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L.A. Poker Classic Final-Table Bios

Chris Ferguson Headlines the Final Table


Chris FergusonSeat 1 -- Chris Ferguson

Chips: 1,565,000 (sixth chip position)

Lifetime winnings: $7,346,742

2009 Player of the Year (POY) points: 0

Hometown: Pacific Palisades, California

Card Player Bio: Chris "Jesus" Ferguson can throw playing cards through vegetables, ballroom dance, and play some serious poker. He was born in Los Angeles on April 11, 1963, and attended the University of California for 20 years, receiving a Ph.D. in computer science.

Ferguson began his poker career by consistently winning his high-school home games. He then played through college, and successfully made the transition to live poker tournaments. During the 2000 World Series of Poker, he won his first bracelet in seven-card stud and went on to win the main event, as well.

He has captured three other bracelets, one coming in a 2001 Omaha eight-or-better event, and the other two in 2003, in the half hold'em-half seven-card stud and Omaha eight-or-better events. In both 2005 and 2006, he finished second in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He went on to finally win the event in 2008 when he won his final match versus Andy Bloch.

Ferguson is also a member of Team Full Tilt.

Pivotal L.A. Poker Classic hands (pulled from live updates):

Chris Ferguson Doubles Up

Chris Ferguson completes from the small blind, and Binh Nguyen checks his option.

The flop comes Q 5 2, and Ferguson checks. Nguyen bets 35,000, and Ferguson calls. The turn is the 6. Nguyen bets 90,000, and Ferguson calls.

The river is the Q, and Nguyen bets 150,000. Ferguson then moves all in for 715,000. Nguyen thinks it over and calls, Ferguson turns over K 9 for the runner-runner flush.

Nguyen now sits with 1.045 million while Ferguson chips up to 1.76 million.

Ferguson Takes the Chip Lead

Kofi Farkye raised to 24,000, and Chris Ferguson reraised to 76,000 behind. Farkye made the call, and the flop came A Q 6.

Both players checked, and the turn was the 7. Farkye bet 120,000, and Ferguson made the call. The river was the 3, and Farkye moved all in for 600,000. Ferguson, who had 376,000 behind, decided to make the call.

Farkye could only show 6 5 for a small pair, but Ferguson showed A K for top pair, top kicker and the massive pot. Farkye now has 240,000, while Ferguson takes the chip lead with 1.184 million.

Cornel Cimpan
Seat 2
-- Cornel Cimpan

Chips: 1,740,000 (fifth chip position)

Lifetime winnings: $163,617

2009 POY points: 330 (290th place)

Hometown: League City, Texas

Poker Accomplishments: Cornel Cimpan has cashed 10 times in his poker career, dating back to 2004. He has made six final tables, and his largest finish to date was a runner-up finish in a $3,000 no-limit hold'em preliminary at Festa al Lago in 2006 that was worth $82,095. Cimpan will smash that record today with his first WPT final-table appearance. This is Cimpan's second final table at the 2009 LAPC. He finished in fifth place in a $1,000 no-limit hold'em preliminary event earlier this month.

Pivotal L.A. Poker Classic hands (pulled from live updates):

Cimpan Doubles Up Through Ferguson

Chris Ferguson raised to 125,000, and Cornel Cimpan moved all in for 600,000 more. Ferguson made the call and showed pocket jacks, but was behind to Cimpan's pocket aces.

The board ran out A 4 3 K 4, and Cimpan made a full house to double up to 1.4 million. Ferguson still has 1.35 million behind his stack.

Pat WalshSeat 3 -- Pat Walsh

Chips: 2,200,000 (third chip position)

Lifetime winnings: $48,109

2009 POY points: 0

Hometown: Valley Village, California 

Poker Accomplishments: Pat Walsh has cashed six times in his poker career and made one final table before today. His largest score came at the 2005 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, where Walsh finished in 15th place out of the a field of 461 players to take home $25,900 in prize money.

Pivotal L.A. Poker Classic hands (pulled from live updates):

Tam Ly Eliminated in 10th Place ($64,477)

Tam Ly moved all in from middle position for his last 310,000. Pat Walsh raised in the small blind to isolate and showed 10 10. Ly revealed 5 5 and needed a lot of help to survive.

The board filled out Q 4 2 K 8, and Ly was eliminated in 10th place, earning $64,477.

Pat Walsh Doubles Up

Pat Walsh moved all in for 780,000 under the gun plus one, and was called by Donald D'Auria on the button.

Walsh showed A K, and D'Auria had the same hand with A K. However, the board ran out Q 10 6 3 J, giving Walsh the nut flush and the double-up. D'Auria is now crippled down to his last 200,000.

