In the end it was an incredibly lengthy and exciting-at-times, sleepy-at-others final table that set up as a battle of two of the game's best against a field of nobodies, but played out much differently. There's no doubt the biggest name in the final six proved he was best player, but a few of those "who-dats" managed to make their mark throughout the night as well.
While Erik Seidel came in to the final table with the most chips, many "experts" still had Ted Forrest as the favorite based on his ability to mix it up on the felt. However, the now six-time WPT final tablist and onetime champ would quickly become the biggest disappointment of the final six.
The trouble started for Forrest when he raised with pocket nines and Andrew Barta re-popped him. Mama always said stupid is as stupid does and Forrest made the wrong read; he shoved and Barta snapped him off with pocket kings.
Ted lost more than half his stack in the hand and would lose it all a little later when he picked up jacks and pushed again during a pre-flop raising war with Robert Richardson. Richardson had rockets and Forrest was cut down sixth ($103,360).
Adam "AKat11" Katz, the latest Internet pro to blow up on the WPT, was the next player out. Sadly, Katz never got on track today and was dogged when he shoved with top pair queens against Robert Richardson's flush draw.
The flush never came, but Richardson found a king on the river to bounce Katz fifth ($151,811).
Frank Cieri took the final table by storm today, moving in over the top of raises from just about every other player in the final six. The Yonkers undertaker, who acted like he was just happy to be here when things got started today, was winning pot after pot without a showdown. By the time it got down to four-handed he sat second in chips with over $2 million, about $200k more than Robert Richardson.
It was Richardson, though, who finally called him down when Cieri shoved holding a club draw against his top pair. The pair held and Cieri was left crippled. He was buried a few hands later shoving with just a tiny stack and failing to improve against Rob-Rich's overcard.
The $200,261 for fourth had to be more than he was expecting though, coming into play today with the shortest stack.
After knocking out Katz and Cieri, Richardson, an HVAC service tech from Grand Rapids, Michigan playing in his first WPT event, suddenly found himself in unfamiliar territory. He had started the day fifth in chips with barely over half a million and had worked his way into the lead sitting on close to $6 million. It was also the first time since the end of Day 4 that somebody other than Erik Seidel was in command.
But it was really all an illusion. Seidel was the man in control and he chipped away at the less-experienced Richardson, taking large pot after large pot with timely raises and re-raises until he was back in the lead.
When Seidel wasn't winning pots, Andrew Barta was pushing all-in. It seemed like he was all-in every other hand until he finally got called down by Robert Richardson. The problem for Richardson was that this time, Barta actually had it. Richardson's top pair, big kicker was sunk by Barta's two pair and the hit dropped him into third position.
At this point Richardson looked ready to implode, but somehow he righted the ship and all three players ended up embroiled in a dead heat, with each sitting on stacks in the $3.5 million range. Sitting is the key word here folks, as things seriously slowed at this point. Not one of the three players remaining seemed ready to take a risk.
The hours rolled by before the seasoned vet Seidel took command again. By 3 a.m. (EDT), the 10th hour of play on the day, Seidel had managed to build yet another lead. The Team Full Tilt pro had about $5 million in chips to the $2.5 million of each of his less-experienced counterparts, who had suddenly begun shoving just about every hand with at least Barta suggesting the best way to take on Erik was for one of them to grab the other's chips and run with it.
The problem was that it was Seidel who eventually picked Barta off. All the shoving had given Barta a few more chips but Seidel's jacks held against his ace-queen, and Seidel's own ace-queen topped his Q-10 a few minutes later. Barta grabbed $281,011 for third and we were finally heads-up.
After a long six days of poker and a final table that rivaled some of the longest in WPT history, heads-up was a sharp contrast as it lasted just one hand. Seidel had a better than 4-1 lead and when the two went deep into hand No. 1, Seidel called Richardson's shove on a A♣ K♥ 9♠ 8♥ board with A♥ J♦. Richardson had just the 9♣ 7♠ and with the K♦ that fell on the river, the inevitable happened.
Richardson took home $558,792 for second and your big prize is the opportunity to find complete details on how Seidel managed to win his first WPT title and $967,390 on our Live Updates page.
That's it, that's all from Connecticut and the 2008 WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic. With only the WPT Championship left and coming up in a little over a week, Season 6 is just about done. Rumor has it that based on recent happenings, Mike Sexton is planning to adjust that monster-pot live-card slogan to more accurately reflect the play on tour.
"May all your final tables be marathons and your prize pools be dwindling" sounds about right to me.