm... Media Row Prop Bets: BJ and I have a last longer, out first prop bet of the night. He's got Claus Nielsen and I'm going with Joe Bartholdi. "Watch out for Claus," said Heather from PokerWire, "I gave him a lucky hug. He said he can't play each round until I give him a lucky hug."

4:32pm... Cards are in the air. "Millionaires are in the midst at the Bellagio," announced Vince Van Patten, "Let the games begin!"

4:33pm... "I have a special request," said Steve Hall, "I want to make sure none of you take my computer and throw it up against the wall." He's not joking. It really happened back in December. A member of the media flipped out on Steve and tossed his laptop against the call like it was a Roger Clemens split fingered fastball.

4:34pm... James Van Alstyne takes down the first pot.

4:38pm... Courtey Friel walked behind us in media row. We're up on a perch and she was below us. "Perfect spot to look down her dress," mentioned Steve Hall. Lucky BJ. He got tickled by Courtney in December at the WPT Bellagio event. "A very playfull, flirty tickle," described BJ. I'd sell my left testicle on eBay just to have that chance. It's not everyday a WPT hostess tickles you in media row.

4:41pm... We had a flop and a huge pot between Joe Bartholdi and James Van Alstyne. It was over $7.2 million. Bartholdi showed 8-8 on the river with a board of 4-4-3-A-6. Van Alstyne mucked. My pick Joe Bartholdi is the new chipleader with over $9M in chips. Van Alstyne slipped to $5M and 4th place.

4:45pm.. Liz Lieu sightng in the Tower Ballroom. I think Steve Hall just wet himself.

4:50pm... Vanessa Rousso walked out behind us in media row. "She just showed up to stand up so we can feel sorrry for her," said Steve Hall as she left the Tower Ballroom.

4:54pm... Media Row Prop bets: I set the over/under for tonight's event at 10:40pm. BJ took the over. I got the under.

4:58pm... Steve Hall told me about a girl he knows who happened to be hanging out with some high rollers over the weekend. They won $2 million throwing dice. They took her shopping ans she picked up a $4,500 handbag at Chanel. That means nothing for us straight guys, but I know Change100 is drooling right now.

5:00pm... Lynette Chan and Joe Cassidy sighting here at the Tower Ball Room.

5:03pm... "Time for dinner. All you can eat, baby!" shouted Men the Master as he moved all in for all his chips wrth a little over $1M. Everyone folded. Fear Men!

5:11pm... Roland De Wolf did not get any action with his pocket Kings.

5:13pm... Recent Elimination: Men the Master and Claus Nielsen were both all in preflop. Men had 10-10 and Claus had the Hilton Sisters. Men was still behind on the flop of A-9-5. The turn was a 4 and the river was a King. Claus Nielsen's Q-Q held up and Men the Master was wliminated in 6th place. Men Ngyuen won $292,915.

5:34pm... I just yelled at Amanda from Poker Wire for reading my blog, when she should be working. Action slowed down since Men was busted.

5:35pm... Players are on a short break as they race off the blue chips. Joe Bartholdi is the leader with over $10M. Here's an updated chip count:
1 Joe Bartholdi $10.265M
2 Davidson Matthew $8.75M
3 Claus Nielsen $6.M705
4 James Van Alstyne $2.455M
5 Roland De Wolfe $1.845M
6:00pm... There's a slowdown due to a technical error. Please stand by. While I was outside in the hallway, I was hanging out with Flipchip. James Van Alstyne came over to talk and said, "I'm playing the worst poker of my life."

6:05pm... Still no poker. Looks like this delay is going to kill the over/under prop bet. BJ brought a box of Pirates of the Caribbean cereal that we're eating. Nothing is worst than getting the munchies in media row in the middle of a tournament.

