The Final Table:
SEAT 1: Gavin Smith
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas, NV
CHIP COUNT: 197,500
Gavin Smith is a 39-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV. He is originally from Ontario, Canada. After enjoying great success playing in poker tournaments about five years ago, Mr. Smith decided to quit a series of low-paying, dead-end jobs and turn pro. That turned out to be a wise decision. He has since racked up nearly $3.3 million in tournament earnings. Yet despite all his success, Mr. Smith has yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet, nor a WSOP Circuit championship – although he has come close many times. He took second at the Harrah’s New Orleans championship in 2006. He also took seventh in this championship event at Rincon last year. Smith’s record is impressive indeed – ninth in last year’s US Poker Championship, and second in the Pot-Limit Hold’em world championship. He also finished in-the-money in the championship event at the 2007 WSOP. For all the ladies watching today, Mr. Smith is certain to break many hearts as he is now engaged to be married to his sweetheart, Cindy Kay. They will be married in August.
SEAT 2: David Peters
HOMETOWN: Rancho Santa Fe, CA
CHIP COUNT: 442,000
David Peters is a 47-year-old attorney from nearby Rancho Santa Fe. He is also a licensed rugby referee. Mr. Peters has several tournament cashes on his resume, including two wins. He took first place in Event #13 at this year’s WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Rincon, where he pocketed nearly $38,000. Mr. Peters arrives third in chips coming into today’s final table.
SEAT 3: Damien “Damo” Oborne
HOMETOWN: Melbourne, Australia
CHIP COUNT: 124,000
Damo Oborne is a 28-year-old poker pro from Down Under. He undoubtedly has the most interesting story of any player sitting at today’s final table. Despite being Australian, Damo is a huge fan of American football, and specifically the New York Giants. When Damo saw that the Giants were playing in this year’s Super Bowl, he decided to fly 17 hours and come to America to cheer on his favorite team. Of course as it turned out, the Giants did not let him down. Energized by the Giants’ upset victory, Damo next heard that there was a World Series of Poker tournament here at Harrah’s Rincon. So, he decided that he had to come here and play. And, look at him now – sitting at the final table. Damo is a writer for the outstanding website called PokerNews.com. He has several impressive finishes in major poker tournaments, mostly in Melbourne.
SEAT 4: Jon Eaton
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas, NV
CHIP COUNT: 79,000
Jon Eaton is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV. He has come up through the ranks the hard way. He first started out as a poker tournament reporter in 2005. Next, he worked as a poker dealer at the 2006 World Series of Poker. Encouraged by his success as a player, Mr. Eaton decided to go pro last year which brought even greater financial rewards. He earned well over half a million dollars playing poker last year, including two cashes at the WSOP in Las Vegas. Mr. Eaton hopes to pick up his first major live tournament victory today but has a serious challenge ahead, as he arrives with the lowest number of chips.
SEAT 5: Kenny Bedoya
HOMETOWN: San Diego, CA
CHIP COUNT: 701,500
Kenny Bedoya is a 36-year-old tile-setter from nearby San Diego. He has dominated this event so far, as he enjoyed an overwhelming chip advantage at the end of Day One. Mr. Bedoya arrives today ranked second in chips. His best two tournament finishes to date include second place at the Commerce Casino last year and fourth place in the Carmen Electra Charity Poker Tournament. He is the proud father of two children, Monika and Andrew. In his spare time he enjoys camping and dirt bike riding.
SEAT 6: Mickey Pickett
HOMETOWN: Little Canada, MN
CHIP COUNT: 121,000
Mickey Pickett is 23-years-old. He has an impressive tournament record so far – with eight major cashes including first place in the 2006 Fall Poker Classic at the Canterbury Card Club near Minneapolis. He also finished in-the-money two times at last year’s World Series of Poker.
SEAT 7: Edward Sabat
HOMETOWN: Lancaster, CA
CHIP COUNT: 854,000
The chip leader coming into today’s final table is Edward Sabat, a 21-year-old college student who is currently attending the University of Southern California. His major is accounting. Mr. Sabat took second place at the Harrah’s Atlantic City Circuit event held last month. He also took 12th place in the second event here at Harrah’s Rincon this year. Mr. Sabat currently has a strong wind at his sails as he is cruising to his first major tournament victory.
SEAT 8: Cristian Avendano
HOMETOWN: Quito, Ecuador
CHIP COUNT: 96,500
Cristian Avendano is a 37-year-old general manager for Unique, Inc. Prior to being a businessman, he served as a U.S. naval officer for nine years. In fact, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, and went on to earn a Masters Degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech. He now lives in North Las Vegas. This will be the fourth cash for Mr. Avendano. He cashed twice here at Harrah’s Rincon so far in preliminary events and also finished in-the-money at the 2007 World Series of Poker.
SEAT 9: Lee Watkinson
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas, NV
CHIP COUNT: 337,000
Lee Watkinson is one of the most well-known professionals sitting at today’s final table. He is perhaps best known for taking eighth-place in the WSOP main event last year. Despite winning $585,500 for the effort, Mr. Watkinson left relatively unsatisfied as many observers viewed him as the player to beat in the 2007 championship finale. He is the only player of the final nine to have won a WSOP gold bracelet, which came in the $10K PLO in 2006. Mr. Watkinson is an avid animal-rights activist. He rescues retired chimps that have been exploited in show business or for research. Part of his tournament winnings goes to help fund his work with chimpanzees. He also owns a record company, clothing line and jewelry business. He holds a degree in economics and is an astute investor and businessman – as well as a champion poker player.
PRIZE MONEY PAYOUTS:
1st $229,002 (plus $WSOP main event entry)
10th Scott Reese San Jose, CA 11,309
11th Evan Schwartz Oakland, CA 11,309
12th Doud Callier Everette, WA 11,309
13th Sang Hwang Alexandria, VA 9,895
14th Michael Dolan Nashville, TN 9,895
15th Matthew Hyman Corte Madera, CA 9,895
16th Vanessa Rousso Miami, FL 8,482
17th Peter Neff Oak Park, CA 8,482
18th Peter de Best Yorba Linda, CA 8,482
Note: The final table starts at on Thursday. Blinds are 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante. There is 43:50 remaining at Level 15. Button is in Seat 3.
Seating to watch the final table is free and open to the public. The finale will take place in the main ballroom of the Harrah’s Rincon. Coverage of the championship final table provided by Bluff Media will be carried over the Internet at the official WSOP website: www.worldseriesofpoker.com The final table broadcast begins at (one-hour tape delay). Player hole cards will be shown to viewers.
For more information, please contact:
Nolan Dalla -- WSOP Media Director at (702) 358-4642
Or visit our official website: www.worldseriesofpoker.com