David "Governor" Grandstaff, a retired paint contractor from Des Moines, Iowa, turns 66 next week. He's been here since Sunday and trying to get by on two to three hours sleep a night. It caused him some confusion leading to a few bad plays along the way. Fortunately, he didn't make any major errors tonight as he ended up winning the 12th event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Horseshoe Council Bluffs, $500 no-limit hold'em. He did, however, admittedly get very lucky on the last hand, which he said he overplayed, when he caught a second pair on the river to outrun his final opponent's higher pair. The win was worth $23,727 along with his first trophy ring.
Grandstaff, who has been playing poker "too long to remember," divides his time between playing small $100 tournaments about once a week and $30-$60 and $40-$80 limit hold'em cash games. His best prior tournament cash was $9,630 for a second in a Gold Strike $500 event here last year. He also has a fourth at a Bellagio weekly event and another cash at Fiesta al Lago. He moved back to Iowa three years ago, after living in California and spending a lot of time playing at Bay 101 in San Jose.
There were two minutes left on the clock when players returned on day two, playing with 2,000-4,000 blinds. Way in the lead with 264,000 chips was Corey Rasmussen.
Here were the starting chip counts:
Seat 1. Nathan Rowan - 103,500
Seat 2. Chris Drew - 248,000
Seat 3. David Dickin - 105,000
Seat 4. Adam Sleper - 33,000
Seat 5. Corey Rasmussen - 264,000
Seat 6. David Grandstaff - 146,500
Seat 7. Chris Hovey - 80,000
Seat 8. Nouk Sengchan - 144,000
Seat 9. Lou Salamone - 57,500
Blinds now were 3,000-6,000 with 500 antes. It took halfway through the level before there was a second all-in and call. David Dicken went all in with pocket 6s, and Rasmussen crushed him with pocket kings. Ninth paid $1,465. Dicken, 33, is a pro from Waterloo, Iowa playing six years He has a two seconds, one here in a $1,500 event, another in a $5,000 event at the Bellagio. He's also played in three WSOP main events, never making it past the first day.
With blinds at 4,000-8,000, a second player exited. Chris Hovey was all in with A-4, up against David Grandstaff's Q-J. When the board came J-8-6-4-3, Grandstaff's paired jack left Hovey in eighth place, which paid $2,197. Hovey, 35 is from Omaha and owns a concrete flatwork company owner. He's played six years.
In rapid-fire action, Lou "Bowhunter" Salamone was next out.when his pocket aces were cracked in a bad beat. Nouk "Nouky" Sengchan had 8-7, flopped a second eight, and hit a third 8 on the turn. Salamone, 47, taking home $2,929 for seventh, is a retired fireman from St. Louis who's a veteran of more than 30 years of poker. He won the Chris Moneymaker Playboy event in St. Louis last year and has two final tables at the Venetian Deep Stack. He's a bowhunter and an operator of Suburban Bowhunters whose members have killed over 400 "nuisance" deer, with Salamone accounting for over 100 since 2001.
Soon after, Adam "Sleepydude" Sleper went out sixth when his K-9 fell to Sengchan's A-3 after a board of Q-2-7-A-9. Sleper, 35, is a published, technical writer from Omaha with a master's degree in literature who's just completed his first novel. He's proud to say he's never watched Fox Sports News' Best Damn Poker Show.
On a roll, Sengchan quickly knocked out his third player in a row (:unintentionally," he innocently claimed). This time, with the board showing 8-6-7, Nathan "Uberdonk" Rowan moved in for 61,000. "On a draw?" Sengchan probed. He finally called, holding 7-6 for two pair as Rowan turned up 10-8 for top two. Well in the lead, Sengchan finished Rowan off by catching a 7 on the river for a full house. Rowan, 30, was paid $4,394 for fifth. He is a bar manager/semi-pro from Jefferson City, Missouri who's been playing four years. This event is his first "quasi-big live tournament." His poker highlight was spending 36 straight hours in the same chair in a $2-$5 no-limit cash game (must have been a good game).
After a break, blinds went to 6,000-12,000 with 2,,000 antes. Soon after, Chris Drew had a narrow escape when he was all in with A-7 against Grandstaff's pocket 6s. Grandstaff moved way in front when a flop of 5-6-2 gave him a set. But then a 3 turned and a 4 hit the river. That made a six-high straight on board, with Drew's 7 giving him a higher one.
The next big hand pitted Grandstaff's pocket aces against Sengchan's pocket 6s. The aces were good enough, but Grandstaff also made a nut flush when four spades hit the board. Down to 15,000 Sengchan doubled up on the next hand, but then went out on the one after when his K-3 couldn't overcome Chris Drew's A-Q after all small cards boarded. For fourth, he cashed for $5,859.:"Nouky," who had been the liveliest, most talkative player at the table, is originally from Laos and now lives in Sioux City, Iowa. He is employed as a casino supervisor and has played for 15 years.
Blinds became 10,000-20,000 with 3,000 antes. Midway through, the tournament got heads-up when Drew made a jack-high straight but lost to Rasmussen's queen-high straight. Drew is 28, and works as a bartender in Omaha. He's been playing six years. He's had several prior Circuit cashes, and this is his second final table
The heads-up match didn't last very long. On the final hand, both players limped pre-flop. Grandstaff had the button. The flop came 9-4-J. Rasmussen bet 60,000 holding Q-9 and Grandstaff`moved in with 10c-4c. Rasmussen was in the lead with 9s to Grandstaff's 4s, but then a river 10 gave Grandstaff two pair and the win. Rasmussen, 29, is from Cedar Falls, Iowa.