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Katchalov Gets Off to a Fast Start and Wins the WPT Final Table with Historical Quickness
By Ryan Lucchesi
Shortly after 4 p.m. today the final-table contestants at the 2007 World Poker Tour Doyle Brunson Classic took their seats to play for a huge first-place prize. The 664 contestants created a prize pool worth $9,661,200, and a first-place prize worth $2,482,605. This is the largest prize in tournament poker history outside of the World Series of Poker main event and the WPT World Championship. With this much money on the line every player was eager to stake his claim for the prize. Here is how things looked when action started:
Seat 1: Ken Rosen âÂ€Â" 1,135,000
Seat 2: Ted Kearly âÂ€Â" 1,620,000
Seat 3: Jordan Rich âÂ€Â" 6,585,000
Seat 4: Eugene Katchalov âÂ€Â" 8,360,000
Seat 5: Ryan Daut âÂ€Â" 330,000
Seat 6: David "Devilfish" Ulliott âÂ€Â" 1,900,000
Daut was on an extremely short stack when action began, and he wasted no time getting all of his chips into the middle of the table. On the first hand of play, Daut moved all in from middle position for 320,000, and Kearly called from the small blind with pocket eights. Daut showed down AJ and he needed to improve to stay alive. The board rolled out 8528Q and Daut was eliminated in sixth place, earning $192,715.
Normally with such a clear distinction in chip stacks, the chip leaders at a final table will do their best to avoid each other, but Rich and Katchalov had no problem mixing it up early. On the third hand of play, Rich had the button and he raised to 220,000. Katchalov called from the small blind and the flop came Q-J-8 rainbow. Katchalov checked and Rich bet 320,000. Katchalov took some time before making it 840,000 and Rich reraised to 1,620,000. Katchalov went into the tank and then reraised it one more time to 2,640,000. Rich shook his head and mucked his cards, losing a huge chunk of his stack and giving all the momentum to Katchalov. While both players cards were never shown, you can rest assured that this hand will be selected to air on television.
After the hand, both players now held 75 percent of the chips in play, and a mere 13 hands later, one of them would be eliminated. On hand 16, Katchalov raised under the gun to 300,000, and Rich reraised from the big blind to 1 million. Katchalov moved all in and Rich made the call with pocket jacks. Katchalov flipped over pocket aces, leaving Rich drawing slim. The board rolled out 1098105 and Katchalov took out the biggest remaining stack to take an overwhelming chip lead. Rich was eliminated in fifth place, earning $289,070.
The fast and furious pace of the final table continued and three hands later the third victim of the evening was claimed. Nineteen hands into play, Katchalov had the button and he raised to 300,000. Rosen moved all in from the big blind and Katchalov asked for a count. It was a total bet of 905,000, and Katchalov had to call with 107. Rosen showed down A2 and he was in good shape to double up. The board hit the table 554910 however, and Katchalov rivered two pair to take the pot, adding even more chips to his monster stack (he now held 15 million). Rosen was eliminated in fourth place, earning $433,675.
It seemed as though everything was going KatchalovâÂ€Â™s way, that until he actually lost a hand. Kearly was able to double up through the massive chip leader and bring him back down from the stratosphere. Kearly pushed with QJ and Katchalov made the call with A4. The board came KJ47K and Kearly proved that the ferocious chip leader was human after all.
Ulliott had been the most talkative player at the table up to this point. He and Jack McClelland had a running diatribe that entertained those in the audience as well as those at the final table, but things were about to go silent. On the 39th hand of play Ulliott had the button and he moved all in for a little more than 2 million. Katchalov thought for a bit from the big blind before he called with AJ and was happy to see Ulliott turn over a dominated A10. The board of K539K provided no help and the Devilfish was eliminated in third place, earning $674,500.
With the start of heads-up play, the action paused for the money presentation. Eight ladies carrying Doyle BrunsonâÂ€Â™s signature cowboy hat filled with cash stopped by to drop off the final prize. A quick chip count during this break in the action revealed a lopsided distribution of wealth:
Eight hands into the heads-up match things only got worse for Kearly. Katchalov knocked out one of his legs when he scored a pot that Kearly had invested over 1 million into preflop. After that the end was near and the final battle came down on the 53rd hand of the night. Kearly had the button and he raised to 380,000. Katchalov made the call and the flop came 1063. Katchalov checked, Kearly bet 300,000, and Katchalov raised to 800,000. Kearly then moved all in and Katchalov called with J10 for a pair of tens. Kearly showed down KJ and he was in deep trouble. The turn card brought the J, and the river card was the 2. Katchalov won the hand, and the tournament, with two pair - jacks and tens. Kearly finished in second place, earning $1,252,640.
Katchalov won the 2007 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, earning $2,482,605, and a $25,500 seat in the 2008 WPT World Championship, which will take place here at Bellagio in April. He also set a record by winning the final table in just 53 hands. This beat the record that Doyle Brunson set when he won the 2004 WPT Legends of Poker. It is a perfect blend of symmetry that the record that Doyle set was broken at the tournament bearing his name.
Here are the final table results:
1. Eugene Katchalov - $2,482,605
2. Ted Kearly - $1,252,640
3. David Ulliott - $674,500
4. Ken Rosen - $433,675
5. Jordan Rich - $289,070
6. Ryan Daut - $192,715
Hand #53 - Ted Kearly has the button, he raises to 380,000, and Katchalov calls. The flop comes 1063, Katchalov checks, Kearly bets 300,000, Katchalov raises to 800,000, Kearly moves all in, and Katchalov calls with J10 for a pair of tens. Kearly shows KJ, and he's in deep trouble. He needs a king or a running straight to stay alive, or Katchalov wins the tournament right here.
The turn card is the J, and the crowd gasps as both players catch a pair. Kearly still needs a king.
The river card is the 2, and Eugene Katchalov wins the hand -- and the tournament -- with two pair, jacks and tens.
Ted Kearly finishes in second place, earning $1,252,640. An impressive finish for a 75-year-old tournament "rookie."
Eugene Katchalov wins the 2007 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, earning $2,482,605 and a $25,500 seat in the 2008 WPT World Championship here at Bellagio in April.
Nine hands in to this heads-up match, Ted Kearly has won the most pots, but Eugene Katchalov won the one that mattered. Kearly is down to 2.9 million, while Katchalov continues to ride high with 17 million.
Hand #52 - Eugene Katchalov has the button, he raises to 380,000, and Kearly folds.
Announcer Linda Johnson gives the following approximate chip counts to the crowd:
Ted Kearly - 2,900,000
Eugene Katchalov - 17,000,000
Hand #51 - Ted Kearly has the button, he raises to 380,000, and Katchalov folds.
Hand #50 - Eugene Katchalov has the button, he limps for 160,000, Kearly raises to 400,000, and Katchalov folds. Ted Kearly takes the pot.
Hand #49 - Ted Kearly has the button, he raises to 320,000, and Katchalov folds.
Announcer Linda Johnson gives the following approximate chip counts to the crowd:
Ted Kearly - 2,000,000
Eugene Katchalov - 17,900,000
Hand #48 - Eugene Katchalov has the button, he limps for 160,000, and Kearly checks his option. The flop comes Q105, Kearly moves all in, and Katchalov folds. Ted Kearly takes the pot.
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