Elizabeth, Indiana--Tim Vance is $61,020 richer after winning the fifth event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Caesars Indiana, $500 no-limit hold'em. Not a bad payday, but still small change compared to the $1,224,968 he won in February for capturing the main event of the Scandinavian Open in Copenhagen on the European Poker Tour. Remarkably, this is the first tournament he's played since that victory, giving him back-to-back triumphs.
Apart from the money, there was another big difference between the two wins. His heads-up battle in Copenhagen lasted 4.5 hours, the longest in EPT history. Tonight's heads-up match lasted 10 hands. Vance said he tries to play solidly, but with blinds so high at that point, he had little choice but to push in repeatedly. He started the final match behind in chips almost 2-1. The key turnaround hand came when he was all in for 575,000 with K-3 against final opponent Brian Roberts, who had the rest of the 1.5 million chips. Roberts had pocket 5s and when the board came 9-9-4-A-A, he jumped up excitedly, thinking he had won the tournament. Then he realized that he had been "counterfeited," that both players had aces and 9s, and Vance's king kicker played.
Vance, 46, is from Milstadt, Illinois and learned poker from his grandpa when he was a kid. He had been a remodeling contractor, but turned pro after his EPT win. He also has a sixth in a World Poker Open event in Tunica. This is his 22nd Circuit. Tonight he was never in trouble, and never had less than his original buy-in. Vance also enjoys Tennis, and the love of his life is his daughter Nanzi, who turns 4 on May 1, and whose picture he carried inside his cap.
We got down to the final table of nine at about 1:30 a.m. With 28:47 left in the round, players were given the option of playing through or returning the next day at the end of the level. Blinds started at 6,000-12,000 with 2,000 antes. Bob Miller, with 359,000 chips, held a good-sized lead.
Here were the starting chip counts
Seat 1. Tim Vance 186,000
Seat 2. Daniel Numan 199,000
Seat 3. Bob Miller 359,000
Seat 4. Brian Roberts 251,000
Seat 5. David Cupps 67,000
Seat 6. Bill Varga 96,000
Seat 7. Pat Peercy 135,000
Seat 8. Chad Hahn 131,000
Seat 9. Cy Dixon 87,000
There were a couple of early all-in escapes, then, on the ninth deal, Daniel Numan was in the big blind with K-J and moved in for 80,000. Vance decided to look him up from the small with Q-5. He spiked a 5 on the river, which was enough to leave Numan in ninth place, paying $4,068.
Numan, 63, is a business owner from Johnson City, Tennessee who's been playing poker for more than 45 years. He's played over 20 Circuits and has a fourth and a 21st in Circuit events here along with a number of wins and places in smaller events. He also enjoys pool and billiards.
On the next hand, Pat Peercy, making his second final table, took a big hit when he called with K-J after David Cupp pushed in with A-J. Cupp doubled through after flopping an ace, leaving Peercy with 30,000. Peercy put the chips in on the next deal holding As-5s and was up against two players. When the board showed 9-6-5-4-K with four hearts, Roberts bet 12,000 with a Qh. His flush edged Miller's Jh, and he took down the pot as Peercy went out eighth, paying $6,102.
Peercy, 37, is from Fortville, Indiana and manages a truck lot. He came in fourth in the prior $500 event here two days earlier, along with a 13th-place cash here in 2005. Peercy learned poker as a kid "watching old men" and also enjoys fishing and hunting.
This was the final hand of the round, and the players agreed to return the next day at 2 p.m., the first of the five two-day events so far to last a second day. It took over a half-hour for play to start because decks on the riverboat were shifted, as is done periodically to adjust to the Ohio River's flow, and several players were unable to enter during this maneuver. (There is no record of a similar event ever occurring at the Rio during the WSOP in Vegas.) At this point three players were closely grouped: Vance with 318,000 chips, Miller 307,000 and Roberts, 293,000.
.Play resumed on a cautious note as the next nine hands saw only one flop. Finally, Miller moved in his big stacks, and Cupps called for about 140,000. He had pocket 8s to Miller's pocket 9s, and when the board came K-10-2-J-Q, he cashed seventh for $8,136, while Miller moved into a big lead. Cupps, 61, is from Bedford, Tennessee, and works for the Indiana Department of Transportation. He learned poker by playing 40 years ago, has entered numerous Circuits, and has a win and a fourth in Kentucky Derby World Poker Open events.