6:14pm... James Van Alstyne made a move with K-6 and pushed his chips all in. Roland De Wolfe quickly called with K-K. Van Alstyne had him slightly covered and flopped a gut shot draw. His hand did not improve and Roland De Wolfe doubled up. Van Alstyne was crippled.

6:21pm... Recent Elimination: James Van Alstyne had A-K and moved all in with his shortstack. Joe Bartholdi called with J-10. Bartholdi turned a ten and Van Alstyne's hand did not improve. He busted out in 5th place winning $439,375. He left the table with a dejected look on his face. Van Alstyne originally made a large sum of money in the stock market several years ago. He let it all ride and lost some of his huge gains. He's a gambler/investor at heart. He was hoping to win it all here at the WPT Championship, especially since he ended the last two days as the chipleader.

6:30pm... The PokerWire girls in media row requested a chipcount. Linda Johnson did a quick one for us.
1 Joeseph Bartholdi $11.3M
2 Claus Nielsen $8M
3 Davidson Matthew $6.5M
4 Roland De Wolfe $3.5M
6:35pm... Roland De Wolfe took a huge pot when doubled up with J-J against Claus Nielsen's 7-7. De Wolfe has over $7M in chips now.

6:40pm... We're devouring the Pirates of the Caribbean cereal that BJ brought. It's like chocolate flavored crack. I haven't been this jacked up since the Playboy Mansion.

6:50pm... Davidson Matthew picked up two pots but aside from that, action has slowed down.

7:01pm... Jen from PokerWire brought pretzels to media row. Liz Lieu is also here and she's noshing on pretzels with us. She was watching me sweat Derek's table in the blogger's WSOP event. Derek had K-K and got Easy Cure to shove all in with A-Q and a Queen on the flop. Easy turned trips and sent Derek to the rail. There were only a few players who had more chips than Derek and Easy was one of them. Liz Lieu was pissed! She's probably Derek's biggest fan. She loves his writing. She wants to kick Easy Cure's ass now!

7:07pm... Roland De Wolfe had been building his stack over the last thirty minutes until he ran into fellow European Clause Nielsen. De Wolfe was all in with Claus Nielsen. He had A-10 to Nielsen's 9-9. Claus Neilsen doubled up to over $6M in chips.

7:13pm... We're on a new level. Antes are $30K with $150K/$300K blinds.

7:20pm... Players are on a ten minute break which means play will resume in 25 minutes. Here's a updated chipcount:
1 Joe Bartholdi $11.215M
2 Davidson Matthew $9.4M
3 Claus Nielsen $6.84M
4 Roland De Wolfe $5.665M
7:25pm... Courtney Friel and the Bellagio Babes are practicing the money presentation. She's sizzling tonight in a sleek Versace dinner dress.

7:27pm... I just got busted from the blogger's WSOP tournament. I had Q-Q and moved all in against StB's A-K. He flopped an ace and rivered a King. I was out in 50th out of 78th place. No POY points for me.

7:50pm... Recent Elimination: BJ's pick Claus Nielsen was busted by Joe Bartholdi in 4th place. Bartholdi rivered a flush with Kd-9d against Nielsen's A-Q. Nielsen caught a Queen on the river on a board of 9x-7d-2d-7x-Kd and moved all in. Nielsen won $659,120.

8:00pm... At this point, Joe Bartholdi has over $18M in chips with Roland De Wolfe and Davidson Matthew with about $6M each.

8:26pm... The WPT crew is having technical difficulties. Action has been suspended until they figured out what happened.

8:30pm... Roland de Wolfe came up to media row and asked PokeWire to send a message to Juha Helpi who's following Poker Wire on his flight home. Luftansa has wi-fi on their flights so he can keep tabs on his friend Roland. Ironically, Jen from PokerWire did some work on the technology programs that enable planes to get internet access. Oh and Wolfe pointed out that his name is spelled with a "small D" and not a "Capital D."

