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Alexander Kuzmin Wins WPT Southern Poker Championship

2009 Champion Allen Carter Comes Up Short Of Winning The Same Event For The Second Time

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Alexander Kuzmin has won the 2011 WPT Southern Poker Championship.Allen Carter was poised to make history at the $10,000 World Poker Tour Southern Poker Championship final table Thursday. In the WPT’s history no player had ever won the same event more than once. Carter won this same event in 2009, and he arrived at this year’s final table ranked second in chips, with more than double the stack of the player in third place. But sitting around him was a skilled group of players hoping to make their own history — Alexander Kuzmin, Ryan Hughes, Leif Force, Shannon Shorr and Patrick Mahoney.

Despite catapulting himself into the chip lead early in the action, Carter’s bid for the record books came to an end when Russian pro Alexander Kuzmin eliminated him in third place. Kuzmin, the tables starting chip leader, proceeded to hold off a rallying Leif Force in a long heads up match and claim his first WPT championship bracelet, the $601,469 top prize and entry into the $25,000 buy-in WPT World Championship at the season’s end. Force’s runner-up finish was good for $315,790.

Here are the final table results:

1. Alexander Kuzmin — $601,469
2. Leif Force — $315,790
3. Allen Carter — $218,471
4. Shannon Shorr — $144,985
5. Pat Mahoney — $113,208
6. Ryan Hughes — $89,375

This year’s field inside the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino was made up of 214 players putting up the $10,000 buy-in to create a prize pool of $2,011,600. Many of the game’s top players were among the crowd, including last year’s champion Hoyt Corkins, who made yet another deep run but ultimately fell in 19th place, earning $18,868. After four days of play another tough WPT final table was set.

When the cameras started rolling at the final table, the chip counts were:

1. Alexander Kuzmin — 1,969,000
2. Allen Carter — 1,928,000
3. Ryan Hughes — 840,000
4. Leif Force — 674,000
5. Shannon Shorr — 663,000
6. Patrick Mahoney — 394,000

Here’s how the final table played out:

Ryan Hughes was eliminated in sixth place.Ryan Hughes First To Go, Out in 6th Place ($89,374)

Ryan Hughes made it 22,000 to go from the small blind and was called by Shannon Shorr in the big blind. On a flop of JDiamond Suit9Club Suit4Club Suit, Hughes bet 31,000 and Shorr raised to 74,000. Hughes thought it over for a couple minutes and reraised all in for 216,000. Shorr called and showed JHeart Suit10Club Suit for top pair. Hughes showed 7Club Suit4Heart Suit for bottom pair. The 8Club Suit turn and 3Club Suit river finished the board and Shorr’s ten-high flush eliminated Hughes in sixth place, good for $89,374.

Pat Mahoney Eliminated in 5th Place ($113,208)

Pat Mahoney raised to 46,000 from under the gun and Leif Force reraised to 125,000 from the cutoff. Mahoney reraised to 245,000 and Force wasted little time moving all in, having Mahoney’s 849,000 covered. Mahoney quickly called and saw that he was in great shape, holding KClub SuitKDiamond Suit over Force’s QHeart SuitQSpade Suit.

The flop brought JSpade Suit6Spade Suit2Club Suit, keeping Mahoney well ahead. The KSpade Suit turn gave him a set, but also gave Force more outs with a flush draw. The river was the 7Spade Suit, completing Force’s flush to crack Mahoney’s kings and send him to the rail in fifth place, earning $113,208.

Shannon Shorr Busts in 4th Place ($144,985)

A short-stacked Shannon Shorr moved all in from the small blind for 327,000 and was called by Allen Carter from the big blind. Carter showed QHeart SuitJSpade Suit and had Shorr’s JHeart Suit7Diamond Suit crushed. The board came AClub Suit9Club Suit3Spade SuitQDiamond Suit3Heart Suit and Carter took the pot and eliminated Shorr in fourth place, for which he earned $144,985.

Allen Carter won this event in 2009, and he finished in third place in 2011.Allen Carter Eliminated in 3rd Place ($218,471)

Not long after midnight, Allen Carter’s bid for a second WPT Southern Poker Championship title was stopped by Alexander Kuzmin. On his final hand, Carter raised to 100,000 from the small blind and Kuzmin made it 275,000 to go from the big blind. Carter moved all in for 1.7 million and Kuzmin called.

Kuzmin held ADiamond SuitQDiamond Suit, leading Carter’s JClub Suit9Diamond Suit with a massive pot up for grabs. The flop came 10Club Suit7Diamond Suit2Club Suit, and Carter paired up when the JDiamond Suit fell on the turn. It seemed like Carter might hang on and double up into the chip lead. However, the river was the 10Diamond Suit, giving Kuzmin a flush and eliminating Carter in third place. He finished two spots short of another WPT Southern Poker Championship title, but earned $218,471 for his impressive run in 2011.

The large pot went to Kuzmin, giving him a 2-1 chip lead over Leif Force going into heads-up play — 4,310,000 to 2,160,000

Alexander Kuzmin Wins the WPT Southern Poker Championship (601,469), Leif Force Finishes Runner-Up ($315,790)

Leif Force rallied, but finished in second place.On the final hand Alexander Kuzmin moved all in preflop and Leif Force made the call, putting his remaining chips on the line. Kuzmin showed KDiamond Suit4Spade Suit and was up against Force’s JClub Suit9Club Suit.

The board ran QDiamond Suit5Spade Suit4Diamond Suit3Heart Suit2Club Suit and Kuzmin held on to win the pot and the tournament. He earned $601,469, a WPT championship bracelet and a Beau Rivage bracelet. Force earned $315,790 for his second-place run.

Kuzmin earned more than $160,000 for a sixth and ninth place finish at this year’s World Series of Poker, but the WPT win is easily the largest cash of his career.

Next up, the WPT will head to Venice, Italy from Feb. 3-8, followed by a return to the United States for the WPT Celebrity Invitational from Feb. 19-20 and the L.A. Poker Classic Feb. 25-March 1, both at California’s Commerce Casino.