Vincent Van Der Fluit Wins $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Tournament
Poker Professional From Netherlands Becomes Fourth Dutch-Born Champion at the WSOP
First a Ring then a Bracelet: WSOP Circuit Champion, Charles Tonne, Comes Up Short
Bracelet Number Two Eludes Tristan Wade
By Lukas M. Willems
The most recent World Series of Poker champion is 24-year-old Vincent Van Der Fluit. With the victory, Van Der Fluit became only the fourth Dutch-born World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner.
He bested a 970-person field in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Event #11. First prize awarded him more than $265,000 and the most coveted trophy in poker -- a WSOP bracelet.
2010 and 2011 were forgettable years at the WSOP for this highly-decorated online pro. He recorded four cashes, but his deepest run came in a $2,500 Mixed Hold’em event when he finished 15th for $14,936. In his own words, he never really got close.
Thankfully, 2012 started out drastically different -- Event #11 was the first tournament he played, and he made it count, cashing in on gold.
“I had two very frustrating summers; then this year I land in my first event and win it. It’s sort of a weird contrast,” Van Der Fluit said after his victory.
After only three and a half hours of final table play, Van Der Fluit faced 2012 WSOP Circuit Pot-Limit Omaha champion Charles Tonne heads up. The pair began their duel almost even in chips, and it appeared as if the lightning-fast pace that characterized play to that point would slow. But in true PLO fashion, the heads-up battle lasted barely 30 minutes and Van Der Fluit was the last man standing.
“I actually have a buddy coming in at 6 o’clock and I thought he might be able to rail me, but it’s already done,” Van Der Fluit joked following his victory. “In PLO the money tends to go in more quickly.”
Joining Van Der Fluit and Tonne at the final table was professional poker player Tristan Wade. Wade is a 14-time WSOP in-the-money finisher and won a bracelet at the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe. His bid for bracelet number two came up short when he was eliminated in third place, earning $102,690.
Event #11 was the third tournament at the 2012 WSOP to feature a variation of Omaha. Event #3, a $3,000 heads-up event, boasted a no-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha mix. Additionally, Event #8 was a $1,500 Omaha hi-low split-8 or better tournament. Those tournaments were won by Leif Force (first WSOP gold bracelet) and Herbert Tapscott (first WSOP gold bracelet), respectively.
THE FINAL HAND
With blinds of 15,000/30,000, Van Der Fluit raised to 60,000 from the button. Holding just 1.05 million chips, Tonne made the call. Tonne checked when the flop came and Van Der Fluit continuation bet 65,000. That bet was quickly check-raised by Tonne to 315,000 and Van Der Fluit re-potted it on top of him. Tonne moved all in without hesitation and Van Der Fluit called.
Van Der Fluit:
The on the turn gave Van Der Fluit an unbeatable flush and Tonne was drawing dead.
Tonne ended Days 1 and 2 as the chip leader and came to the final table with better than a 170,000-chip cushion over the second-place Van Der Fluit.
In 2011, Tonne won a $350 Pot-Limit Omaha with $100 Re-Buys tournament at the WSOP Circuit in Hammond. This was his second cash of the 2012 WSOP and his largest tournament score to date.
MEET YOUR CHAMPION
The 2012 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament champion is Vincent Van Der Fluit from Utrecht, Netherlands.
He was born in Gouda -- “Where all the cheese comes from.”
Van Der Fluit is a 24-year-old professional poker player.
While working as a newspaper delivery boy, a friend of Van Der Fluit’s suggested he start playing poker so he deposited $50 online. He estimates he lost $1,000 before becoming a profitable player.
He began playing poker in 2007 and turned professional in 2009.
Van Der Fluit joined an educational poker forum, Deuces Cracked, in late 2008. In 2009 he had his first big score online and was invited to the Aussie Millions by Deuces Cracked founder, Chris Vitch. A few months later he was offered a position as a Deuces Cracked coach.
Van Der Fluit now travels too often to take on students, but says he might still make instructional videos in the future.
