COMMERCE CASINO'S
L.A. POKER CLASSIC

The recap you are about to read is true.  Only the dealers and decks have been switched to protect the honest players.

This is the city.  Los Angeles, California.  The city with the largest population in the U.S.  On a nice five-day stretch, 382 poker players converged on the Commerce Casino - the casino with the largest area dedicated solely to poker in the world - tossing in $10,000 of their hard-earned cash to compete for the largest prize pool in WPT history: $3.82 million!  The winner gets close to $1.4M and a seat at the WPT Championship at the Bellagio, which could be worth SEVERAL million.  After four days and nights of battling, six remain to fight in front of the cameras.  That's where I come in.  I'm a recapper.  I have a computer.

Let's take a look at the suspects for this record-breaking tournament:

PLAYERCHIP COUNT
Antonio Esfandiari
"The Magician"; WPT Finalist
from last year
$1,148,000
Vinny Vinh
Respected poker player
out of Houston
$1,026,000
Adam Schoenfield
Retired stock market investor; boyfriend to female poker great Evelyn Ng
$701,000
Bill Gazes
Vegas pro poker player;
originally from NYC
$452,000
David Benyamine
Poker pro from Paris; winner of
WPT's Grand Prix de Paris
$276,000
Mike Keohan
Software developer; placed 18th in last year's Aruba and Foxwoods tournaments
$219,000


The announcers are Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patton, ready to call the action with the WPT Cams.  The host is Shania Hiatt.  My name's Wolvie.  Let's SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL! 

Antes start at $2000 and the blinds start at $8000 (SB) and $16,000 (BB).

BillVinnyAdamMike (D)David (SB)Antonio (BB)
J♥ 5♠ J♦ 2♣ K♠ 9♥ 8♣ 3♣ A♥ 2♥ Q♥ 8♥
FOLD FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $60,000 FOLD
WIN $88,000
Many hands in tournament play are won by default like this one.


AntonioBillVinnyAdam (D)Mike (SB)David (BB)
7♣ 2♦ J♣ 6♠ K♣ 8♣ A♦ Q♠ Q♣ 6♦ 10♠ 8♥
FOLD FOLD Raises to $51,000 Raises to $151,000 FOLD FOLD
Raises to $351,000 ALL-IN
$800,000
FOLD
WIN $1,187,000
Adam was a 3-to-2 favorite with his "Big Chick".  He takes over the chip lead with that hand.


MikeDavidAntonioBill (D)Vinny (SB)Adam (BB)
K♠ J♦ 5♠ 3♣ 8♦ 6♦ A♥ 10♣ Q♦ 2♥ J♥ 2♠
FOLD FOLD Raises to $46,000 Calls $46,000 FOLD FOLD
Bill is a 3-to-2 fave to win the hand.
FLOP: 8♠ A♣ 4♦
Both flopped a pair, but Bill has top pair and, thus, is a 76% favorite to win.
CHECK CHECK
You don't HAVE to bet if you don't want to.  Both Antonio and Bill are cautious against each other.
TURN: A♦
BANG!  Bill gets the third "bullet" and makes a full house.  Antonio is drawing dead here.
CHECK CHECK
RIVER: 4♣
COMMUNITY: A♣ A♦ 4♦ 4♣ 8♠
Bets $69,000 Raises to $169,000
Calls $100,000
8♦ 8♠ A♣ A♦ 6♦ A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♦ 4♣
WIN $466,000
Sensing weakness, Antonio bet into the pot after the River.  If you don't bet after the Flop and Turn, expect to be bet into on the River.



CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Adam Schoenfield$1,147,000
Antonio Esfandiari$873,000
Vinny Vinh$732,000
Bill Gazes$723,000
Mike Keohan$179,000
David Benyamine$168,000

Antes have gone up to $3000 and blinds are now $12,000 (SB) and $24,000 (BB).

Hand4

AdamMikeDavidAntonio (D)Bill (SB)Vinny (BB)
K♦ 5♣ 10♦ 8♥ Q♣ 4♠ J♣ 9♥ A♥ J♠ A♠ A♦
FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $69,000 Raises to $180,000 Raises to $480,000
FOLD FOLD
WIN $747,000
While Bill was pondering whether to call with his "Ajax", Vinny asked if he could call time to hit the restroom.  Players CAN call time BETWEEN hands, but DURING the hand the action continues without him.



CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Vinny Vinh$1,125,000
Adam Schoenfield$887,000
Bill Gazes$721,000
Antonio Esfandiari$613,000
Mike Keohan$406,000
David Benyamine$43,000


MikeDavidAntonioBill (D)Vinny (SB)Adam (BB)
4♣ 3♦ 10♥ 8♣ 10♦ 6♣ A♠ 5♠ 7♠ 4♥ 8♠ 7♦
FOLD Calls $24,000 FOLD Raises to $59,000 FOLD FOLD
ALL-IN
$40,000
Bill's hand is lowered to match David's all-in.
FLOP: Q♦ 2♠ 9♦
David has a straight draw...but Bill is still a 63% fave to win.
TURN: 10♣
David pulls ahead with a pair of tens and is a 93% fave.  Bill needs an Ace to knock David out.
RIVER: J♥
Q♦ J♥ 10♥ 9♦ 8♣ A♠ Q♦ J♥ 10♣ 9♦
WIN $134,000
David has "doubled up", or won an all-in bet and roughly doubled his chip count.


DavidAntonioBillVinny (D)Adam (SB)Mike (BB)
7♠ 5♦ 10♦ 6♦ K♥ 10♠ A♠ 2♥ 7♦ 6♠ 10♦ 8♥
FOLD Raises to $60,000 FOLD Raises to $170,000 FOLD FOLD
ALL-IN
$607,000
FOLD
WIN $831,000
Antonio does his "poker wave", an arm movement he picked up as a magician.



CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Vinny Vinh$954,000
Antonio Esfandiari$781,000
Adam Schoenfield$754,000
Bill Gazes$665,000
Mike Keohan$436,000
David Benyamine$232,000

Antes have gone up to $5000 and blinds are now $20,000 (SB) and $40,000 (BB).
VinnyAdamMikeDavid (D)Antonio (SB)Bill (BB)
K♦ 6♥ 10♠ 9♥ 8♣ 6♦ 10♥ 7♣ K♣ 2♠ A♦ 7♦
FOLD FOLD FOLD FOLD Raises to $100,000 ALL-IN
$660,000
FOLD
WIN $790,000
Bill said "I'll raise"...then took a LOT of time to decide how MUCH to raise.  After a while, Antonio asked the tournament director to "call the clock", meaning Bill had 60 seconds to answer or lose his hand.  Bill went all-in 15 seconds into the "call"...and Antonio begrudgingly folded.


AntonioBillVinnyAdam (D)Mike (SB)David (BB)
8♦ 5♠ Q♦ 3♥ 9♥ 7♦ 10♣ 8♠ J♣ J♠ A♥ 5♥
FOLD FOLD FOLD FOLD ALL-IN
$371,000
ALL-IN
$297,000
David looked at only his Ace first, then spent a good minute fawning vocally over the card.  THEN he looked at his five...and said, "Oh, no..." before going all-in.  Mike is a mild favorite with his "hooks". 
FLOP: Q♣ K♠ J♦
Mike has three Jacks thanks to the "Picasso"Flop (face cards are often called "paint")...but David has a "Broadway" draw, needing a 10.
TURN: A♠
David can only tie at this point.  If a 10 comes off on the River, the Board will have Broadway and the pot will be split.  An Ace would give David three Aces...but it would give MIKE a full house.
RIVER: 4♦
J♣ J♠ J♦ A♠ K♠ A♥ A♠ K♠ Q♣ J♦
WIN $624,000 OUT - 6th Place



CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Vinny Vinh$1,109,000
Bill Gazes$745,000
Mike Keohan$693,000
Adam Schoenfield$664,000
Antonio Esfandiari$611,000


MikeAntonioBill (D)Vinny (SB)Adam (BB)
K♣ K♦ 4♥ 3♦ 10♦ 9♣ 10♠ 9♦ K♠ 3♠
Raises to $125,000 FOLD FOLD FOLD ALL-IN
$650,000
Calls $525,000
Mike is an 8-to-1 favorite here.  Best Adam can do is get a flush.
FLOP: Q♥ 4♠ 3♥
Adam's chances have become a LITTLE better; he needs a 3 to make "trips".
TURN: 5♥
RIVER: 4♣
K♣ K♦ 4♠ 4♣ Q♥ 4♠ 4♣ 3♠ 3♥ K♠
WIN $1,345,000 OUT - 5th Place
Shame...had Antonio been a little brave with his hand, he would have won with a full house, fours full of threes.



CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Vinny Vinh$1,435,000
Mike Keohan$1,185,000
Bill Gazes$720,000
Antonio Esfandiari$480,000


Antes have gone up to $10,000 and blinds are now $30,000 (SB) and $60,000 (BB).

BillVinny (D)Mike (SB)Antonio (BB)
10♣ 9♠ Q♥ 5♦ J♣ 9♣ K♦ J♦
FOLD FOLD Raises to $200,000 ALL-IN
$470,000
Calls $270,000
Antonio's the 2-to-1 favorite with his "Kojak"
FLOP: 7♠ 10♥ 4♠
TURN: 5♥
RIVER: Q♣
 Q♣ J♣ 10♥ 9♣ 7♠ K♦ Q♣ J♦ 10♥ 7♠
WIN $980,000
You read it right; Antonio won the hand and doubled-up WITHOUT even a PAIR!



Hand14

MikeAntonio (D)Bill (SB)Vinny (BB)
10♦ 9♠ Q♦ Q♣ A♣ 8♥ A♠ J♣
FOLD Raises to $170,000 ALL-IN
$570,000
Calls $510,000
ALL-IN
$1,470,000
FOLD
Had Vinny called Antonio's all-in, a side pot would have been made that only Antonio and Vinny could have won.  As it is, Antonio's bet is lowered to match Bill's all-in.  Antonio's "Seigfreid & Roy" are a 71% fave.
FLOP: 8♠ 3♥ 9♥
Bill flopped a pair of "snowmen".
TURN: 3♦
Bill can still win with an Ace or a Jack for a higher pair.  But Antonio is still an 8-to-1 fave.
RIVER: J♥
Sorry...I have to say it...Antonio did indeed...Kill Bill. :)
Q♦ Q♣ 3♥ 3♦ J♥ 8♥ 8♠ 3♥ 3♦ A♣
WIN $1,750,000 OUT - 4th Place




CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Antonio Esfandiari$2,650,000
Mike Keohan$635,000
Vinny Vinh$535,000

Antes have gone up to $10,000 and blinds are now $50,000 (SB) and $100,000 (BB).

Mike (D)Antonio (SB)Vinny (BB)
K♥ Q♥ Q♠ 5♦ K♠ Q♦
ALL-IN
$385,000
FOLD Calls $285,000
Mike has a 7% chance to win the pot, Vinnie has a 2% chance.  There's a 91% chance of a split pot.
FLOP: 2♦ A♦ A♠
TURN: 6♦
Vinny NOW as a BETTER chance of winning the pot outright, since he has a flush draw.  One more diamond and Vinny knocks Mike out.
RIVER: 4♣
CHECK
A♦ A♠ K♥ Q♥ 6♦ A♦ A♠ K♠ Q♦ 6♦
WIN $425,000 WIN $425,000
Since both have the same exact five-card hand (pair of Aces with King-Queen-6 kickers), the pot is split.  They essentially get their bets back and split Antonio's ante and blind.



CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Antonio Esfandiari$1,885,000
Vinny Vinh$1,690,000
Mike Keohan$245,000


Antonio (D)Vinny (SB)Mike (BB)
9♣ 8♣ 6♠ 6♥ K♥ 10♥
FOLD ALL-IN
$1,680,000
ALL-IN
$235,000
Vinnie actually says to Mike, "I put you all-in."  This is known as "tapping" your opponent.  However, since Vinny didn't know how much Mike has, HE goes all-in.  When Mike followed suit, Vinny's bet was lowered.  It's a "race" situation: two overcards vs. a low pair.
FLOP: 2♠ 9♥ J♠
Mike now has a gut-buster straight draw, needing a Queen.  Vinny is still a 56% favorite.
TURN: 8♥
The straight draw now turns open-ended; he needs a Queen OR a 7 for a straight.  He ALSO has a FLUSH draw, needing another heart.  He can ALSO win with any King or 10 to make a better pair.  That's a total of 20 outs out of the 40 cards left in the deck.
RIVER: 7♦
6♠ 6♥ J♠ 9♥ 8♥ J♠ 10♥ 9♥ 8♥ 7♦
WIN $500,000




CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Vinny Vinh$1,795,000
Antonio Esfandiari$1,765,000
Mike Keohan$260,000


Mike (D)Antonio (SB)Vinny (BB)
Q♦ J♦ K♦ 7♥ K♠ 7♣
ALL-IN
$250,000
Calls $200,000 Calls $150,000
Antonio and Vinny have the SAME HAND.  If either of them bet, a side pot will be created.  Mike is a 49% fave to win the pot himself; there's a 47% chance of the pot being split between Antonio and Vinny.
FLOP: 5♣ 9♦ 9♣
CHECK CHECK
TURN: 6♦
Mike has a lot of outs again.  A diamond would give him a flush, and a Queen or Jack would give him two pair to Antonio and Vinny's one pair each.  Otherwise, the pot will be split and Mike is out.
CHECK CHECK
RIVER: 10♥
COMMUNITY: 9♦ 9♣ 10♥ 6♦ 5♣
CHECK CHECK
Unsure of their hands, neither Antonio nor Vinny wanted to bet into a side pot.  Therefore, they split the main pot evenly with their King-10-7 kickers...knocking Mike (with his Queen kicker) out.
9♦ 9♣ Q♦ J♦ 10♥ 9♦ 9♣ K♦ 10♥ 7♥ 9♦ 9♣ K♠ 10♥ 7♣
OUT - 3rd Place WIN $390,000 WIN $390,000


9:30pm. After all this time, the magician and the respected poker player play heads up, each wanting to get their grubby hands on all that money, as well as the Championship buy-in.  It looked to be a bloody mess...and I couldn't be happier.

CURRENT CHIP COUNT
Antonio Esfandiari$1,955,000
Vinny Vinh$1,865,000


Antonio (D) (SB)Vinny (BB)
7♠ 2♥ J♠ 5♠
Raises to $350,000 FOLD
WIN $470,000
7-2 offsuit is considered the WORST starting hand in Hold 'Em.  But, if you bet into a cautious player, you can STILL bluff him out of the pot.


Vinny (D) (SB)Antonio (BB)
7♦ 7♣ A♠ 3♠
Calls $50,000 CHECK
Vinny is a 2-to-1 favorite with his "mullets" over Antonio's "Baskin-Robbins".
FLOP: 3♦ 9♣ 3♣
Antonio has flopped three "crabs" and is now an 88% fave.  Vinnie DOES have two pair, though.
Bets $100,000
Raises to $300,000 Raises to $650,000
ALL-IN
$2,390,000
ALL-IN
$1,210,000
Vinny's bet is lowered to match Antonio's all-in.
TURN: Q♣
Vinny needs a 7 or any club except the Ace to win the tournament.
RIVER: Q♦
Q♣ Q♦ 7♦ 7♣ 9♣ 3♠ 3♦ 3♣ Q♣ Q♦
WIN $2,640,000


Antonio (D) (SB)Vinny (BB)
A♥ A♣ Q♥ 4♦
Raises to $250,000 ALL-IN
$1,660,000
Calls $1,410,000
This is the stuff that DREAMS are made of; heads-up for the title, your opponent bets all-in...and you have the "pocket rockets"!  Antonio's an 88% favorite to win the tournament.
FLOP: K 8♥ 9♣
Vinny needs two running cards...
TURN: 3♦
...but he doesn't even get a one.  The tournament is over.
RIVER: ???
A♥ A♣ K♦ 9♣ 8♥ K♦ Q♥ 9♣ 8♥ 4♦
TOURNAMENT WINNER! OUT - 2nd Place



1ST ANTONIO
ESFANDIARI
$1,399,135
2nd Vinny Vinh $718,485
3rd Mike Keohan $359,245
4th Bill Gazes $226,890
5th Adam Schoenfield $170,170
6th David Benyamine $132,355

On Wednesday, April the 28th, Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari was broadcast receiving the largest payout in WPT history to date.  He was likewise sentenced to compete in the WPT Championship free of charge.  Winning on the World Poker Tour can lead to payouts of no less than $400,000 nor more than $4,000,000.