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Faust-ian drama at 2008 World Poker Open
Hoyt Corkins, the soft-spoken Alabamian who frequently wields a big stack, had waited a year and a half for a chance at his second WPT title. Thanks to Brett Faustman, it looks like he'll have to wait a little longer.
Brett Faustman, a commercial insurance salesman and former poker dealer, made good on a $1,000 satellite investment by defeating Freddy Deeb. He entered the WPO final table with the chip lead at $1,345,000. Brett Faustman and Gabe Costner weren't far behind, though, as only $164,000 of the $5,180,000 chips in play separated first and third place when the final table began. Men "The Master" Nguyen, Hoyt Corkins and John Spadavecchia, all hardened tournament veterans, rounded out the lineup.
Less than half an hour after play resumed, Spadavecchia found a spot to move his short stack all-in. Corkins called from the big blind with suited Q-J, while Spadavecchia turned up 6-6. The coin flip ended up falling in Corkins' favor when a queen came on the turn, eliminating Spadavecchia in sixth place.
After play reached the final five the action slowed to a crawl. The chip lead would change hands several times over the course of the next few hours, but nobody would be knocked out in the process.
Nguyen, who entered the final table fourth in chips, was the first player to take his spot at the top. He knocked Faustman off one pot, then just minutes later doubled through Freddy Deeb with pocket queens. Faustman stayed close, though, and claimed the chip lead for himself when Nguyen doubled up short stack Costner.
The players danced around each other as the blinds continued to escalate. Three levels after play began, it was Hoyt Corkins who finally put an end to the promenade. The Alabama Cowboy's A-J caught the flop against Costner's 5-5, sending him home in fifth place.
Now holding the chip lead, Corkins appeared set to run the table. The cards had a different story in mind.
When Faustman moved all-in over the top of Corkins' button raise holding A-4, Corkins called without hesitation and tabled A-K. Though he was in trouble, the 2-2-3 flop gave Faustman more outs, and a 5 on the turn completed the wheel to keep him alive. That left Corkins short-stacked, though he did managed to pick up enough pots with his signature all-in move to stay alive.
On the next level the deadlock finally broke, and it was Deeb who was left out in the cold. He lost key pots to a Faustman bluff and a flopped straight for Nguyen. Then, desperate to pick up chips and give himself a chance, Deeb moved all-in with a suited 8-7. Faustman called with A-K, which held up to eliminate Deeb in fourth place.
With blinds and antes approaching nosebleed levels, three-handed play didn't last long. After an opening raise from the ultra-aggressive Corkins, Nguyen moved all in, declaring, "All you can eat baby!" Corkins quickly called with J-J, which held up against The Master's suited K-T and sent him packing in third place.
Faustman, who had survived his earlier confrontation through extraordinary luck, entered the heads-up match with a slight chip lead, $2,715,000 to $2,470,000. He quickly extended that lead by check-raising his opponent in several early pots, but Corkins fought back and regained the lead by winning five straight pots. It was clear that neither player was giving anything away easily.
After solidifying his chip lead, Faustman finally got the best of Corkins on the 42nd hand of heads-up play. On a 9-9-3 board, Faustman led out and Corkins moved all-in after some thought. Faustman called immediately with QQ, and The Alabama Cowboy tabled 2-2. The turn and river were blanks, giving Corkins a second-place finish and $458,267.
For his win, Faustman takes home $892,413 and a freeroll into this season's $25,000 WPT Championship.
You can go back and relive all the action from this year's World Poker Open in the Live Tournaments section, featuring firsthand accounts of all the action from PokerListings.com superstar reporter Matthew Showell.