Tournament Ends when the Two Finalists, Nearly Even, Make a Deal
Elizabeth, IN—After making a deal with runner-up Marc Fratter, Carlos Uz was declared the winner of the $5,000 WSOP Circuit championship event at Caesars Indiana, capping a highly successful tournament series here. First officially paid $223,041 along with a $10,000 seat in next year’s WSOP main event and a gold and diamond trophy ring. Uz, 49, came to this country from Cuba when he was two and now lives in Miami Lakes, Florida. Married with eight children, he recently sold his chain of pet stores.
He offered thanks to his younger brother, Jose, who paid for his trip here. Uz, who has played a limited number of tournaments, won his way into this event via satellite and has cashes in the Los Angeles Poker Classic, at Borgata’s Deep Stack and at the Hard Rock. Tonight he was down to 35,000 in chips three hours into the first day, was up and down after that, but came to the final table in second chip position. By the time it got down to five players, he had a commanding lead with over 800,000 of the 1,440,000 chips in play. Fratter passed him by knocking out two players, and they were fairly even when they got heads-up.
Initially, they agreed to chop the prize money and play for the ring and seat. After 38 hands with almost no action and Fratter still holding a slight lead, they decided to “end the agony,” play one hand to make it official, with Fratter, an attorney, getting $185,000 of the $340,070 prize pool and the WSOP seat, while Uz got the ring and title.
Uz described himself as a tight player. His key hand came at the end of day one when he pulled in a pile of chips by making a nut flush to knock out Amanda Baker, winner of the $1,000 event here, when she made a smaller flush.. Uz has played 18 years, learning poker when he lived in Las Vegas.
Play started on round 12 with blinds of 2,000-4,000, 500 antes, an hour left on the clock. Terry Ogle led with 339,000 chips.
Here were the starting chip counts:
SEAT 1 Terry Ogle Gatlinburg, TN 339,000
SEAT 2 Carlos Uz Miami Lakes, FL 329,000
SEAT 3 James Lindsay Hayesville, NC 74,000
SEAT 4 Tom Schneider Scottsdale, AZ 42,500
SEAT 5 Chris Viox Glen Carba, IL 67,500
SEAT 6 Vito Casullo Jr. Covington, KY 137,500
SEAT 7 Thomas Hover Las Vegas, NV 43,500
SEAT 8 Chris Moore Chicago, IL 293,500
SEAT 9 Marc Fratter McKinney, TX 115,500
Action was immediate. On the first hand, Thomas “The Bishop” Hover pushed in his 43,000 and got calls from Uz and Casullo. With a board of 10-6-3-A, Uz bet 25,000. Casullo folded. Uz had A-K to Hover’s 9-8, and the paired ace left Hover in 9th place, paying $16,173.
Hover, 39, is from Vegas, had been a minister and is now a gambler. He’s been playing three years, had three cashes at this year’s WSOP and placed fifth in a $500 Tunica Circuit and fourth in a $2,500 L.A. Poker Classic event. He’s entered four Circuits and is married with two children and two grandkids. Ninth paid $13,768.
As play went on, there were two all-in survivals. Tom “Donkey Bomber” Schneider got lucky, earning a chop with A-10 against A-J, and then James Lindsay’s pocket 9s held up against A-K. Hand 21 was Schneider’s last. He moved in for 17,000 with pocket 8s and got two callers. On a flop of A-Q-7, Vito Casullo Jr. bet 20,000 holding A-10. Moore folded, two treys came, and once more a paired ace eliminated a player as Schneider finished eighth., worth $20,652.
Schneider, 47, is from Indianapolis. A former CPA, he is now is a poker author (his book is called “Oops! I Won Too Much Money”) and gaming consultant. At the WSOP this year Schneider won the $5,000 Omaha/stud hi-lo ($214,347), and $1,000 stud hi-lo ($147,710) events and finished fourth in $2,500 HORSE to become WSOP Player of the Year. He also took fourth in the Legends/WPT championship ($228,625), and last year collected $256,115 for third at the World Poker Challenge/WPT championship at Reno. A player for 37 years, he has entered played about eight Circuits. He learned poker from his mom, enjoys golf and writing, and is married with three children.