Soon after, Bill Varga was left with 4,000 after a very bad beat. He raised 35,000, Chad Hahn came over the top for 102,000 more, and Varga called. Varga had his opponent dominated with Ad-Kd against Ac-8h, until four clubs gave Hahn a flush. On the next hand, Varga put his last two chips in without looking holding 10-4. The two blinds checked down the board, and Cy "Oz" Dixon, with A-6, won when an ace turned. Sixth place paid $10,170. Varga, 63, is a Brooklyn boy now living in Paris, Kentucky. He's retired as a systems engineer and only started playing poker three years ago. H's played in 10 or so Circuits, and has a fifth in a Midwest Regional event.
Blinds were now 10,000-20,000 with 3,000 antes. Ten hands into the new level, Roberts opened for 65,000 and Dixon moved in for 120,000 more. Roberts had Qh-10h to K-J for Dixon. Two hearts flopped. Roberts missed his flush draw, but settled for a queen on the river as he knocked Dixon out in fifth place, worth $12,204. Dixon, 33, is from Lexington, Kentucky and in sales. He was five when his grandfather taught him the game. This is his first Circuit, and he also enjoys golf.
Roberts now had a very big lead and knocked out the next player to increase it further. He opened for 65,000 with A-K and Hahn moved all in with A-J. The board of Q-4-3-5-6 changed nothing, and Hahn departed in fourth place, taking out $14,238. Hahn, 33, is from Indianapolis where he is a business owner. Making this final table is his highest poker achievement to date.
The round ended six hands later, with Robert owning 955,000 of the 1.5 million chips in play. Miller had 285,000, Vance 260,000.
Blinds now climbed to 15,000-30,000 with 4,000 antes. Four hands into the new level, Vance moved in with A-K and Miller called for 222,000 with A-J. Miller called for a jack. He got his wish on the flop. Unfortunately for him, a king also flopped, and Miller went out third, taking home $16,272. Miller, 45, is from Dubois, Indiana, and is employed as a systems integration architect. This is his second Circuit.
The two finalists now began pushing in as chips quickly flowed back and forth. The third hand reversed the count when Roberts raised with pocket 5s, and Vance moved in for 575,000 with K-3, winning after the boards showed aces and 9s.
Vance was now well ahead. Two hands later, Roberts moved up a couple of notches, pulling in a 600,000 pot when his A-5 made a wheel on a board of 10-A-4-2-3. But Vance still led, and five hands later it all ended. Vance raised 100,000, and Roberts moved in. Vance pondered, saying "I like my hand" but unsure whether to call. Finally, he did. Vance's Qs-Jc was about a 40-60 dog to Roberts' Kh-10c. But he drew out on the turn when the board came 8-7-6-Q-2 to end the event.
Roberts, 40 is a factory supervisor from Ridgeville, Indiana who learned poker at age seven from his grandfather. He's played in several events and won event 8 here last October. His other hobbies are demolition derbies and racing horse contest events. In "pole bending" (the equine equivalent of slalom skiing), he was ranked 10th in the nation in 1996. He also has a "great" 10-year-old son, Brian Jr.
Meanwhile, in other news, plans have been finalized for Caesars Indiana to host the first annual Kentucky Derby Poker Championship on Saturday, May 3. This charity event will be hosted by Phil Hellmuth and Robert Williamson III and will start at 8:30 p.m. after the running of the 134th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in nearby Louisville. The tournament will be preceded by a 7 p.m. reception. Numerous celebrities from the poker world along with the entertainment industry are also expected. Buy-in will be $2,500 with $1,000 rebuys the first hour. Nine places will be paid, with the winner earning a seat in the $10,000 main event at the WSOP in Las Vegas. Half the prize pool will go to the Health and Climate Foundation and the Robby Albarado Foundation, which aids the homeless and needy in Louisville and Africa.
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
Director of Poker Operations for Harrah’s Entertainment – Jack Effel
Caesars Indiana Poker Room Manager – Jimmy Allen
Tournament Directors -- Andy Cunningham and Sue Stetar