Travis Lavine Plays His First Live Omaha Tournament and Wins It
Council Bluffs, IA—Tonight’s 4 p.m. WSOP Circuit event, at Horseshoe Council Bluffs, $300 Omaha Hi Lo, was a real quickie. There were only three players for the final table. After one hand there were only two. And about 10 hands later there was only one.
The winner was Travis Lavine, 37, an insurance business manager from Omaha. This is the first time he’s ever played Omaha in a casino, and he did so only because this series is almost over and he wanted to get a little action in. Playing mostly in home games, his only prior cash was in a sit ‘n go in the poker room here.
He came to the final table owning 127,000 of the 180,500 chips in play. He said he got them by tripling up three times in a row.
This event had 30 players and a prize pool of $8,730. First place paid Lavine $4,365.

The three finalists began play with blinds of 2,000-4,000, which a hand later went to 2,500-5,000 with limits of 5,000-10,000.

3rd place: The first hand pretty much clinched the tournament. By the river, Lavine had Mike Lynch, all in and Brent Carter almost all in. The board showed 7-8-K-7-5. Lynch, with 3-3-4-5 had a low of 8-7-5-4-3. Carter, with 4-5-6-6, had an 8-high straight.

Lavine had them both with A-3-7-5 which gave him an 8-7-5-3-A for low and 7s full of 5s for high. Lynch left with $1,746 for third. Lynch, 61, is from Appleton, Wisconsin and is retired. This is his first live tournament. All his prior tourney experience has been online.

Carter was down to just a couple of chips, but he hung on a relatively long time, first with a couple of chops, then a couple of scoops. But he had to keep going all in, repeatedly risking his chips. On the last hand the flop came      . Holding 2-4-8-J for two pair, Carter bet. A queen of clubs came on the turn and Lavine, holding        , had a flush.

Carter was all in and only another deuce or 8 on the river could save Carter with a full house, but another 4 came, and this match was over. Carter, from Oak Park, Illinois is a well-known pro who used to be a harness race driver.
A specialist in Omaha, he has about 14 final tables in this game, three alone in this current Circuit series here. His hundreds of cashes also include a final table at the WSOP championship event in 1995. –Max Shapiro