WSOP First-Timer Wins Event #47.
High Stakes Big “O” Player Steven Loube Bests the Best in Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low.
Atlanta-Based Attorney Makes Last Second Trip to Las Vegas. Scores $267,345 in Prizes.
Terrence Chan and Joe Tehan Lead the Way at the 2012 WSOP. Each Record Ninth In-The-Money Finish.
A lot can change in four days.
Four days ago Steven Loube’s largest tournament cash came in the form of a $50 food voucher. Four days ago Loube had never played in a WSOP-sanctioned poker tournament.
Four days ago Loube booked a plane ticket to Las Vegas.
Now -- four days later and after besting the 978-player field in Event #47 -- Loube can call himself World Series of Poker champion. The 34-year-old attorney from Atlanta, Georgia was awarded $267,345 for his vacation in Las Vegas.
But it sure didn’t feel like a vacation. “This is too much work,” Loube kept repeating after the three-day mental marathon finally concluded late Thursday night. Mentally and physically exhausted, Loube’s first order of business after becoming poker’s newest champion -- to sleep.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. I couldn’t sleep two nights ago. I’ve had about two hours of sleep the entire tournament,” Loube said. “I was nervous because I thought I could (win it).”
It was only at the urging of his friend and business associate that Loube decided to play the three-day tournament in Las Vegas. Four days ago, his friend pushed him to make the trip, and Loube decided to give it a shot. He booked a plane ticket the following day.
No novice to poker, Loube began the tournament feeling comfortable and confident. He often spends weekends playing cards at Harrah’s Cherokee, located about three hours north of Atlanta, but the majority of his experience comes from playing high stakes Big “O” home games in the Atlanta area. He says that worked to his advantage.
“You have to have the best hand,” Loube said of playing Big “O”. “I took that into the tournament and became very conservative... I was just waiting for those really, really good hands and really good moments.”
Without a doubt, Loube’s strategy certainly paid off. As did his decision to make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas.
Loube received the lion’s share of the $1.3 million prizepool. In all, 117 players finished in the money.
MEET THE LATEST WSOP CHAMPION
Name: Steven Loube
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Education: Loube did his undergrad at Georgia Tech and attended the University of Georgia (UGA) for law school. He finished his degree in London, England.
Profession: Personal Injury Attorney -- owns his own law firm.
Number of WSOP Cashes: 1
Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP finish: This marked Steven’s first WSOP in-the-money finish.
First-Place Prize Money: $267,345
Hobbies: When Loube isn’t playing cards or working, he can be found playing Call of Duty.
THE FINAL TABLE
The final table began at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 28, 2012 and concluded just before 10 p.m. The total duration was eight hours (there was a one-hour dinner break).
No gold bracelet champions were present at the final table -- in fact, three of the participants (Loube, Paul Ewen and Viatcheslav Ortynskiy) were making their first-ever WSOP cash.
The poker résumé of Timothy Finne stood above all other competitors. Finne is 31-years-old and hails from Fanwood, New Jersey. Taking into account WSOP and WSOP Circuit performances, this marked his 17th cash and sixth final table. Additionally, Finne boasted $394,096 in WSOP career earnings prior to this final table.
Finne began the final table fifth in chips. He finished runner-up, earning $165,486.
Finne’s performance awarded him his fourth cash and second final table of the 2012 WSOP. He previously finished third in Event #10: $5,000 Seven Card Stud for $73,847.
THE FINAL HAND
With the blinds at 30,000/60,000 and Loube holding about a 3-to-1 chip lead over Finne, Loube raised to 180,000 after Finne’s button limp. Finne called and we saw a flop.
Loube paused before shoving out a pot-sized bet of 360,000. Some time passed before Finne announced all-in and Loube quickly called. The hands were tabled.
Loube was behind, holding a flush draw and back door low possibilities. Finne’s pair of queens and open-ended straight draw held a slight lead. The on the turn gave Finne two pair and took away Loube’s chance at a low. But the on the river would give Loube the nut flush, propelling him past the two pair of his opponent, and the first-time WSOP participant ran into the open arms of his rail.