8:35pm... Media Row Prop Bets: There's an old pretzel with a bunch of ranch dressing and nasty ass mustard. Liz Lieu brought it over for us including all the nasty mustard. Jen from PokerWire offered BJ to eat the pretzel for $20. He has until the end of the tournament to finish it. "It's the nastiest mustard ever!" added Jen. "And he has to eat it all."

8:37pm... The sound mixer is broken and they are re-installing another one. We'll be back in 5-7 minutes which means action will resume in 20 minutes.

8:45pm... Amanda from Poker Wire told me about a prop bet involving Gavin Smith. He bet some woman in Reno that she couldn't eat 200 peeps in and hour. She did 60 and stopped. I think she puked too. Since she lost, she not has to do Gavin Smith's laundry for 6 months. The funny thing is that Mike Sexton offered her $500 not to take the bet. She did it anyway.

8:47pm... Chris Bigler, Bobby Baldwin, Evelyn Ng, and Patrik Antonius have all been spotted in the Tower Ballroom.

8:49pm... Cards are back in the air. We've been on break for about 40 minutes while the crew fixed the sound problem.

8:53pm... Davidson Matthew took down a pot against Bartholdi.

8:58pm... Recent Elimination: Roland de Wolfe moved all in with 6-6 against Joe Bartholdi's Q-Q. The flop was Q-8-5 and all of Bartholdi's railbirds jumped to their feet in jubilation. Roland de Wolf turned a gutshot draw when a 4 fell. The river was a 3 and Roland Wolfe was eliminated in 3rd place. He won $1,025,205, which is not bad for third place! Joe Bartholdi now has over $21M in chips to Davidson Matthew's $8M.

9:05pm... Media Row Prop Bet: BJ won $20 after he ate the hard pretzel and all the nasty ass mustard.

9:06pm... Play has stopped as the crew sets up the money presentation featuring Courtney Friel and the Borgata Babes.

9:20pm... Spaceman is losing it. He has his hands buried in his face. I guess he can't take the constant delays. We all want to go home at this point. I'm sitting in between Jen from PokeWire and BJ. Flipchip is in meda row with us too.

9:23pm... Prop Bet Update: Pauly 1, BJ 0. I won the last longer. I picked Joe Bartholdi. I'm also looking good on the over/under at 10:50pm. I hope so. I have a food comp that expires at Midnight.

9:25pm... OK, after another delay, we're ready to play heads up. We're currently on hand #74.

9:30pm... Davidson Matthew won a pot after he went all in over the top of Bartholdi.

9:36pm... We're on a new level. Blinds are $250K/$500K with $50K antes.

9:48pm... 16 hands into the heads up match and I'm bored to death. I finally got to read a lot of stuff in my bloglines folders.

9:59pm... In the past half hour, David Matthew slowly fought his way back. He's only down $17M to $13M in chips after he took down two huge pots re-raising Bartholdi who folded both times.

10:10pm... I have 40 minutes left on my prop bet with BJ for the O/U. After 25 hands, Davidson Matthew closed the gap $16.4M to $13.8M.

10:11pm... We're on a new level. Blinds are $400K/$800K with a $100K ante.

10:12pm... Steve Hall brought us food in media row. I think he laced it with ecstacy in an attempt to get the PokerWire girls to take off their tops.

10:21pm... Say hello to our new chipleader... Davidson Matthew. He took down an $8M pot.

10:31pm... 39 hands into the heads up match and it's still pretty much even in chips. Davidson Matthew has $14M to Bartholdi's $16M.

10:36pm... On Hand #116, Davidson Matthew moved all in with 10h-4h with a flush draw on a board of Ah-9c-8h. Joe Bartholdi called with 9-5o and just top pair. The river did not help Matthew and Joe Bartholdi won the WPT Championship. Davidson Matthew won $1,903,950 for second place. Joe Bartholdi picked up $3,760,165 for first place.

2006 WPT World Champion: Joe Bartholdi

Congrats to Joe. That's it for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment