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This Week in Poker: Poker Tournament News Feb. 21-27

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Check out CardPlayer.com every Friday for a weekly wrap-up of the news from the live poker tournament trail.

Cornel CimpanCard Player Player of the Year Update

1: Poorya Nazari — 3,000
2: Cornel Cimpan — 2,730
3: Anthony Gregg — 2,500
4: Benjamin Spindler — 2,000
4: Binh Nguyen — 2,000
6: Jens Kyllonen — 1,920
6: Stewart Scott — 1,920
6: Moritz Kranich — 1,920
9: Steve Weinstein — 1,800
10: Allen Carter — 1,680

This Week in Poker

Card Player Live Coverage Event -- $10,000 LAPC no-limit hold’em championship event

The final six players in the 2009 L.A. Poker Classic took their seats at 4 p.m. today at the final table in the $10,000 no-limit hold'em championship event of this marquee tournament series. Here is a look at the starting stacks when the final table began:

Commerce Trophy1: Chris Karagulleyan -- 4,080,000
2: Mike Sowers -- 2,405,000
3: Pat Walsh -- 2,200,000
4: Binh Nguyen -- 1,895,000
5: Cornel Cimpan -- 1,740,000
6: Chris Ferguson -- 1,565,000

It took 66 hands before the first player fell, and it was the most notable professional at the table who was the first victim. Chris Ferguson busted in sixth place and he took home $240,538 in prize money. Pat Walsh was able to double up a few times after that on a short stack, but he was the second player to leave the table in fifth place ($310,694) 96 hands into play. Things picked up in speed after that as the blinds and antes left players with 20 big blinds on average, and the next two players fell quickly. Chris Karagulleyan was eliminated in fourth place ($430,963) and Mike Sowers fell in third place ($654,797).

That left Binh Nguyen, who stormed into the chip lead heading into the heads-up match, and Cornel Cimpan, who tread the path of survival to make the final two. The heads-up match lasted five and a half hours, with Nguyen running over Cimpan at the start, only to see Cimpan flop two pair when Nguyen had him dominated preflop to prolong the match. That process repeated itself three times as Cimpan continued to double up until he took the chip lead. In the end, Cimpan won the tournament shortly before 3 a.m., and he walked away with $1,686,760 in prize money. Nguyen was the runner-up, taking home $935,424 in prize money.

Full LAPC Final-Table Recap


Card Player Live Coverage Event -- $10,000 LAPC Heads-up No-Limit Hold’em

Author's Note: Julio Rodriguez contributed this report

The 2009 L.A. Poker Classic heads-up championship was a resounding success, not only for the players happy with the unique double-elimination format, but for the fans watching from the rail, as well. The three-day event saw hundreds of matches come and go before its conclusion, assuring that each skilled player would receive his shot at the title.

A total of 12 players returned for the final day of play, some with a much shorter road to the final match. Those eight players in the loser's bracket would have to play perfect the rest of the way to win the top prize. Those in the winner's bracket could afford a miss-step along the way.

Here were the finishes from the loser's bracket:

Tie 9th - David Paredes -- $25,150
Tie 9th - Owen Crowe -- $25,150
Tie 9th - Ryan Hughes -- $25,150
Tie 9th - John Racener -- $25,150
Tie 7th - Steve Sung -- $35,000
Tie 7th - Amit Makhija -- $35,000
Tie 5th - Evan Roberts -- $50,000
Tie 5th - Steve Billirakis -- $50,000

Vivek Rajkumar had lost to James Mackey earlier in the tournament, but had set the loser's bracket on fire with his string of victories, beating two-time bracelet winner Ryan Hughes, good friend Amit "amak316" Makhija, and then online pro Evan Roberts.

The matchup was set, and it did not disappoint. Nearly three hours of play saw several lead changes and plenty of comebacks. Finally, Rajkumar had built up more than a 3-1 chip lead and called Oppenheim's all in with J-10. The cash-game specialist held a better A-8, but it failed to hold when Rajkumar paired his 10. Oppenheim was eliminated in fourth place and earned $75,000.

Rajkumar was just one match away from the onwaiting Moore, but first he had to go through Mackey, who had already beaten him before. This match went differently from the outset, with Rajkumar getting paid off huge with a set of threes. Rajkumar had Mackey on the ropes and finally sealed the win after slow-playing his pocket aces. Mackey pocketed a cool $100,000 for his third-place finish.

Vivek RajkumarMoore was immediately called to the room, and the two players wasted no time before starting up their match. The first match went to Rajkumar, which meant that no player was undefeated any longer. Both players had the lead at various points in the match, but it was clear that Rajkumar held it for much longer, having Moore on the ropes quite a few times before finally finishing him off. On the final hand, Moore was all in with a pair and an open-ended straight draw, while Rajkumar held a club-flush draw with a gutshot to a higher straight. The river gave him his flush, and suddenly things were all square.

