The sixth event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Harrah's Casino Tunica, $300 no-limit hold'em, was the fastest so far, lasting just over 90 minutes. Mark Fleddermann, a businessman/investor with about $700,000 in total cashes, personally disposed of five of his eight opponents as he coasted to an easy win. This event attracted 390 players who generated a prize pool of $151,20, and Fleddermann's payout for first was $37,826, along with a gold-and-diamond trophy ring.
Fleddermann, 55, originally from St. Louis and now living in Las Vegas, has been in the pool table business and owned rental properties. He's been poker since age five, and has a very impressive resume that include two six-figure cashes. The largest was the $118,750 he took home for winning a $1,500 Circuit event here in 2005. He also has wins at a Gold Strike WPO event, a Bellagio weekly tournament, and two at Binion's Poker Classic. He plays mostly tournaments, along with $30-$60 limit hold'em cash games, sometimes higher.
How does he rate himself? "People tell me I'm the best of the worst," he replied. He says he tries to pick his spots, got a lot of good cards at the final table, and tends to play a little more aggressively than average. Fleddermann is also the father of "three beautiful girls."
The nine remaining players from day one resumed action with blinds of 1,000-2,000 and 300 antes, nine minutes on the clock. In front with 637,000 chips was Wesley King, just ahead of Roger Foley's 629,000.
Here were the starting chip counts:
Seat 1. Roger Foley 629,000
Seat 2. Justin Dykes 487,000
Seat 3. Charles Casavant 267,000
Seat 4. Matt Chaney 317,000
Seat 5. Darren Dwyer 422,000
Seat 6. Wesley King 637,000
Seat 7. Brian Roberts 281,000
Seat 8. Bruce Sturgeon 391,000
Seat 9. Mark Fleddermann 439,000
Everyone was left when blinds went to 1,500-3,000, and it took a long while longer to lose our first player. Finally, Matt Chaney was all in with A-Q against Justin Dykes' A-K. He went out ninth when all small cards hit the board. Chaney, 33, is from Crawfordsville, Arkansas. He's been playing 12 years and was a waiter before turning pro. He has back-to-back wins in the 2004 Oasis Open.
Soon after, Dykes again had big slick. He opened for 250,000, then called when Fleddermann raised him all in with pocket 7s. Fleddermann flopped a set to knock Dykes out in eighth place and take the lead.with about 1.3 million of the 3.9 million chips in play. Dykes is a 23-year-old poker player from Albany, Georgia, playing for 3-1/2 years.
Players took a break and then continued with blinds of 2,000-4,000 and 500 antes. On the first hand, Charles Casavant pushed in his last chips with Q-10 and got a call from King, in the big blind with 10-3. A board of 6-5-4-7-10 gave King a straight, and Casavant was out in seventh place. Casavant is from Avilla, Indiana and owns a TruValue Hardware store. He's played five years, and this is his third Circuit final table, along with a WPT final.
Two hands later, Darren Dwyer went out sixth. He moved in with K-8 and couldn't come close to catching Fleddermann's pocket kings. Dwyer is a 21-year-old student from Oxford, Mississippi who's been playing two years.
A few hands later Fleddermann made a good call to knock out his third player and take a commanding lead with more than 2 million chips. On a flop of 6-9-7, Foley pushed in with A-K. After long thought, Fleddermann called with 10-9. An 8 on the turn gave him a straight, and Foley departed in fifth place. Foley, 44, is an insurance rep from Thayer, Missouri who's been playing 20 years and has two final tables.
Immediately after, King was left with 30,000 when his K-10 lost to Brian Robert's A-5. On the next hand he put in his last chips with 7-2 against Roberts' J-4. The board came 2-Q-8-4-8, and Roberts' paired 4 left King in fourth place. King, 44, is an electrician from Lakeland, Tennessee, playing for two years.
The rapid pace continued. On the next hand, Bruce Sturgeon went all in with Ah-4h and was called by Fleddermann with Kd-5d. The board came 5-J-2-4-6 with three diamonds, and Fleddermann's flush left Sturgeon in third place. Sturgeon, 41, is a furniture store owner from Bedford, Indiana who's played five years and won a $2,500 event at Caesars Indiana.
Heads-up, Fleddermann had about 3 million chips to a bit under a million for Roberts, who, like Fleddermann, was looking for his second Circuit ring. Roberts finished second yesterday and once again he was fated to be the bridesmaid.
The third hand brought a flop of 7s-Jh-Ah. Roberts, with Js-6s, moved in and was disappointed to see Fleddermann turn up J-7, also with a paired jack but with a bigger kicker. After a 4 turned and a 9 rivered, Fleddermann had a second Circuit victory to add to his impressive resume.
Roberts, 40, is a factory supervisor from Ridgeville, Indiana. He won a $300 Circuit event at Caesars Indiana last year, along with a second there. This is his third final table in this series. Along with his second-place finishes yesterday and today, he finished fourth in event number 4, $500 no-limit. Roberts has been playing hold'em three years.