Vic Champs - $1,100 5 Card Stud

Posted at 07:00 2006-09-02 September 1st was a flurry of activity in the Crown poker room. When I first arrived, there was a two table, $10,000 buy-in tournament, a number of satellites for the main event the following day and the lists for cash games were growing by the minute. One could have been forgiven for overlooking the fact that the scheduled tournament of the day was the $1,100 buy-in, half-pot five card stud. Mark Vos and Emad Tahtouh had arrived that day to play cards. After Mark skunk-holed out of the two-table $10,000 buy-in, he and Emad got down to some pressing unfinished business: last night’s tournament (Event #8 – 31 August - $240 buy in no limit hold’em). There was only one problem: these two pokerholics had also bought themselves into the five card stud; and as they finished off event #8, they were being anted away in event #9! (For the record, Mark ended up winning Event #8 and Emad finished second). Nonetheless, the other thirty entrants into the five card stud event took their seats at approximately 6.30pm and the tournament got under way. The start banks were very generous ($5000), the first level was $5 ante and the ante increased in increments of $5 for the first five levels. Yet, with only thirty entrants, one would expect the tournament to be wound up in relatively quickly. Well in the end, the tournament was virtually surrendered by the last three players at 2.30am – preferring some sleep before tomorrows tournament than drawing out the battle any further. The Early Stages The opening stages were controversial to say the least. Three players were in a pot and on 5th street: Player A was showing (X)-A-A-Q-9 Player B was showing (X)-J-10-9-A Player C was showing: (X)-K-10-J-Q Player A bet, Player B raised and Player C reraised. Player A folded and Player B also folded. Now when one closely examines the players’ cards, they will notice that, no matter what player B has in the hole, he cannot beat player A’s board. Therefore, his raise defies logic. The fact that player B and player C are friends subsequently raised suspicion. After examining the situation, Danny McDonagh announced that the house reserves the right to examine a player’s hole cards at any time if there is a suspicion of collusion. Anyone caught will be disqualified immediately. However, the hand was resolved, the cards mucked and the pot awarded to player C seconds before the players reported their suspicions to the supervisor. Accordingly, it was impossible for the house to verify whether collusion had actually occurred and the players themselves denied it. In any case, Danny and the team handled the situation correctly and their judgment under pressure was commendable. After this dramatic opening ten minutes, everyone couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. Well as it turns out, not much happened for the next three hours. Some players were gaining small chip advantages, but virtually everyone at every table was only one pot away from the chip lead. Pots rarely reached even $500 and the lack of action was irritating some of the players. Yet the field was highly experienced and reluctant to throw away their stack simply out of boredom or frustration. However, as with any tournament, unlucky situations began whittling away some players’ stacks. Warwick Mirzikinian, for example, showed down a pair of aces against trip kings three times in as many hours. Similarly, John Dalessandri copped a horrible beat in an enormous pot when his trip aces were cracked on the river when his opponent filled up his trip queens. But the miracle card and bad beats story should not over shadow some of the quality play shown by the more experienced five card stud players. Stella Coe’s stack growth was unusually stagnant in the early stages, but anyone who has seen Stella at a five card stud table knows that it’s only a matter of time before she hits her strides. All of sudden, she went on a rampage, value betting marginal situations and also managed to pick off a massive bluff by Martin Comer with a poultry pair of jacks. Then she went one better, pushing a multiway pot with nothing but a pair of nines and on forth street, she forced all her opponents to fold. Nick G was also battling early. His opponents caught some dramatic river cards in good sized pots. But to his credit though, Nick was reading it perfectly: folding on the river on several occasions, despite being in front on forth street. On the one occasion that he did look up his opponent on the river, the showdown was remarkable. Nick G showed (K)-K-J-7-A and his opponent showed (J)-A-K-9-K. As it turned out, the winner was decided by the last kicker: Nick’s 7 vs his opponent’s 9. No matter how hard he was tested emotionally, he simply refused to make a crying call. His patience and self-discipline was eventually rewarded. He captured an enormous pot with trip aces and was even paid off on the river by an opponent holding two pair. Suddenly, he was in a commanding chip position on his table and became a highly feared opponent. Mark Vos took his seat only seconds after winning event #8. Within a couple of minutes, he was tangled up in a pot with Kiwi G. In the end, Mark’s aces were good enough against Kiwis threatening up cards and he won a modestly sized pot. Mark’s roll had seemingly continued into the next tournament! After more than two hours, we finally had our first elimination. Jimmy Siu had simply run out of chips and was forced to go all. Another elimination followed when Sam Khouiss – perhaps out of frustration – took his chances and called an opponent’s all in bet. Sam had (A)-Q-8-7 and his opponent showed (K)-A-J-10. On the river, Sam caught another seven and his opponent hit a blank. The Middle Stages A handful of eliminations followed, but