The next match didn't wrap up until past 5 a.m. Rajkumar held the lead and was close to finishing several times before his pair of nines held against Moore's pair of sevens to take down the tournament and the gigantic cowbody statue that accompanies all LAPC tournaments. Moore took home $190,000 for his runner-up finish, and Rajkumar pocketed the lion's share with $350,000.

Here were the final four results:

4th - David Oppenheim -- $75,000
3rd - James "mig.com" Mackey -- $100,000
2nd - Chris Moore -- $190,000
1st - Vivek "psyduck" Rajkumar -- $350,000


Card Player Live Coverage Event -- European Poker Tour Scandinavian Open

Author's Note: Rebecca McAdam cotnributed this report

Jens KyllonenAfter five days of fast and furious poker, the final of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Scandinavian Open wrapped up in a style quite like the rest of the week -- quick, aggressive, and jaw-dropping. Four hundred and sixty-two players turned out for the event, all seeking the €878,057 top prize, and the starting days saw fields filled with some of the finest players out there, such as Gus Hansen, Bertrand Grospellier, Annette Obrestrad, Thor Hansen, Dario Minieri, and Isabelle Mercier. On day four, it took only around four-and-a-half hours to crown the winner.

Jens Kyllonen is the EPT Scandinavian Open Champion (€878,057)

After a few hands, wherein Jens Kyllonen was slowly chipping away at Peter Hedlund, it finally came to a head.

Hedlund raised 220,000, Kyllonen pushed all in, and Hedlund called all in. They flipped over their cards:

Kyllonen: J J

Hedlund:A J

Board: 9 8 5 K Q

Kyllonen's jacks held up, and the nineteen-year-old Finn is now the EPT Scandinavian Open champion. He takes home the title, the trophy, and €878,057.

Peter Hedlund had an amazing game and was fantastic to watch. A great personality and strong poker skills earned this Swede €497,069 for second place.


WSOP Circuit – Council Bluffs, Iowa

Ari EngelThe $5,000 no-limit hold’em main event at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, attracted 67 players, and the final nine took their seats at the final table today at 2 p.m. Cards got into the air promptly at the Horseshoe Casino, and Jeff Daubs risked all of his chips in the very first hand of play. His pocket jacks ran into the pocket aces of Jesse Hale, and he was eliminated in ninth place ($9,419). A half hour later, Jeff Bryan shipped it in with Q-J, and Dennis Meierotto called him down with K-4. Meierotto made a full house and knocked out Bryan in eighth place ($12,558).

The bustouts continued on a steady pace and a half hour later the next player fell. Jeff Banghart was forced to move all in on a short stack with 10 7, and John McDonald called him down with an ace. The ace high held, and Banghart was eliminated in seventh place ($15,698). The biggest name at the final table fell next when Ari Engel was eliminated sixth place ($18,837). His K-J fell to the A-Q of Hale, who claimed his second victim of the day.

Twenty minutes later, Joaquin Sosa hit a major cooler when his pocket kings ran into the pockets aces of Hale, who continued to grow his chip stack by busting Sosa in fifth place ($21,977). It took another hour after that to oust Evan Panesis in fourth place ($25,116). His K 7 fell to the pocket threes of McDonald on a board of A 8 6 9 A, and action was down to three-handed. The final three then played for almost two hours before they went to dinner break.

When they returned an hour later, it took just a short time for McDonald to fall in third place ($34,535). The flop read Q 8 6 when McDonald bet 80,000 and Hale raised to put his opponent all in. McDonald called all in, and he turned up pocket aces. Hale showed down 8 6, and the turn and river fell 6 and K. Hale took the lead into the heads-up match, and he further increased his stack during the next hour to 1,155,000, while his opponent Meierotto held just 185,000.

In the final hand, a flop of A J 6 followed unraised action preflop. Both players checked, and the K fell on the turn. Meierotto moved all in for 136,000, and Hale called him down. Their cards:

Hale: A 7
Meierotto: 6 5

River: 7

Hale’s top pair of aces won the hand, and he took home the first-place prize worth $113,020. Hale also walked away with a WSOP Circuit championship ring and a seat in the 2009 WSOP main event. Meierotto was eliminated in second place, and he took home $62,790 in prize money.


Selected Tournament Results:

Heartland Poker Tour – Onamia, Minnesota


Buy-in: $1,500
Number of Entries: 150
Total Prize Pool: $213,696
First-Place Prize: $63,209
Places Paid: 30

Final-Table Results

1: Peter Bigelow -- $63,209
2: David Mandt -- $31,604
3: Lance Harris -- $18,963
4: Samuel Johnson -- $14,749
5: Leon Morford -- $12,642
6: Michael Cluever -- $10,535


Looking Ahead

Card Player Live Coverage Event -- NBC National Heads-Up Championship

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Field of 64 Preview

Wynn Classic

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Event Preview Story

World Poker Challenge

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Paris Open of Poker

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WSOP Circuit – Caesars Atlantic City

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Winnin’ O’ the Green

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Borgata $500,000 Guaranteed Deep Stack

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