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Vic Champs - 19-year-old Norwegian wins Main Event

Posted at 07:00 2006-09-06
Victorian Poker Championships winner Kristoffer Evenstad
With numbers up across the board for the Victorian Poker Championships, there was a lot of speculation about how many entrants the $1,650 Main Event would attract. With a fantastic structure – 20,000 start bank and 60 minute levels – it was expected that the field would attract not only the seasoned professionals, but also the average punter wanting a shot at the guaranteed $100,000 first prize. In the end, after a few late ringins, the final number of entrants was 404, which put the prizepool at $606,000 with a first place prize of $112,110. There was drama right from the start as a player was given a ten-minute penalty in the early rounds. The player in question raised with AA, and then folded and showed to an all-in reraise, saying that he didn’t want to be knocked out early from the tournament. While the player was genuinely nervous in only his second live tourney, Tournament Director Danny McDonagh was put in a tough position and handed out a ten-minute penalty. The player served his time, and after being the talk of the room, play went on. Early movers and shakers included Gary Benson and Emad Tahtouh, who lost half his stack early but then ran up to 42,000. Robin Saab jumped up to 100,000 and then took in another 30,000 in as he eliminated a player with QQ versus KK. Arul Thillai was the first player to join Robin with over 100,000 in chips – a nice touch considering it was his birthday! The random table draw caused some excitement for railbirds as Mark Vos and Joe Hachem were seated on the feature table. Having put aside their recent differences, they got down to battling on the felt instead, and Joe was the one that came off second best. Mark raised preflop, Joe reraised all-in and it was another 5,000 for Mark to call. Mark surmised he had the odds to call and was right, even as he flipped over Th2d. Joe had AcKc but was in trouble when the flop came down Qh-8h-4h, which gave Mark a flush draw. Mark missed his flush but unfortunately for Joe, the turn and river came J-9 to give Mark a runner-runner straight and he was eliminated. Unfortunately Mark’s luck couldn’t hold up and he was eliminated later in the day with 88 versus AT. He joined a number of experienced players who didn’t see out Day 1, also on the sidelines were Gary Benson, Ricky Gov, Mike Ivin and Tino Lechich. At the start of Day 2, there were 61 players who had survived and were looking to make the top 48 places and the money. Sydney’s Anthony Suhan started the day as chip leader, not far behind were David Saab, Nick Nicolaou and Melb Champs winner Eric Assadourian. As the field approached the money, play didn’t slow down for a second. Benjamin Anastar, dual-final tablist Kim Vevle and Savvas Zenonos all doubled up with the bubble approaching, while Daniel G, Martin Hylton-Smith, and David Natoli all barely missed the cash. With 48 players remaining and everyone guaranteed as least $2,727, there was a flurry of all-ins as those players who had been nursing shortstacks tried to double up. Anthony Suhan was cruising with over 400,000 until he clashed with the other chip leader Soetanto Chandra. On a flop of A-9-J, Anthony made a pot-sized bet of 100,000 and Soetanto raised all-in for over 200,000. Anthony called with AQ but Soetanto had JJ for a set and was now the runaway chip leader. Anthony was left with not enough chips to survive a round and was eliminated soon afterwards in 37th place. As the field drifted down towards twenty players, some of the overnight chip leaders were having a tough time. Arul Thillai was out in 27th place when he called all-in with middle pair only to run into Ben Savage with top pair. Eric Assadourian had played aggressively all day, and it paid off when Nikolaos Haidaris called his all-in with KQ. Eric had him dominated with AQ and looked set to double up with a Q on the flop but a king on the river saw him eliminated in 23rd place. Soetanto Chandra became the first player to reach 1 million in chips, but couldn’t stay there. First he doubled up Chanse Yop, who called an all-in reraise with A5 and was well ahead of Soetanto’s T5, and then he lost a massive pot to Ben Savage just before the dinner break. Soetanto eventually busted on the final table bubble in eighth place in another showdown with Ben Savage – Ben had QQ and Soetanto AK, the board was all low cards and Soetanto was out. The final seven players were: Seat 1: Barry Long - 949,000 Seat 2: Ben Savage - 1,372,000 Seat 3: Steve Buuya - 1,012,000 Seat 4: Chris Wood - 923,000 Seat 5: Michael Frydman - 1,286,000 Seat 6: Kristoffer Evenstad - 1,315,000 Seat 7: David Saab - 1,284,000 With blinds at 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante) and stack sizes relatively equal, it was a tentative start to the final table. That all changed