From Sat May 03 16:53:08 2003 Return-Path: Delivered-To: Received: (qmail 39328 invoked by uid 19068); 3 May 2003 16:53:07 -0000 Received: from unknown (HELO ([]) (envelope-sender ) by (qmail-ldap-1.03) with SMTP for ; 3 May 2003 16:53:07 -0000 Received: from [] by with ESMTP (SMTPD32-7.15) id A6B98E0050; Sat, 03 May 2003 16:56:41 +0100 From: "Wednesday Nite Poker" To: Subject: WSOP 2003 News Bulletin 14 Date: 03 May 2003 18:06:38 +0200 Message-ID: <> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----=_qvTOWYPI_1m5XoYXP_MA" Precedence: bulk Sender: X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-4.3 required=4.0 tests=BAYES_10,HTML_10_20,HTML_WITH_BGCOLOR,SMTPD_IN_RCVD, UNSUB_PAGE version=2.53 X-Spam-Level: X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.53 ( Status: OR ------=_qvTOWYPI_1m5XoYXP_MA Content-Type: text/plain Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit If this newsletter does not read properly, your current e-mail program does not support HTML-based newsletters. Instead, you can access the complete newsletter through your web browser on this URL: Regards, Wednesday Nite Poker ------=_qvTOWYPI_1m5XoYXP_MA Content-Type: text/html Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

World Series of Poker, Day One:

The Three-Act Tournament

By Max Shapiro

Binion's Horseshoe
World Series of Poker
Limit Hold'em
$1,500 Buy-in
346 Entrants
$482,670 Prize Pool

This $1,500 limit hold'em event was quite probably the strangest and most unpredictable tournament to be played out thus far at WSOP 2003. It could best be described as a three-act play. In act I, a player goes on a massive rush. He builds up a huge chip lead and appears to be a runaway winner. In act II, the cards suddenly dry up on him, and another player goes on an even more astonishing rush and he seems destined to pick up a gold bracelet. Then comes act III. The leading roles in this finale are cast with two players who couldn't possibly be more unalike in temperament, behavior and approach to the game. At first one seems a fairly certain winner. Then the other seems an absolutely certain winner. And then…well, let's start. And also keep an eye out for how many times 7s play a crucial role in this play (I mean tournament).


But before we do, I'd like to add another thought to yesterday's report on event #16, limit Omaha. I'd written at length about Phil Hellmuth's betting out with just a draw, the highest card in his hand being an 8. This move, you'll recall, forced out Men Nguyen. In turn, it allowed airline pilot Eddy Scharf, who went all for $1,500, to win the pot with just a king-high and then go on to make an unbelievable comeback and win the tournament. The next day, discussing the hand with a dealer, I was reminded that three of the players wanted to keep going when dinner break time arrived a couple of hands after Scharf's king-high win, but Hellmuth insisted on keeping to the schedule. When the players returned, the texture of the game appeared to have changed, the dealer pointed out. Men seemed to have lost the momentum he had before the hour break. The cards changed, and a refreshed Scharf was able to go on the offensive. Whether Phil held out for dinner hoping to slow Men's drive, whether he wanted to rest and relax, or whether he was simply hungry is anyone's guess, but the dealer's conjecture that Hellmuth might have been hurt as much by forcing a dinner break as he was by forcing out Men is an interesting and plausible thesis.


There were still 11 players left when the tournament reached its 2 a.m. cut-off time on the first day, so the finalists returned on day two to work down to 10. After 40 minutes of careful play, David Plastik was eliminated. He raised with Q-7 offsuit pre-flop, Kathy Liebert re-raised with Ac,Qc. The flop contained two clubs and a 7. Plastik went all in with his sevens (remember the 7s), and Liebert hit her flush on the turn. When the last 10 drew for seats and reassembled at the final table, Liebert had a sizeable chip lead. Here were the standings:


1 Gino Yu $30,000
2 Jaime Ateneloff $73,000
3 Nick Frangos $47,000
4 Al Korson $73,000
5 John Arrage $52,000
6 Tom Ralph $22,000
7 Trent Sessions $47,000
8 Kathy Liebert $97,000
9 Joe Brandenburg $55,000
10 Thor Hansen $27,000

The blinds were $1,500-$3,000, playing with $3,000-$6,000 limits, 27:01 remaining at this level, with $519,000 in chips on the table. On the second hand, Tom Ralph, a CPA with a South Dakota poker championship to his credit raised, Gino Yu three-bet it and Ralph re-raised all in for the last of his $22,000. He turned up…pocket 7s, and Yu showed him pocket aces. The board came Q-3-2-Q-6 and Ralph collected $5,800.

