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World Poker Tour - 5-Star World Poker Classic - Event 9
by 2005 World Poker Tour Coverage   
Thursday, 14 April 2005


PokerPages,com at Five Star World Poker Classic Event #9
by Mike Paulle


$3,000 No Limit Hold'em

Russell Rebounds To Win Event #9




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Matt Russell Wins

Matt Russell looked for all the world as if he was headed for the parking lot when his cards turned around. The last hand Freddy Bonyadi raised all-in with pocket 4's on the button. "Call," Matt Russell said quickly. No kidding. Matt had the rockets. Pocket Aces. It was over.


Russell owns a water treatment company in Vegas, and he just starting to play tournaments after 30 years absense. "I saw the resurgence of poker," Russell said. He's going to take a year off to play on tour.



Matt Russell Las Vegas, NV 1st $274,075* includes $25,000 seat
Farzad Bonyadi Alisa Viejo, CA 2nd $153,530
Antony Lellouche Paris, France 3rd $76,765
Richard Tatalovich Scottsdale, AZ 4th $43,870
Mike Graffeo Fort Mills, SC 5th $32,900
David Pham Cerritos, CA 6th $25,590
Alex Brenes Miami, FL 7th $18,280
Abe Mosseri Manhattan, NY 8th $14,620
Isabelle Mercier Montreal, Canada 9th $11,700
Juha Helppi Helsinki, Finland 10th $8,775
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Matt Russell ponders



For all you tournament junkies, like me, here's something I like to look at to see who played best at the Final Table. The third column is starting chips. The next column is what the chips would be worth on a cashout. Then what the player earned. The last column is the the plus or minus for the table.
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Farzad Bonyadi 2nd


Matt Russell Las Vegas, NV 293,000 $123,823 $274,075 $142,646

Farzad Bonyadi Alisa Viejo, CA 311,000 $131,429 $153,530 $29,707

Antony Lellouche Paris, France 226,000 $95,508 $76,765 -$18,743

Alex Brenes Miami, FL 175,000 $73,955 $18,280 -$55,675

Richard Tatalovich Scottsdale, AZ 172,000 $72,688 $43,870 -$28,818

Juha Helppi Helsinki, Finland 137,000 $57,897 $8,775 -$49,122

David Pham Cerritos, CA 134,000 $56,629 $25,590 -$31,039

Abe Mosseri Manhattan, NY 44,000 $18,595 $14,620 -$3,975

Mike Graffeo Fort Mills, SC 43,000 $18,172 $32,900 $14,728

Isabelle Mercier Montreal, Canada 27,000 $11,410 $11,700 $290

As I leave with 89 left in the $5,000 NLH Event #10, these are the 38 names I still see:

Benny Behnen & Jason Lester

Eric Lindgren














Lonnie Alexander
Benny Behnen
Ross Boatman
Gary Bush
Tony Cousineau
Danny Dang
Antonio Esfandiari
Amnon Filippi
Tony G
Bill Gazes
Ken Goldstein
Gary Haubelt
Christer Johanssen
John Kabbaj
Thomas Keller
Allen Kessler
Paul Kroh
Chad Layne
Jason Lester
Erick Lindgren
Marcel Luske
Tony Ma
Michael Mizrachi
Carlos Mortensen
Reza Payvar
Young Phan
David Plastik
Alex Prendas
Ron Rose
Erik Seidel
John Shipley
Hilbert Shirey
Gavin Smith
Gene Todd
Jimmy Tran
Randy Jensen
Reza Payvar
Vinnie Vinh


6:45

Of course, as soon as I say it, I put the hex on Freddy. Matt Russell just doubled up with A K and a board of A K. He'd called with pocket 6's. Freddy said it was the fourth hand in a row that Matt had gone all-in. Russell had 478k all-in and now has the 2-1 chip lead that Bonyadi started heads up with.

6:35

New level 3k ante 8k/16k. Tournament pro and WSOP title holder, Freddy Bonyadi is running over Matt Russell. No surprise, really. Freddy is so intimidating. Matt's down to around 300k.

6:05

Win from the big blind, win from the small blind. That's how you do it. Antony was the big blind, but he couldn't play it like Freddy Bonyadi does. Lellouche raised all-in over Bonyadi for an extra 91k. Freddy thought for a minute then called with the 10 9 of Hearts. Anthony had K 8 offsuit. The flop came with a 9. The 8 on the turn didn't help Antony much as it gave Bonyadi a straight flush draw. With a blank on the river, it's au revoir to Lellouche in 3rd.

Heads up, Bonyadi has about 1.1 million to about 450k for Russell. The starting chip leaders are the last two sitting.

5:55

Now it's Matt Russell's turn to be the small blind to Freddy Bonyadi. Matt made it 56k, Freddy raised another 200k. "I think I have the best hand," Russell said but he mucked anyway. Lellouche is short stacked and 2nd place money looms. "I had threes," Matt Russell had. Freddy flashed me Jacks and told Matt he had Jacks.

5:45

Now he wishes he'd called. Since the break, Freddy Bonyadi dominated the table. Richard Tatalovich made his move from the small blind again for his last 51k and Q 5 of Diamonds. Freddy called and turned over K J offsuit. Richard was 4th, when his flush draw and two live cards missed on the river.

