The 2010 World Series of Poker begins today and runs through the middle of July. If you plan on heading out to Las Vegas, be sure to keep in touch via Twitter or email. We’d love to track your progress.
Here is the recap from last year’s WSOP, as seen in the August issue of Minnesota Poker Magazine.
2009 World Series of Poker Recap
Minnesota went without a bracelet in 2009, but local players left their marks in other ways
By Phil Mackey
2009 was another historic year at the World Series of Poker, which saw approximately 60,000 entrants fight for a share of nearly $200 million in prize money over 57 events from May 27 – July 12.
The preliminary events featured dominating performances by household names such as Phil Ivey and Jeff Lisandro, who won two and three bracelets respectively. Online pro Brock Parker also took home two bracelets,. Unfortunately, of the 56 bracelets handed out this summer (the 57th will be awarded at the Main Event final table in November), zero went to Minnesotans.
Even so, a handful of local players made deep runs and/or came home with compelling stories from the Rio in Las Vegas.
Mike Carlson, a fixture at Canterbury’s Fall Poker Classic over the past few years, won $41,640 for his 10th place finish in event 11, a $2,000 buy-in no limit hold’em tournament. Jason Loehde from Minneapolis went deep in two Omaha events (#46 and #48), taking home over $16,000. Paul Dominski of Minnetonka earned $19,658 for his 26th place finish out of 2,791 players in event #7, a $1,500 buy-in no-limit tournament.
Roughly 250 Minnesotans entered WSOP events, according to WorldSeriesofPoker.com, tallying nearly 50 cashes for almost $400,000 in prize money.
Of those Minnesota entrants, 21-year-old Andrew Radel of Forest Lake took quite possibly the most heartbreaking beat.
In event 20, a $1,500 buy-in pot limit hold’em event with 633 entrants, Radel found himself with a massive chip stack at a final table that included Erik Seidel. In fact, the only player who had him covered was John-Paul Kelly, who sat directly to Radel’s left.
Action folded to Radel, who looked down at in the small blind and made a standard raise. Kelly re-raised from the big blind and Radel made the call.
“AQs is a very strong hand HU and I figured I was ahead from the start,” Radel told Minnesota Poker Magazine after the tournament. “Kelly and I had played a few large hands together the past couple days so I had a little history on him. Due to my position at the final table when the hand started I really did not want to have to (coin) flip against the only player that could knock me out.”
The flop came and Radel led for half the pot.
“Once the ace hit the flop with two other non-threatening cards I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away from the hand,” Radel said. “So the goal at that point was to make him put his chips in with the weakest range possible. I led into for half the pot to look like I had an under-pair to the ace and was just trying to take a stab at the pot. Kelly folding to that bet would’ve been pretty weak because it really looks like I didn’t have the ace. Kelly was the type of player who would pick-up on that weakness.”
Just as Radel suspected, Kelly sensed weakness and moved all in for 4-times Radel’s bet. Radel made the call and Kelly flipped up , drawing nearly dead!
“The play worked and he shoved with the worst hand,” Radel said. “At that point all I was worried about was AK because he would’ve played AK in the same way.”
Of course, in a perfect world, the hand would be over at that point with Radel taking an overwhelming chip lead. However, because poker is brutal, the fell on the river to give Kelly a set. Radel was left with nothing but felt.
“Generally you expect to win the tournament about as often as the percentage of the total chips you have. The pot would’ve given me about 40% of the chips in play with seven left. As that big of a chip leader I should’ve been even a little more of a favorite than that because there were a couple players that seemed like they were just trying to move up the money ladder.
“I just got unlucky.”
Brutal. Radel earned $21,082 for his eighth place finish, and he later cashed in event 42 for $14,545. Still, a 2-outer on the river for the chip lead at a WSOP final table is about as sick as it gets.
Speaking of Erik Seidel, he received a little taste of “Minnesota Nice” at the WSOP during the $10,000 buy-in heads up event.
Upon reaching the 3rd round, Jason Senti, an online professional from St. Louis Park, MN, found himself matched up against 8-time bracelet winner Seidel. The only problem? Seidel didn’t show up to the table for 15 minutes.
