Final prelims wrap before WSOPC main event starts

Empire Casino, London

The World Series of Poker Circuit schedule has nearly wrapped up for 2007. Its last couple of days saw three more preliminary events play out before the start of the $5,000 Championship Event today.

Brooklyn resident Jeffrey Vanchiro took down Event 6 on Friday while Frank Vizza from Coal Springs Harbor, N.Y., won Event 7, and Anisha Shrestha of Philadelphia, Pa., was the top lady in Event 8.

Event 6

In Event 6 on Friday, the first of two consecutive $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournaments, 213 runners came to line. The $213,000 prize pool would be split up among the top 27 finishers in the event, but the lion's share of $68,160 would go to the winner.

There were some veterans of the WSOPC who decided to take a shot at this event. At the final table was Sal Giambrone, who has played in five Circuit events and cashed in two of them. Another player on a roll was Hung Truong, who had been playing in events at the Trump Classic in Atlantic City this year and made three final tables, with one victory.

Leading the nine men to the final table was Michael Kelly, who held a slim 90,000 chip lead over Mike Somma. In the first eight hands of the tournament, three players would head to the rail, including the aforementioned Truong.

There were several hands that spelled doom for those who remained, including a stunning one between Mike Somma and Charles Minter. After Somma opened the betting for $20,000 and was called by Giambrone, Minter popped the two of them for a $60,000 bet.

Somma contemplated for a minute, then made the call, and Giambrone stepped aside. A T-T-3 flop greeted the twosome, and Minter made a strong $150,000 stab, only to see Somma come all-in over the top. Minter called and tabled his A-K, to no avail: he was crushed by Somma's pocket tens for quads.

The elimination of Minter in fifth put Somma into the chip lead by a wide margin, holding almost $850,000 of the $1.3 million chips in play. The table would catch up with Somma, however.

Jeffrey Vanchiro doubled-up to stay in the event and former chip leader Kelly left the table in fourth after Vanchiro eliminated him. Somma took care of Giambrone in third by out-flopping Giambrone's A-J with a J-8 and two eights on the flop. When heads-up action began, Somma held an 8-5 lead over Vanchiro.

The turning point came after 40 hands when, on a J-8-2 board, Vanchiro faced an all-in move from Somma. He deliberately reconstructed the play pre- and post-flop before calling with his pocket aces.

Somma could only muster a straight draw and, after the board finished with Vanchiro making a flush, he could see the title beginning to slip away. Somma would continue the fight, however, for another dozen hands before he made his move on a king-high turn (K-4-2-8).

Vanchiro instantly called him and tabled an unbeatable pocket fours for the set and the victory.

Vanchiro had been one step away from a final table at this year's World Series (he finished in 11th in a Shootout event that eventually would feature Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu) and had considered giving up the game.

He's probably glad that he didn't now that he came out on top of this final table:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Jeffrey Vanchiro Brooklyn, N.Y. $68,160
2nd Mike Somma Middle Village, N.Y. $37,488
3rd Sal Giambrone Staten Island, N.Y. $19,170
4th Michael Kelly Verona, N.J. $14,910
5th Charles Minter Yardsley, Pa. $12,780
6th Larry Nelson Harleysville, Pa. $10,650
7th Hung Truong Brooklyn, N.Y. $8,750
8th Bobby Wisiak Queens, N.Y. $6,390
9th Terry Quinn Powell, Ohio $4,260

Event 7

Saturday saw some veteran names begin to slip into Harrah's to get ready for play in the $5,000 event on Sunday. With 258 of these early arrivals deciding to warm up by getting in the final open event on the schedule, a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, the first-place winner would walk off with the largest prize of this Circuit event so far, $82,580.

Several names in the field were familiar to tournament circuit followers. David Fox, who had already made a final table during the run of this Circuit event, was not so fortunate this time around, finishing 20th.

A stalwart on the New Jersey poker scene, Eugene Fouksman, fared a little better but was short of the final table in 12th place. Two other veterans of the tournament wars, WSOPC ring holder Douglas Carli and Frank Vizza, did make the final table, with Vizza in the chip lead.

The first woman at the final table during this schedule of Circuit events was Marlis Sawicki, who was eliminated in sixth place by a pocket pair of aces from Joseph Brattole.

