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Fred Goldberg Wins Event No. 40 at the WSOP

The Author, the Professionals, and the General Contractor

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Fred Goldberg started the day as a part-time poker player, and ended the night as a full fledged member in the game's most elite club. Finishing tenth in last year's main event, Goldberg is probably the name you just couldn't put a face to. A full-time general contractor from Hollywood, Florida, he was the guy who bubbled out of the final nine and never made it to the ESPN final table in 2006.

A year later, Goldberg would get his final table all right, but winning event No. 40, $1,500 mixed (limit and no-limit) hold'em, would be no easy task. Among the eight men who stood in his way, one of them was a world-renowned poker author-turned-player and two others were professionals. The final table was stacked with talent, both polished and unrefined, as Christoph Niesert started the day first in chips with $396,000. He was followed by Michael Craig ($317,000), Scott Bohlman ($236,000), Goldberg ($193,000), Kevin Marcotte ($84,000), Rene Mouritsen ($172,000), Reza Zand ($147,000), Joe Brandenburg ($129,000), and Karlo Lopez ($58,000).

The author (Michael Craig) took out one of the professionals (Karlo Lopez) on the first hand of play. Lopez came into the final table incredibly short-stacked and he pushed all in on the first hand with A Q. Craig called behind him from the small blind with J J…and it was off to the races. Lopez hit a miracle flop of Q 8 7, but the J on the turn was enough to wipe the smile right off of his face. The river bricked and Lopez was the first to fall. He walked away in ninth place with $12,271.

Reza Zand was the next one to go after getting caught in a raise, reraise, reraise all in situation with K J against Kevin Marcotte's A 5. It was a stale board and Zand finished in eighth place, earning $16,926. It was made clear that the author didn't write the book on folding dominated hands when he reraised A 8 against Niesert's A Q. Another stale board and Craig had to settle for seventh place and $22,850.

A little luck goes a long way in a poker game, and our champion, Goldberg proved that when he knocked out Joe Brandenburg in sixth place. Brandenburg made a raise from the small blind with 8 7, when Goldberg decided to make a move with 4 3, and push him all-in. Brandenburg got the rest of his chips in the middle of the table with the best hand, but the 4 in the window was just enough help to ship Goldberg the pot. Joe Brandenburg would be the sixth-place finisher, earning $30,418.

In the biggest hand of the night, Rene Mouritsen needed only one shot to knock one player out and fatally injure another. Scott Bohlman made a $50,000 preflop raise when Kevin Marcotte moved all in behind him for $130,000. Last to act, Mouritsen came over the top,shoving all in for $355,000. Bohlman had only $60,000 more than Mouritsen, and he made the call with Q Q. Mouritsen showed A K, while Marcotte turned over A Q. The K came on the flop and that was all Mouritsen needed to cripple Bohlman. He also eliminated Marcotte in fifth place ($39,289).

Yup, you guessed it. Bohlman was eliminated in fourth place when he raised all in from under the gun with K 10 with a short stack. Mouritsen came back for the kill, and delivered the final blow, calling him out with A K. Bohlman didn't get any help from the board, and the last of the professionals was eliminated in fourth place, banking $54,498.

The champ limped in with A J and almost insta-called Niesert's 9 9 all-in raise. And just as it happens in the movies, the A hit the flop. Just as quickly, Niesert hit the rail. His third-place elimination earned him a cool $82,804, and also set the stage for heads-up play between our champion, Goldberg, and runner-up, Mouritsen.

And then there were two…

"Some guys have all the luck…" sang Rod Stewart in one of his famous songs. Last night, it was Goldberg who was not only singing, but damn near whistling Dixie when he limped into a pot with 10 7. He flopped a higher flush than Mouritsen, who had checked his option with 5 2. The final board of event No. 40 was J 8 4 5 K. Mouritsen earned $125,895 as the runner-up, but Goldberg was the man of the hour and the king of the hill, as he outlasted a field of 620 players. He claimed the lion's share of the $846,300 prize pool. Goldberg gets the gold and $204,935

As a mixed hold'em tournament progresses and the blinds become more and more of a factor in the decision-making process, it becomes far more difficult to make any money during the limit portions of the event. This is where most players quickly lose momentum and slowly call off their chips. At this point in the game, blind stealing becomes essential, and a player's ability to push a hand or get away from one will directly determine his ability to extract maximum value on future hands in the no-limit rounds. Goldberg proved that not only could he lay on the pressure during the no-limit rounds, but he could just as equally grind out the limit portion. He beat the rising blinds and slowly chipped away at his opponents' stacks.
When the blinds are cheap in the early stages of a multi-game tournament, it's not uncommon to literally see players walk away from the table when play switches to an unfavorable or less familiar game. Not Goldberg. As a part-time poker player with a strict discipline in no-limit hold'em, word on the street was that Goldberg had never played a single hand of live, limit hold'em before entering event No. 40. The verdict is still out as to whether or not great poker players are born, or if they can be made, but Goldberg's latest accomplishment should heavily affect that decision.