Scott Clements understands Las Vegas. He knows of the various vices and distractions the gambling Mecca presents to visitors. When Clements boarded his flight from his home in Washington State to come and play in the 37th annual World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, Clements viewed his experience as a business trip.
“I don’t stay on The Strip,” Clements said matter-of-fact, following his win in the latest mega-tournament on the WSOP schedule. “When they are all driving this way, I am driving that way. I come here to play poker….and I expect to win when I sit down at the table.”
Indeed, Clements is “all business” about poker. Which is not to say he does not enjoy the game. He certainly does. But from the unyielding look on Clements’ face immediately after his win, one might have thought he was still sitting down at the table, strategizing, playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. The poker face stuck. Perhaps it’s hard to shift one’s focus away from the role as a “player” to being a “champion” within just a few minutes.
The Omaha High-Low Split championship attracted 352 entries. The total prize pool was nearly one million dollars. It took two days to eliminate 343 players.
On Day Three, the nine finalists took the stage at the Rio Las Vegas to play for the championship. The final table included several well-established tournament veterans. Three players were former gold bracelet winners – Phil Hellmuth, Jr. (9), Thor Hansen (2), and Brent Carter (2). But the hottest player at the table had to be Michael Guttman, who was making his third final table appearance so far at this year’s World Series. He is the first player to do so in 2006. Scott Clements, who won an event last month at the Lake Tahoe stop on the WSOP Circuit, enjoyed a decisive chip advantage.
Clements may have enjoyed the chip lead at the start of the final table, but all eyes were on Phil Hellmuth, who was competing for his record-tying tenth WSOP gold bracelet. In his previous final table appearance just one week ago, Hellmuth fell just short of winning bracelet Number Ten, finishing an emotionally-devastating second place. When play began for the Omaha High-Low championship, the gallery was filled to capacity as fans were eager to see if poker history would be made.
|Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
|Martin Corpuz, Jr
Alex Limjoco had a short stay at the final table. About half an hour into play, Limjoco went out in ninth place. The civil engineer from southern California received $19,430 in prize money.
Steve Ladowsky was the next player out. He missed on a straight and a low draw on his final hand and was forced to accept an eighth-place finish. Ladowsky, a Canadian businessman who already has achieved two final tables and four cashes in his first two years at the WSOP, earned $29,146.
Peter “The Poet” Costa was born on Cyprus and now resides in Las Vegas. Costa has won several major tournaments around the world over the past decade, but is still seeking his first WSOP title. Costa fell short again this time, losing with a queen-high flush to his opponent’s ace-high flush on the last hand. Costa collected $38,861 for seventh place.
Phil Hellmuth, Jr. spent a miserable two hours at this final table. He was never able to generate any momentum. Each time he was in position to scoop a large pot, a brick would fall and shatter Hellmuth’s aspiration. The 1989 world poker champion and nine-time gold bracelet winner went out when his A-Q-6-5 was cracked by A-K-6-3 to a board of 10-8-8-3-8. Sixth place paid $48,576. With yet another in-the-money finish in 2006, Hellmuth is now distancing himself from the pack as the all-time leader in WSOP cashes (currently with 53).
Ronald Matsuura was the next player to be eliminated. “Ronzo,” who works in the poker industry, went out with A-10-8-3 versus A-9-8-2 to a board of A-Q-5-J-9, Matsuura collected $58,291 for fifth place.
Four-handed play lasted for a while before Martin Corpuz went out in fourth place. Corpuz was dealt A-8-4-3 to his opponent’s Q-3-3-2. The final board showed A-9-8-K-10, with three spades to make a flush. Corpuz’s two pair was flattened. Fourth place paid $68,006.
Brent Carter has been around the gambling scene most of his life. The Chicago native has made money on horse racing, sports betting, and playing poker. Carter has also won two WSOP gold bracelets. His bid for Number Three fell short when his A-10-7-3 lost to Scott Clements’ J-10-5-2. The final board showed 9-8-5-5-Q giving Clements trip-fives. Carter, with 42 lifetime cashes at the WSOP, picked up $77,722 in prize money.
This final table was dominated by Scott Clements. Not one time was his chip lead ever seriously challenged. Thor Hansen had a rowdy cheering section, but no amount of enthusiasm could derail Clements on his quest for his first WSOP win. Hansen survived several all-in situations, but finally went out when the blinds were so high that he was forced to play a speculative hand. The final hand of the tournament came when Hansen was dealt J-5-4-2 versus Clements’ 10-9-6-5. The final board showed 8-4-2-7-3, with three spades. Clements made a flush and also scooped with the better low.
Norwegian-born Thor Hansen, now living in southern California, was the runner up. He received $155,443 in prize money. Scott Clements won $301,175 and his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Dieser Artikel erschien auf PokerOlymp am 18.04.2007.