After 15 hands, John Arrage, a Horseshoe poker dealer for 15 years, had become the co-leader with Liebert. Both had about 90k. A hand later, Thor Hansen, who started second-lowest chipped behind Ralph, had gotten much lower. Holding pocket queens, he raised under the gun. Yu had pocket kings this time and re-raised the pride of Oslo, Norway all in. All rags came and Hansen signed for his $7,740 prize money.

Right after limits went to $4,000-$8,000, Liebert increased her lead to about $110,000 when her pocket 4s held up against Yu's A-K. Then Arrage won two straight hands, the second time when his K-10 became a straight. Now he was the leader with some $135,000, and then, a hand later, 150k.


At that point, Frangos got a cell phone call from his mother, who was watching the live Webcast. The screen wasn't showing the players' faces, and she didn't know where he was seated. "Hi, mom!" he said. "Look, I'm in seat three. See, I'm waving my hands,' he added, frantically waving his hands. Arrange broke in to ask, "What about my mom?" "You'll have to call her on the break," tournament assistant Bonnie Damiano informed him. Ah, the wonders of modern technology. Now that the scenery has been set, let's move into:


Frangos, a New York pro making his second final table so far, now began catching fire. First, he picked up a pot when he raised and Trent "Chainsaw" Sessions folded. On the next hand, with Sessions down to $10,000, Frangos raised with A-J and Sessions went all in with pocket 8s. Chainsaw was in the lead until a river ace cut his motor and he withdraw $9,700 from the eighth place pay window. Then, on the hand after that, in a pot that was three-bet before the flop, Frangos' A-K held up against Joe Brandenburg, and he now had a big lead of $140,000, which went to 180k by hand 40. Liebert, meanwhile, stayed in contention as she methodically raised in promising spots to pick up blinds. After dipping down a bit, Frangos was back to 170k after eliminating Brandenburg, an engineer from Oregon with an Orleans Open win to his credit. Frangos had K-J to Brandenburg's pocket 8s. He flopped trip jacks and filled on the turn. Seventh place was worth $12.100.

The play was fast and players were dropping faster. Hand 55 was the last for Al Korson. Down to a few chips, he went all in with K-5. Jaime Ateneloff, a resident of Uruguay making his second cash-in, was in the big blind with Q-7, and hit another 7 on the river. Korson earned $16,900 for sixth place. The approximate chip count now was:

Nick Frangos $178,000
John Arrange $135,000
Kathy Liebert $115,000
Jaime Ateneloff $65,000
Gino Yu $30,000

On hand 71, Frangos button-raised into a flop of 10-6-5 and Liebert check-raised him.
When a third-heart ace turned, she bet, he raised and, after much deliberation, Kathy folded. Frangos, playing his second tournament and making his second final table, now had about 100k. John Bonetti, back by popular demand for more play-by-play for the WSOP Webcast, paid tribute to Frangos. "I watched this young man play in Atlantic City, and he moidered them in stud," Bonetti declared.

Yu got in trouble when he lost a big pot to Arrage on hand 76. Yu had A-J and made three jacks when the board showed K-J-10-7-J. But Arrage, with Kd,Qd, had made a flush. Down to $2,000, Yu doubled up on the next hand. But a hand later, in the small blind, he went all in again with Jh,5h. Arrage went after him with 10s,7d. The flop was Kd,Jd,9d. A queen on the turn gave Arrage a straight, and an ace of diamonds on the river gave him a flush. Yu (him, not you) collected $21,700 for fifth.


