2008 Victorian Poker Championships Day 12: Déjà Vu for Youssef in High Stakes

Posted at 00:31 2008-08-16
The high rollers took to the felt today, ponying up a lazy $10,200 to take part in the Event #12: $10,200 High Stakes Holdem event. 26 players paid up to do battle with what would prove a red hot field with a mix of the already established big names of Australian tournament poker, as well as the new breed looking to take the mantle. With a prizepool of $260,000, top 5 would be paid, with the winner taking home a cool $104,000.
State of Origin runner-up Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros was the first to leave the party – he was involved in a few battles with Joe Hachem, and eventually came off second best when his {Ad}{Jc} fell victim to Hachem’s flopped two pair with the {Ah}{9h}.
Hachem would prove to be one of the early chip leaders during a rather slow start to proceedings, with players looking to settle in before getting involved in a lot of pots. Another player off to a great start was Tino Lechich, who took the chip lead with a 56k stack when his {Kh}{Ks} was able to dodge the outs of David Steicke’s {Ad}{5h} all in on a {3d}{7d}{5d} flop, sending Steicke to the rail.
Melbourne Championships High Stakes Holdem champion Sam Youssef was setting about maintaining his title, and when he knocked out ‘Lucky’ Tony Dunst he had a nice stack to work with. However, he doubled up T6 pro Jason Gray soon after, putting him back in the pack whilst catapulting Gray up amongst the chip leaders. Not for long however – Youssef took {9c}{9s} up against Bill Jordanou’s pocket aces, and caught the miracle {9h} on the river to be right back in the action.
As action approached the final table, Sam Youssef continued his run, eliminating Joe Hachem in 11th spot winning the typical tournament race with {4h}{4s} against Hachem’s {As}{Kc}. When Lee Nelson ran top pair into Josh Pang Ang’s set and was eliminated soon after, we were down to nine and the final table was set – Youssef, Lechich, Gray, Pang Ang, Sam Khouiss, Julius Colman, Reza Vakili, Antonis Kambouris and Kent Hunter. Khouiss held the slight chip lead with 54k but it was anyone’s prize for the taking.
Youssef struck the first major blow against Khouiss. Khouiss made it 6k to go on the button, and Youssef shoved for 33k. Khouiss made the call with {Ac}{Jc}, and had Youssef’s {Jh}{Td} in bad shape. Until the board ran out {Qd}{Jd}{9s}{Qh}{8d} that is – Youssef rivering the straight in dramatic fashion as Khouiss fumed over how a misdeal may cost him the tournament – he was originally dealt a {7d} which was flipped over and he instead received the {Jc}.
Jason Gray got all his chips in with Kambouris on a {Ad}{Td}{2d} flop with {Jd}{8d} and was in good shape to double up against {Ah}{2c}, however a cruel {2s} on the river gave Kambouris the full house and Gray was eliminated in 9th place. He was soon followed by Vakili in 8th, who got caught squeezing with {7c}{8c} by a hot Youssef, who’s pocket eights held up and shot him to a 120k stack.
The bubble arrived when Kambouris failed to connect with a flush draw all in against Lechich, giving Lechich the chip lead with 150k and Kambouris a 7th place finish.
The unlucky bubble boy looked like it would be Colman when he moved all in on a {Tc}{4s}{8h} flop with {Td}{9c}, only to be called by Youssef with {Js}{Ts}.  Colman would not have to leave yet however – another miracle river landed in the form of the {9s}, doubling Colman up to 50k and knocking Youssef back down to 86k.
Instead, Sam Khouiss would be the last player to leave with nothing to show for his efforts – his {Ks}{Kh} copped a raw deal from Tino Lechich, who made the wheel straight with {Ah}{4c} after all the money went in preflop.
With the pressure of the bubble off, we saw the biggest pot so far of the night. Sam Youssef raised to 6,000 from under the gun before Tino Lechich popped it up to 26,000 from the small blind. Youssef made the call as we went to the flop of {6d}{7c}{5d}.

Lechich moved all in, covering Youssef who made the call. Lechich showed {Ad}{Kd} for a flush draw with overcards as Youssef flipped {Jh}{Js}. The turn was the {Qs} and river the {8s} to give Youssef a huge double up to about 180,000 leaving Lechich back around the 100,000 mark.
Youssef would soon move to around 215k when he sent Colman packing in 5th position. On a flop of {9s}{Tc}{2c}, Colman moved in with {Ah}{9h}, and Youssef made the call with {Kc}{6c}, looking for a fifth club. He didn’t have to wait long – a {Qc} gave Youssef a clear chip lead and sent Colman home with $20,800 for his efforts.
Josh Pang Ang would leave in 4th place – again a victim of a red hot Youssef. The action was folded to Sam Youssef on the button who made it 12,000 to go. Pang Ang moved all-in for 32,900 and after some deliberation Youssef made the call. Pang Ang showed down {As}{Th}, ahead of Youssef’s {Js}{Ts}.
Youssef took the lead however on the {Jd}{Qc}{5h} flop, and Pang Ang was unable to improve, taking home $30,200 for 4th while Youssef continued his rise, reaching 275k in chips.

Kent Hunter was to follow soon after in 3rd, with Tino Lechich gaining some much needed chips for the heads up battle with Youssef to follow. Hunter moved all in from the small blind with {8h}{9h}, and was snap called by Lechich with {Qs}{Qd}. A flop {Qc} sealed Hunter’s fate, as he went home in 3rd with $41,600 in prizemoney.
Down to heads up, and it was Youssef with the chip lead – 250k to 140k. It wouldn’t be long until we had our winner.
Youssef limped from the small blind and Lechich checked his option in the big blind. On a flop of {8h}{6s}{5h}, Lechich led out for a 16,000 bet. Youssef proceeded to move all-in putting Lechich to a decision for his tournament life. After thinking for some time Lechich made the call. Youssef flipped up {Jh}{7h}, and Lechich showed {Jc}{8c}.

With Youssef holding a flush-draw and an up-and-down straight-draw it would be a sweat for Lechich. The turn sealed the deal when it dropped the {Ah}, and just to rub salt into the wounds of Lechich the meaningless {8d} fell on the river giving him trips.
Lechich took home $62,400 for his 2nd place finish, but after being runner up in the $5,200 PLO event the night before, he could be excused for being disappointed at not being able to take home a title yet at these Championships.
So it was Youssef who emerged from 10 hours of tough play to make it back to back High Stakes Holdem victories, and the $104,000 prizemoney in the kit bag was not bad either!


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