05/01/08 03:17:48 PM PDT
..and just like that, we have a winner! Allen Cunningham made quick work of heads-up opponent Ben Fineman en route to capturing his first WSOP Circuit Championship title. The Team Full Tilt Pro entered the final table as its third smallest chip stack, but his resilience carried him through to the end, eventually helping him overcome a 3.5-1 chip disadvantage in the heads-up match. Cunningham's win pushed him past the $10 million mark in career tournament earnings and further solidifies his position as one of poker's premier tournament professionals.
Meanwhile, while Fineman surely would've preferred a victory here today, he's got to be pleased with his overall performance at Caesars this month. The young pro grossed over $325,000 in prize money since the Circuit came to town and won a championship ring of his own for taking down a $1,060 buy-in no-limit hold'em event just ten short days ago.
Thus, for now our time is up but we'll be back on May 19th reporting from the 'Big Easy' with live coverage of the 2008 WSOP Circuit's Boyou Poker Challenge, set to take place at Harrah's New Orleans.
Until then, from Caesars Palace in Sin City, good night and good luck!
05/01/08 02:55:58 PM PDT
Team Full Tilt Pro Allen Cunningham has just eliminated heads-up opponent Ben Fineman from the championship event to claim the 2008 Caesars Palace WSOP Circuit Championship; here's how the hand went down:
Ben Fineman raised 80,000 from the button and saw Allen Cunningham call, sending the two to see a flop of
. Checks by both brought the
on the turn. Cunningham led out with 100,000 and was promptly raised by Fineman who made it 400,000. Cunningham then sat still for a moment, before announcing "I'm all in." Fineman exhaled a deep breath, looked down at his chip stack and made the call.
At the showdown, Cunningham tabled
giving him a flush and the advantage over Fineman's
and made straight. Cunningham had Fineman drawing dead as an irrelevant river
fell, giving the pot, the cash and the title to Cunningham.
Runner-up finisher Ben Fineman will take home $257,637 for his commendable performance.
05/01/08 02:52:43 PM PDT
We're about one half hour into heads-up play and Allen Cunningham has stolen the chip lead from Ben Fineman. Cunningham currently sits with about 1,730,000 and Fineman trails close behind with 1,610,000.
05/01/08 02:37:53 PM PDT
Ben Fineman opened the pot with an 80,000 pre-flop raise and was called by Allen Cunningham. A flop of
hit the board and Fineman led out with a continuation bet only to see Cunningham move in over the top for his remaining 750,000. Fineman made the call and tabled a pocket pair of sevens only to find himself well behind Cunningham's
. The turn brought the
and the river
fell in favor of Cunningham, who doubled up to 1,660,000 in chips.
The double-up left the two contestants just about even in chips.
05/01/08 02:37:15 PM PDT
We've seen approximately 7-10 hands so far and most of them have been won uncontested with standard pre-flop raises.
05/01/08 02:34:49 PM PDT
Here's what our eventual winner and runner-up will receive:
05/01/08 02:18:58 PM PDT
Julius Caesar has delivered the cash and gold Circuit ring to the final table and the heads-up battle is officially underway.
Chip stacks at the start of heads-up play are as follows:
Ben Fineman - 2,630,000
Allen Cunningham - 710,000
05/01/08 02:04:52 PM PDT
The elimination of Kelly Samson in third place has set the stage for a heads-up match between local pro Ben Fineman and consummate tournament pro Allen Cunningham.
Fineman will begin the match with a 3.5-1 chip advantage over Cunningham. Heads-up play will begin after our two finalists return to the table following a brief intermission.
05/01/08 01:55:25 PM PDT
On a flop of
, Kelly Samson led out with a 75,000 bet. Ben Fineman then came over the top for 200,000 and Samson made the call. When the
peeled off on the turn, Samson led out once more and Fineman pushed back with the force of his remaining 1,102,000 in chips. Samson quickly called and found that his
for trip nines was behind Samson's jack-high flush
. The river brought no help to Samson as it fell
. After a lengthy countdown of both players' stacks it was determined that Fineman had Samson covered. The 53-year-old Kelly 'Kboy' Samson will take home $128,816 for his efforts.