Suddenly getting red hot, Frangos won three hands in a row, the biggest when he flopped a straight against Arrage, running his chip count to about $250,000, with his three opponents all in the 80-90k range. A few hands later he climbed to $276,000, more than half the chips in play, when he started with K-9 in three-way action against Arrage and Liebert and won with a paired 9. As level 14 wound down, Liebert took a couple of hits, and when limits went to $5,000-$10,000 with 3k-5k blinds, the count was:

Frangos: $257,000
Ateneloff: $110,000
Arrage: $109,000
Liebert: $43,000


Though nobody knew it yet, Act I had just ended, and as the scenery was being changed, Act II was about to unfold. Arrage won several pots, and asked tournament coordinator Steve McDonald if he could be employee of the month. Then, on hand 108, a turning point came. Frangos had pocket queens and was betting and raising against Atenloff, who held pocket 7s. With a board of 5-4-3-K, Frangos had the lead, until a fatal 7 hit the river. "Two 7s, Liebert observed, "has been a hot hand throughout the tournament."
After a few more hands, Arrage had pulled roughly even with Frangos, with about 170k each, while Ateneloff had about 130k and Kathy still trailed with 40k. Then, three hands later, Arrage flopped a straight against Frangos to take a 3-2 lead over him, about $210,000 to $140,000.

Liebert was still staying alive by picking up blinds until she finally got well in a very unusual pot. Playing against Ateneneloff, she raised, he re-raised and she four-bet it to put 40k into the pot pre-flop. She bet the 9-8-2 flop, the turn-card jack and then her last $2,000 when a 4 hit the river. There was now 80k in the pot, counting the blinds, but he folded, probably missing some kind of draw, rather than put in $2,000 more.

As act II unfolded, Arrage picked up a big pot against Liebert with pocket aces and on the next hand did major damage to Frangos, who paired a king on the flop, only to discover that Arrage had two kings in the pocket. It did not take an expert in body language to figure out that what Frangos' expression meant: I can't believe it. Suddenly Arrage had close to $300,000. Frangos' relentless reversal of fortune continued a few hands later, Liebert paired a jack on the river to knock him down to about 80k. Suddenly, he decided that the dealer in the box who had been so unlucky for him had been there considerably longer than the allotted 30 minutes and demanded a change. "It's cost me $200,000 and he's only been here 30 minutes?" he asked. "Could he deal one more hand?" Arrage requested. "How about another hour?"

A few hands later, Frangos tried to knock out an all-in Ateneloff, only to discover that Jaime had pocket aces, and now he was truly beside himself. The new dealer apparently didn't make much difference, because Nick was now down to about 42k. A few hands later, he was up against Jaime again, who again was all in. Nick had A-Q, Jaime K-9. With a board of A-J-6-Q, Jaime's only out was a 10 for a straight. "If I lose this hand I'll kill myself," Frangos vowed. He wasn't put to the test, because a river 9 gave Jaime a smaller two pair ("Even that's too close," Nick complained). The tournament was now down to three as Ateneloff's cash-out amounted to $29,000.


The count was now 360k for Arrage, 100k for Liebert and 60k for Frangos. That's it--$360,000?" Arrage asked. The Binion's dealer was proving to have a laconic, easy-going sense of humor that the spectators loved. A minute later he said he might have to go to the men's room, but that it might cost him $8,000. "Pay toilets used to be only a dime," noted Warren Karp, who directs the evening tournaments.

It took 11 hands to knock out Frangos. On hand 161, he was down to $11,000 in the $5,000 big blind. Liebert raised with K-2 and he added his last $1,000 holding10-3. The flop was Q-7-3. He had the lead with a pair of treys, but was still pessimistic. "No chance," he said. Sure enough, as predicted, he lost when a king came on the river. A thoroughly frustrated Nick Frangos, who looked earlier as if he would win going away, now just went away, though his $45,900 payday might have eased the pain a bit.


The count was now 398k for Arrage, 121k for Liebert. As heads-up play proceeded, the differences in their personalities and behavior became startlingly evident. Liebert is a thoroughgoing poker professional who lives and breathes the game. Focused, intent, serious, she does not miss a thing as her radar scans the table, looking for every edge, every tell, every opportunity. She cashes in regularly, her high point being her a $1 million Party Poker cruise event, though she still hungrily wants her first bracelet. Arrage could not present a more different image. Though he has been playing the game for years, though he has been picking up strategy by watching players in his 20 years as a dealer, and even though he came in third in the opening employees event, he did not seem to be taking the match-up seriously as he joked nonstop and seem to be playing nonchalantly, almost uncaringly.

Slowly, steadily, Liebert began cutting into his big lead. After only about a dozen hands, she had narrowed the gap to $320,000-$200,000. He seemed like he couldn't care less. The real reason he wanted to win a bracelet, he joked, was to really impress the players he deals to. "When they tell me I don't know what I'm doing, I'll say, 'look right over here, pal.'"

