Financier Leo Whitt Knocks Out Five Players, Coasts to Limit Hold’em Win

He Makes Comeback After Being Down to 7,000 with 27 Players Left

   Tunica, MS--Leo Whitt knocked out five players and crippled a sixth as he scored an impressive win in the 17th event of the WSOP Circuit at Grand Casino Tunica, $500 no-limit hold'em. Whitt, who is in finance and development with Trilogy Health Services in New York City, earned $22,365 and a WSOP gold trophy ring for his accomplishment.
He also made an impressive comeback after being down to 7,000 with 27 players left.
   Whitt, 50, has been playing for 15 years, learning poker at home games in New York. He's entered quite a few Circuit events and has a couple of prior cashes, and another in a $1,500 no-limit event at the WSOP last year. He won his way into this event through a satellite. He said he plays conservatively by nature but can be selective/aggressive with the right opportunities. Whitt began stepping up his tournament activity a couple of years ago and tries to play three or four Circuits a year along with the WSOP. He's married, and his other hobby is fly fishing. 
   The final 10 arrived playing with blinds of 3,000-6,000 and 6,000-12,000 limits, 19 minutes left. Chris Province led with 210,500 chips.

Seat 1. Chris Province  210,500
Seat 2. Jerry Kyle  46,500
Seat 3. Neil Camponovo 190,000
 Seat 4. David Whalen 57,000
Seat 5.  Russell Bozeman 143,000
Seat 6.  Bill Eichel  111,500
Seat 7.  Leo Whitt  127,500
Seat 8.  David White  66,000
Seat 9.  Rick Glaser  112,500
Seat 10.Cliff Matthews 129,000

   First out, on the ninth hand, was Jerry Kyle. He called for his last 4,500 with A-8 after  Province raised with A-K. Rags came and Kyle finished on the bubble with all remaining players in the money.
   Kyle, 53, is a poker room manager from Hernando, Mississippi who's been playing for 34 years since college. In 1995 he won a Dealers World Championship event at the Four Queens. Kyle is married with one daughter.
   With blinds now at 4,000-8,000 and 8,000-16,000 limits, two players were knocked out on the 16th hand. David Whalen and David "Whiteye" White were both all in. The board came Q-8-8-2-3. Whitt's Q-7 was the best hand against White's A-7 and Whalen's small pair. Whalen, with fewer chips, finished ninth, collecting $1,152, while White finished eighth and picked up $1,440.
   Whalen, 62, is from Olive Branch Mississippi and retired. He is married with one child, has been playing 40 years, and this is his second Circuit.  
   White, also 62, is from Midland, Texas and in the remodeling business. He's married with three children, learned poker 50 years ago at home games, and he has a third at a Reno/WPT limit hold'em event, and a win in the World Cup at Sea.
   Whitt now had the chip lead. Another 33 hands went by and another player went out. Russell Bozeman had A-K against Whitt's J-6, but both Whitt's cards were live and he made a pair when the flop came 6-5-4. Bozeman couldn't help his big slick when an eight and trey came, and finished seventh, which paid $2,016, as Whitt increased his lead.
    Bozeman is a 43-year-old attorney from Camden, Alabama. He's married with five children, likes to hunt, fish and golf, has been playing poker 20 years, and this is his third Circuit event
   A few hands later Bill Eichel raised with A-Q and Cliff Matthews re-raised with A-K to put him in. A king flopped, another came on the river, and Eichel took out $2,592 for sixth.
   Eichel, 63, is retired and lives in Parker, South Dakota where he enjoys golf.
   Limits now went to 12,000-24,000. A big hand soon developed. Whitt had A-K against Province's Js-9s. A flop of 10d-8s-2h gave Province an open-end straight draw. A Ks hit the turn, also giving Province a flush draw. He bet and Whitt raised. A river queen gave Province a straight, and he took a bite out of Whitt's chips.
   There was three-way action and three bets pre-flop on hand 79. The flop came Qc-7h-Jh. Rick Glaser, making a sound of dismay, checked, then check-raised all in when  Province bet. Matthews called and so did Glaser. The pot was checked as an 8s and 4h came. Province turned up pocket 10s, Matthews showed 6h-5h for a winning flush, and Glaser, with Ks-Qs, finished fifth, which paid $3,168.
  Glaser, 41, is an auto worker from O'Fallon, Missouri who's been playing for 15 years.
   As action continued, a short-chipped Neil Camponovo managed to stay alive by doubling up twice, once by hitting a jack to his J-8 to beat Province's pocket 5s, then by flopping a 5 to his 8-5 to to beat Province's A-Q. Now it was Province who was getting low, but he recovered somewhat by picking up a couple of pots.
   By the dinner break, the count was Whitt, 435,000; Glaser, 414,000; Camponovo, 217,000; and Matthews, 133,000. Players returned playing with limits of 16,000-32,000
   On the 98th deal, Camponovo raised with Q-9, and kept betting, hoping to hit or force Whitt out, as a 6-3-3 flopped and then when a 7 turned. Whitt kept calling with pocket 5s, then hit a straight when 4 came on the river. Camponovo was left with 3,000. He doubled up once in the big blind by flopping two pair, then busted out in the small blind. He had 10-9 and lost to Whitt's A-7 when a 7 flopped.
   Camponovo, 21, is from Corpus Christi, Texas. He's been playing poker most of his young life, and this is his first Circuit and only poker highlight to date.
   Action went on for another 11 hands Province was then left with 18,000 after he tangled with Matthews. With a board of Q-3-Q-3-9, Matthews check-raised and turned up a queen for a full house. Province's chips went in on the next hand. Whitt and Matthews checked down a board of 8-4-4-A-9, and then Whitt turned up 4-2 for trip 4s.
   Province, from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, is 32 and in the casino marketing business. He learned poker 10 years ago by "talking with people smarter than me." This is his first Circuit. He has an eighth in limit hold'em at the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge III.
   Play went on for a dozen more hands, with Matthews gradually dropping down. On the final deal, he raised all in with pocket 6s. Whitt called with 10c-8c and made a flush when the board came Ad-9c-3c-Jc-5d.
   Matthews, 33, is from Bedford, Texas, where he is self-employed. He learned poker with friends 17 years ago and has played 10 Circuits. This is his best finish. He has one child and likes golf. --Max Shapiro