This marked his fifth World Series of Poker cash, first final table and first gold bracelet victory.
Q: How does it feel?
“It’s a little bizarre. Especially because the last two summers I played so many events and had one sort of deep run when I got 15th, but never really got close. I had two very frustrating summers; then this year I land in my first event and win it. It’s sort of a weird contrast.”
Q: What are your plans going forward?
“I don’t think my plans will change too much. I will play everything small -- if you can call a tournament with a $1,500 buy-in small. I’ll play most things between $1,000 and $3,000, and I’d like to play the $10,000 single draw and obviously the Main Event. And (after this win) I’m thinking about playing the $50,000 Eight-Game.”
Q: Given your frustrating WSOPs thus far, does this score validate your poker career?
“Yes and no. If I lose a flip on Day 1 then I’m not even remotely close to the final table. It’s not like I was a bad player the last two years and now I’m a genius or anything, you know? Obviously I do my best to keep improving. I would say the difference between me now and a year ago is relatively small. I do think I had (a big run) coming eventually as long as I played enough. It’s really nice and I think it suits me to have a bracelet. There are so many such great players that don’t have a bracelet. It’s just me getting lucky.”
Q: This is by far your biggest score. Was the money in the back of your head?
“It’s still a little bit surreal. I kind of have a zone in my mind where I don’t really think about amounts of money and just play the game, look at the amounts of big blinds and act accordingly. I made some really big bets on a bluff where I wasn’t more nervous than usual.”
Q: Lasting only four hours, talk about the pace of play at the final table.
“I actually have a buddy coming in at 6 o’clock and I thought he might be able to rail me, but it’s already done. It kind of makes sense because it’s PLO. Once you get short-handed things really spice up with aggression and you can’t really fold to three bets in position unless you have a really, really bad hand. In PLO the money tends to go in more quickly.”
Q: You mentioned there are many great poker players without a bracelet, but you have one now. Where do you think you rank?
“I like to think I’m a very well-rounded player. I definitely feel like my PLO and mixed games are really good. I’ve worked on my no-limit game a bunch, which I think -- especially in tournaments -- is pretty up to par with most good players. Am I the crème de la crème? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. I think it’s better for someone to look at my game objectively and decide that.”
THE FINAL TABLE
The final table was composed of the last nine finishers and it was reached Tuesday night. The third and final playing session began Wednesday at 1 p.m. and lasted just four hours -- making it the shortest final table at the 2012 WSOP thus far.
Notables joining eventual champion Van Der Fluit at the final table were WSOP Circuit champion, Tonne, 2011 WSOP Europe Main Event 11th place finisher, Alex Dovzhenko and WSOP Europe gold bracelet winner, Tristan Wade.
Tonne (1,121,000) began the final table as the chip leader, but Van Der Fluit (951,000) was not far behind.
A full list of final table participants and those players who cashed can be seen HERE.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 117 finishers collected prize money.
Tournament results are to be entered into all official records as an open event. Results are also to be included in the 2012 “WSOP Player of the Year” race.
Notable players to cash included Shannon Shorr, J.P. Kelly, Tony Cousineau, Noah Boeken, Michael Binger and 2012 WSOP Event #5 champion, Nick Jivkov.
ODDS AND ENDS
This was classified as WSOP schedule Event #11, since it’s the 11th gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas. The tournament was played over three consecutive days and nights, starting on Monday at noon and concluding Wednesday evening at about 5 p.m. PST.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony will take place Thursday, June 7, 2012 in the Brasilia ballroom at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The ceremony will begin at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament. Van Der Fluit has requested for Wilhelmus, the national anthem of the Netherlands and the oldest national anthem in the world, to be played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both public and members of the media.
LAST YEAR’S EVENT
In 2011 a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha did not appear on the schedule until event #22 (of 58). That tournament was won by Elie Payan.
He bested a field of 1,071 and walked with $292,825 and his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Poker pro David “Doc” Sands finished third for $113,383.
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