Later, he complained that Kathy had raised 10 times in a row. "Can't you get off a hand once in a while?" he asked. During the next break, he was asked about his relaxed attitude inside the pressure cooker of a World Series final table. He's been both ways, he explained, and eventually decided that being nasty was not the right way to go. "Call it maturity," he smiled. Another thing that calmed him down, he said, was when a friend bought him a saxophone. Learning to play it put him in a calmer state.


Limits now went to $6,000-$12,000. Kathy continued to close ground, though John regained some territory when he made a nut flush. Then Kathy made a serious dent in his stacks when her pocket 10s held up against his A-J and she took in a $120,000 pot. He even began downing a series of vodkas and orange juices, acting as though he were playing in a small-stakes home game. "Let's get loaded," he suggested to Kathy. "You can get a ride home." (Yeah, right, he came to the right place). As the 100th heads-up hand approached, he blew off a lot of chips, continuing to call after she had re-raised him and then check-raised him. She started with Q-7 and flopped three sevens. "Wow, what imagination," he said. "Let's gamble it up, I don't care if you take the rest of my money."

A couple of hands later Liebert had actually taken the lead. On the next hand, he raised in the dark before he had even seen his cards. Now some friends of his in the audience were becoming alarmed at his seemingly reckless, uncaring play. "Don't give it away," one pleaded. "If she has the best hand, what can I do?" he shrugged.

What was going on? Was he drunk? Was he throwing the tournament? Could she possibly have paid him off to buy the bracelet, as Maria Stern had admitted doing a few years ago? Part of the answer came when he pointed to a big stack of bills on the table and said, "The big pile is mine. We're only playing for a little." It later developed that they had made some sort of deal during the dinner break. But still…

Kathy now led, $380,000-$140,000, and the spectators had all but conceded the tournament to her. But then he won a couple of large pots, and made up a lot of ground when, holding Q-10, he made a nut straight after the board came 9-5-3-K-J. At that point, an acquaintance happened to pass by and spotted John. "What the hell are you doing here?" he yelled in amazement as the crowd roared. On hand 325 of the tournament, Arrage started with A-4, paired his 4 and, to everyone's disbelief, took over the chip lead.


The turning point came on hand 327, which was the 166th hand heads-up. The board came J-7-6-4-6 and John turned up those magic 77s. He had flopped a set, filled on the river and now led $420,000-$110,000. Kathy never recovered after that. On the final hand, he started with Kc,5c and she had Jc,9s. She raised on the button, he re-raised and she was all in. The board came 8-6-5-4-10. His paired 5s won, and this tournament was in the books. He officially collected $178,600 and she had a payday of $91,700.

In a boisterous press conference afterwards, Men "The Master" Nguyen asked if he would continue dealing now or turn pro. "Dealing is my business," he replied. "I'm a professional dealer. Binion's has always given me a job when I needed one, and I'll be back dealing Monday. It's OK to stiff me on Monday," he added. He then led a procession downstairs to the satellite area and led the players in cheers for him. Indeed, this was one tournament that will be long remembered.

Final Official Results

1. John Arrage Las Vegas, NV $178.600
2. Kathy Liebert Las Vegas, NV $91,700
3. Nick Frangos White Plains, NY $45,900
4. Jaime Ateneloff Montevideo, Uruguay $29,000
5. Gino Yu Torrance, CA $21,700
6. Al Korson Albuquerque, NM $16,900
7. Joe Brandenburg Portland, OR $12,700
8. Trent Sessions Huffman, TX $9,700
9. Thor Hansen Oslo, Norway $7,740
10.Tom Ralph Sioux Falls, SD $5,800

11th and 12th, $5,800: David Plastik, Las Vegas, NV; Jereme Montoya, Towaoc, CO;
13th-15th, $4,800: Richard Fong, San Francisco, CA, Jason Mathews, London, England; Patty Gallagher, San Diego, CA
16th-18th, $3,900: Shaun Stephans, Mt. Sterling, OH; John Phan, Long Beach, CA; Randy Holland, Winnetka, CA.
19th-27th, $2,870: Kenna James, South Gate, CA; Kane, Bothell,WA; John O'Connor, League City, TX, Christopher Bell, Raleigh, NC; Donald Barton, Pahrump, NV; Bruce
Yamron, Naples, FL; David Rabbi, Las Vegas, NV; Lejdin Fazlibegu,

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