Three handed Bonyadi has well over half of the chips with about 800k. Matt Russel is next with about 500k and Antony Lellouche has 250k.

5:35

I asked Paul Wolfe, Dan Heimiller and Arnold Spee what would they have done with Jacks in that situation. Each said they would have had to call. But what do they know?

Playing 2k ante 6k/12k blinds. Each hand is costing 6,500. The average stack is 390k or 33 big blinds. Plenty of time for everyone.

5:05

15 minute break.

On the last hand before the break, Richard Tatalovich told me "Jacks." He'd raised to 125k from the small blind. Freddy Bonyadi reraised all-in for about 200k more or enough to cover Tatalovich. Richard couldn't pull the trigger and mucked. Freddy asked me "What did he say?" Jacks. Do you fold? Tony Cousineau said "Freddy would have done the same thing with a big ace."

4:45

Chip counts four handed in seat order:

Richard Tatalovich 380k
Freddy Bonyadi 420k
Antony Lellouche 320k
Matt Russell 390k

It can't get much closer.

4:35

Starting ninth in chips today, Mike Graffeo got to watch four players give him money. Nice work if you can get it. Finally, Mike made a move with A 8 offsuit in the small blind. Antony Lellouche made it 25k to go, Graffeo reraised all-in for another 30k. Antony gave Mike the French kiss off in 5th with presto, pocket 5's.

4:15

Five handed, the action has slowed as it should at these new blinds of 4k/8k.

With 150 left in Event #10 the $5,000 NLH, these are some of the players I recognize.

Lonnie Alexander
Dan Alspach
Jim Bechtel
Joe Beevers
Benny Behnen
Jean Robert Bellande
Barny Boatman
Ross Boatman
Gary Bush
T J Cloutier
Tony Cousineau
Steve Crockett
Danny Dang
Harry Demetriou
Antonio Esfandiari
Amnon Filippi
Tom Franklin
Tony G
Bill Gazes
Ken Goldstein
Abe Gray
David Grey
Voulgaris Haralabos
Gary Haubelt
Kenna James
Randy Jensen
Chip Jett
John Kabbaj
Thomas Keller
Allen Kessler
Christian Kruel
Paul Kroh
Ted Lawton
Chad Layne
Nam Le
Jason Lester
David Levi
Erick Lindgren
Toto Leonidas
Marcel Luske
Gioi Luong
Tony Ma
Jim Miller
Michael Mizrachi
Carlos Mortensen
John Myung
Men Nguyen
Reza Payvar
Max Pescatori
Young Phan
Paul Phillips
David Plastik
Alex Prendas
Ben Roberts
Ron Rose
BR Savage
Alan Schein
Fred Segur
Erik Seidel
John Shipley
Hilbert Shirey
Mike Sica
Gavin Smith
Johan Storakers
Julian Studley
Jerri Thomas
Alex Todd
Gene Todd
Jimmy Tran
Mimi Tran
David Ulliott
Vinnie Vinh
Eric Weiner
Jerry Young


3:55

If you are at a poker table with David Pham, you hate for him to call your all-in. The Dragon has been one of the handful of ultra-successful players over the last few years. When Richard Tatalovich limped in with pocket 6's, Pham raised from the big blind with A Q offsuit. Richard went all-in preflop and cringed when David called. The 6's walked and so did The Dragon. For once David's hand didn't hit in 6th.


3:45

After a couple of uncalled or winning all-ins, Alex Brenes reraised Matt Russell all-in for about 75k with A Q offsuit on the button. Russell called the extra amount with pocket 9's which were golden again. Do you ever win with pocket 9's? Me, either. These players came to gamble. They had plenty of time to wait, but chose to ship it.

The blinds are still only 3k/6k, so what's the rush? That's why they are there and we are here, right?

3:15

"I've got a bad hand, but I'm getting two to one so I have to call," Richard Tatalovich said in the big blind. Abe Mosseri was all-in for 21k with Q 9 offsuit. Richard reluctently turned over an A 3 offsuit. "That's a bad hand?" Abe asked. The board came A Q x x x to sent Abe out in 8th. Abe wondered aloud what took Richard so long to call.

3:05

That didn't take long. Juha Helppi went all-in for over 100k with pocket 10's and behind him Antony Lellouche had pocket KIngs. Juha flopped a straight draw that didn't get there for 10th.

Then Isabelle Mercier was so short she went all-in with the K 5 of Diamonds and she was called by David Pham in the big blind, logically, wth the 7 3 of Spades. With a 7 on the flop, the lovely and talented Mercier is gone in 9th.

3:00

FINAL TABLE

1 Mike Graffeo Fort Mills, SC 43,000
2 Richard Tatalovich Scottsdale, AZ 172,000
3 Farzad Bonyadi Alisa Viejo, CA 311,000
4 Alex Brenes Miami, FL 175,000
5 David Pham Cerritos, CA 134,000
6 Juha Helppi Helsinki, Finland 137,000
7 Abe Mosseri Manhattan, NY 44,000
8 Antony Lellouche Paris, France 226,000
9 Matt Russell Las Vegas, NV 293,000
10 Isabelle Mercier Montreal, Canada 27,000


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