Wednesday, March 30, 2011 9:08 PM Local Time
Ali Eslami came into Day 2 as the chip leader of this tournament. It was also his birthday. From there, Eslami was able to ride the big stack to the final table and eventually grab the best birthday present of all with a victory and $282,242 in first-place prize money!
When the final table began, Eslami was fourth in chips. He was able to build his stack steadily throughout the day and pick off players left and right. In fact, Eslami eliminated Dwyte Pilgrim in seventh place, Dana Kellstrom in sixth place, David Peters in fifth place and Steve Brecher in fourth place en route to getting heads up with young gun Tim West.
West was coming off a big week, having won the Wynn Classic Main Event just a few days prior for over $300,000, so momentum was clearly on his side. Eslami proved to be his kryptonite, eventually finishing off West with a big all-in battle. The two got all the money in preflop with Eslami dominating West's with the . He was able to hold from there and claim the title.
In one of the interviews he did with the production team after winning, Eslami said that he really, really felt this one was his all along, but kept his confidence to himself so it didn't come off the wrong way. He also made sure to thank Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, for all the support he gave him throughout the event and for being the one who told Eslami to come down and play this event.
Eslami also thanked Chad Brown for being such a great tournament mentor to him and friend. Eslami is known for his prowess in high-stakes cash games and admitted that tournaments aren't his thing just yet. This is actually his first-ever tournament win and it's surely a big one. Brown's lessons must working, because Eslami seemed to flow through this final table effortlessly. He also wished Brown the absolute best in his fight against cancer and hopes that he comes out on top.
Final Table Payouts
Congratulations to Eslami for taking home the title from this tournament in an extremely tough field. He earned the gold and diamond encrusted WSOP Circuit ring, $282,242 in prize money and the right to be called champion! We'll surely be looking out for him at the National Championship in Las Vegas at the end of May.
That wraps up our coverage from Rincon, but you can be sure to check out everything we have to offer at [URL="http://www.pokernews.com"+]PokerNews.com[/URL] on a regular basis. We'll definitely be at the next WSOP Circuit event, so be sure to follow along with our coverage then!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:45 PM Local Time
Out of the blue, all of the money went into the middle and it's all over. From the button, Tim West raised to 62,000. Ali Eslami thought for a little bit before reraising to 138,000. West moved all in for around one million and Eslami made the call.
Eslami tabled the to have West's in a world of hurt. West was the player with the shorter stack and he would need a lot of help in order to survive this one and double up.
The flop came down and didn't do any good for West. He was now looking for runner-runner queens as his only hope to win the hand and double up. The turn brought the and it was paint, but not the paint West needed to still have a sweat. He was drawing dead and the player dealt the river the to officially end things.
West didn't go home empty handed, as he'll take home $174,443 for his runner-up finish. Just a few days ago, West won the Wynn Poker Classic in Las Vegas for $318,738. That puts his career winnings for the last week at nearly $500,000, which isn't too shabby at all.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:35 PM Local Time
From the button, Tim West raised and Ali Eslami called. The flop came down and Eslami checked. West bet 80,000 and Eslami made the call.
The turn brought the and both players checked. The river card was the and Eslami bet 150,000. West quickly announced a call, but mucked his hand when Eslami tabled the .
Eslami won the pot and West immediately called for cocktails.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:25 PM Local Time
"You're on a little rush here," Eslami said during the deal, referring to the fact that West has won the last four pots preflop. "A couple of walks, a couple of raises..." Eslami said.
When the cards came out, West tried for five in a row with a raise to 62,000 from the button. Eslami three-bet to 135,000 total. West called to see a flop.
The dealer fanned out , and both men checked to the turn. Eslami retook control again with a bet of 180,000, and West pondered and folded.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:18 PM Local Time
Only about 100,000 chips have changed hands in the first 90 minutes of heads-up play.
|Ali Eslami||1,490,000||-208,000 |
|Tim West||1,450,000||208,000 |
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:16 PM Local Time
From the button, Ali Eslami raised to 50,000. Tim West called from the big blind and the flop came down . West checked the flop and so did Eslami, bringing them to the on the turn.
West checked again and Eslami fired a delayed continuation bet worth 67,000. West made the call.
The river completed the board with the and both players checked. West tabled top pair with the and Eslami mucked.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:12 PM Local Time
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:08 PM Local Time
There has been virtually no movement in the chip stacks since heads-up play began, and we're hunkered down for a potentially long fight here. A moment ago, we picked up the most notable pot that's happened in about a half hour:
Ali Eslami raised to 45,000 from the button, and Tim West flicked the calling chips into the pot to see a flop.
