Three days ago we saw the beginning of the 2007 Caribbean Poker Classic, a date marked with a large circle and a smiley face on the PL.com reporting calendar. This evening, three days later, we have a champion and it is none other than Denmark's Brian Jensen.
Late last night when the field had been pared down to the final eight players the decision was made to stop play and return at 2 p.m., hence the eight-handed final table where only six should have been. The frenetic pace we've borne witness to for the duration of this event continued unabated today with respite from the madness coming only during heads-up play.
The afternoon got off to a rowdy start with a host of supporters filling the seats surrounding the final table, which was set up in the middle of the room that once was home to the tournament's entire starting field. The drinks were flowing and if we didn't know better we might have thought the sun had started to get to this group. No one held back as the crowd cheered on their friends and countrymen.
Not long after the announcement of "Shuffle up and deal" we witnessed something that justified the cheering, as Denmark's Martin Clemmensen got all-in bad against fellow Scandinavian Joakim Garp. Clemmensen, along with Nikolaj Adamsen one half of the Dynamic Danish Duo known as The 2 Jets, came into this table last in chips and was clearly interested only in either doubling-up or shipping out.
The pot in question was raised by Israel's Leon Yanovski and Clemmensen, next to act, moved all-in over the top. It was folded around to Garp in the small blind and he took a moment before shoving as well. Leon quickly got out of the way and it was time for a showdown. Pocket deuces for Clemme were in terrible shape against the kings of Garp, with the 9♠ 7♥ 6♥ flop changing nothing.
If the cheers were loud leading up to this point they were deafening as the dealer burned for the turn. As if the crowd's sheer will had somehow affected the next card off the deck, the 2♦ hit the felt. The response was huge as Martin took a few victory laps around the room, pumping his fist in excitement.
With that hand Clemmensen was out of the danger zone while Garp was feeling the pain everyone feels when the deck simply won't cooperate. It was not long after that Brian Jensen, the champion-to-be, began his climb to the top, again at the expense of Joakim Garp.
The two got all-in before the flop with Garp covering his opponent by only a few thousand in chips. Big slick for Jensen was in good shape and able to hold up against Garp's A-Q. With that blow Garp was in serious trouble, and he went bust just a few hands later. Jensen, on the other hand, was back in the game and had a bit of room to sit back and play poker.
Jensen continued running good and was responsible for the next player ejected from this final table. John Chubb of Wales got all-in pre-flop with A-J to Jensen's pocket tens but would be unable to improve. This was a huge pot for Jensen and put him well above the average with more than $400,000.
As the afternoon progressed, the next short stack to emerge from the group was Christoffer Sonesson. Treading water for a few levels before getting in with two undercards to Jan Van Der Wal's pocket jacks, Sonesson hit the rail in sixth with Leon Yanovski hot on his heels in fifth.
No sooner had Yanovski left the room than we began to hear rumblings of a deal in progress. At the time it was Brian Jensen holding down the position of chip leader with over $800k, Jan Van Der Wal in second with a little over $600k and Mihai Manole and Martin Clemmensen near even with about $430k.
After a bit of negotiation, moderated by tournament director Thomas Kremser, a deal was reached whereby $41,100 of the remaining $541,100 in prize money would be left on the table, $148,000 would be given to Jensen, $129,000 to Van Der Wal and $111,500 to Clemmensen and Manole. $30,000 would be bestowed upon whomever ended up winning, with $11,100 reserved for second.
Once the deal was struck, a dinner break was declared. A little over an hour later we reconvened to decide the tournament. The first to hit the rail was Jan Van Der Wal, sent packing courtesy of the juggernaut known as Brian Jensen.
Left standing were Jensen, Manole and Clemmensen, but it would take only a short time before one of the group was crossed out of the picture. In the first of a few lucky breaks caught by Mihai Manole he narrowly avoided third-place status, all-in with A-9 to Clemmensen's pocket kings. A nine on the flop and an ace on the turn was all it took to double Manole. Still short-stacked, Manole doubled again through Brian Jensen with K-Q to the Dane's K-T.
Armed with a bit more ammo, Manole and Clemmensen would clash again shortly, only this time it was Manole getting in with the best of it and seeing his hand hold up, crippling Clemme. All-in before the flop with pocket fours in Clemmensen's corner and pocket sixes for Manole, the best hand remained so past the river, leaving Clemmensen with next to nothing.
Within the level we were down to heads-up but, as we would soon see, far from the end of the night. Jensen was in the driver's seat when it went two-handed and he managed to get his opponent all-in in a matter of minutes. Manole shoved on the flop with an open-ended straight draw and got a call from Jensen who had top pair. Again the crowd was screaming for cards and again the dealer obliged, completing the all-in player's straight on the turn and leaving Jensen drawing dead.
With the two players near even in chips we settled in for what was almost certainly going to be a long night. Our predictions proved correct as the two slowed down, feeling each other out and putting their deep stacks to work in small pots. The advantage was clearly Jensen's though and as the night grew longer, the Dane's stack continued to grow taller.
Going into the final hand Jensen was back in control once again. This time though it was he who would need to hit his draw to take down the pot. Manole was all-in with two pair, aces up, but Jensen had outs with bottom pair and a flush draw. The turn missed but the river nailed his flush and put a stop to the marathon heads-up match.
Brian Jensen, a stockbroker by trade, was champion and all that remained was to snap the winner photos, sit down and speak with the man himself and write up this here blog. Although this isn't his biggest win - he had a runner-up cash at a WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City for over $200k - Jensen was thrilled with the victory, and perhaps also by the fact that the grueling battle was finally over.
As for PL.com, our time on the island of St. Kitts is nearly done. With this, our second foray to the tropical paradise, winding down, we can only hope the CPC will return again next year, affording us the opportunity to mix business with just a little bit of pleasure.
The next events on our tournament hit list are the WSOP Circuit event in New Orleans, which begins tomorrow, The European Poker Tour event in Prague on the 10th and the Five-Diamond World Poker Tour event at Bellagio in Vegas which gets underway on the 12th.
Concerned about the number of tournaments going down around the world? Anxious you might miss a crucial piece of action from your favorite pro? Not to worry, PL.com will be there to make sense of it all and deliver it straight to the comfort of your home. After all, we're errrrverywhere.