Event #5: Limit Texas Hold 'em
Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Buy-in: $1,000 (+60)
Number of Entries: 51
Total Prize Money: $49,470
In the long litany of live-action poker tournaments, perhaps as many as a thousand major events played around the world every single day and night, year around, there are rare instances when the magnitude of victory has a profound emotional impact on the winner. Sure, it's nice to win a poker tournament and collect big prize money. But there are extraordinary occasions when the achievement itself surpasses the value of money.
When Don Mullis discovered poker last October, it became his new obsession. Determined to learn more about the game and improve his skills, Mullis played more and more on the Internet. Then he decided he was ready to play poker at the highest level: The World Series of Poker. One week ago, Mullis signed into the Harvey's Lake Tahoe. Five days later, Don Mullis had not only become the only player at this year's WSOPC tournament to make it to three final tables, he also became the latest poker champion. The victory was made even sweeter by the fact that at both previous final tables, Mullis had been the first player out (9th in both events). In this event, he lasted about seven hours longer. It was well worth the wait.
The $1,000 buy-in limit hold'em event attracted 51 entries. After setting record numbers the previous week, it's become clear that 'limit' hold'em is now a distant second to no-limit' hold'em in popularity with tournament players. Day One resulted in the elimination of 42 players. The nine finalists returned on Day Two, with Bobby Quiring from Pullman, WA holding a slight chip lead. Players were eliminated as follows:
9th Place: Scott Laird, $1,484
It took 40 minutes for the first player to be eliminated. Laird went out in 9th.
8th Place: Ammon Brown, $1,979
Brown arrived with the shortest stack. On his final hand he was dealt Q-Q and doubled-up pre-flop when his last raise was called by Richard Pilewicz, holding 9-9. The board crushed Brown as Pilewicz ended up with quad nines. Brown's pocket ladies hit the muck.
7th Place: Paul Evans, $2,474
Evans took two consecutive beats and went out next. First, he lost a big hand to Jon Turovitz. Then, low on chips he made his final stand with A-8, paired the ace on the flop, but lost to a straight.
6th Place: Jon Turovitz, $2,968
Turovitz felt the sting of defeat a short time later when he was dealt pocket 10s. Steve Severin was holding Q-Q. Neither hand improved, and the pocket queens took down the pot.
5th Place: Bobby Quiring, $3,463
It took another hour-and-a-half before the next player was eliminated. Quiring was short-stacked and caught a strong hand with A-2 when he flopped two pair. Severin had top pair with A-J and when the board paired, it meant Quiring's second pair (deuces) was dead, while Severin's jack played as the fifth-card kicker.
4th Place: Richard Pilewicz, $3,954
At this point, Dinh Quang Le had seized the chip lead. That glory was fleeting as he lost a big pot to Severin - which meant the chip counts were close to even among the four finalists. Then, things really went south for Pilewicz. He made a big hand - a straight to the king on the turn - and it looked like he might get close to the chip lead with the big pot. But three hearts on board gave Mullis a flush draw. A heart on the river was the final nail in Pilewicz's coffin.
3rd Place: Dinh Quang Le, $5,442
Just when it appeared Mullis had all the momentum, Severin caught a nice rush and catapulted into the chip lead. Most of those chips came at Quang Le's expense. After 40 minutes of struggle, Quang Le ran into Severin's set of aces and lost most of his chips. That huge loss left Quang Le with a single 500 chip, which went into the pot on the next hand. Both opponents checked their hands down, and Quang Le's night was over after a seven-hour finale.
Runner up: Steve Severin, $9,894
1st Place: Don Mullis, $17,094
The heads-up duel between Mullis and Severin began with Mullis holding a very small (53,000-47,000) chip advantage. It took three big hands for Mullis to overtake Severin - who played with just the right mix of patience and aggression. On the final hand of the tournament Mullis was dealt 5-5 versus Severin's Q-9. Severin tried to make a move at the pot with an inside-straight draw, but Mullis called the last bet of the night with a pocket pair. The final board showed K=J=6=4=8.
View final results.