Carli hung on for a while after coming to the final table in eighth place, but he would eventually succumb to a suck-re-suck to Mark Roland.

After Roland opened the action for $36,000, Carli pushed in with K-Q. Roland called, whereupon Carli found himself significantly behind Roland's pocket aces. The miracle nearly came for Carli as he flopped one king, then turned another.

However, a third ace cruelly came on the river for Roland and eliminated Carli in fifth place. After Jason Quintana's elimination in fourth place and some chip shuttling between the final three (Vizza, Roland and Brattole, in that chip order), the three finalists ended up deciding on a deal for the tournament.

While they did come back and officially dispatch Roland in third, Vizza and Brattole only played one heads-up hand before calling the tournament and Frank Vizza the victor. The final-table results were thus:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Frank Vizza Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. $82,580*
2nd Joseph Brattole II Parsippany, N.J. $45,408*
3rd Mark Roland Atlantic City $23,220*
4th Jason Quintana Bayside, N.Y. $18,060
5th Douglas Carli Alliance, Ohio $15,480
6th Marlis Sawicki Toronto, Ontario $12,900
7th Thanh Phong Trieu Montreal, Quebec $10,320
8th Robert Jackson Cheltenham, Pa. $7,740
9th Yakov Radutman Cliffside, N.J. $5,160

* Prizes do not reflect final-table deal.

Event 8

The final preliminary event was the $200 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em event that saw 328 women shuffle up and deal for a shot at a $65,600 prize pool. Anisha Shrestha, a 21-year-old student from Pennsylvania, topped the field to take home the largest share of the prize.

The ladies event was a one-day event on the schedule and once play got down to the final nine, it didn't take long to see a player head to the rail. Three hands in, Yorika Hama pushed all-in with pocket jacks and got a call from Shrestha.

Holding pocket aces, Shrestha had the lead when the flop came K-K-3. The turn brought an ace, giving her a full house and Hama the ninth-place spot.

Five hands later Shrestha made another kill at the table when Ebony Kennedy pushed in with A-Q. Shrestha called with pocket tens. The board came K-6-4-8-J, giving Shrestha another pot.

On the very next hand, Christine Mizerak went all-in with T-9 and got a call from Gina Saladino holding K-J. The board came J-T-5-6-5 to give Saladino the hand.

Yet another elimination came four hands later. Jennifer Goad put it all-in from the cut-off seat holding pocket fours. Shrestha stepped up to call from the small blind with K-T. A ten came on the turn to give Shrestha the hand and send Goad to the rail in sixth place.

The next elimination came after the blinds went up. Denise Ronca was sitting in the small blind with barely enough to make a big blind payment. She made a go of it with K-T, and Shrestha stayed in the action with pocket aces. An ace on the flop finished off Ronca and left her cashing out in fifth place.

By the time the level ended, Shrestha had amassed a tremendous chip lead over the three other remaining players. On the very first hand in the next level, she added to that lead by taking out another player.

Candy Vecere moved her last $32,000 in with a hand of A-6. Shrestha called from the small blind with 9-8. Vecere got some hope with a six on the turn, but the river brought a nine for Shrestha.

With play down to three, the ladies stopped to talk deals. They split the remaining prize pool according to chip counts, which left Gina Saladino in third, Judith Urban in second and Shrestha with the win.

The final-table results were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Anisha Shrestha Philadelphia, Pa. $20,336*
2nd Judith Urban Philadelphia, Pa. $10,496*
3rd Gina Saladino Norristown, Pa. $5,248*
4th Candy Vecere Margate, N.J. $4,592
5th Denise Ronca Brigantine, N.J. $3,936
6th Jennifer Goad Bedford, Va. $3,280
7th Christine Mizerak Hamilton, N.J. $2,624
8th Ebony Kennedy Ft. Myers, Fla. $1,968
9th Yoriko Hama Lawrenceville, N.J. $1,312

*Prize amounts do not reflect deal made between players.

With all the preliminary events out of the way, the $5,000 Championship Event will take to the felt today. will be there for all the action, so be sure to check the Live Tournaments Section for all the latest action out of Harrah's in Atlantic City.

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