INTERVIEW WITH THE WINNER
Q: You’re one for one in WSOP events. How does it feel?
A: It feels really awesome. I feel really lucky.
Q: Having never played in a WSOP event before, what were your expectations when this tournament began three days ago?
A: You know, we play Big “O” back home, so it was just Big “O” with one less card. We always play high-low. I just felt like that’s an event I’m used to playing for big money and I felt very, very comfortable doing it. Everyone knows how to play Hold’em. In High-low people make all kinds of mistakes that I don’t make. I make all kinds of mistakes they don’t make (laughs). I felt very comfortable.
Q: This is something that people who play hundreds of tournaments a year will never experience. What will your lasting memory be of this day?
A: I’m just happy my friends and family are here. They flew in last night at midnight or 2 a.m., whenever we stopped (Day 2 play). I’m just happy I got to share it with them.
Q: Having never played a WSOP event before, what prompted you to make the trip to Las Vegas?
A: Well basically, an attorney at my law firm already had entered and he said, ‘Hey. Just come on out. Let’s do it.’ So I said, ‘Ok. Whatever.’ And I just jumped on a plane. That was four days ago. I booked the flight the next day.
Q: How would you rate yourself as a poker player?
A: I’m a cash player. I only play cash. I don’t like tournaments. My biggest cash before was a $50 house cash -- only good for food, not for liquor (laughs). That’s pretty much it. This is just a fun experience. I don’t plan on trying to repeat it. I will probably come (to the WSOP) next year and play one more.
Q: What kind of adjustments were you making coming from a Big “O” home game, to playing Omaha against some of the best player in the world?
A: The Big “O” players we play with -- we play kind of for high stakes -- and they’re actually pretty darn good. It actually worked out, because when you’re playing Big “O” you’re kind of ‘nut pedaling.’ You have to have the best hand. I took that into the tournament and became very conservative because hands were never as good. I was just waiting for those really, really good hands and really good moments. It got me playing really conservative and it worked out pretty well. I played very tight, waited for my moments and then just tried to trap people.
Q: Were you intimidated at all?
A: Not even a little bit. I’m just so comfortable with the game… I really am. I was very nervous. Not intimidated, but very nervous. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep last night. I couldn’t sleep two nights ago. I’ve had about two hours of sleep the entire tournament. The first day I played until 1 a.m. and then I played Big “O” (cash games) until 8 a.m. Then I went back to my room and couldn’t sleep so I went, worked out, then played it again. I got two hours of sleep last night.
Q: What were your expectations coming into this event.
A: I didn’t know. I thought it would be cool if I cashed. At the end of Day 1 I was 22nd (in chips). So I was like, ‘Oh. Wow. I can do this.’
Q: At what point did winning the tournament seem like a realistic possibility?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know when I realized it. I was nervous because I thought I could do it. So maybe from the beginning? I don’t know… after the first day. I thought I could do it. That’s why I was really nervous, because I really wanted to do it.
Q: So is the tournament being over a pretty big weight off your shoulders?
A: I’m so mentally exhausted. Absolutely. My neck has stopped hurting now. Absolutely. All the tension is gone.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m scheduled to leave (for Atlanta) Saturday, but I might stay until Sunday. I’ll probably play some blackjack (laughs) and some more Big “O”. I don’t think I’ll enter any more events.
Q: Do you have any plans for the $270,000?
A: Down payment on a house. We (his girlfriend of three years, Nina, and him) have been looking anyways, so maybe we can upgrade our price range a little bit. She’s going to want a really nice ring now. Way nicer than we had planned.
ODDS AND ENDS
Notable cashers in Event #47 include 2009 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship winner, David Bach, 26-time WSOP casher, Allen Kessler and three-time WSOP gold bracelet champion, Barry Greenstein.
Additionally, Terrence Chan finished in 117th place and Joe Tehan finished in 79th place. Together, the pair headlines a three-horse race for number of cashes at the 2012 WSOP with nine. Konstantin Puchkov also has nine.
This was classified as WSOP schedule Event #47 since it’s the 47th gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas. The tournament was played over three consecutive days and nights, starting on Tuesday at noon and concluding the following Thursday night.