It came , and it check-checked to the turn. West took the lead now with 65,000 of his own chips, and Eslami made a deliberate call to see the final card. It was the , and West grabbed a bet to force Eslami into a 165,000-chip decision. That decision took a few minutes, but Eslami eventually settled on a fold to let West take it.
During the next shuffle, the two men bantered back and forth a bit, as they've been doing throughout this match.
"I'm on tilt now," Eslami said flatly.
"Wait, you're on tilt? Why are you on tilt?" West asked.
"I'm just kidding," Eslami answered, looking up to smirk. "I don't tilt. You probably knew that already too."
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:32 PM Local Time
Tim West had the button and raised to 50,000. Ali Eslami made the call and the flop came down . Eslami checked and West bet 40,000. Eslami called.
The turn card was the to pair the board with bullets. Eslami checked and West checked.
The completed the board on the river and after Eslami checked, West bet 90,000. Eslami thought about it for a bit and then made the call. West turned over the for tens and aces. Eslami couldn't beat it and mucked his hand.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:16 PM Local Time
Tim West raised from the button and Ali Eslami called to see the flop come down . Eslami checked and West fired 65,000. Eslami check-raised to 215,000 and won the pot.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:51 PM Local Time
|Ali Eslami||1,698,000||-28,000 |
|Tim West||1,242,000||28,000 |
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:49 PM Local Time
From the button, D.J. Blanchard raised and Tim West moved all in from the small blind. Ali Eslami folded in the big blind and then Blanchard called all in.
The flop came down and West's fives stayed in front. The turn brought the and the river the . Both the turn and river failed to improve Blanchard's hand after a desolate flop and he was eliminated in third place for nearly $125,000 in prize money, by far the largest score of his live career.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:46 PM Local Time
With bellies full of the very best food Rincon has to offer... the players are back in their chairs and three-handed play has recommenced.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:45 PM Local Time
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:34 PM Local Time
The players are now on a one-hour dinner break. We'll see you back here around 7:35 PM PST. Here are the chip counts at the break.
|Ali Eslami||1,726,000||-134,000 |
|Tim West||785,000||125,000 |
|D.J. Blanchard||429,000||9,000 |
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:30 PM Local Time
Tim West and D.J. Blanchard saw the flop come down . Blanchard checked and West checked. The turn paired the board with the , also adding a third spade. Blanchard bet 48,000 and West released his hand.
We're just a couple minutes from the end of the level and a one-hour dinner break.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:20 PM Local Time
Ali Eslami folded his button, and D.J. Blanchard raised to 47,000 from the small blind. From the big, Tim West reraised all in, and Blanchard gave it just a cursory look before folding.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:17 PM Local Time
Ali Eslami limped in from under the gun and action folded to Tim West in the small blind. He completed the bet before Steve Brecher checked his option in the big blind. The three players saw the flop come down and West checked. Brecher also checked and Eslami bet 30,000. After West folded, Brecher check-raised all in for a 155,000. Eslami made the call.
Eslami's queen kicker was dominating the at-risk Brecher, who was looking for some help on the turn or river to stay alive. The turn paired the board with the and gave Brecher a few outs to a chop if a king, nine or ace fell. He couldn't win the hand.
The river completed the board with the and that was the end of the line for Brecher. He was eliminated in fourth place for just over $90,000 in prize money.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:06 PM Local Time
The table folded around to the blinds, and David Peters shoved all in for 145,000 from the small. That put the decision on Ali Eslami in the big, and he took about two minutes to make sure before calling with his big stack. Peters was dominated:
The flop was bad news for Peters, and it was looking like he wouldn't even be able to find a chop to stay alive. The turn left him drawing stone dead, and the river was just a needle in his side.
With an inferior two pair, David Peters has been sent to the rail in 5th place. That's good for more than $66,000 in prize money, and we'll see him again in Las Vegas for the WSOP-C National Championship in May.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 4:58 PM Local Time
We couldn't hear the preflop action, catching up as the dealer spread out a . Ali Eslami was out of position, and he checked to his lone opponent. It was Tim West on the button, and West fired out a bet of 63,000 which Eslami called.
On the turn, the drew another check and a bet as West made it a healthy 175,000 to go. After some time debating, Eslami slid a couple towers of calling chips into the pot.
That led them to the river, and Eslami checked one last time. West spent a couple minutes considering his play, cutting out chips to bet with and then re-stacking them. It was about two minutes before he surrendered, saying, "Okay, you got it." West held his cards out over the muck as he waited for Eslami to show.
Eslami tabled for a pair of nines, and West dropped his cards into the garbage pile.
That's the biggest pot we've seen in a while, and it helps bolster his chip lead in a big way. Eslami has about 1.4 million now, while West falls back under that million-chip mark.