Roberts' Other Hobbies Include Demolition Derby Driving and Barrel Horse Racing
Elizabeth, IN—For most of the final table of the eighth event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Caesars Indiana, James “Gimbo” Bradley held a monster lead. Then, on the 81st hand, Brian Roberts flopped a straight to crack Bradley’s pocket aces, hauled in a 600,000 pot, the biggest by far of any in this current tournament series, and was unstoppable after that.
Click here to view the official results.
After he knocked Bradley out 33 hands later, he owned 708,000 of the 849,000 chips in play and made a deal with his final two opponents to end the action. To make things legal, they played one hand. Bradley had Ah-3h and his two opponents just mucked. For his win, Bradley took home an official $35,470 plus a $5,000 main event seat.
Roberts, 39, is a manufacturing supervisor in an auto parts plant in Ridgeville, Indiana. Poker is far from his only hobby, because he also takes part in demolition derbies and barrel races with horses. Roberts has been playing poker since he was a kid, but hold’em just 1-1/2 years. He’s had three cashes in the Midwest Regional Poker Championships this year, along with a $15,000 cash in last year’s WSOP main event. He has one 9-year-old boy.
Roberts describes his play as selective/aggressive. Tonight he was very short chipped with two tables left before winning a bunch of pots to recover. He plays $1-$2 no-limit cash games but prefers tournaments because they suit his style of play.
Despite the big turnout, it took only 8-1/2 hours to get to the final nine. At that point we were playing for blinds of 2,000-4,000 with nine minutes left on the clock. Bradley was way in front with 288,500 chips.
Very short-chipped were Brandon Howard with 25,000 and Michael Day with 28,000, and both were gone in eight hands. On hand three Howard moved in with Ac-5c. Rick Stinson saw him with Jh-10h and made a straight on fourth street.
Howard, 36, is a manager from Dayton, Ohio who has played 23 years. This was his first Circuit and the highlight of his poker career. His other hobbies are golf, fishing, pool, bowling and darts. Ninth paid $2,365.
After blinds went to 3,000-6,000, Day was in bad shape when he pushed in with K-6 against Stinson’s K-Q. A board of 10-6-5-J-2 didn’t change anything, and two were gone.
Day, 41, vice president of operations for a trucking company, is from Chelsea, Massachusetts. Married with two children, he learned poker from his father 25 years ago. He’s had a couple of cashes this year, but this is his best finish. Eighth paid $3,547.
Kevin Wade took a painful hit on hand 15. He moved in with pocket kings, and Hong “Tee” Nguyen called with pocket 4s. One was a heart, and Nguyen made a surprise flush when four hearts hit the board. Wade was never able to recover after that, and he busted out a dozen hands later, just as the level was ending. He put in his last 16,000 with Jh-9h and lost to Jenny Branham’s K-Q after the board showed A-10-3-5-10. Branham, incidentally, is the first woman thus far to make a final table here.
Wade, 31, is a construction worker from Danville, Kentucky. He learned poker teaching himself and watching TV three years ago. This is his second Circuit and best finish. Seventh paid $4,729.
Nguyen, meanwhile, had moved in twice earlier with no calls. Before the tournament ended, he would go all in an incredible 14 times, several times being called and surviving, once when his A-3 outran an A-10. Harder to kill than a cockroach, as the saying goes, he lasted all the way to second place.
Nguyen’s fifth all-in came on hand 35 when he had 26,000 left in the big blind. “Let ‘em live,” he joked, looking at 6-5. But he changed his mind when he flopped two pair, bet and won again.
Then another player went out on the last hand of this level. When Rick Stinson raised, Paul Givens, in the big blind, put in his last chips with 9-5. He was blown out when Givens flopped aces and queens.
Givens, 26, is a pro from Kokomo, Indiana who began playing poker in high school 14 years ago. This event and a couple of large cashes in Vegas are his poker highlights. Sixth paid $5,912.
Branham departed soon after. After Bradley opened for 30, she called with J-10 and had a good flop: J-6-5. She bet 32,000, only to have Bradley move in. She hesitated for a long time, fiddling with her cards, before calling. Bradley turned up pocket 5s for a set, and five were gone.
Branham, 43, is originally from Germany and now lives in Radcliff, Kentucky. She’s only been playing a year, learning from TV and local tournaments. This is her second Circuit, and she has a second in a local event. Her hobbies are photography and cooking. Fifth paid $7,094.
Bradley’s stacks now neared the 400,000 mark. It would take 57 more hands to lose our next and last player.
The big turnaround hand came on the 81st deal, after blinds had gone to 8,000-16,000 with 2,000 antes. Roberts raised 40,000 with A-Q and Bradley came over the top on the button with his pocket rockets. The flop came K-J-10, giving Roberts his straight. He moved in for 134,000 and Bradley called. A king and trey changed nothing, and suddenly Roberts was way, way out in front.
As play continued, Nguyen moved in for the umpteenth time, saying “I’m tired.” Bradley wasn’t taken in, saying “Yeah, yeah,” but calling anyway with A-7, losing to Nguyen’s pocket 7s. A short-chipped Stinson, meanwhile, also was doing his share of moving in and surviving. Bradley had been trying to fight his way back, at one point going all in three consecutive times, but never accumulated that many chips.
Blinds now went to 10,000-20,000 with 3,000 antes. After numerous all-in raises by three of the finalists, and smaller raises by Roberts, the final hand came down on the 114th deal. Roberts raised 30,000 pre-flop with 10h-4h, and Bradley called with 9-8. The flop was 10d-9h-3h. Roberts moved in with top pair and a flush draw, and Bradley called with second pair. An offsuit trey and queen came. Roberts missed his flush, but his paired 10s were quite enough.
The three made their deal, played their requisite formal last hand, and this tournament was over.
Bradley, 45, is a trucker living in Las Vegas. He has one child, learned poker from his grandpa 38 years ago and has played 20 Circuit events. His eight prior cashes include $47,502 for a second at the Borgata Poker Open this year and $56,407 for winning a $1,500 Circuit event at Harrah’s Las Vegas in 2005. Fourth paid $8,276.
Stinson, who finished third with 60,000 chips, is 52 and a retired junior high math teacher from Henderson, Kentucky. His nickname is “Educator.” He’s played 40 years, five seriously, won his seat by satellite and has played seven or so Circuits. His highlights include winning a $5,150 seat at Tunica and local wins in Evansville and Henderson. Third paid $9,459.
Nguyen finished second with 81,000 chips. He’s 28, is from Evansville, Indiana and has been playing eight years, learning as a kid (“My whole family gambles.”) He’s cashed all three Circuit events he entered, but this is his first final table. His other hobbies are basketball and billards. Second paid $19,036. —Max Shapiro
Here were the starting chip counts:
SEAT 1 Kevin Wade 52,500
SEAT 2 Jenny Branham 88,000
SEAT 3 Brandon Howard 25,000
SEAT 4 Rick Stinson 98,000
SEAT 5 Brian Roberts 119,500
SEAT 6 Michael Day 28,000
SEAT 7 James Bradley 288,500
SEAT 8 Paul Givens 99,000
SEAT 9 Hong Nguyen 40,000For more information, please contact: Max Shapiro -- WSOP Media Director at (323) 356-3303Or visit our official website: www.worldseriesofpoker.comWorld Series of Poker Commissioner – Jeffrey PollackWorld Series of Poker Tournament Director -- Jack Effel Caesars Indiana Poker Room Manager – Jimmy AllenCaesars Indiana Tournament Directors -- Andy Cunningham and Sue Stetar