Posted at 07:00 2006-04-05
On Sunday 2nd of April at Club Marconi, the “One-Armed Bandit” - 56-year-old David Borton of Turramurra, NSW, took out the Australian Poker League’s Joe Hachem World Series of Poker Freeroll. Playing the whole day with his right arm in a sling, David defeated over 1200 entrants, the largest field ever seen in Australia, and the biggest field in a live freeroll worldwide, to collect the $20,000AUD prize package, consisting of an entry to the $10,000USD Main Event at the World Series of Poker and flights to and accommodation in Las Vegas.
As per the event name, current World Series of Poker champion Joe Hachem flew in from the US to host the event, and kicked off the day with a few encouraging words to the players. Heat 1 was filled to capacity with eight hundred people seated at one hundred tables. The heats followed the shootout format, which saw the top two players from each table progress to the final. Heat 2 had over 400 players, and by the end there were a total of 313 people who had won their way through to the next round.
For the final, play reverted back to the normal tournament style. With everyone starting over with equal chips and only one prize on offer, there were players out left, right and centre as they all tried to chase the win. After just under 3 hours of furious play, the final eight players were Paul White (11,000 in chips), Chris Vella (13,500), Van Heip Jong (27,500) Joseph Bustani (37,000), Nick Karatonis (40,500), the first of two females at the final table Enza Musa (44,500), closely followed by the second in Linda Phillips (52,500) and chip leader was David Borton (86,500).
With blinds at 5000/10,000, the short stacks were very quickly under pressure and Chris Vella was first out when a jack on the turn gave David Borton's JdQd the nod over Chris' Ah7s. The two ladies came to a head early on when Linda Phillips went all in with pocket rockets on a flop of 7d 10h 2h and tripled up with an ace on the turn, leaving Enza with the side pot of 28K after she flopped a set of sevens. Enza's luck definitely was running cold as, only a few hands later, she was the second player eliminated when she called an all in versus Van Heip Jong, and her AcKs fell to Van's KcQd when four diamonds hit the board and Van got a flush.
Paul White's short stack of 11K saw him the third player to depart from the final table, and Van's continual run of all ins came to a quick end when his Ac3c was called by David's pocket Jacks. Nick Karatonis was next out after being left with 1500 after a battle of the blinds and Joseph Bustani quickly followed when his As5h couldn't improve against Linda's pocket 8s.
The tournament was down to heads up between Linda and David - who held a massive 9-to-1 chip lead. Linda fought hard as the short stack, belying the fact that she had only been playing for six months, and took the chip lead three hands in when a king on the river gave her KhJs the edge over David's Ac5h. Play tightened up as the realisation that only first place would take home a prize and the chip lead shifted back and forth. David shifted gears and built a strong lead, continually raising Linda's big blind and taking down a large number of pots preflop. With blinds at 10,000/20,000, David finally gained an unbeatable edge when his Ad9d held up against Linda's King high and she was left with just 8K. Linda came back strong but it was all over six hands later when David put Linda all in holding 10s7s and hit a 10 on the turn to beat her Jd3h.
Incredibly, David has a couple of strangers to thank for his win – he only entered after overhearing some people discussing it at another tournament he was playing in! Having played poker on and off for roughly forty years, and with final table experience from the days when the Australian Poker Championship was held in Adelaide, David definitely has a chance to bring the World Series title back to Australia for the second year running.
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