Now, the WSOP tournament staff doesn’t sit around and wait patiently for players to show up. Even legends like Seidel. The tournaments begin when scheduled, regardless of empty seats.
At this point, the obvious option was for Senti, who plays online as “PBJaxx,” was to steal Seidel’s blinds and build an early chip lead. That’s probably the path most people would choose.
Instead, however, Senti chose to stall.
“I actually knew that he was in the building playing another event, as a friend had text me that,” Senti told Minnesota Poker Magazine. “I wasn’t really sure what the proper etiquette was in the situation. I knew that the other tables with missing players were just stealing the blinds, but I felt that if he was likely to show up soon, I should give him some time.
“Basically, I decided I would give him up to 20 minutes to show up, and then I would have to play. The deeper structure in the beginning of the match is where my edge is biggest, so I didn’t want to go too long during that period without playing.”
Senti’s act of sportsmanship drew plenty of attention from PokerNews, Cardplayer and other poker news outlets. “Senti Stays Classy” and “Classy Move By Jason Senti” were just a couple of the headlines.
“In the end, I did what seemed to be right in the situation,” Senti said. “I wouldn’t fault anyone for stealing the blinds. We are there to win, and the winner of this match was guaranteed $18,000. Obviously that is a lot of money, but I followed what I decided was proper etiquette.”
As it turns out, good karma followed Senti, and he knocked Seidel out with against , all in preflop on the final hand. The victory earned Senti a $17,987 cash before he was bounced in the 4th round.
After the match, Seidel wrote on his Twitter page, “Busted in the Heads Up vs Jason Senti very tough young player.”
Senti’s feelings toward Seidel were mutual.
“So far, all my experiences with the well known “live pros” have been very good,” Senti said on his blog after the match. “Despite what Joan Rivers thinks, most poker players I have met seem to be good people.”
Living the Dream
Minnesota Bar Leagues have always provided players with unforgettable experiences at big tournaments, and this July was no different.
The Bar Poker League sent four players to the WSOP; Dave “hangman” Lentsch from Glenwood, Steve “jackjunk” Gehr from New Richmond, WI, John “jlc” Cadwell from New Hope, and Jason “dalejr88” Brummond from Truman. Lentsch and Gehr earned direct buy-ins to the Main Event, and both made it to day 2 before hitting the rail.
The Bar Poker League players also spent time prior to their tournaments partying and schmoozing with some of the top poker players in the world, including World Poker Store figureheads Marcel Luske, Hoyt Corkins, Johnny Chan, and others.
On top of that, the Bar Poker League players also had the opportunity to attend multiple poker parties, including the Everest party at Caesar’s Palace, the Bluff party at Sapphire, and the Doyle’s Room party at the Wynn.
“We take care of the players while there,” said Greg Needham, COO of the World Poker Store. “We meet them at breaks and reserve seats and buy dinner for them at the Rio and The Palms restaurants. During breaks it’s impossible to get a real meal unless someone has a seat waiting for you. Most are relegated to fast food and long lines, but we have a nice seated dinner with drinks and also pros eating with us during the breaks.”
Not to be outdone, the Little Poker League also sent a player into the Main Event. Jason Sanderson, from Bemidji, MN, checked into his hotel before day 1d, took down $400 in a cash game, then went to work in the WSOP.
Sanderson made it through day 1 with just over the starting stack of 30,000 chips, but early on day 2 he ran pocket nines into pocket queens on a rag flop to lose a ton of chips. A short while later, Sanderson pushed all in with AK but was called by pocket aces. Still, Sanderson had the time of his life.
“All in all it was a great experience,” Sanderson said, “and I’m excited to have the memories!”
Talk about the ultimate WSOP experience.
For more information about the Bar Poker League, visit www.TheWorldPokerStore.com. For information about the Little Poker League, visit www.LittlePokerLeague.com.
Phil Mackey is a sports radio personality at 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. He's also the editor and publisher of Minnesota Poker Magazine, and the co-founder of the Minnesota State Poker Tour. Contact Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org