though when David Saab pushed all-in over the top of Steve Buuya’s raise. Steve called with JJ, David had 22 and Steve doubled up. After that, David was all-in preflop the next two hands, and kept pushing until he was finally called by Barry Long. Unfortunately for Barry, David had AK and his AT was no match, his 600,000 in chips going to David as he joined the sidelines. David was now a massive chip leader with 2.1 million in chips, but he kept the all-ins going. Kristoffer Evenstad raised from early position to 155,000 (blinds 20,000/40,000, 5,000 ante), David pushed all-in, Ben called all-in for about 1.2 million and Kristoffer had to fold. David flipped over As4s and Ben had JsJd. The board was 4d-2d-5s-5c-Ks and Ben was the new chip leader with 2.8 million. David was all-in the next hand and was called by Michael Frydman. This time David had K8 versus Michael’s AQ and an ace on the river left David with just 105,000. The very next hand David was all-in under-the-gun and was called by Michael in the small blind, and Kristoffer in the big blind, who called, well, blind. The board was 8c-Ad-8d-6s-5s. Amazingly David had pocket kings and was ahead of Michael who had pocket sevens. It was Kristoffer’s turn to look at his cards, his first one was a six. He slowly did the squeeze and his second card was an eight which gave him a full house! David was eliminated in sixth place and received $30,300 in prizemoney. Ben extended his chip lead to 3.7 million, betting aggressively and taking down a lot of hands with no showdown. Chris Wood picked a bad time to stand up to the chip leader – Chris raised and Ben came over the top. Chris called and was in bad shape with AJ versus AK and couldn’t catch up. He was out in 5th place. Steve Buuya was on a rollercoaster ride – first he doubled up Kristoffer Evenstad when he called all-in with KT versus Kristoffer’s J8 on a J-8-9 flop, and then he doubled up through Michael with AK versus KJ. With 640,000, Steve came over the top of Ben’s 150,000 raise, and Ben thought a long time before making the call. Ben had A5, Steve KJ and after Ben flopped an ace it was all over for Steve and he was eliminated in 4th place. With three players left, Ben now held a huge chiplead with 4.7 million in chips over Kristoffer (2,800,000) and Michael Frydman (550,000). Michael caught a lifeline as he pushed all-in with 56 on a J-7-6 flop against Ben with pocket kings, another six on the turn pushed Michael up to the million mark. The comeback was shortlived though as Michael pushed all-in with J7 on a Q-J-4 flop and Kristoffer called with QT.
The final two - Kristoffer Evenstad and Ben Savage
Down to the last two players, an interesting battle was shaping up as both players started with around 4 million in chips. Ben kept up his aggressive style and won the first three hands preflop, bluffing Kristoffer with J3 on a flop of A-Q-5 to take the lead with 5.1M. Kristoffer seemed happy to wait though, and it paid off when he called Ben’s all-in reraise with A8 and was well in front of Ben’s A4. Kristoffer now had the lead with 6.2M but Ben still had 1.8M behind him. On the final hand, Kristoffer raised to 210,000 and Ben called. The flop was 6h-4s-3h and both players checked and saw the turn card of 5s. Ben pushed all-in with Qc-6d for top pair, while Kristoffer called with Jd2d for the low straight. There was no seven on the river, and Kristoffer was the champion. Kristoffer took home $112,110 for defeating over 400 players – not a bad return for someone that paid $70 to enter a Main Event satellite (and didn’t rebuy either!). It was a very nice payday for the 19-year-old Norwegian who is studying in Sydney, and we wish him all the best in his future poker endeavours.
Tournament Director Danny McDonagh and winner Kristoffer Evenstad
Congratulations to all those who performed well at the Victorian Poker Championships. Apart from Kristoffer’s Main Event win, some of the standouts included: Roman Pesochinsky – Roman came 2nd in the $230 Omaha Hi-Lo, made the final table and eventually came 5th in the $175 No-Limit Holdem the next day, and then won the $1,100 Five Card Stud Kim Vevle – Another young gun from Norway, Kim came 2nd in the $175 No-Limit Holdem, 8th in the $240 No-Limit Holdem with Rebuys, and narrowly missed the final table in the Main Event, finishing 14th. Emad Tahtouh – Emad made the final tables in the $550 and $240 No-Limit events, he was very unlucky to come second in both. Congratulations to all the Crown Poker staff, particularly Danny McDonagh and Jonno Pittock on yet another well-run event, and we look forward to the Aussie Millions. Victorian Poker Championships Main Event Day 1 Live Reporting Archive Victorian Poker Championships Main Event Day 2 Live Reporting Archive Victorian Poker Championships Main Event Final Table Live Reporting Archive Main Event Final Table Webcast from Crown Casino Main Event Full Results

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