2007-2008 World Series of Poker Circuit
Grand Casino Tunica -- Tunica, MS
September 8-9, 2007
$1,000 No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $1,000 + $60
Number of Entries: 190
Total Prize Money: $184,300
Jeff Whisnant Gets Boost By Knocking Out Friend and Wins $1,000 No-Limit Event
But First He Had to Overcome A.J. Wallace's Huge Heads-Up Lead
Click here to view the official results.
Tunica, MS—Proving that there are no friends at the poker table — or at least shouldn’t be — Jeff Whisnant knocked out his good friend Joseph Bean in 10th place to set the final table tonight. He had pocket aces to Bean’s kings. From there he went on to win the 12th event of the Grand Casino Tunica Circuit event, $1,000 no-limit hold’em, cashing for $59,712
However, it wasn’t a total loss for Bean because the two buddies had agreed that if either one came in first, he would hand over five grand to the other. Bean also got $2,949 for 10th.
In winning, Whisnant didn’t exactly coast. Heads-up, he had an enormous chip disadvantage against A.J. Wallace before finally going on to overtake and beat him.
Whisnant, semi-retired, is from Morgantown, North Carolina where he operates two video and pool game rooms. He has two children and has been playing for five years. He describes his style of play as careful. “Make that tight,” his friend corrected. This is his fourth final table. He also cashed 23rd in the main event at the Harrah’s Atlantic City Circuit and eighth at Caesars Indiana. He’s played 15-20 Circuits overall.
This event halted with two tables still remaining on day one. The next day it took more than an hour to lose the 11th player, and it was 4 p.m. when the remaining 10 assembled to play down to nine. That came when Whisnant clobbered his pal.
Starting with the chip lead at the final table was Brad Johnson with 310,000. Blinds began at 3,000-6,000 with 500 antes and 35 minutes on the clock.
Here were the starting chip counts:
Seat 1 Bob Jones 180,500
Seat 2 Brad Johnson 310,000
Seat 3 Brady Neal 67,500
Seat 4 James Neill 233,000
Seat 5 Richard Ferro 86,000
Seat 6 A.J. Wallace 184,000
Seat 7 Wayne Harvey 67,000
Seat 8 Alfred Bailey 99,000
Seat 9 Jeff Whisnant 92,000
Bob Jones started with the least chips, 32,000. Vowing that “I’m not gonna be blinded off,” on hand 12 he moved in with his last few, holding just 10-6. There wasn’t much chance of being blinded off after Wayne Harvey turned up pocket aces. Jones finished ninth, collecting $3,686.
Jones is a retired home builder from Southaven, MS. He’s married with three children and has played for 20 years.
Blinds now were 4,000-8,000 with 1,000 antes. It took nearly the entire 60-minute round to lose another player. With a flop of 7-8-4, Brad Johnson bet 30,000 holding pocket 5s. Alfred Bailey, with J-10 and a gutshot straight draw, came over the top all in. He couldn’t help, and finished eighth.
Bailey, 62, is an accountant from Little Rock, AR with 40 years of poker under his belt. He’s entered three Circuit events, and this event, which he got into via satellite, is his poker high mark. Eighth was worth $5,529.
Blinds became 6,000-12,000 with 2,000 antes. On the first hand, James Neill pushed all in from the button and Wayne Harvey called all in for 60,000. Neill had A-Q, Harvey A-J, the board came 9-4-2-7-2, and six were left.
Harvey, 36, is a self-employed contractor from Rincon, Georgia. He’s played two years and won the second Circuit event he ever entered here at Tunica last year. Married with two children, he enjoys skiing, fishing and camping. Seventh paid him $7,372.
A dozen hands later, A.J. Wallace moved in. A.J. had A-J. Richard Ferro called with a few less chips holding Kc-6c. The board came Q-Q-9-A-4, and Ferro went home with $11,058 for sixth.
Ferro, 36, is a rancher, poker player and casino party owner from Dallas whose nickname is “Grunk.” He’s married with one child and has played 20 Circuits in two years of poker. He has two WSOP cashes, 12th in event $2,000 pot-limit Omaha this year, and 166th in a $1,000 event in 2006.
As this round neared an end, Wallace raised to 40,000 with Q-9, then quickly called when Johnson moved in with A-4. Wallace proceeded to make queens-full, raked in a big pot, and jumped into the lead with 410,000.
Just as the round finished, Wallace called with pocket aces when Neill pushed in with A-6. The board of Q-J-2-2-6 helped neither player, and Neill finished fifth, worth $11,058.
Neill, 32, from Savannah, TN, is a papermaker/poker player nicknamed “Rusty.” He’s married with two children and learned poker from his father “when I learned to count.” His poker highlight was winning a tournament “that funneled into a WPT event at Gold Strike and today’s final table.” He’s played 10-15 Circuit events.
When blinds went to 8,000-16,000 with 2,000 antes, Wallace had close to 600,000 of the 1,140,000 in play. At this point, the ladies championship event also began its final table.
Play continued, with Wallace losing chips until a very big hand suddenly came down 50 minutes into the new level. First Johnson and then Brady Neal moved in. Reluctantly, Wallace called with Qc-10d as Johnson turned up Q-J and Neal, Ad-7d. The board came Qs-9c-6c-5c-7c to give Wallace a winning flush as he knocked out both players and took an enormous lead. “I almost didn’t call,” he said. With more chips, Johnson got third, worth $18,430, while Neal won $14,744 for fourth.
Neal is a 22-year-old student from Murfreesboro, TN, who’s been playing poker for two years. This is his third Circuit and only poker highlight. He learned poker from his parents, and his other hobbies are basketball and tennis.
Johnson is 47, from San Diego, owns a printing company, and is married with three children. He learned poker playing in home games five years ago and has entered six Circuit tournaments. He has a second place in a $1,500 event at the World Poker Open this year. Golf is his other hobby.
Heads-up, Wallace had about a 6-1 lead, but Whisnant began playing catch-up and then took a tiny lead when his 7d-2d turned into a flush, then moved into an even bigger lead. As play went on, Wallace recovered, but still trailed when blinds went to 10,000-20,000 with 3,000 antes.
When the final hand came down, Wallace raised with Qd-Jc, and Whisnant put him all in, a big favorite with Ah-Qs. The board came 5h-5d-2c-8s-10c, Whisnant’s hand held up, and this event was over. Whisnant said he wanted to dedicate the win to his brother Ricky, who passed away a year ago.
Wallace, 22, is from San Angelo, Texas, where he is self-employed. He won his seat into this tournament, his first Circuit event, and has been playing for five years. Second place paid $31,331. “I’m coming for the big boys, and I bleed burnt orange (Longhorns) and Dallas Cowboy blue,” he wrote defiantly on his bio sheet.