by and large, progress was relatively stagnant. Then finally the ice-breaker. Perhaps it was impatience, perhaps frustration or perhaps just the sheer thrill of the gamble? Whatever forces were at play, three players on the same table decide to roll the dice and take their chances. Emad, Roman Pesochinsky and Fred T were dealt their cards. Emad’s door card was a 9, Roman had a Queen and Fred had a 10. Roman, who had a reasonably good sized stack at that point, decided to limit blind (announcing to the table that he had not looked at his hole card). Fred T, with a short stack, came over the top and moved all-in. Emad reviewed his hole card and then raised again, in an attempt to isolate Fred. But to his surprise, Roman then moved-all. Emad called and the cards were rolled: FRED: (10)-10. EMAD: (9)-9 ROMAN: (Q)-Q Roman certainly picked a good situation to make a move blind! But half-deck five card stud is capable of producing the dramatic finishes and this hand certainly deserves a mention. By forth street, the hands were as follow: FRED: (10)-10-J-8 EMAD: (9)-9-7-Q ROMAN: (Q)-Q-J-7 ….and then the final card was dealt: FRED: (10)-10-J-8-8 EMAD: (9)-9-7-Q-9 Emad jumped for joy – not just because he picked off a third 9, but also because he caught a queen on fourth street which meant that Roman had only one queen left in the deck to save him. The Roman was given his river card:…….. a queen. ROMAN: (Q)-Q-J-7-Q Emad’s elation suddenly turned into a brief fit of anger and frustration. It’s these sorts of hands that make us wonder whether it’s all worth it in the end!!! Roman was now nursing an enormous stack and Emad was left relatively short-stacked. On the next table a short time later, Joe Huminiki won an enormous pot also in dramatic fashion. On the river, the cards were as follows: Joe: (X)-K-8-7-K Opponent 1: (X)-A-J-7-7 Opponent 2: (X)-J-9-10-10 Opponent 1 had been leading the whole way, evidently opening with a pair of aces. On the river, Joe announced “limit.” His opponents appeared visibly unsettled and after some consideration both folded. All three players honourably revealed their hole cards. Joe did have a third king as his opponent assumed. Opponent 1 had an ace in the hole, as expected, and Opponent 2 had a third 10 in the hole. Miraculous finish, but amazingly, Joe’s opponents made a perfect read and followed their judgment. Despite these two dramatic hands, the next couple of hours proceeded without much excitement. Eliminations occurred periodically, but even those were largely uneventful. The only real entertainment came from Mick Stanton who was in startling form. His distinguishable loud, gravelly voice carried his endless barrage irrelevant comedy across the room; topics ranging from Lebanese pride to circumcision. The Late Stages As the final table was shaping up, a few notable eliminations occurred. Nick G took a handful of terrible beats but managed to fight back with a small stack, only to run into a big hand again. Eventually, he moved all-in with (A)-K and his Martin Comer called with (A)-K. Martin caught a running pair of queens and Nick G failed to improve. Stella also ran into a few unfortunate pots and was running low on chips. She moved all in with ace high on third street in an attempt to double up while she still had a stack that was worth doubling up. But unfortunately, her opponent made a pair and ended her day. Emad had battled back following the devastating pot against Roman. However, he hit a horrible run of cards late and his stack steadily declined until his elimination. Emad simply couldn’t find a hand that was able to survive the river and he simply couldn’t believe his bad fortune. Following his elimination, he walked away from table, describing his demise and five card as “sick.” The final table eventually assembled at about 1.30am. In seat 1, Sam Khouiss (chip leader) with around 50,000, seat 2 Mick Stanton (shortest stack) with around 6,000, seat 3 Martin Comer with about 42,000, seat 4 Kiri K with around 12,000, seat 5 Roman Pesochinsky with approximately 23,000 and seat 6 was Joe Huminiki with approximately 22,000. The payout structure was as follows: 1st - $12,800 2nd - $8,800 3rd - $5,600 4th - $3,200 5th - $1,600 Unfortunately, Kiri came unglued in some early hands and was eventually awarded the honourable skunkhole prize. Mick Stanton was both vocal and aggressive in the early stages, managing to double through his short stack. Additionally, Joe Huminiki and Roman Pesochinsky took large bites out of Sam Khouiss’s chip lead. While Mick made an early charge, his day was eventually ended when Martin Comer took a stand and forced Mick all in before third street with a reraise. The hand ended: Mick: (K)-A-J-8-7 Martin: (9)-9-9-7-K The next one eliminated was Sam Khouiss. He had a shocking run of cards at the final table and when he went all in, his (A)-7-7-J-9 couldn’t overcome Joe Huminiki’s (8)-8-10-A-9. Once they were down to three, the stacks were nearly even and it was impossible to determine who was most likely to win. After a few hands, the players’ frustrations were evident. Given that they were equally stacked and there was almost no ante pressure to speak of, they knew it could stretch out for another hour or two. With the main event commencing the following morning, they simply wanted to wind it up and go to bed. Accordingly, the tournament was resolved by gentleman’s agreement: the very next hand would decide the winner, second and third. The cards were all dealt face up: ROMAN: (A)-10-9-J-10. MARTIN: (K)-A-8-10-J JOE: (7)-A-K-7-9 So by the outcome of this hand and in accordance with the agreement, Roman won, Joe came second and Martin came third. The prize money allocated to the top three positions was divided equally.

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