Stateline, NV—Troy Thompson, a 37-year-old bail bondsman and mostly cash-game player from Charlotte, North Carolina, took down the second WSOP Circuit event at Harveys Lake Tahoe, $300 pot-limit Omaha high.
It was a convincing performance. He took the chip lead in early action, came to the final table with a big lead and just lost it once briefly as he surged to a win. The victory was worth $5,379.
This event drew 52 players with a prize pool of $15,132. With the final table starting at only 11 p.m., it was decided to let this limit event play through. Action began with blinds of 300-600 and 17 minutes left on the clock. Thompson held a sizeable lead with 114,000 chips.
9th place: Blinds went to 400-800 with all nine players still intact, First to leave was Matt Dames on a double re-draw hand. After Neil “Tater Salad” Henning flopped a set of sevens, Dames turned a straight, only to see Henning fill on the river. Ninth paid $340. Dames is a pro from Burlingame, California who’s been playing 18 years, starting with home games. He has two WSOP cashes.
8th place: A short-chipped Joe Micheal was next out when he was blown away by Troy Thompson’s king-high straight. Eighth was worth $484. Micheal is 44, lives in Santa Rosa, California and is a business owner. He’s played for 15 years, and his hobby is car racing.
7th place: With blinds now at 500-1,000, Sabyl Landrum was all in with 8-9-10-Q, a hand that offered a lot of possibilities. She didn’t find any of them when the board came J-6-J-3-J, and Henning, with A-10-8-6, took the pot and her last chips with just ace-high. Seventh was worth $666.
Landrum, 37, is a poker player, formerly a retail buyer, from Folsom, California. She’s been playing 15 years, and among her notable accomplishments, she was the last woman standing at the 2006 WSOP Main Event. She finished 56th, winning $123,699. She also won best all-around at the recreational gambling circuit and made the final table at the WCOOP $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. Landrum is a graduate of Berkeley and enjoys theater and traveling.
6th place: Veteran player Brent Carter started the final table second-lowest in chips with 22,000, but managed to hang on until now. He finally was all in on the turn. He held 10-9-8-6, and a board of 4-5-3-9 gave him top pair and an inside straight draw. He was up against James McMorrow, who had A-Q-8-3. When a Kc hit the river, it took a moment for both players to realize that it gave McMorrow a flush. Carter took out $863 for sixth.
Carter, 61, is a retired harness race driver from Oak Park, Illinois who’s been playing “forever.” Among the well-known player’s scores of cashes are 12 WSOP Omaha final tables. In 1995, he cashed for $302,750 by finishing third at the WSOP Main Event. That was the year that Barbara Enright became the only woman to ever make the Main Event final table. Carter knocked her out with one of the worst beats in WSOP history. He called with 6d-3d after she moved in with pocket 8s and proceeded to flop two pair. Carter’s lifetime cashes exceed $3 million.
5th place: We were now playing with blinds of 600-1,200. With just a paired 8, James McMorrow bet out on the flop, and David “The” Hood called with only an open-end straight draw. A river 5 gave McMorrow two pair while Hood missed his draw and settled for $1,090 for fifth. Hood, 47, is a litigation consultant from Lincoln, California. He began playing with friends in home games 15 years ago. He cashed in last year’s Tahoe Circuit, and has several WSOP payouts.
4th place: “I had him before the flop,” said Steve “SUV” Underly, after busting out fourth. He started with A-K-7-7 to Thompson’s A-Q-10-9. The board came 10-5-8-6-Q, and Underly’s pocket 7s were no match for Thompson’s queens and 10s. Fourth paid $1,422. Underly is a 57-year-old accountant from Carmichael, California with 35 years of experience under his belt.
3rd place: With blinds now at 800-1,600, a key hand came down. McMurrow had all his chips in with A-J-9-8 when a flop of Q-10-3 gave him a wraparound straight draw. He was up against Henning’s pocket aces, and overtook him when a river jack completed his straight. Now Henning was short-chipped, and quickly went all in just after blinds went to 1,000-2,000. He moved in with A-J-8-2 and Thompson called with A-K-Q-6. The board came 10-7-6-A-3. They both paired their ace, but Thompson’s king kicker was the difference as Henning went out with $2,013 for third.
Henning, 30, is a pharmacist from Santa Rosa, California. He’s played six years, and his prior poker highlight was finishing 27th out of 230 in yesterday’s opening event.
2nd place: Chips went back and forth between the two finalists. Thompson took down a big pot when McMurrow missed his straight, then, on the final hand, McMurrrow went all in on a flop of 6-8-8 holding A-K-J-2. Thompson had A-A-K-3, and the aces held up after a queen and 7 were dealt. Runner-up paid $2,875.
McMorrow is 27 and from Santa Rosa, California. He’s played 10 years.
1st place: Thompson, originally from Laredo, Texas, began playing five years ago, learning online. He is mainly a profitable cash-game player, preferring $5-$10 no-limit. He has a prior small Circuit payout at Tunica, and overall has had four cashes in the five or six tournaments he has tried. He prefers no-limit events, and only learned pot-limit Omaha six months ago. He said his strategy against his final opponent, who “pushed” a lot, was to play back at him. -- Max Shapiro