Achey, Castoire take titles at WSOPC Tunica

Lynn Achey
Lynn Achey takes down Event 13 at the 2008 WSOPC Tunica.

With pros beginning their trek to the banks of the Mississippi River, the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at the Grand Casino in Tunica continues to roll along toward the Championship Event. Recent top-dollar action saw two more players capture titles.

Throughout the course of this stop, players have been vying to win individual events and for the Best All-Around Player award, a prize newly offered by Tournament Director Jimmy Sommerfeld. While he hasn't made a final table here yet, Dale Morrow has played in nearly every event on the agenda to accumulate 2,169 points, giving him an almost 300-point lead over the rest of the competition.

Ben Mintz made the final table of Event 11, the $300 No-Limit Hold'em tournament last weekend, and slides into the No. 2 spot on the list with 1,874 points. Another player at that final table, runner-up Robert Castoire, is just behind Mintz with 1,623.

Rounding out the Top Five at the WSOPC Tunica are Michael Ciaravino, whose three cashes have earned him 1,447 points, and Kenny "Bad Hat" Piel with 1,400 points.

With about a week to go on the schedule, the battle for the Best All-Around Player at the WSOPC Tunica should go down to the final tournament, the $7,500 Circuit championship event. In the meantime, here's how two more events in the series shaped up.

Event 13

The $500 No-Limit Hold'em event drew 461 players for the start of action on Sunday. The biggest name to see the money was professional player Young Phan, who finished just off the final table in 10th place.

Final-table players have had some success between the WSOPC stop and the WPT World Poker Open at the Gold Strike, whose preliminary events are playing almost simultaneously.

Leading the pack into the final table was Charles Williams, runner-up in Event 10 on the WSOPC schedule. With him were Kirby Brewer, who has danced between the two Tunica events and earned a final table at the Gold Strike, and Chris Blaich, who has been performing the Tunica Two-Step as well.

The short stack at the start of the final table, Allan Monterroza, chopped an early pot to keep his head above water, then proceeded to attack chip leader Williams. After getting all-in pre-flop, Monterroza found himself deep in a hole when, with K-J against the pocket aces of Williams, Williams hit his set on a monochrome A-7-5 flop.

Monterroza then proceeded to hit his only hope of survival by going runner-runner for the straight to beat Williams.

The fortunes of the two men continued on the same track in subsequent play. Monterroza hit a two outer with pocket jacks to crack the pocket aces of Fabien Bourdon and continue his surge up the leaderboard, while Williams lost the lead to Bruce MacGregor when he couldn't out-flop MacGregor's pocket kings with A-Q.

Monterroza eventually took the chip lead, but his dominance was short-lived. Lynn Achey struck at a crucial moment when he moved all-in with pocket jacks for 725k in chips and crushed Monterroza's A-8 to take the chip lead.

Monterroza used the same pocket pair to eliminate Kirby Brewer in third, and the heads-up match began with a 2-1 lead for Achey.

The twosome wasted little time in determining the outcome. Only two hands in, Achey popped in a raise with pocket nines and Monterroza made an aggressive all-in move with only A-2, which Achey called. A Q-10-9 flop gave Achey the edge with a set, but the turn jack gave Monterroza another shot at a runner-runner straight.

Once the river ran dry for Monterroza, Lynn Achey was able to take the championship ring and the $64,411 first-place prize. The final-table results are:

Lynn Achey
Sheldon, Mo.
Allan Monterroza Rolla, Mo.
Kirby Brewer
St. Louis, Mo.
Charles Williams
Reno, Nev.
Fabien Bourdon
Heber Springs, Ark.
Bruce MacGregor
Port Orange, Fla.
Chris Blaich
Kansas City, Mo.
James Davis
Jackson, Tenn.
David Gutfreund

Event 14

The first "big-dollar" buy-in of the schedule, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, drew a starting crowd of 131 runners. The final 18 players would be the only recipients of the $126,415 prize pool, with the champion of the tournament the beneficiary of a $40,497 payday.

There were several familiar faces at the final table. Allen Kessler came to the felt as the second-shortest stack and David Rylander, who final-tabled Event 1, was joined by his wife Dina. Leading them all was Tennessee's Ken Blanton.

Kessler went on an early run that catapulted him to the lead. He tripled up with pocket kings over Wade Woefel and Robert Castoire (who both had A-K), then proceeded to take the lead when he hit a set of eights over Woefel suited T-9, eliminating Woefel in ninth.

Robert Castoire
Robert Castoire outlasts Allan Kessler and others for a WSOPC win.

Play ambled on until, with seven players remaining, a stunning hand unfurled. On Hand 57, Blanton and Bret Atiyeh battled with Atiyeh all-in with his pocket tens against Blanton's pocket aces. Blanton flopped a set and Atiyeh turned one , needing the case ten to capture the hand.

The case ace came, however, with Blanton adding insult to injury with quads over Atiyeh's boat, eliminating Atiyeh in seventh.

Next it was the Rylanders who faced off at the felt. Dina moved in with only a K-9 and David made the call with pocket jacks. Dina was the fortunate one, however; she turned a king to capture the hand and eliminate her husband in sixth.

Castoire was able to rebound from his loss to Kessler to gradually chip up and take over the lead with five players to go. He was closely pursued by Ronnie Sewell, however, who took out Dina Rylander and Allen Kessler as the two reached heads-up play.

That action lasted exactly one hand when, after limping in and seeing the board come K-K-Q-3, Sewell moved all-in with his pocket aces. Castoire immediately called with his trip kings (K-9) and, when the river paired the three, eliminated Sewell to capture the title.

As the WSOPC ring and $40,497 were awarded to him, Castoire dispensed some invaluable poker advice: "That's why you shouldn't slow-play aces," he commented.

Castoire defeated these players at the final table:

Robert Castoire
Cecelia, Ky.
Ronnie Sewell
Shelby, N.C.
Kenneth Blanton
Caddo Mills, Texas
Allen Kessler
Huntington Valley, Pa.
Dina Rylander
Collierville, Tenn.
David Rylander
Collierville, Tenn.
Bret Atiyeh
Childersburg, Ala.
Jerry Van Strydneck
Fairport, N.Y.
Wade Woefel
Mankato, Minn.

There are four events left on the schedule before the $7,500 Championship Event starts on Saturday. Two of those tournaments, a $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha with re-buys and a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, should draw many of the pros who are drifting into the Grand Casino.

While Friday will be reserved for satellite action, there's still plenty of action to play out at the WSOPC stop in Tunica.

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