L.A. Poker Classic Commerce Casino

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L.A. Poker Classic

Commerce Casino
February 24 to March 3, 2007

Feb 24 -- L.A. Poker Classic Day 1
The first day of the L.A. Poker Classic proved what a star fest should look like. Players such as Burt Boutin, Robert Mizrachi, Shannon Shorr, Jeff Madsen, Erick Lindgren, Vanessa Rousso, Chip Jett, Erik Cajelais, Joe Bartholdi, Theo Tran, David Sklansky, Davidson Matthew, Steve Brecher, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Daniel Negreanu, James Van Alstyne, Jennifer Tilly and last year's champion Alan Goehring were seen in the field. Things got underway at 3:30 p.m. with all players starting with $20,000 in chips with blinds at $25/$50. 2006 WSOP Main Event champ Jamie Gold was also there, but was busted out within the first 90 minutes of the tournament. In total, 791 players paid $10,000 each to sit down at the tables. The prize pool jumped to a huge $7,593,600. Payout schedule for the final table is as follows:

  1. $2,429,970
  2. $1,177,010
  3. $607,490
  4. $455,615
  5. $341,710
  6. $257,425
Action was fierce as eliminations were happening in twos and threes. After one hand, Jennifer Tilly busted two players which included Farzad Bonyadi. By 2:30 a.m. the next day there were only 419 playes left, and no one appeared tired. At about 3:30 a.m. tournament directors told everyone to bag their chips and get some sleep. Here are the top 6 players with chip counts:
  1. J.C. Tran -- 543,700 chips
  2. Mike Carson -- 318,100 chips
  3. Alan Engel -- 280,200 chips
  4. Sean McCabe -- 272,400 chips
  5. Lee Markholt -- 240,300 chips
  6. Joe Tehan and Can Kim Hua -- 225,000 chips

Feb 25 -- L.A. Poker Classic Day 2
The second round for the L.A. Poker Classic began at 3:30 p.m. with blinds at $300/$600 with a $75 ante. Bustouts continued with players like Kathy Liebert, Robert Mizrachi, Mike Matusow after his pocket A's were cracked when his opponent turned a set of 10's, Paul Darden Jr., Tony Ma, Chad Brown, Gavin Smith, Marcello Del Grosso, Freddy Deeb and Joe Sebok going to the rail. By the time midnight rolled around there were 152 players left to move on to Day 3. Here are the top 6 with chip counts:

  1. Dan Harmetz -- 851,800 chips
  2. Mike Wattell -- 617,200 chips
  3. Vince Byrd -- 231,000 chips
  4. Joe Sebok -- 204,175 chips
  5. Alan Engel -- 179,725 chips
  6. Richard Munro -- 154,525 chips

Feb 26 -- L.A. Poker Classic Day 3
152 players sat down to continue play until 54 were reached. Blinds began at $1,000/$2,000 with a $300 ante at 3:30 p.m. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi was eliminated from the tournament when his K Q was overcome by an opponents A K. Joining him on the sidelines were Steve Brecher, Matt Glantz, Minh Nguyen, Nenad Medic, Ted Forrest, Erik Seidel, Quinn Do and Steve Dannenmann. Barry Greenstein left after his A 8 suited lost out to Lee Markholt's pocket 10's.

By the time player 55 was busted around 3:00 a.m. the next day, the 54 remaining players were all in the money and told to come back tomorrow for the next round. Here are the top 6 with chip counts:

  1. Bill Edler -- 696,000 chips
  2. Jason Strasser -- 677,000 chips
  3. Suk Sung -- 668,000 chips
  4. J.C. Tran -- 636,000 chips
  5. Juan Carlos Alvarado -- 634,000 chips
  6. Richard Munro -- 631,000 chips

Feb 27 -- L.A. Poker Classic Day 4
Day 4 began at 3:30 p.m. PST with blinds at $4,000/$8,000 and a $1,000 ante for the remaining 54 who survived yesterday's round. The bustouts continue with Nick Binger, Steve Yoon, Daniel Woodward, Ed Moncada, Greg Mueller, Joe Awada and Ted Lawson being some of the names who left today.