05/01/08 01:48:28 PM PDT
On a flop showing
, Ben Fineman announced that he was all in, putting crowd-favorite Motoyuki 'Moto' Mabuchi to a decision for all of his chips. Mabuchi made a quick call and tabled
only to find himself well behind Fineman's
The turn and river came
and Fineman's queen kicker earned him the pot. Mabuchi received a warm round of applause from the studio audience as he exited the tournament area.
05/01/08 01:26:30 PM PDT
Justin 'ZeeJustin' Bonomo has just been eliminated from the tournament by Team Full Tilt Pro Allen Cunningham. Bonomo open-shoved all in before the flop for his last ~150,000 and when the decision fell to Cunningham, he too moved all in, in an attempt to isolate Bonomo. The move worked, setting up a pre-flop showdown pitting Cunningham's
The board filled out
in favor of Cunningham's ace-queen high, sending Bonomo to the rail in fifth place. Cunningham improved to about 470,000 after the hand.
05/01/08 01:25:07 PM PDT
'Moto' Mabuchi - 440,000
Kelly Samson - 1,410,000
Ben Fineman - 1,080,000
Justin Bonomo - 175,000
Allen Cunningham - 260,000
05/01/08 01:11:15 PM PDT
Kelly Samson opened the pot with a 90,000 pre-flop raise and when the action fell to Justin 'ZeeJustin' Bonomo, he moved all in holding a pocket pair of tens. Samson made the call and turned over pocket queens, leaving Justin in pretty bad shape heading into the showdown.
The board delivered
, giving Samson quad queens in an overkill victory that left Bonomo with just over 100,000 in chips. Samson skyrocketed past the one million mark and now sits with approximately 1,340,000.
05/01/08 01:01:36 PM PDT
Tournament chip leader Ben Fineman has just eliminated online pro Blair Hinkle from the main event in a big-time battle of the blinds. Action folded around to Fineman in the small blind who made it 60,000 to go. In an apparent attempt to defend his big blind, Hinkle quickly shoved his entire stack across the betting line - a wager worth an additional 518,000. Fineman made the call holding
and it turned out to be the right one as Hinkle tabled
By the turn, the board read
giving Hinkle both straight and flush outs, but the river paired the board (
) cementing the hand for Fineman. The win further increased Ben's chiplead over the field, catapulting him way past the one million mark for the day.
Hinkle took home $80,510 in prize money for his troubles.
05/01/08 12:45:20 PM PDT
During the last break, the tournament staff colored up several thousand worth of the players' 1,000-denomination chips and have replaced them with a new orange colored 10,000-denomination chip.
05/01/08 12:30:29 PM PDT
Just back from the break, Motoyuki "Moto" Mabuchi faced a 50,000 raise from Blair Hinkle. Moto decided to raise all in with his remaining 121,000 and showed
after Hinkle made the call holding
. Moto spiked a ten as the flop showed
. The pair of tens would be good enough through the turn and river as the board rounded out
. The double-up saw Moto move to 380,000 in chips.
05/01/08 12:24:15 PM PDT
The players have returned from break and the cards are back in the air.
05/01/08 12:07:41 PM PDT
The tournament clock has been paused while the remaining six players go on a 15-minute dinner break.
Here's how they stack up at the break:
'Moto' Mabuchi - 175,000
Kelly Samson - 550,000
Ben Fineman - 958,000
Blair Hinkle - 850,000
Justin Bonomo - 390,000
Allen Cunningham - 368,000
05/01/08 12:04:56 PM PDT
With it 56,000 to go, Kelly "Kboy" Samson and Allen Cunningham saw a flop of
. Checks by both men before the turn brought
, and another round of checks brought
on the river before Cunningham bet out 75,000 and was raised by Samson who came over the top with 150,000 more. Cunningham folded and Samson flashed his A-Q to Cunningham as he raked in Cunningham's chips.
05/01/08 12:01:44 PM PDT
With just six players remaining in the tournament and four minutes to play in the level, the average chip stack is 556,666.