Eleven hands later, James Lindsay moved in for 74,500 with A-K and got a call from Uz, who had A-9 off. Lindsay took a tough beat as the board came 9-7-3-10-8. He finished seventh, paying $27,536.
Lindsay, 53, is self-employed and from Hayesville, North Carolina. He’s married with two children and likes to fish and hunt. His best cash was $17,567 for third at the Tunica Circuit this year.
After a break, players returned to 90-minute rounds with 3,000-6,000 blinds and 500 antes. Uz, who had been using his chips as a weapon, taking in pots with big raises, had built up an enormous lead with 555,000 of the 1,440,000 chips in play.
On the fourth hand, Uz took in a big pot after hitting a set of treys on the river, then knocked out Chris “PiMaster” Viox to amass over 800,000 chips. On that hand, Viox had moved in for 79,000 with Qh-3h. Uz called with A-9 and the ace played as the board came K-8-4-J-6.
Viox, 31, is a poker player/investor from Glen Carbon, Illinois. He’s been playing poker since he was a kid, eight years fairly consistently, and has thirds at the Midwest Poker Championship and the WSOP $2,000 pot-limit hold’em events last year, and cashed twice at this year’s WSOP. His other hobbies are biking, softball and other gambling activities. He’s married with two children. Sixth place paid $34,420.
On hand 54, Chris “Toph” Moore, holding Q-9, made trips when the flop came 9h-9d-3h. He slow-played, allowing Uz, with 10h-2h, to make a flush when a Kh rivered. Moore’s last 54,000 went in, and he went out fifth, which paid $41,304.
Moore, 24, is a poker player from Chicago and taught himself the game three years ago. He has a third in the Wynn classic, and this is his second Circuit.
Suddenly Fratter started moving up. He was dealt pocket deuces in the small blind. Terry Ogle, with 8-2 in the big, had a disastrous flop of 8-6-2, giving him two pair to Fratter’s set. He couldn’t get away from the hand, and busted after a 6 turned to give Fratter a full house.
Ogle is 54, from Gatlinburg, and operates a cabin rental business. He’s played poker all his adult life and this is his second Circuit and his poker highlight. He has two children.
Tonight he earned $55,072 for fourth.
Vito “The Big Guy” Casullo Jr. got lucky when he was all in with J-10 and Uz paired on the flop. But he earned a chop when they both played the board of K-4-7-K-7. But then a similar flukey two-pair board left him in third place. He was all in for 220,000 with pocket 9s. Fratter called with A-8, and when the board came Q-10-10-8-Q, the ace-high won it.
Cassullo, 61, is from Covington, Kentucky, self-employed in the fireworks business, playing his third Circuit. He’s married with two children, fishes and golfs and has played poker all his life. Cashing $68,840 for third tonight is his poker highlight.
Heads-up, Fratter now had a small lead with roughly 740,000 to 700,000 for Uz. After their first deal, the two played extremely cautiously for 38 hands, and the pots were small. Once Uz had pocket aces, two other times flushes, and got no action. At one point, they even fooled around for several hands, agreeing to bet and call blind 10,000 on each round of betting. At that rate, if the cards broke even, the match would last about two months.
Finally, they wrapped it up with the new agreement and played one hand to make it official. The flop came Kd-7d-7d, and Fratter mucked, ended the evening and this Circuit event.
Fratter, 35, is from McKinney, Texas. He has one child and has been playing poker as long as he can remember, over 30 years. He’s been in one prior Circuit, a main event, and his only previous cash was $3,000 for finishing 47th in a Red River Roundup event in Oklahoma. Tonight he earned an official $117,028 for second. —Max Shapiro
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World Series of Poker Commissioner – Jeffrey Pollack
World Series of Poker Tournament Director -- Jack Effel
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Caesars Indiana Tournament Directors -- Andy Cunningham and Chris Reason