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Lee Markholt Wins the 2008 WPT World Poker Challenge

Markholt Makes his 15th Cash on the WPT his Most Impressive


The final table at the 2008 World Poker Tour World Poker Challenge featured two talented professional players looking for their first WPT win, and four solid, up-and-coming players. The reigning Card Player Player of the Year, David “The Dragon” Pham, made his sixth final-table appearance, and his second in Reno (he finished third in this event last year). Lee Markholt embarked on his first final-table venture, which gives him 15 cashes for his career on the WPT. These two pros both had high hopes when the final table began, but they held quite different chip stacks when the cards got into the air shortly after 5 p.m. PDT:

Seat 1: Zachary Hyman - 285,000
Seat 2: Jeff DeWitt - 249,000
Seat 3: David "The Dragon" Pham - 406,000
Seat 4: Jason Potter - 1,156,000
Seat 5: Bryan Devonshire - 674,000
Seat 6: Lee Markholt - 1,137,000

The short stack at the final table wasted little time trying to make a move, and he risked all of his chips on the eighth hand of play:Jeff Dewitt and David Pham Bust First

Markholt raised under the gun to 40,000, and Jeff DeWitt called from the button. The flop came K 7 5, Markholt bet 70,000, and DeWitt thought for about ten seconds before he announced, "All in." Markholt studied DeWitt and carefully examined the size of his stack. After a minute of deliberation, Markholt called with pocket queens and DeWitt turned over J 10 for a diamond flush draw. The turn and river fell 2 4 and Markholt’s queens held to win the pot. DeWitt was eliminated in 6th place, earning $84,297.

Markholt now held the chip lead and he increased it even further when he tangled with the Dragon a few hands later. Markholt picked up a 407,000 pot off of Pham with a pair of jacks, which sent the two pros on divergent paths during early play. Markholt was in good shape, while Pham was the new short stack at the table. Markholt was not completely invincible though, and Zachary Hyman proved that point when he doubled up through Markholt to survive on the 18th hand of play. Hyman ironically faded 18 outs that Markholt had with the A J in the hole, and 10 8 7 3 on the board on the turn, against his pocket fours. The river brought the Q and Hyman survived. Hyman built on this momentum and challenged Markholt for the chip lead a short time later after he scored a 765,000 pot against Jason Potter. Hyman hit a perfect river card (8) on the hand, which gave him a jack-high straight over Potter’s set of eights, and Hyman crossed the million-chip mark after the hand.

Lee Markholt Wins the 2008 WPCPham was pretty low at this point with just under 200,000, but he managed to more than double up without a single player calling his all-in bet of 115,000 on a flop of 8 7 5. Markholt, Hyman, and Bryan Devonshire all mucked their hands and Pham survived without having to show a single card. The next time the Dragon moved all in, he did have to show his cards and the outcome was a little different:

Pham raised under the gun to 86,000, and Markholt made the call from the small blind. The flop brought A Q 7, Markholt checked, and Pham bet 131,000. Markholt moved all in and Pham thought for a minute before he called all in with A 2. Markholt showed down A 10 and he had Pham dominated.

Jason Potter Busts in FourthThe turn and river fell 10 2, and both players finished with two pair, but Markholt won with aces and tens, to increase his stack to about 1.95 million. Pham was eliminated in fifth place, earning $93,664, and has now finished in sixth, fifth, fourth, third (twice), and second place at WPT final tables, but a WPT title still eludes him.

A few hands later Devonshire hit an ace on the river to double up through Potter, and the result of that hand led to Potter’s ultimate demise on hand 61:

Zach Hyman Busts in ThirdHyman had the button in seat 1, and he raised to 140,000. Potter moves all in from the small blind for 190,000 and Hyman called with A 5. Potter showed down A 3 and the board came Q 8 4 8 7. Hyman hit a flush on the river to win the hand, increasing his stack to about 1,035,000. Potter was eliminated in fourth place, earning $103,030.

The next elimination followed suit and was set up by a huge blow a few hands before the third-place finisher made his exit. Markholt scored a huge pot worth 855,000 off of Hyman with a pair of kings, and this sent Hyman on an inevitable path to destruction. It only took one more hand before Hyman would hit the rail.

Hyman moved all in from the small blind for 385,000, and Devonshire called from the bigBryan Devonshire Takes Second blind with pocket nines. Hyman showed down K J and the board ran out Q Q 7 4 10. Devonshire won the pot with two pair, queens and nines, and Hyman was eliminated in third place, earning $149,862.

Heads-up play was a short-lived affair. Just two hands in, Devonshire got all of his chips in the middle. After he was quickly called, Devonshire knew he was in trouble with his pair of fours. Trouble was an understatement, because Markholt had him drawing dead with two pair. Devonshire certainly enjoyed his time at the final table, and his second-place finish earned him $271,625.

Markholt was more than excited to finally get the monkey off his back and take down a WPT title. The former bull-rider walked away with $493,815 and a $25,000 seat into the WPT championship this April at Bellagio.