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WSOP -- Michael Binger Wins Lake Tahoe Circuit Event Championship

Binger jumps up to Sixth Place in the POY Race with the Comeback Victory

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The final table at the World Series of Poker circuit Lake Tahoe $5,000 no-limit hold’em main event began on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. The event had attracted 132 players and the nine that remained on the third day of play featured an impressive collection of poker talent. Here were the chip counts at the start of play:

Michael BingerSeat 1: Allen Kessler -- 196,500
Seat 2: Scott Clements -- 66,500
Seat 3: Michael Binger -- 403,500
Seat 4: Bill Bostick -- 100,500
Seat 5: Tay Nguyen -- 132,000
Seat 6: Mike McClain -- 283,000
Seat 7: Jake Solis --302,000
Seat 8: Ty Stewart -- 275,500
Seat 9: Travis Erdman -- 224,500

Ty Stewart came out of the gates on a hot streak to start the day, he took down the first couple of pots and he was also the first player to eliminate an opponent. Scott Clements called all in against Stewart with A-K-10-4-5 sitting on the table, but he discovered that Stewart had flopped the nut straight when he revealed Q-J to send Clements home in ninth place ($13,444). Binger busted the next contestant at the final table, sending home Bill Bostick in eighth place ($18,566) 20 minutes later.

Stewart took over after that by eliminating Travis Erdman in seventh place ($24,968), and once again he flopped a strong hand. This time it was a nine-high spade flush that did the damage. Allen Kessler fell next in sixth place ($31,370) in a painful way. Kessler was in the lead when he moved all in preflop holding pocket aces. His opponent Stewart held pocket sevens and it looked like Kessler would double up, until the river brought a third 7 and sent Kessler out of the tournament.

Tay Nguyen then fell in fifth place ($40,653); and Mike McClain was eliminated in fourth place ($53,777), while Stewart took a sizeable chip lead and dominated the final table. Michael Binger had begun the day with the chip lead, but even he now trailed Stewart. Binger received a boost three handed, when he eliminated Jake Solis with a pair of queens. Solis held pocket eights and he was eliminated in third place ($77,464) to leave two final opponents.

Heads-Up Chip Counts:

Ty Stewart: 1,156,000
Michael Binger: 824,000

The two players were feeling each other out early in the heads-up match, and no major action went down for the first half hour. Binger was able to even things up by winning the first pot of consequence, but then Stewart took a large lead when he moved all in on a board of Q-J-10-3-7 and Binger mucked. Binger saw his stack shrink to under 200,000 at one point in play before he staged his comeback. He dug in and inched back to even before he finally turned the tables against Stewart two hours into the match. Stewart raised to 30,000 preflop and Binger reraised to 130,000. The flop was dealt 7 5 3 and both players checked. The turn fell J and Stewart bet 250,000. Binger made the call and the river fell K. Both players checked again and Binger showed down Q 7 to win the pot over Stewart’s A 6 to take the chip lead in the final. The final hand came 20 minutes later and Stewart held the dead man’s hand when he moved all in after the flop against the Q-9 of Binger on a board that read 9-8-4-10-Q. 

Binger won $181,379 for winning the tournament, as well as a WSOP circuit championship ring. Stewart took home $112,675 for finishing in second place. Binger also picked up 624 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win and he now sits in sixth place on the 2008 POY leader board.

The next WSOP circuit stop will take place at Harrah’s Atlantic City from Dec. 5-18. The $5,000 no-limit hold’em championship will run from Dec. 14-16.