Chris Karagulleyan
Seat 4
-- Chris Karagulleyan

Chips: 4,080,000 (first chip position)

Lifetime winnings: $754,944

2009 POY points: 0

Glendale, California

Poker accomplishments:
Chris Karagulleyan has won eight poker tournaments during the course of a poker career that has spanned more than a decade, and he has made dozens of final tables. Karagulleyan is a Commerce Casino regular, and he will have a lot of local support tonight at the final table. Karagulleyan won the first Legends of Poker in 2002 to score the largest win of his career, $258,000. Heading to the final table with the chip lead tonight, he might be the favorite to walk away with $1,686,760 in prize money.

Pivotal L.A. Poker Classic hands (pulled from live updates):

Blake Cahail Eliminated in Seventh Place ($180,403)

Blake Cahail raised to 150,000, and Chris Karagulleyan reraised to 600,000. The action folded back around to Cahail, who moved all in for another 300,000 or so.

Karagulleyan called and instantly turned over K K. Cahail showed A K and needed a lot of help to survive.

The board ran out Q 5 4 6 J, and Cahail was eliminated in seventh place, earning $180,403.

Payman Arjang Eliminated in Eighth Place ($133,632)

Payman Arjang raised to 170,000 on the button. Blake Cahail folded, and Chris Karagulleyan raised a handful of chips, insinuating that he was putting Arjang all in. Arjang asked for a count, despite being extremely outchipped, and realized that he would have another 135,000 behind.

After five minutes, and some complaints from the rest of the table, Arjang unbelievably just called, leaving himself with just over two big blinds. The dealer was so confused that she asked the players to turn their cards up.

Instead, Karagulleyan bet the rest dark, and both players flipped up their hands. Arjang had A J, and Karagulleyan showed K K.

The flop came out A 5 2, and the table got visably ill. The turn was the 8, and the players began to think about the possiblity of hours more of tank-decision making.

Mike Sowers, pleading for the poker gods to bless the table, shouted out for the K. Instead the river was..... the K! The room erupted in celebration. Karagulleyan, by far the crowd favorite, graciously offered a handshake to Arjang as he exited the room. Arjang received $133,632 for his eighth-place finish.

The table, excited about being one step closer to the final table, will now continue until just six remain.

Mike Sowers
Seat 5
-- Mike Sowers

Chips: 2,405,000 (second chip position)

Lifetime winnings: $559,114

2009 OPOY points: 2,040 (10th place)

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

Card Player Bio: Mike Sowers can be found online playing under the screen names "Sowerss" and "SowersUNCC" on different online poker sites. He has won over $1 million in online poker tournaments. He began to cross over into the live arena in 2007, and his first live tournament win came at the Borgata Winter Open in 2008, where he won a $5,000 no-limit hold'em preliminary to take home $399,000. Sowers also cashed in 17th place at the PokerStars European Poker Tour event in San Remo in 2008, and he also made a WSOP final table that year, when he finished in eighth place at the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha world championship.

Pivotal L.A. Poker Classic hands (pulled from live updates):

Mike Sowers Doubles Up Through Chris Ferguson

Blake Cahail raised to 125,000, and Mike Sowers called on the button. Chris Ferguson called in the big blind, and the flop came down K J 9.

Ferguson checked, Cahail checked, and Sowers bet 250,000. Ferguson folded, and Cahail moved all in, having Sowers and his 1.15-million stack covered.

Sowers made the call and revealed K Q. Cahail showed A 5 for the nut flush draw with an overcard.

The turn and river came 6 and 9, and Sowers' pair of kings held to double him up to 3.225 million. Cahail now has 1.75 million.

Sowers Gets a Bailout

Mike Sowers raised to 75,000 from the button preflop, and Chris Ferguson reraised all in for 880,000 from the big blind. Sowers called all in, and they turned up their cards:

Ferguson: A J
Sowers: A 7

Board: J 10 4 6 9

Both players hit a spade flush on the board to chop up the pot, and Sowers survived the hand on the river.

Binh Nguyen
Seat 6
-- Binh Nguyen

Chips: 1,895,000 (fourth chip position)

Lifetime winnings: $1,067

2009 POY points: 0

Hometown: San Jose, California

Pivotal L.A. Poker Classic hands (pulled from
live update):

Jeremy Kottler Eliminated in 13th Place ($57,796)

On a flop of K 7 2, Jeremy Kottler moved all in to a pot worth 250,000 for his final 250,000, and Mike Sowers made the call. Binh Nguyen moved all in over the top of Kottler, and Sowers mucked. Nguyen and Kottler then showed down their cards:

Kottler: A 8
Nguyen: K Q

Turn and River: J and 4

Nguyen took down the pot and Kottler was knocked out of the tournament in 13th place. He will take home $57,796 in prize money.