But there were those who had an excellent day such as J.C. Tran who vaulted his stack from yesterday's 636,000 to over 3.4 million making him the chip leader. His performance this tournament has been incredible, making the top 6 in chips on days 2 and 3. Paul Wasicka who was the 2006 Main Event runner up ended the day with 806,000. The incredible Chau Giang finished out at 813,000 to make the next round. He will be joined by Joseph Cordi, Kristy Gazes, William Edler and Jason Strasser who are part of the 18 players to go to Day 5. Goal for the next round will be to see who goes to the final table. Here are the top 6 players with chip counts:

  1. J.C. Tran -- 3,461,000 chips
  2. Jacob Fernandez -- 1,334,000 chips
  3. Jason Strasser -- 1,196,000 chips
  4. William "Bill" Edler -- 1,160,000 chips
  5. Tad Jurgens -- 1,059,000 chips
  6. Ben Johnson -- 1,055,000 chips

Feb 28 -- L.A. Poker Classic Day 5
Play started at 3:30 p.m. PST, with blinds at $12,000/$24,000 and a $4,000 ante. Fifteen minutes into play Richard Munro became the first to bust, losing an all-in move with As 10c to the pocket 3's of Jacobo Fernandez. Juan Carlos Alvarado managed a 15th place finish after his pocket 9's lost out to another players pocket 10's. Joe Cordi left courtesy of J.C. Tran in 14th after Tran's Ah Kh outperformed Cordi's Ac 2s when the remaining cards helped neither player.

Bad beat of the day happened in a hand with David Bach and Ben Johnson. Bach raises preflop and is called by Johnson, both see a flop of Kh Qd 7d. Bach goes all-in and is called by Johnson. Bach shows Ad 4d and Johnson has pocket Q's for a set. Turn card is a 4s but the river is a 2d giving Bach his nut flush. Bach ends up with $965,000 and Johnson is left with a single $5,000 chip. (And yes, Ben Johnson did lose the next hand going out in 9th place.) By 11:15 p.m. PST, the day has ended with the following players making the final table:

  1. J.C. Tran -- 3,470,000 chips
  2. Paul Wasicka -- 3,390,000 chips
  3. Jacob Fernandez -- 3,370,000 chips
  4. Eric Hershler -- 2,160,000 chips
  5. David Bach -- 2,070,000 chips
  6. Chau Giang -- 1,370,000 chips

Mar 1 -- L.A. Poker Classic Final Table
Final table play began at 5:00 p.m. PST. The blinds are $30,000/$60,000 with a $10,000 ante. Players were very cautious trying to not make any mistakes that would cause them to lose out on the chance to win $2,429,970. Three hours and 42 min into play, David Bach would be the first to leave the table. In a hand with Bach and Eric Hershler, Bach moves all-in preflop and is called by Hershler. The flop shows Ah 10h 4s and the turn card is a 2h. Hershler moves all-in and turns over pocket 2's. Bach shows Ac 2c, and after the river card of 3d appears, Bach leaves in 6th place. Chau Giang goes in 5th after he loses out to J.C. Tran. Tran also busted Paul Wasicka out of the tournament in 4th after making a full house 3's/K's. Jacobo Fernandez made a graceful exit in 3rd once Eric Hershler turned his pocket A's into a full house A's/2's.

Now the heads up between Eric Hershler and J.C. Tran starts with Hershler having $8,700,000 in chips, Tran with $7,400,000. And on the first hand it is over! Here is what happened, Hershler limped in from the button. Tran raised with 700,000 which was called by Hershler. The flop shows Ad Jc 6c, and at this point both parties move all-in with Hershler having Jd 6d giving him two pair and Tran with Ac 7s. Turn card was a 4d and river card was 9h. And that is how Eric Hershler who entered his first live poker tournament in his life, won a WPT title as champion. It just goes to prove that it can be done.

  1. Eric Hershler -- $2,429,970
  2. J.C. Tran -- $1,177,010
  3. Jacob Fernandez -- $607,490
  4. Paul Wasicka -- $455,615
  5. Chau Giang -- $341,710
  6. David Bach -- $257,425

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