He Knocks Out Final Two Opponents By Catching Needed Treys Both Times
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Elizabeth, IN — Caesars Indiana, the world’s largest riverboat casino and the second stop on the 2007-2008 WSOP Circuit tour, got off to a strong start with 668 players creating an opening-event prize pool of $189,238. The winner of this $300 no-limit hold’em contest was Jason Potter, a 22-year-old student/poker player entering his first Circuit event. His victory was worth $52,987 plus a $5,000 seat in the championship event and a gold and diamond trophy ring.
Potter destroyed the final table with what he described as “super-aggressive” play, owning 765,000 of the 1,336,000 chips in play with four players left. Toward the end he moved in repeatedly with weak hands because he felt his opponents were playing too tightly with so many chips on the table (blinds were now $15,000-$30,000 with $4,000 antes). Even so, he got lucky, knocking out his last two opponents by catching needed treys both times.
Potter, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a political science major aiming for a law degree who is taking a break from school to play poker. His best cash before tonight was $32,000 when he finished 14th in a $1,500 no-limit event at the WSOP this year. He’s been playing five years, is single, and his hobbies are sports and movies. He learned poker from TV.
A good indication that this tournament would produce big numbers came when a freeroll two days earlier drew an impressive 1,390 entrants. It paid three seats into the championship event with the winner, Jeffrey Wells, also earning $25,000.
Despite the large turnout, this tournament went fast, with the final table assembling at 10:30 p.m. We got there when Daniel Schafer hit a third 9 on the river to outrun Katherine Armstrong, all in with pocket jacks. Play began with $2,000 antes and blinds of $6,000-$12,000, 24:30 remaining. Chip leader with $264,000 was Felix “Fee” Morreo, a native of Venezuela now living in Pittsburgh.
Here were the starting chip counts:
Seat 1 Brandon Bourne 72,000
Seat 2 Robin Farley 241,000
Seat 3 Jason Potter 199,000
Seat 4 Felix Morreo 264,000
Seat 5 Steve Wienckowski 182,000
Seat 6 Daniel Schafer 258,000
Seat 7 Daniel Lo 44,000
Seat 8 John Pearman 67,000
Seat 9 Daniel Numan 63,000
In early action, we had two survivors, both on draw-outs. First, John Pearman, all in with 9-8 offsuit, hit a flush to beat Daniel Vo’s A-10. Then Brandon Bourne caught an ace to his A-10 to overtake Steve Wienckowski’s pocket queens.
Players returned from break to $8,000-$16,000 blinds and $2,000 antes. On hand 23, Pearman busted, this time on the wrong end of a draw-out. He called all in for $68,000 after Schafer pushed in for $79,000 with pocket 7s. Pearman, with Q-9, had the lead when a queen flopped, but then a river 7 finished him. Ninth paid $3,785.
Pearman, from Springfield, Illinois, is also a 22-year-old student. He’s self-taught, has been playing three years, and his other hobby is music. He got $3,785 for ninth.
A few hands later, Vo was short-chipped in the big blind with just 8-5 when Robin Farley, holding As-8s, put him in. Farley’s ace-high was good enough, and Vo took home $5,674 for eighth.
Vo, nicknamed “Bigdog,” is a 32-year-old banker from Lawrenceville, Georgia. He’s played for two years, learning from friends, and this is first Circuit event. He earned $5,677 for eighth.
Hand 35 was a big one. After Potter opened for $84,000, both Morreo and Schafer went all in. The board came 9-9-5-10-5. Potter, with pocket jacks, won and took the chip lead while Morreo, with A-4, busted out and Schafer, with A-K, was left with $12,000.
Morreo, who had been in real estate and now plays full time, has been playing five years, learning “by mistake.” His poker highlight: winning $7,800 in a 72-hour game. He took home $7,570 for seventh.
Schafer’s 12K didn’t last long. Soon after, he posted his last chips in the big blind holding 3h-2h, and Wienckowski, also all in from the small blind with K-9, blew him away when two kings hit the board, while Potter took the side pot.
Schafer, 30, is from Mansfield, Oho. Nicknamed “The Cooler,” he is single, taught himself poker, has been playing four years, and this is his fourth Circuit try. Sixth place paid $9,462.
Wienckowski finished fifth on a bad beat. Moving all in with K-8, he was a big favorite against Potter’s K-5, until a flop of K-5-5 gave Potter a full house.
Wienckowski, nicknamed “Wink,” is 44, is from Cary, Illinois, and in sales. He is married with three children, enjoys darts and beer, learned poker from family games, and took home $1,354 for fifth.
As play progressed, Robin “Queen of Hearts” Farley lost most of her chips to Daniel Numan when his A-9 outdrew her A-Q. but she got them back from him two hands later with a set of jacks.
Blinds went to $15,000-$30,000, with Potter owning 57 percent of the chips, and his three opponents fairly even.
Three hands later Numan moved in with J-10. Potter called with A-7 and flopprd a 7, leaving Numan in fourth place, which paid $13,247.
Numan, a business owner from Johnson City, Tennessee, is married with five children and has been playing for 35 years. This is his fifth Circuit event. He is also president of the 3,800-member Tennessee Poker League.
As play progressed, Brandon Bourne took 180,000 chips from Potter with kings-full versus queens-full. Then Farley hit him up for 60,000 more when she caught a queen to her K-Q to beat his A-10. The Queen of Hearts was saved again, by a queen of hearts, when she was all in with Q-J against Potter’s A-10. But Potter had plenty of chips to spare, and four hands later it was all over.
On hand 84, Bourne opened for $100,000 with K-Q. Potter tried an all-in bluff with 7d-3d and Bourne called. Potter took the lead on a flop of 10-4-3, Bourne regained it when a king turned, and then a river trey decided it.
Bourne, finishing third and collecting $15,139, is 30, from Sparta, Kentucky, and works in a steel mill. He is married with two children, taught himself poker five years ago, and has now played 10 Circuits. His prior highlight was winning a second chance event at the Orleans Open.
Heads-up, Farley had about 260,000 chips to Potter’s million-plus. Two hands later, Potter moved in from the button with Qs-3d, a big dog after Farley called with Qh-Kh. Once again a trey made the difference as the board came Ah-9c-3c-Qc-5s to end the match.
Farley, from Akron, Ohio, is married and currently a co-host on the Joe Average Poker national radio show. She also does a regional TV show on Sports Time Ohio cable. She’s been a poker player for more than 20 years and has played in several other Circuit events. Her various cashes include a 22nd-place finish in a WSOP ladies event and ninth at a Borgata Open tournament. —Max Shapiro
For more information, please contact:
Max Shapiro -- WSOP Media Director at (323) 356-3303
Or visit our official website: www.worldseriesofpoker.com
World Series of Poker Commissioner – Jeffrey Pollack
World Series of Poker Tournament Director -- Jack Effel
Caesars Indiana Poker Room Manager – Robert McGovern
Caesars Indiana Tournament Directors -- Andy Cunningham & Chris Reason