WSOPC finds familiar faces on road to championship

Leif Force
Leif Force wins a WSOPC Tunica preliminary event.

Event 15

The $500 No-Limit Hold'em event hit with 303 players stepping up for action. The lower end of the payout scale featured many pros who have been drifting into the action in Mississippi.

Dale Morrow, who sits atop the leaderboard in the race for the Best All-Around Player at the WSOPC Tunica, cracked the money in 29th place. Leif Force, who just missed the final table at the 2006 WSOP, also made their buy-ins back in 32nd and 36th place, respectively.

Patrick Fagen led the pack at the final table and extended his lead when, two hands into play, he eliminated Jack Christian in ninth place. He continued to outpace the field as the table worked down to three players.

Fagen and David Dao battled for the chip lead as Charles Williams, who has two other final-table finishes at this WSOPC, bided his time. Eventually Dao and Williams had chipped up to pass Fagen, and he was eliminated in third place.

In heads-up action, Dao held a 2.5-1 chip lead, but over the course of the next dozen hands, Williams was able to claw his way to the top. In the final hand, Williams made two pair on an A-J-8-T board and moved all in.

Dao, with an open-ended straight draw, made the call and was eliminated when it failed to come home on the river. The final-table results were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Charles Williams Reno, Nev. $43,746
2nd David Dao Elizabethtown, Ky. $22,588
3rd Patrick Fagen Urbandale, Iowa $11,302
4th Khalid Dghaim Atlanta, Ga. $9,892
5th W.D. Morgan Miamiburg, Ohio $8,481
6th Darrell Hopkins Midland, Texas $7,070
7th Wayne DePalma Lakewood, Colo. $5,660
8th Jozef Pikula Atlanta, Ga. $4,363
9th Jack Christian Knoxville, Tenn. $2,909

Event 16

The $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha with re-buys played Wednesday with 51 players who entered. The field also ponied up 88 re-buys to build a prize pool of $134,575, with only the final five cashing.

The final table was full of notable names looking for the $58,733 first-place prize. Veteran California pro Mickey "Mouse" Mills, Frank Kassela and Leif Force were closely bunched together, but they were looking up at chip leader Bruce Borders as action got under way.

Mills would depart early, getting all-in against Force and finding that he had misread his hand. Mills called Force's two pair river bet and turned his hand up to find A-T-9-9 rather than the A-T-9-8 he thought he had.

Kassela was able to take the chip lead when he eliminated Robert Staggs just after midnight. The remaining five players then entered into an epic five-hour battle.

Action finally came down to Jeremy Tinsley versus Force at about 4 a.m. Nearly even in chips, they took a long break, and upon returning wrapped up in three hands.

On the final hand, Tinsley went all-in with two pair, and Force immediately called with the top set which held up for the win. The players who cashed were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Leif Force Tallahassee, Fla. $58,773
2nd Jeremy Tinsley Beaumont, Texas $32,667
3rd Frank Kassela Germantown, Tenn. $19,613
4th Gary Clark Jackson, Miss. $13,086
5th Bruce Borders Independence, Kansas $6,559

Event 17

The $500 Limit Hold'em event saw 120 players vying for the top prize of $22,365, with only the final table getting paid.

The final table gathered with Chris Province leading the way, but 16 hands in, Leo Whitt took over the chip lead when he eliminated David Whalen and David White in one play.

Whitt flopped a pair of queens with to defeat Whalen's ace-high and White's baby pair, putting Whalen out in ninth as the shorter stack and White in eighth.

Whitt continued dominating the table as he eliminated three more players, giving him a sizable lead over Cliff Matthews as they started heads-up play. Heads-up action lasted about 15 hands, with Matthews unable to stop the Whitt steamroller.

The final-table results were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Leo Whitt New York, N.Y. $22,365
2nd Cliff Matthews Bedford, Texas $12,867
3rd Chris Province Broken Arrow, Okla. $6,721
4th Neil Camponovo Corpus Christi, Texas $4,032
5th Rick Glaser O'Fallon, Mo. $3,168
6th Bill Eichel Parker, S.D. $2,592
7th Russell Bozeman Camden, Ala. $2,016
8th David White Midland, Texas $1,440
9th David Whalen Olive Branch, Miss. $1,152

Event 18

The final preliminary tournament on the WSOPC Tunica schedule, the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, saw 215 runners come to the line, building a $311,750 prize pool.

There were some professionals in the field getting in a warm-up before the main event, including Kathy Liebert, who had a 19th-place finish.

Jonathan Tare, who has had two final-table finishes (including a win) over at the World Poker Tour World Poker Open, crossed over for this tournament and fell short of the final table in 15th place.

Doing the best of the "names" in the field was 2007 WSOPC Atlantic City champion John Racener, who worked his way to the final table with the chip lead.

Racener extended his lead early in the final-table action as he eliminated Stuart Fox in eighth place. He held almost $1.5 million of the $2.15 million chips in play at one point, but it wouldn't last.

Jack Ward cut a chunk out of Racener's stack when, in a three-way all-in, Ward eliminated Jeff Gibralter in fifth place. Ward did the same later when he filled a boat against Racener's straight draw in another three-way all-in that took Dale Gesner away from the table in fourth.

Racener lost the chip lead on Hand 78 when, after re-raising Jae Chang, he had to release the hand after Chang moved all-in. Fifteen hands later, Chang took out Ward in third place, giving himself a 2.5-1 lead over Racener as heads-up play began.

It only took one hand to finish it. After a 5-3-2 flop, Racener pushed a $90k bet to the center only to see Chang move all-in over him. Racener made the call and tabled pocket nines against Chang's 7-5.

However, a river seven gave Chang two pair to take the title over Racener. The final-table results were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Jae Chang Austin, Texas $96,807
2nd John Racener Tampa, Fla. $53,269
3rd Jack Ward Gulfport, Miss. $27,264
4th Dale Gesner Rockford, Ill. $21,216
5th Jeff Gibralter Rockwall, Texas $18,191
6th Don Barton Pahrump, Nev. $15,168
7th Mike Bass Houston, Texas $12,143
8th Stuart Fox Gainesville, Fla. $9,120
9th Robert Harris Arlington, Texas $6,235

The $7,500 championship event of the WSOPC Tunica starts today and it should bring a wealth of top pros to the felt. There are also plenty of regional players who will provide significant competition.

Expect around 200 players for the main event. PokerListings' finest will be on the scene to bring you the best live updates, interviews, photos and more from Tunica in the Live Tournament Section.

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